Western Avenue Loft

Western Avenue Loft


This 1960’s structure was once an architect’s office, a bakery, and juvenile court offices. The new owner wanted to transform the second floor into a contemporary living space and urban refuge, while retaining the first floor for commercial tenant use. A new, energy-efficient storefront replaces what was once single-pane glass. Sidewalk and street furniture improvements took place simultaneously, with new street trees planted and overhead utilities moved to the alleys.

Due to the building’s mid-block location, the only opportunities for light and air were at the front and rear along the property’s width. To counter this, a section of roof is removed mid-plan. The walls of this opening are glass, with a green roof added at floor level. The resulting courtyard becomes an organizing element and focal point for all areas of the loft. The owner introduced a Zen garden here, similar to ones he’s grown fond of in his many trips to Japan. Stones are geologic specimens, with one carefully chosen boulder aligned above a reinforced portion of the floor structure. Fixed and movable walls are oriented front to back, allowing light and air to permeate throughout. Up top, an array of photovoltaic panels produces more electricity than the loft uses.

The project re-uses an existing building and amps it up by putting formerly hidden construction on display, and by making a leaky, barely insulated envelope state-of-the-art. Where new finishes are introduced, they are sustainably sourced or recycled. Construction waste was carefully managed or recycled. VOC’s were banished. Equipment is energy star certified or higher. Even though the owner did not seek LEED certification, we proceeded on the premise that he could.

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Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects (architect)
Watson Engineering (structural engineer)
Iams Consulting, LLC (MEP/FP engineers) 



Continental Building Co.



Massery Photography, Loysen + Kreuthmeier Architects