Industrial Citywide Design Guidelines

The City of Los Angeles' General Plan Framework Element and each of the City's 35 Community Plans promote architectural and design excellence in buildings, landscape, open space, and public space. They also stipulate that preservation of the City's character and scale, including its traditional urban design form, shall be emphasized in consideration of future development. To this end, the Citywide Design Guidelines have been created to carry out the common design objectives that maintain neighborhood form and character while promoting design excellence and creative infill development solutions.

The Industrial Design Guidelines are intended to address some of the most common, overarching challenges in planning industrial developments, and to serve diverse needs across the City. The prime areas of opportunity for attaining high quality design in industrial projects include: minimizing and screening unsightly nuisances; improving the safety of the pedestrian experience along industrial corridors; adequate and safe vehicular access and maneuverability; protecting and conserving the neighborhood architectural character; promoting connectivity between adjacent neighborhoods while maintaining visual and spatial relationships between adjacent buildings; establishing height and massing buffers and transitions between industrial and non-industrial uses; and strengthening the visual and functional quality of the industrial environment.

More specific design regulations relating to individual communities can be found in each of the 35 Community Plans, or special zoning designations such as specific plans, community design overlay districts, redevelopment plans, designated historic properties, and historic districts.

For the City of Los Angeles Planning Department website's Industrial Citywide Design Guidelines Checklist click here.

Table of Contents

Objective 1: Consider Neighborhood Context and Compatible Design of Uses

Site development in terms of public space, accessibility, building entrances, public amenities, providing safeguards for surrounding residential areas, and creating a buffer between the development and surrounding uses.

  • Site Planning Locate building fronts along property line to create an active pedestrian setting, and utilize exiting alleys as access points. Plenty of pedestrian amenities should be provided such as bike racks and lighting for safety. Safeguards should be implemented to control release of toxic substances.
  • Building Orientation Orient buildings to take advantage of natural lighting. Larger building should provide multiple entrances for ease of access.
  • Entrances Provide clear, proportional entries and signage to guide pedestrians. Place entries above grade level to promote pedestrian activity.
  • Relationship to Adjacent Buildings Keep building material and styles consistent with the surrounding neighborhood. Create a buffer to soften the transition between surrounding uses.

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Objective 2: Employ High Quality Architecture to Define the Charcter of Industrial Districts

Resource to create development that can maintain pedestrian scale, create unique building façade and form, give techniques for building materials and use landscaping to avoid harsh fencing and monotonous walls.

  • Pedestrian Scale- Keep development at a human scale, by incorporating windows on the ground floor, variation in building height and providing landscaping around entrances.
  • Building Façade and Form Create variations in building façade with color, texture and materials to avoid monotonous walls. Provide awnings and entries that are to scale with the structure. When practical industrial systems can be exposed, as a design element.
  • Building Materials- Apply quality materials that compliment the architecture or create a common theme. Stray from highly reflective materials that can produce glare. Create green walls and roofs to provide visual interest.
  • Walls and Fences- Avoid harsh fencing materials. Break up long walls and fences by creating offsets, changing materials, or applying vegetation.
  • Walls and Fences for Heavy Industrial- Uses Provide a landscape buffer to avoid unattractive walls. Mask storage areas with building materials that flow with character of main building.
  • Special Design Consideration for Historic Properties Original materials on the structure should not be masked. Any additions to the site should compliment the surrounding historic structures.

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Objective 3: Create Active Pedestrian and Employee Amenities

Guide to a comfortable experience for pedestrians by providing amenities such as wider sidewalks, pedestrian lighting and seating, vegetation lined sidewalks, on-street parking and safe street crossings.

  • Sidewalks- Build or improve sidewalks to create a straight and continuous path that can accommodate the flow of pedestrian traffic. Plant vegetation to create a buffer and provide shade.
  • Crosswalks/Street Crossings for Large-Scale Developments- Providing marked, lit pedestrian crosswalks will enhance pedestrian safety. Minimal curb radii and curb extensions can create a shorter crossing distance.
  • On-Street Parking- Locate curb cuts in places where it does not affect on-street parking. Provide angled or parallel parking.

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Objective 4: Facilitate Safe Access for Loading Areas While Buffering Pedestrians and Non-Industrial Uses

Practices to offer aesthetically pleasing parking structures, provide loading access that will not interfere with circulation of pedestrians and vehicles around and within the site, and place parking on areas of the site that will not dominate the streetscape.

  • Off-Street Parking and Driveways- Place parking in rear or on side of building so streetscape is not dominated and minimize width of driveways. Screen parking areas with landscaping to make site more appealing. Illuminate walkways from parking areas to main building and other pathways.
  • Loading- Locate loading facilities in rear of building so that it does not clash with the pedestrian traffic on site.

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Objective 5: Include Open Space to Create Opportunities for Pedestrian and Employee Amenities

Methods to keeping landscaping and paved areas balanced as well as providing open space for pedestrians.

  • On-Site Landscaping- Select drought tolerant plants and trees that will create well shaded areas. Implement low-impact development strategies to increase on site capture of water.
  • Open Space and Plazas in Industrial Campuses- Construct shaded plazas to provide a gathering area. Connect open spaces to areas where there is high pedestrian activity. Landscape all areas not utilized by buildings or driveways.

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Objective 6: Improve the Streetscape Experience by Reducing Visual Clutter

Actions to avoid overwhelming building fronts by creating unique, organized signage, reducing the visual appearance of utilities (HVAC units, utility boxes, trash receptacles), and enhancing safety by providing well-lit pedestrian pathways..

  • Building Signage- Signage should be visually interesting and placed where it will not obscure architectural elements of the building.
  • Lighting and Security- Install lighting around pedestrian paths and entrances to reinforce safety. Incorporate energy efficient techniques such as solar lighting.
  • Utilities Put utilities (mechanical, electrical boxes, communication equipment etc.) in areas where they will not be seen and screen any trash receptacles with vegetation.