Design Fact Sheet: Theo – Mid-Century-Styled Podium Apartments in Pasadena

September 18, 2017

KTGY Architecture + Planning has designed The Theo, a new multifamily building rising at 289 N. El Molino Ave in Pasadena. KTGY is working with developer Summerhill Apartment Communities, as well as Pasadena Heritage and City of Pasadena Design Commission, on a structure that addresses its historic surroundings.

Walkable to Old Pasadena, the building is adjacent to the Theodore Parker Lukens House. Built in 1886-87, the Victorian home is among the oldest in Pasadena. The Theo apartment building is named after this home’s first owner, who was a prominent conservationist and real estate investor. Also adjacent to the project is a small park and 120-year-old cedar tree.

These natural and historic components figure into KTGY’s design. The six-stories of apartments are set amongst courtyards and terraces with views to the San Gabriel Mountains and the Lukens House.

“Rather than compete with the ornate features of this classic residence, The Theo offers a clean, simple, Modernist counterpart with outdoor spaces that overlook and embrace the Lukens House,” says KTGY Executive Director, Design, Keith McCloskey, LEED AP.

These spaces include an observation room on the southeast corner, directly facing the Lukens House. This covered, naturally ventilated seating area also features historic information about the house.

The Theo offers additional varieties of outdoor spaces: Rooftop amenity space, pool and spa area, cabana terrace, lobby courtyard, outdoor kitchen and dining, dog-wash area, and private terraces. The building steps down in a series of terraces, from six to two levels, to accommodate these different programmed areas.

“Pasadena requires 30% of total gross square footage to be outdoor usable open spaces,” says McCloskey. “We configured these in combinations of active and passive courtyards –each curated to create a unique experience and many to maximize different views.”

Summerhill Apartment Communities

KTGY Architecture + Planning

Residential Units:
105 units – 53% ones, and 47% two-bedrooms. Some ground-floor residences have separate, townhome-style entries on the street.

289 N. El Molino Avenue, Pasadena

Groundbreaking has happened. Opening scheduled for August 2019

6 stories with subterranean parking

Much of the roof area is set aside for amenity spaces. The ground floor has public spaces for the lobby, then open spaces that address the historic cedar tree. The pool, spa and other outdoor amenities link to clubhouse facilities. Some amenities spaces are exclusive to those who rent on the top floor. Others areas are linear spaces that face the historical home, including a pet area.

A yoga studio and fitness center anchor the ground floor. Other programmed spaces wrap the perimeter of the building, including parking so that the parking structure is not exposed.

154 spaces on two levels.

Other Design Highlights:
The Theo is rendered in the patterns and proportions of Mid-Century Modern design as reflected in Pasadena. There a strong use of horizontal banding and smooth glazing.