The Louie is a particularly fascinating case study of a small apartment building. There’s a lot to like here. This is a small apartment building built just four years ago, located about 100’ off MLK Blvd. north of the Lloyd District. Let’s set aside, for now, the somewhat clumsy architectural expression on the front façade – sprinkler controls and fire alarm occupying the most prominent place on the façade? Was there really nowhere else to place this stuff?
But moving along, this resembles a well established historical apartment building type, and one that most people are pretty comfortable with. Like its historical precedents, the Louie is a three story building on a single 5000sf lot. This is the same size as a standard single-family house lot. This format was quite common 100 years ago and many were built in close in neighborhoods.
Unlike the typical 1920s buildings, which had 2-4 identical floors consisting of a central corridor and units on either side, the Louie has units that run all the way from one side of the building to the other, allowing two window-walls in all units (three on the ends).
The ground floor units enter from doors on the east wall, while the upper floors are actually townhouses. One walks up a flight of steps to enter the units lower level. Once inside, a stair leads up to the bedrooms on top.
This creates some real diversity of housing types in a single building and in the market at large as townhouse units are exceedingly rare in the US.
Now if they could just do something about those mechanical gubbins where the front door should be…