Mariners Village | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Katie Horak

Mariners Village

Located on twenty-three acres alongside the mouth of the main channel at Marina del Rey, Mariners Village is a large scale apartment community designed to resemble a small seaside village. The 931-unit apartment complex, which includes commercial and recreational facilities, was developed by Selden and Ellis Ring of Ring Brothers.

The duo’s residential communities, which include West Park Village in West Los Angeles and the Meadows in Culver City, expanded on garden apartment principles and turned the focus of the apartment inward toward a space where people could mix together. 

Ellis Ring said that the inspiration for his projects came from European villages, where quirky walkways and unexpected parks kept you in a state of pleasant expectancy. 

Mariners Village was touted in advertisements as a unique apartment community that blends the tranquility of a seaside village with the convenience and comfort of modern city living. It was one of four residential developments that received a "Real Estate Development Award" presented by Los Angeles Beautiful in 1973.

At Mariners Village, the naturalistic setting is as carefully designed as the individual buildings.  Architects collaborating on the project included Beverly Hills-based John McKinney, Newport Beach-based Sam Kiyotoki, and the Beverly Hills firm of Kamnitzer, Marks, Lappin & Vreeland.  

Phil Shipley & Associates served as the landscape architect, transforming the site from a blank slate into a seaside village atmosphere complete with winding paths, slopes and knolls, waterways with wood-post bridges, and streams and waterfalls. The transformation of the landscape included the transport of 350 full-grown trees to the site, often by helicopter.

Two of the most iconic elements of Mariners Village include a towering 70 foot tall crow’s nest featuring wooden decks and staircases encircling structural pilings and a 20 foot wide waterfall modeled after Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica.

At the heart of Mariners Village is a port-styled recreation center known as The Village, with a series of rustic structures clad in shingles and board and batten siding containing shops and amenities for the community’s residents. These include a main activity room, hair salon, dry cleaner, library, café, billiards room, and a media center and fitness center. Other amenities located throughout the property include four swimming pools and a tennis court.

The residential structures were designed to provide views of the Marina and Pacific Ocean from almost every apartment, which contain expansive windows and sliding glass doors. 

The simple design of the exteriors, which feature muted colors, natural wood and a stucco finish, allows the setting and landscape design to dominate. The use of wood pilings is a unifying seaside element found throughout Mariners Village, and the apartment buildings make use of structural pilings for the vertical supports of the tiered balconies that are sheltered by wide, overhanging eaves.

Downtown Women’s Center
Photo by Randall Michelson, Courtesy Pica + Sullivan Architects, Ltd.

Downtown Women’s Center

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Circus Disco, 2015. Photo by Laura Dominguez/L.A. Conservancy.

Circus Disco

From 1975 to 2016, Circus Disco was a significant social and cultural anchor for LGBTQ Latinxs in Los Angeles.