The Harland condominium project in Beverly Hills has quite the pedigree.
Sure, it’s located on one of the last unbuilt lots in West Hollywood, a former patch where pumpkins once grew for Halloween, and trees were sold for Christmas. But its architecture was inspired by the best Southern Californian modernism.
Its two-story townhomes were inspired by The Frank House, also known as Case Study House #25, designed in 1961 by Killingsworth, Brady, Smith & Associates.
It single-level flats take their cues from The Stahl House, Case Study House #22, designed by Pierre Koenig in 1960 – and photographed famously by Julius Shulman.
And the inspiration for offsetting two of its joining units in plan and angling them? Dunsmuir Flats, designed by Gregory Ain in 1937.
So who in the world goes looking for those kinds of architectural antecedents, anyway?
Christian Robert, of Culver City-based R&A Architecture + Design, for one. His 36-person firm’s the winner of an Architizer “A+” award in 2017. And for good reason: They know what to look for.
“We’re curious about finding new typologies,” Robert says. “In the process of finding new elements of historicism, we’ll be finding something new.”
The Harland is a prime example – it’s an erstwhile throwback and a stunning forward-looker all at once. Its exterior materials may be simple, but they’re pure L.A. modern: White plaster splashed with patterned screens made from a Norwegian product called Kebony.
“It’s a sustainable wood product that needs no maintenance and ages well,” he says. “Now it’s a warm brown, but it will turn silver over the long term.”
Inside, the majority of the units are two and three bedrooms, with a few one-bedroom units. They range from 1,500 to 3,100 square feet. And they all work well together, whether on the four-story western side with its single-level flats, or the three-story eastern side with its two-story townhouses, one level sunk below grade.
“We wanted to create a balance between a single home typology and a luxury home typology – and for them to coexist,” he says.
Along the way, they got a strong injection of the modern aesthetic at its best.