How would an architect create a brand new building on Ocean Boulevard that conveys the diverse and artistic spirit of Long Beach and the burgeoning energy of our waterfront, yet is integrated perfectly with its neighbor buildings and our city’s rich architectural history? A bold and good-looking response to this challenge can now be found at 442 West Ocean Boulevard.
442 Residences, a seven-story, amenity-rich building developed by Ensemble Investments and created by Long Beach-based design firm Studio T-Square 2, is now welcoming new lessees to its 94 one-of-a-kind urban flats and its boutique hotel ambiance. It is a prime location, directly across the street from Long Beach’s new $520 million Civic Center on one side and the thriving waterfront on the other.
“We believe the role of the architect is to understand and embrace the communities we build in, create meaningful places and to be responsible stewards of our natural resources,” said Studio T-Square 2 principal architect John Waldron. “By focusing on these values,” Waldron added, “our team strives to create beautiful, walkable cities that engender a sense of place and instill pride in one’s city.”
To study the exterior of 442 Residences is to discover how Studio T-Square 2 has incorporated obvious and subtle elements of Long Beach’s structural vocabulary.
“Our design inspiration evolved from Long Beach’s architectural heritage,” said Henry Tong, a Studio T-Square 2 principal architect who worked with Waldron on the 442 Residences project. “We used the Mid-Century Modern theme as a way to create cohesion with the neighboring 444 West Ocean Boulevard office tower [Studio T-Square 2 designed the 444 office tower’s exterior renovation in 2015]. We referenced the tower’s bold structure, strong vertical lines, and red accents, so that the buildings appear to be extensions of each other.”
Tong also pointed out that the 442 Residences roof deck and the general layout of the building were meant to invoke a cruise ship—a salute to Long Beach as a port city.
Inhabitants of the 442 Residences’ high-ceilinged, loft-like spaces can enjoy the intimate, community atmosphere inside their building, then walk out the door and find grocery stores and restaurants right downstairs. Music venues, bars, movie theaters, museums and the shoreline bike path are all very close by.
“By bringing together retail, commercial, and residential elements,” said Tong, “442 Residences and its adjacent structures function as an integrated urban design concept that reinforces a sense of community, and harmonizes the existing physical, historical, and cultural context on a human scale.”
Henry Tong and John Waldron, along with Chek Tang and Chris Lee—who founded Studio T-Square 2 in Oakland in 2009—have become a powerful design force in southern California since opening the company’s Long Beach office in 2013. Another Studio T-Square 2 Long Beach living space, The Crest, at 207 Seaside Way, is slated to open this fall. Construction will begin in 2020 on another Long Beach Studio T-Square 2 project, The Inkwell, a mid-rise apartment building at the north end of The Promenade. The Inkwell recently received the 2019 Gold Nugget Merit Award for Best On The Boards Multi-Family Community design.
“Our projects all vary greatly in size and location,” said John Waldron. “However, they all share the common challenge of developing a new project in an established community, while adding value through thoughtful design and creating unique people places.”