Pinckney grad nabs top honor in Los Angeles architectural design challenge

Vonn Weisenberger, a 2010 Pinckney Community High School grad, is one of four first-place winners in an architectural design challenge to promote affordable and sustainable models of low-rise, multi-family architecture in Los Angeles.

While a student at Pinckney, Weisenberger took three years of Joel Craig’s architecture class.

Vonn Weisenberger

The challenge — organized by the Mayor’s Office and Christopher Hawthorne, the chief design officer for the City of Los Angeles, with support from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the James Irvine Foundation, and Citi — is part of a larger initiative on new paths to homeownership and housing affordability in Los Angeles.

Weisenberger’s submission placed first in the Corners category, which challenged participants to create a design that includes 6-10 units, and an accessory retail unit across a combination of neighboring lots that include a corner.

His design was inspired by midcentury architect Cliff May, often referred to as the “father of the California Ranch,” and it combined three types of passive house-guided, mass timber housing units with a corner community space across two lots.

Weisenberger’s design emphasizes indoor/outdoor living, sustainability, and community, and features low, sweeping gable roofs to create what looks like a single, cohesive building. The central commons of the Branch House idea features communal tables and a biotope planting area.

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“Although (the units) range in size from one to four bedrooms, they all feature a flexible area that can serve as an additional bedroom, workspace, or secondary living space,” Weisenberger said. “Every unit has a main corridor that passes through its entire length, providing natural cross-ventilation and a strong connection with the outdoors.”

Weisenberger — the son of Pinckney Village President Rebecca Foster and Bob Weisenberger — graduated from Penn State in 2015 with a degree in architecture; he moved to New York City that same year. He’s done work for a variety of clients, including Columbia University, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, London Children’s Museum, New York University, The Barnes Foundation, The Brooklyn Historical Society, The Library of Congress, The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, The Museum of the City of New York, The National Building Museum, and The New York Public Library.

You can read more about the competition and the winners by clicking here.

You can visit Weisenberger’s website by clicking here.


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