Location:  Los Angeles, California

Client:  High Street Residential

Johnson Fain designed LA Plaza Village for Trammell Crow Company, its subsidiary High Street Residential, the Cesar Chavez Foundation and Principal Real Estate Investors, in a public-private partnership with LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes Museum and the County of Los Angeles. 

LA Plaza Village is a burgeoning urban village sited to connect and extend the LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes Museum, The Pueblo, Olvera Street, and Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles to the foot of Fort Moore in downtown Los Angeles. Combining ground-level retail, food-and-beverage outlets, cultural programming, and residences in a wide array of formats, the new development will fortify the historic center of Los Angeles and bring together for the first time the past, present, and future—“Pasado, Presente, Futuro”—of LA Plaza.

This mixed-use village spans a total of 425,000 square feet across two full city blocks, and has 355 multi-family units, of which 20 percent are affordable. The unit mix includes studios,
and one-, two-, and three-bedroom family-focused apartments. In addition to the 43,000 square feet of retail space, several roof decks provide settings for social interaction and recreation. State-of-the-art amenities include a fitness center, pool, yoga studio, pet area, sky lounge, BBQ grills, community lounge and more.

The architecture of the complex is modern and lively. Bright colored panels draw attention to entrances and special features of the buildings. A long arcade along Spring Street will tie the architecture of the Village to the character of The Pueblo. Shady courtyards with tiled paving as well as a large Gateway Plaza on Cesar Chavez Boulevard provide opportunities for gathering and outdoor dining.

“As designers, we were inspired by both the profound modern tradition of Mexican Modernism and the present-day vitality of the Mexican American communities in our midst, “ said Scott Johnson, Design Partner at Johnson Fain. “Vibrant colors, lush plantings, tiled paving, and spirited graphics came together to celebrate LA Plaza in the heart of Los Angeles.”

Among the project’s most important design features is the series of public open spaces which create linkages to the historic neighborhood. A two block-long paseo connects La Placita church to Fort Moore, an arcade along Spring Street connects the paseo to the Gateway Plaza along Cesar Chavez Boulevard while a tree-shaded courtyard provides environmental comfort and amenities. Runnels, fountains, and water events enliven the

paseo and connect with the history of Zanja Madre, the original aqueduct that brought water to the Pueblo from the Río Porciuncula.

In addition to new residents, restaurateurs and retailers, LA Plaza Village is also home to LA Plaza Cocina, a 2,500 Square foot museum, retail space and teaching kitchen that is a project of LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, an institution dedicated to the culture of the Mexican-American experience in Los Angeles.

LA Plaza Village also features one-of-a kind murals by four local artists – Judithe Hernandez, Miguel Angel Reyes, Jose Lozano and Barbara Carrasco – curated by Now Art LA. Each artist has created works with their own voice and designs that celebrate the Mexican-American experience.

A vibrant public gathering place with cafés, restaurants, cultural facilities, and other food services will feature a large, stately California sycamore in reference to the local El Aliso sycamore that served as a gathering place for many cultures during its 400-year life. Interpretive signage, paving inlays, cultural iconography, and traditional building materials will honor the cultures that have come together to form this diverse area of Los Angeles.