TCA Architects’ Design for AVA Little Tokyo Brings Japanese Pop Culture to Downtown Los Angeles

Industry: Business

AvalonBay’s Distinctive Residential Community Solves the Design Challenge of Bringing Necessary Elements to a Culturally Significant Neighborhood

Los Angeles, CA (PRUnderground) October 14th, 2014

When all is said and done, a residential apartment community can only be considered a qualified success when its amenities, apartment homes, and architecture resonate with residents and work to enhance the surrounding neighborhood. This is made more challenging when the location carries the added responsibility of being sensitive and complementary to a culturally significant neighborhood such as Downtown Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. From the property’s master plan, to the colors, to the materials and beyond, TCA Architects’ design for AvalonBay’s AVA Little Tokyo apartment community reflects Japanese contemporary aesthetic and architecture, while offering a compelling living environment.

According to TCA Architects’ Principal Irwin Yau, “Our design for AVA Little Tokyo was inspired by elements of Japan’s pop culture, introducing edgy colors and materials and with something a little unexpected in the elevations.  We want to create a very pedestrian-friendly urban vibe with gathering places, unique amenities and neighborhood-serving retail, while ensuring the development fits into the fabric of the growing Little Tokyo community. We used rich materials and tall corner towers to draw attention to the retail level and prominent edges of the project.  Architecturally, the two buildings of AVA are designed as a pair, sharing exterior façade materials, treatments and subtle details, conveying a visual sense of unity and connectivity, while still preserving individual architectural attributes within each building.”

AVA represents the final piece in Little Tokyo’s Block 8 Master Plan, also developed by TCA, that weaves Little Tokyo together into a walkable community via the continuation of the many public promenades and paseos for which the tight knit community is known. TCA Architects’ design for all four sites within Block 8 are all integrated and connected to create a new residential neighborhood within the district of Little Tokyo. The incorporation of pedestrian-serving retail and activated street scenes within these public promenades connects the properties to each other and to the surrounding community.

The 2.7-acre AVA Little Tokyo has 280 apartment homes within two, six-story buildings separated by an interior landscaped pedestrian and vehicular paseo that connects the property to the Little Tokyo Library to the west and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center to the east. Above the ground floor retail, AVA provides 5 stories of apartment homes over 3-levels of parking. According to Yau, “Rich amenity spaces are strategically spread throughout both locations, providing residents, visitors and neighbors with multiple opportunities to engage and mingle.”

According to AvalonBay’s Senior Director of Development, Tom Guiteras, “The architectural design and amenities of AVA Little Tokyo resonate with the AVA brand in multiple ways.  The AVA brand has demonstrated strong appeal to urban dwellers who value a vibrant social environment, with the latest conveniences, in great neighborhoods.  Our AVA Little Tokyo design reflects a high priority on social engagement, providing residents with attractive common areas to hang out with friends and neighbors and stay connected.  AVA Little Tokyo’s architecture and attention to detail enable all of this to happen.  We’re confident our residents will enjoy both the living experience and the architectural innovation of this new AVA community.”

About TCA Architects, Inc.

Founded in 1993, TCA Architects specializes in the planning and design of next generation, high density, multifamily housing and signature hospitality developments – taking pride in helping shape quality living environments for everyone. The firm’s collaborative approach and industry leading technological expertise have resulted in award-winning, sustainable projects that respect our communities and the environment. With studios in Los Angeles, Irvine and Oakland, California, TCA has been recognized for their industry leading expertise in master planning and design for a variety of multifamily, hospitality and mixed-use product. With more than 20,000 residences currently in development, TCA is one of California’s fastest growing architectural firms. For more information on TCA, its design talent and current projects, visit

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