Castle Argyle Apartments, Hollywood, California

Castle Argyle Apartments in Hollywood, Calif., opened in 1928 as a luxury residence-hotel, hosting such Hollywood luminaries as Cecil B. DeMille, Clark Gable, and Howard Hughes.

The building fell into disrepair during the Great Depression. By the 1990s, the building degenerated into a drug den. Formerly large, opulent apartments were broken up into smaller units for low-income tenants, and Castle Argyle became affordable housing for seniors in the mid-1990s.

Owners HumanGood Affordable Housing (Duarte, Calif.) and Beacon Development Group (Pleasanton, Calif.) purchased the property in 2020 and renovated the historic building for its low-income senior residents.

Specifically, the building underwent a $77-million renovation to code-compliance/amenity update, designed by architecture and design firm Relativity Architects (Los Angeles), modernized the building during COVID-19, which required relocating the residents in phases around the construction.

Meeting seismic code compliance

Completed in 2022, the renovation project included extensive updates. Specifically, the seismic retrofitting involved coring thousands of holes into the existing concrete structure to tie in new sheer walls with structural steel dowels.

Mechanical upgrades included two new elevators.

Sustainability was addressed with low-flow plumbing fixtures, LED lighting, Energy Star appliances, the addition of solar panels, and new hardscape punctuated by drought-tolerant plants to minimize water consumption.

New common-area amenities include big-screen TVs and an onsite nurse’s room. Accessibility upgrades mandated by the stricter-than-ADA Los Angeles code included a new ramp, which is integrated with a street-barrier wall and planter.

The first-floor community spaces were made more welcoming with new windows and glazed accessibility doors, improving views to the street. The period-inspired first-floor interior design revived the Hollywood Regency style popular in Golden Age movie stars’ homes: notably mirrors, bold colors, and metallic and glass accents. Further, a new landscaped courtyard encourages resident to socialize and also provides outdoor exercise space.

The library, kitchen, dining area, and living room complete the common spaces. Design details include 1920s-inspired light fixtures, sunburst wall mirrors, and recurring brass accents. During Castle Argyle’s down-to-the-framing demolition, the original coffered ceilings throughout the first floor were uncovered. Relativity Architects opted to retain and restore these gridded ceilings to their original grandeur. All resident units were upgraded with new kitchens, baths, appliances, and flooring.

The building’s 96 units are distributed as 42 studios and 54 one bedrooms.

An art program helped galvanize community support for the large construction project. A 15-by-15-foot mosaic on an exterior wall celebrates Hollywood’s history and the neighborhood’s ethnically diverse population. Residents enjoy a second, Art Deco-inspired mosaic in the lobby.


Castle Argyle Apartments project details

Location: Hollywood, Calif.

Completion date: November 2022

Owner: HumanGood Affordable Housing

Total building area: 68,230 sq. ft.

Total construction cost: $77.8 million (cost of land and building)

Cost/sq. ft.: $1,140 total ($542 building only)

Architect: Relativity Architects

Interior designer: Relativity Architects

General contractor: Walton Construction

Engineer: Labib Funk & Associates

Landscape architect: Saldana Landscape

Mural Artist: Roberto Biaggi/RoBi Design + Build

Neon Sign Restorer: Paul Greenstein