Withee Malcolm Architects¹ Renovation of the Historic Dunbar Hotel and New Affordable Housing on Western Avenue Garner Civic and Commercial Awards Projects Honored by Westside Urban Forum, Los Angeles Conservancy and the Gold Nugget Awards

Los Angeles, CA, 14 Jul 2014– Two of Withee Malcolm Architects’ projects, radically different in architectural design yet similar in community building goals, have earned recognition for their contributions.  The renovation of the iconic Dunbar Hotel and the adjacent Somerville Apartments in Los Angeles, now known as Dunbar Village, received awards from the Westside Urban Forum and The Los Angeles Conservancy and was a Merit Award winner at the recent PCBC Gold Nugget Awards in the Renovated/Restored Category. The Western Apartments also located in Los Angeles earned a Gold Nugget Merit Award in the Affordable Project category.

Withee Malcolm began gathering awards along side Dunbar Village developer Thomas Safran & Associates on June 6, 2014 when they received the Westside Prize for their work in bringing the historic Dunbar Hotel back to life. The Westside Prize recognizes projects that demonstrate excellence in city making and community building and address the issues of planning for and building a livable future. On June 31, the team was recognized again for their work with a 2014 Los Angles Conservancy Preservation Award for outstanding achievement in the field of historic preservation. At the Pacific Coast Builders conference Conference on June 26, Withee Malcolm was in attendance at the Annual Gold Nugget Awards where Dunbar Village and Western Apartments, developed by Preservation Partners, received Merit Awards. 

“It is always rewarding to be recognized for your work as an architectural firm; it is even more meaningful to see our projects recognized for the contributions they make to the community,” said Dan Withee, AIA, founding partner of Withee Malcolm Architects. “Affordable projects bring special challenges, yet the impact they have on the residents and their neighborhoods far outweighs our efforts. Both Dunbar and Western demonstrate the importance of architecture in catalyzing change.”

An important cultural legacy, the Dunbar Hotel had been the only first-class hotel in Los Angeles for African Americans in the 1930s and 1940s and was frequented by the leading jazz musicians and performers of the era. Withee Malcolm’s transformation of the nearly derelict hotel into the centerpiece of an affordable rental community for seniors and low-income families also serves as the cornerstone for the renewal of the area. Sensitively restored and updated for its current use,

the project activates and supports stabilization and economic revitalization in its South Los Angeles neighborhood to serve as a model housing development for the country.

Located on a busy commercial thoroughfare, 10311 South Western replaces a row of 24 small, single-story units with a mid-rise complex of 63 units of affordable housing.  Although the site is adjacent to a single-family residential neighborhood, the immediate context is a hard-edged commercial/industrial mix.  Working with a modest budget, the architects created a standout, contemporary building that sets the stage for a transformation of the neighborhood with a new look and purpose.  The project has been certified LEED Silver by the US Green Building Council.

The Westside Urban Forum, whose members include developers, planners, designers and community members engaged in all facets of the planning and development, provides a platform for debate about land use issues that affect livability on the Westside of Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Conservancy is a nonprofit membership organization that works through education and advocacy to recognize, preserve, and revitalize the historic architectural and cultural resources of Los Angeles County.

The PCBC is one of the leading building industry conferences and the Gold Nuggets Awards are among the most prestigious competitions in the building industry.  Winners share one common denominator: delivering excellence and innovation in addressing complex design/build issues.


Nancy Egan
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