LOS ANGELES – Nestled in the hills of Los Angeles, California in an area known as Echo Park, a cluster of 18 progressive homes makes its debut. Recognised as an urban infill development, Blackbirds is a contemporary approach to community-based living, developed by LocalConstruct who teamed up with Bestor Architecture. The project provides a solution for urban housing in a city where available land is sparse. Inspired by the Dutch concept of ‘woonerf’, which places focus on shared space and equal priority to all modes of transportation, Blackbirds thrives to strike a balance between community, nature and design. The up-and-coming neighbourhood is set to draw in in young families and urbanites who are looking for entry-level housing with a revived typology.
Located in one of the most populous cities in the United States, the increased density housing of this development encompasses a sensitive approach by integrating into the existing context. The cluster of homes is situated around a central courtyard, consisting of landscaping, parking and gathering spaces for community functions. The assimilation of spaces is intended to boost interaction amongst inhabitants and bring people together. Aesthetically the homes resemble twentieth-century craftsmen’s cabins featuring a private outdoor yard or roof deck with views across Echo Park canyon. Pitched rooflines and duplex units with shared roofs give off the impression of individual houses, blending harmoniously with the neighbouring homes.
By combining several houses into a single-home volume the design conceals the actual density of units, maintaining the neighbourhood’s identity. The Blackbirds community is one that places importance on a higher quality of life through a blend of private, semi-private and public spaces. With focus on simple quality design and human interaction, the urban infill development proves that contemporary living can be made available in growing populated cities.