Lofty Reuse: Green Apartments Where Bono and Bowie Went Gold

surfboard backsplash photo

Recycled surfboard backsplash in cool eco-kitchen. Photos by Tara Wujciks.

Tiles made of recycled skateboards create a kitchen sink backsplash, electric car charging are installed in each parking spot. There are also dual flush toilets and re-claimed Black Forest Walnut -- among the many green design elements at Lofts @ Cherokee Studios. Elvis, Ella Fitzgerald, John Lennon, and Dave Matthews recorded here in the heart of Hollywood and the studio is now open again (if you know who lives in the penthouse). There are other green recording studios but this spot, surprisingly, is the first LEED Platinum certified multifamily development in the area. But there will be more.

cherokee lofts exterior photo

That is, if Pugh + Scarpa, who designed the Lofts @ Cherokee Studios, have their way. One of the AIA's Top 10 green award winners, they collaborated with REthink Development, a sustainable developer to create this eco-friendly live/work building. Pugh + Scarpa have built several sustainable structures around the country from an arts complex in North Carolina wrapped in a skin of recycled aluminum cans to a Make It Right house in New Orleans, inspired by Gee's Bend quilt patterns, it uses recycled wooden pallets as a patchwork screen to shade the building.

Environmental Environments
Natural ventilation and abundant light reduce a/c and electrical usage at the Cherokee property, which consists of 12 condominium lofts and retail space on the ground floor. A five-story structure, with lofts from 1,000 to 2,000 square feet, features organic and repurposed found objects throughout, reused glass tiles, LEDs, 30 percent water reduction with tankless water heaters, and FSC certified wood flooring. The healthy indoor environment includes high efficiency air filtration, low or zero VOC paints and finishes, and formaldehyde-free cabinetry.

table reuse photo

Delicious dining table re-use.
Outside, drought-tolerant plants landscape the courtyard and green roof which reduces storm water runoff. A solar array of photovoltaics covers the other rooftop. There's bike storage in the parking below, a groundbreaking under-sidewalk infiltration system, and the neighborhood rates 95 out of 100 on the Walking Score.

Music to thine ears

home studio photo

Gold and platinum records hang in the lobby, hinting at the more than 300 cut at the former Cherokee Recording Studios (and MGM Studios before that). So the designers wanted to pay tribute to the creative legacy and named spaces after artists who recorded here, such as a Bowie home and an Alice Cooper Lair, including a recording studio perched on the 4th floor -- with double walls to mitigate sound pollution.

It's a rockstar model to follow with designers keeping green design uppermost in mind, from using locally produced products to installing high-efficiency heating and cooling system and reducing landfill by 75 percent. In this time of rethinking residential construction, lower energy bills and a smaller environmental footprint need to be considered from homes to apartments. Now, how about reconfiguring all those foreclosed homes?

More on LEED multi-use developments:
Los Vecinos: First Platinum LEED-Certified, 100% Solar Powered Affordable Housing
Ever Vail: LEED-Certified Multi-Use Development
Cromley Lofts: First LEED-Certified Condos In Virginia

Related Content on