Formosa 1140 by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects



Formosa 1140 by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA) is a new eleven-unit housing project in West Hollywood, California.


The facade is clad in red, metal panels that provide shade for the windows and separate the circulation of residents from the public domain.


The building is located on one side of the site in order to accommodate a park, open to the public, on the remainder.


Each apartment has a view over the park and makes use of cross-ventilation.


"This project presents a challenging but influential opportunity in regards to the creation and inclusion of an urban park in a private development," say the architects.


"The park is accessible to the public at large, not solely residents with granted permission, they continue. "Formosa 1140 contains within its own genetic code the imprint of a larger urban design that will offer some kind of public space back to the city and in so doing, distribute a patchwork of parks across Los Angeles's formidable grid."


Photography by Lawrence Anderson.

More information from the designers follows:


Located in the heart of West Hollywood, this new eleven unit housing project emphasizes the central importance of shared open space for the residents and the community. Formosa takes what would be the internalized open space of the courtyard and moves it to the exterior of the building to create a park which occupies approximately one third (4,600 sf) of the project site.


As a result of shifting the common open space to the exterior and pushing the building to one side, units are organized linearly allowing for ‘park frontage’ and cross-ventilation for every unit. External circulation is used as a buffer between public and private realms and articulated through layers of perforated metal and small openings.


The careful placement of outer skin panels and inner skin fenestration creates a choreographed effect, both revealing and concealing, while achieving a unique expression of form and materials. The exterior skin also keeps west facing units cooler by acting as a screen and shading device.


The provision of this park space resulted in a series of negotiations between Habitat Group Los Angeles, LLC (Developer), LOHA (Architect) and the City from which a unique, more fluid, model of community planning and development emerged to the benefit of all parties involved. The outcome of these negotiations is the leasing of the park to the City of West Hollywood, to develop as part of a network of pocket parks throughout the City. This effort also helped Habitat Group Los Angeles take advantage of certain incentives and zoning concessions for the proposed building.



Posted on Tuesday March 3rd 2009 at 2:13 pm by Megan Wilton. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Goood!

    Vibrant, conceptual design, cool, sustentable. Very nice!!!

  • Ange Rouge

    Very cool.

  • Bryce

    The scale of the project at large as well as the color palette are exquisite.

    It’s extremely nice to see an achievement of this quality embodying contemporary issues and conceived of through contemporary diagrams without conforming to the unnecessary formal curvatures that plague contemporary pop-icon architecture.

  • rodger

    this guy tries way too hard, and achieves very little good effect for his effort.
    interior spaces are unremarkable, if not awful. the exterior walkway, screen interface is devoid on human interest at the very location it is necessary. screw the green /natural ventilation/screen pretense, who needs it if you can’t produce something that will inspire people to live there in the first place. all this stuff just gets in the way of living well and good design.

    • Ghandiman

      Whatever makes you tick, man! You can prefer to live in a 'craftsman' or 'traditional' house or whatever is considered beautiful by most Americans, but don't preach about things that you obviously don't understand… "living well and good design" – give me a break! If this does not inspire you don't feel obliged to make judgements such as 'awful'. A helpful quote: "it is the privilege of the fool to denounce everything he does not understand…".

  • LOW

    My, my, what pretty colours!

  • Richie

    The exterior is rather funky but I’m not sure that the planning\interior is all that amazing.. nice enough though.

  • dhbrown

    Actually rodger, I really really want to live there.

  • I live across this place and it is a complete eyesore. I personally feel it looks like a bloody tampon meets swiss cheese which meets Paul Bunyan meets a shipping container. The area is horrible, hovels surround this place and every morning I see transvestites walking home from their street poles and homeless people looking through dumpsters. Once they finish that park, it will be a haven for these people. It will also be breeding ground for crazies like the underground people in Demolition Man.

    The photographer did a great job making this place look better. So many people drive by, shocked by the appearance, and drive into other cars/houses. This has happened on 4 occasions. I’m terrified by the number of accidents that occur by this mess and do not let my kids and pet chimp out during times of high traffic. I hope this place gets demolished soon.

  • Considering what usually passes for apartment living in Los Angeles, this is a welcome change. I think people will be lining up to grab a unit in the building, especially in West Hollywood.

  • Twinkle star

    I prefer it in green…

  • windbag

    This is the architectonical equivalent of a red dressed clown performing a juggling routine.

  • nomad

    LMAO @ Rafael

  • amsam

    I’m with DHBrown: rodger is bitter, bitter, bitter. As to Rafael’s point, if this is in a shady neighborhood full of trannies and homeless folks, it’s all the more awesome to see some daring, vibrant design injected. We should all make things so arresting they cause traffic pile-ups!

  • cocteau

    just lovely, very inspiring.

  • wehrm

    toilet is too close to the bed. my wife would leave me.

  • Son of Bozo

    Rodger for President

  • too noisy.. :(

  • cgcg

    Pet chimp?

  • KDS

    I’m torn. It’s a striking building–I love the exterior colors–but the facades are hugely, unnecessarily, overwrought. The interior spaces are pleasant enough, but lack originality. A case of the wrapper being far more interesting than the contents.

  • bob

    @ rafael:

    c’mon, you can’t do different architecture because of the potential risk of accidents?? That sounds very american: blame the building, not the driver..

  • I like this alot! like the color and tetris like design. NICE!

  • Bruce

    Stunning in photos; though I could imagine it a bit overwhelming in person.

    The comments of Rodger and Rafeal are quite amusing, but sad too.

    A wall with a door will provide a little mor accoustical privacy for the master bath. I think a Change Order may be required.

  • Just confirmed, the place has drywood termites!! I spoke to a man from a termite company, but I could be wrong, he might be doing the interior design in this hobbit house.

    Also, the ramp to the garage is not friendly to any car but SUVs and military vehicles. I’ve seen 1 Porsche Boxster S, 2 Mercedes c-classes, 1 Mercedes E350, 2 Audi A4s, 1 Ford Focus, 3 Toyota Priuses, and 1 BMW 328ci scrape they front bumpers leaving the garage and some had the bumpers completely snap off. I have some of the bumpers stored in my garage, if you were a victim to the exit ramp, please let me know.

  • Well, here I stand torn between two very polar views of this structure. Like Rafael, I too live on Formosa Ave. History is afoot on this quiet street with Formosa Cafe (Marlon Brando’s old hangout, pictured in L.A. Confidential) and Jones (a low-key/ highbrow entertainment industry hangout) located less than a minute from 1140.

    Now…my perspective is such.
    This place sucks. You do not want to live here. Please.
    Homeless transvestites chilling in your garden, High end vehicles scraping the under-chassis of their cars. Color paneling that is reminiscent of puke, really enforcing very few colors for interior design (red…orange..that’s it). Scared children and pet chimps forced into staying in their homes out of fear of road collisions. Are you getting the idea here people.. This is a nightmare waiting to happen.

    Rich people heed my words. Just because you have some money and see this as an investment, I am here to tell you…YOU ARE WRONG. This place will not appreciate in value. Look past all the gimmicks…This place is ugly. Just view the fourth image from the top of this page. Can you honestly see yourself walking down that corridor every day and looking around thinking to yourself, “Wow, this is comfortable environment”? You really want to wake up to people taking bathroom breaks in your supposedly (hasn’t been finished) beautiful garden.

    Now, how do we fix this problem?
    There are three things that need to change immediately.
    1. The color must go
    2. The paneling must go
    3. The place must go!

    I’m out!

  • i wonder why the horrors are highlighted here when it should be kept in a realestate mag. this is a place to look at its other aspects and i can not say from a design perspective it should be attacked so vigorously. the attacks also have no look at the positive side of the designs at all, ironically?

  • Mads

    Loving the COLOR,
    Amazing how the squareness of the reds seem to break the formality of the structure itself.
    What an achievement!!

  • willem

    It’s a giant red nose day prank!
    THE TOILET…a wall not a curtain. what were they thinking!

  • pat j

    Pierre is right, lets deal with the design and architecture and what we can see from the photos and from what i can see in front of me it looks very cool, its well put together with a really vibrant colour and as a stand alone piece of architecture it should be applauded. Porsches and mercedes scraping their bumpers are a bit irrelevant aren’t they?

  • SillyBug

    “Porsches and mercedes scraping their bumpers are a bit irrelevant aren’t they?”

    Nope. Goes to badly functioning facility.

  • Congratulations Lorcan!

  • debbie

    Rafael – you have a pet chimp … mmmm … see what you mean about the area

  • Angelos

    Inspiring! The facade looks hi-tech but it ain’t. I’m definitely taking it under consideration.

  • Rafael

    pat j – You seems to be into form, but would you like your front bumper clips to start buckling under pressure? Not to mention the raw bumper exposed from daily scraping, I’m talking about a crater out of the garage. Would you like to sandblast your shipping container panels of this place twice a day? That’s what happens to your car.

    debbie – My pet chip is named Abu, he’s going back to Cameroon this summer for architecture training with emphasis on container recycling. I’m glad you’re interested in him!

    Update! The lucky future residents of the Maersk smorgasbord can wake up to the beautiful tunes of Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, and Earth, Wind and Fire!! A new couch resident has been living right across the street for the last several days. She usually warms up around 6:15AM with Disney themes (today was the Lion King) and around 6:45AM begins her performance. I stopped bringing my iPod when I run, you can hear the melodious tunes from blocks away!! Welcome new friend!!

  • chrysi

    i think that its a very good start for architects to think more for the people and the invaroment and not them selfs , like it used to be. I read all the comments above and i think that it will be hard t change this but its a good start . I liked very much and i expect more like this in the future. Very good achievement!!!!!!!!!!

  • JC Arch

    The pictures of the facade are fascinating and inspired, the niches created by the screens is reminiscent of Corbu’s Ronchamp. However, based solely upon the entry floor plan, security issues are apparent. Not only is proximity to public space, namely the park, a problem, but the presence of a staircase from the park that leads to residential units, that has no security doors, is ill-advised even in the safest of neighborhoods, let alone this one.

    The criticisms of this work are harsh, given that its problems can easily be solved by the installation of a privacy fence or barrier to enclose the park for private residential use in addition to the installation of a security door to front the staircase to the dwelling units.

    While aspects of this design may be flawed, it is not without merit. The intent was to give back a piece of the private land to the city for use as a park, so in this vein the architect was successful. It is a question, however, how the residents of Formosa 1140 view the idealism in LOHA’s concept, when considered under the light of security concerns?

    This work is an experiment in architectural and social idealism. The more progressive designers do think beyond everyday practicalities, but such things must also be integral in the design in order to become truly transcendant.

  • eugmir

    Pretty cool how the facade is inhabitable…