Bay Shore Apartments
Long Beach, California
Bay Shore Apartments is a renovation of an existing three-family apartment building in Long Beach, California. The project involves an overhaul of the upstairs unit and upgrades to the building’s exterior, including a new stair to the second floor, a new shade structure and enlarged openings overlooking Alamitos Bay.
The new shade structure along the building’s southwest facade extends outward at a scale approaching that of the building. Its generous size aims to unify the courtyard and terraces that have been added to each unit over time, reinforcing these exterior spaces as extensions of their units and as parts of a whole.
The apartment building was built in 1945 — ahead of an extended period of downzoning across the region, and just as the Case Study House Program began to usher in a new era of regional modernism in southern California. Its facade and massing are an amalgam of earlier 20th century modernist styles.
We embraced this unresolved liminality and chose to work with many of the original features that still exist. We selectively removed a number of McMansion-era Mediterranean elements added in 2003—overscaled balusters at the terrace and flanking columns at the entrance—but maintained the red tile roof and outdoor spaces that were added during that transformation.
A palette of white stucco, limestone-colored terrazzo, and white oak provide a quiet backdrop for the surrounding landscape and views, and materially unify the idiosyncrasies and layers of changes that have been made to the building over time.
New structural elements necessary for the enlarged windows and new shade structure are carefully scaled and located to accentuate existing moments of stylistic flourish. The project resides in a place between functionalism and mannerism, embracing the heterogeneity of Southern California residential architecture and celebrating the region’s rich heritage—and future—of multifamily buildings.