The apartment complex at 11131 Rose Avenue may not jump out at you at first glance. Like many others in the city, it is a two-story complex, containing two large D-shaped buildings each oriented around a central courtyard with a pool.
A closer look reveals its fine Mid-Century Modern details and a thoughtful design by prolific local architect Richard Dorman. Known best for his single-family residential designs, from tract housing to high-style examples, Dorman is also responsible for some of the finest multi-family buildings in Southern California.
This 1959 complex (today called the Sepulveda Rose) is like a post-and-beam house stretched and expanded into a larger set of volumes.
As large as the complex is, its horizontal emphasis and elegant details keep it light and refreshingly simple. It features wooden posts and beams, wood and natural stone cladding, and large windows with narrow wooden frames. The upper apartments are accessed from the interior courtyards and feature balconies with metal railings around perforated metal sheets, creating an effect both opaque and transparent.
The first-floor units are accessed from the interior and via individual exterior doorways located in recesses below the upper balconies. Brise-soleils of horizontal redwood lath protect the units on the sunny side of the buildings from harsh glare and add more visual interest to the façades.
This understated apartment complex is a very graceful application of the Mid-Century Modern post-and-beam idiom to a large-scale building, and deserves notice among Dorman’s higher-profile works.