It’s a tough order to design a 1,550-unit apartment complex on 31 acres and make it feel anything less than massive. Then toss in the fact that the site is in the middle of a commercial area, bounded by large roads with cars whizzing by at 55 miles per hour.

For the architectural team at MVE & Partners, the first order of business was to give The Village at Irvine Spectrum a human scale. Four distinctive neighborhoods are clustered around a main street with retail space including coffee and juice shops, a florist, and a small market. To further enliven this pedestrian zone, resident amenities such as the leasing office, a post office, and fitness and business centers were given their own street entrances (as opposed to being accessed via building lobbies). “The design concepts revolve around making that main street an active space that is comfortable for people to be in,” says principal Jeff Larsen.

Located within walking distance of light rail, jobs, and entertainment, the community packs in more than 50 units to the acre but doesn’t feel dense or monotonous. Thanks to thoughtful design, each of the four districts has its own distinct look and feel.

CATEGORY: Apartment, rental
ENTRANT/ARCHITECT/LAND PLANNER: MVE & Partners, Irvine, Calif.
BUILDER: Western National, Irvine
DEVELOPER: Irvine Apartment Communities, Irvine

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.