Wade Killefer had tried to find new uses for old buildings downtown for 20 years, but such redesign projects never penciled out for developers.
That was until 1999 when the L.A. City Coucil passed an adaptive reuse ordinance. It ended up making Killefer Flammang Architects a downtown player in mixed-use.
"The reuse ordinance knocked 30 percent off costs, and helped to bring in work for us," the architect said.
The firm made its mark in the Old Bank District. Three 1910-era buildings on Spring and Main streets totaling 400,000 square feet were transformed into 235 apartments with ground floor retail and dining.
Killefer's next project, The Pegasus, converted half a million square feet in the General Petroleum Building on Flower Street into 13 floors of lofts with a rooftop pool and gym. It broke new ground in the area of code compliance, resolving issues such as revamping century-old elevators to meet fire safety standards. The American Institute of Architects gave KFA an adaptive reuse award for The Pegasus, which set the template for L.A.'s redesign boom in historic buildings.
Projects such as the $22 million Gas Company Lofts on Flower Street, and the residential conversion of the 1908 Pacific Electric Building, which once housed the Electric "Red Car" trolley line, helped to cement its reputation.
In 1980, Killefer partnered with Barbara Flammang. Today, the principals maintain a staff of 26 architects. Killefer's success downtown has spread. Currently, the firm's projects include the Pioneer Bakery in Venice and Peroni's Restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard.
* Best Architecture Firm
Killefer Flammag Architects
Wade Killefer & Barbara Flammang, principals
Adaptive reuse projects include three Old Bank District buildings, the General Petroleum Building, Gas Company Lofts and the Pacific Electric Building.
Quote: "New neighborhoods are forming around adaptive reuse districts like the historic corridor and South Park that will be an exciting social experiment," Killefer said. "L.A. is a young city. Its districts are only now starting to mature."
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