Completion Date: June 2014


The Elysian, Los Angeles, United States
David Lawrence Gray Architects, AIA

The former Metropolitan Water District (MWD) 8-story office tower designed by acclaimed architect William Pereira was completed in 1973. It has been vacant for almost 20 years after MWD’s departure in 1993. 

The tower has been restored and converted to 96 residential units, 13 of which are new 2-story penthouses added to the top of the building. The original mid-century office design was adapted and enhanced to create comfortable contemporary loft-like apartments. Stripping the building of some of its dated materials, it has been upgraded with contemporary features while maintaining the original modern architecture. 

With the recent preservation work, the building can re-join the rich narrative of mid-century modern buildings in Los Angeles and serve as a prototype for similarly neglected buildings. Pereira’s tower was a vacant, graffiti-scarred hulk before work began, and is now a light filled tower of seemingly floating floors and glass. The size and shape of the building lent itself beautifully to residential use - with expansive floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies. 

Throughout the process David Lawrence Gray, FAIA, and Linear City Development maintained firm design guidelines that were baked in from the beginning by Pereira’s vision, while concurrently transforming an office complex into architecturally exciting lofts. Set amidst a neighborhood of low-rise buildings, the Elysian affords its residents unobstructed 360-degree views of the entire city, stretching from the mountains and downtown Los Angeles to the ocean. The new units are simple, clean and modern, each with an open plan allowing 12' ceilings with 10' of glass. A new restaurant with its own outdoor seating area seamlessly integrates the pedestrian level with the new landscaping and restored fountains, which helps to revive an under-served stretch of Sunset Blvd and the neighborhood as a whole.

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