All images courtesy of MAD Architects
MAD Architects has revealed ‘8600 Wilshire’, a project located in Beverly Hills that forms the studio’s first project in the United States. The scheme seeks to demonstrate founder Ma Yansong’s core design philosophy, which is to bring together a sense of nature and community within high-density cities.
By introducing some of the wildlife found on the adjacent foothills of Los Angeles , the design mimics a small sinuous white hill boasting an 18-unit residential village positioned above a commercial space. Clustered white glass villas and trees ascend upward to contour the region’s skyline, while providing a distinctive streetscape along the boulevard.
Conceived as a ‘hillside village’, the development offers a variety of housing types for city residents, including three townhouses, five villas, two studios and eight condominiums. The massing of the scheme ensures that the incandescent structures appear opaque from the street, yet reveal a transparent façade facing the private garden, townhouse and condominium units.
The village is wrapped in a water-efficient living wall of native, drought-tolerant succulents and vines. Undulating around perforated windows on the façade, this vertical garden extends interior space to external balconies, and provides a natural green-screen for condominium residents. Along Wilshire Boulevard, the lifted living wall reveals glass storefronts at ground level resembling a floating plinth.
Hidden away from the street is an elevated courtyard accented by a canopy of trees and native plantings. At the center of this secret garden is a water feature flowing gently to a secondary reflecting pool in the lobby below, providing residents with a haven of tranquility.
In high-density cities, modernist and post-modernist housing typically prioritized functions and formats over human relationships with the environment. In response to this, the project considers the possibility of a new model for west coast vernacular amid the sprawling density of Los Angeles. ‘8600 Wilshire’ is expected to break ground in October 2015.