Avenue 34 — Los Angeles, CA

A Burgeoning Residential Ecosystem

766,000 SF
KFA Architecture
Bernards Builders, Inc.

In partnership with KFA Architecture, Holmes is providing structural and fire and life safety engineering to transform a downtown-adjacent Lincoln Heights warehouse lot into a 468-unit, mixed-use residential and public complex.

Designing a building that straddles two different grade conditions—half on underground parking and half on-grade—presents a challenge. Holmes is devising subtle vertical supports for these upper level apartments stretching up to 105 feet across landscaping. Timber framing will be used for the residential portion, which will include large windows and vaulted ceilings. The on-grade portion reveals striking structural braces and trusses.

The development will comprise two four-story buildings and one five-story building. The architecture integrates open courtyards with apartments bridging the upper floors. Additional amenities include ground-floor retail, outdoor communal lounge areas, a pool, spa, dog park, and two-levels of underground parking that will cover 50% of the site.

Holmes also rationalized the fire protection strategy and assessed the possibility of exposing steel elements throughout the buildings to achieve an industrial aesthetic without compromising the fire safety. The final results of the analysis justified the omission of costly intumescent coating on approximately half of the steel members—with the potential to unlock massive savings for this large-scale complex. 

To apply a performance-based approach, Holmes conducted a structural fire engineering study that included thermal and structural analysis for the structure. Holmes analyzed the steel frame to evaluate the structural behavior under elevated temperatures.

The team simulated two realistic design fire scenarios in a 3D structural model to ensure that the elements were able to withstand the fire temperatures without collapse or extreme deflection.



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