John Arnold and Wade Killefer of Killefer Flammang Architects stand before the Quonset hut they incorporated their design for Luxe@Broadway.
Faced with a challenge, architects Wade Killefer and John Arnold embraced a World War II-era Quonset hut in Santa Monica and treated it like a cornerstone for a $14 million housing development.
The mixed-use 97-unit apartment building, named Luxe@ Broadway at 9th and Broadway, towers over the rusted corrugated shed. But what’s a rusted shed to some represents history to others.
After World War II hundreds of Quonset huts dotted Santa Monica, the last two of which stood on the property where developer NMS Properties planned to build. So the city declared one of the huts a historic landmark back in 2008.
“By enthusiastically embracing this it saved us a lot of trouble,” said Wade, founder of Killefer Flammang Architects.
The hut, which stood on the near barren property, was disassembled and stored for two years while construction was completed. It now offers 600 feet of retail space that’s being renovated as a dining area for an adjacent restaurant.
From an urban design standpoint it opens up the corner and it gives it a unique look. John, the project manager, said he tried to play with the rusted earthiness of the Quonset hut in the overall design of the whole complex.
“We didn’t want to mimic it, but we didn’t want to overwhelm it either. We didn’t want to do rusted corrugated, for instance, all around. We wanted the landscape to be reminiscent o f a grassy air field, then we added these vine walls and painted it green, which fit in with the funkiness of it,” he said.
NMS Properties and Killefer Flammang Architects were recently given the Adaptive Reuse award by the Santa Monica Conservancy. For more on the awardclick here.