Theo – KTGY-Designed Modernist Apartments with Courtyards and Terraces in Pasadena


KTGY Architecture + Planning has announced the opening of Theo, a new multifamily community at 289 N El Molino Ave in Pasadena. KTGY worked with developer Summerhill Apartment Communities, as well as Pasadena Heritage and City of Pasadena Design Commission, on a structure that addresses its historic surroundings, while achieving a sleek Modernist design.

The building was announced in Q3 2017 and opened in Q1 2020. Many of its first residents have moved in. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, management team Alliance Residential is offering virtual leasing tours for prospective tenants. Walkable to Old Pasadena and the Pasadena Playhouse District, Theo is adjacent to the Theodore Parker Lukens House. Built in 1886-87, the Victorian home is among the oldest in Pasadena.

The Theo apartment community is named after this home’s first owner, who was a prominent conservationist and real estate investor. Also adjacent to the project is an intimate courtyard that surrounds the 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, 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, seating area, open to the outdoors, also features historic information about the house.

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

The Modernist stance reflects and updates Pasadena’s many classic examples of the Mid-Century style. “Pasadena requires 30% of total gross square footage to be outdoor usable open spaces,” said McCloskey. “We configured these in combinations of active and passive courtyards – each curated to create a unique experience and many to maximize different views.”

  • Location: 289 N. El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, USA
  • Architect: KTGY Architecture + Planning
  • Developer: Summerhill Apartment Communities
  • Residential Units: 105 units – 53% ones, and 47% two-bedrooms
  • Penthouses: Included in the 105 units are 16 penthouse residences on the top floor
  • Floors: 6 stories with subterranean parking
  • Amenities: 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. 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.
  • Parking: 154 spaces on two levels
  • Timeline: First move-ins Q1 2020
  • Images: Courtesy of KTGY Architecture + Planning

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