Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Main Street for Watts :: Watts, California

A MAIN STREET FOR WATTS

Watts, California

Illustration by: Robert Frank
 

Despite being circled by economic activity and opportunity - Culver City, Downtown Los Angeles, the San Pedro Harbor and South Bay’s Aerospace industry – the neighborhood of Watts has never prospered. It is better known for its high poverty and crime rates than as home to the resilient structures that symbolize L.A.’s creative freedom, Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers.

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In memory of the fiftieth anniversary of the Watts Riots, this project is an unsolicited proposal to the City of Los Angeles to develop a pedestrian friendly, transit-oriented Main Street anchored by the Metro’s Blue Line Station in the center of town. Running along 103rd Street from Grandee to Central Avenue, the project strategically aligns available private, city, county, and former Community Redevelopment Agency properties into a vibrant collection of housing, services, and amenities.

An obsolete shopping center is converted into an active City Square. Mixed-use projects – market rate and affordable housing over retail and parking – are positioned along 103rd to encourage pedestrian activity. An abandoned fire station is transformed into a new library. An alley of trees creates a new edge to an existing park and a new home for the local Farmer’s Market. Better food options, wellness, education, and social spaces allow this underserved community to thrive, while the new City Square’s observation tower does not simply reflect the Watts Towers, but truly provides a way for the people of Watts, from time to time, to look outside their neighborhood and view what lies beyond.

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Scope of Project

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Aerial Sketch of 103rd Street watts

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Proposed New Improvements

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View of 103rd Street from the Metro station watts

Herb Alpert Educational Village :: Santa Monica, California

HERB ALPERT EDUCATIONAL VILLAGE: COALITION FOR ENGAGED EDUCATION NEW ROADS SCHOOL ANN AND JERRY MOSS THEATER

Santa Monica, California

Architectural Photography: Michael Arden Photography
 

The intent of this project is to house the collective activities of an educational and cultural institute. The institute’s mission is to raise an intensive awareness of social and educational justice, visual and performing arts, and environmental sustainability and regeneration; while seeking to directly enhance, enliven, and change education throughout Los Angeles and nationwide. The project design, in turn, is meant to be both introspective and to look out at the world, two seemingly contrasting goals which nevertheless find perfect expression in a new 30,000 sq. ft. building.

This new building is phase one of an ambitious 150,000 sq. ft. multi-phase master plan, serving as the public face and main entrance to the present and future campus. Located on a stretch of Olympic Boulevard that is zoned for light manufacturing, the site sits in a highly automobile-centered environment presently unwelcoming to pedestrians. With the completion of the Exposition light rail line however, the City of Santa Monica envisions this section of Olympic becoming an active pedestrian corridor connecting the transit system’s Bundy and Bergamot Metro stops. To this end, the site design of the Olympic Blvd. frontage is developed with consideration for pedestrians, featuring generous sidewalks, indigenous gardens, and views into the institute’s art gallery and leadership center.

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The massing of the building consists of three components: the projected shape of a thrust stage auditorium plan, the diagonal cut of Olympic Blvd. for the lobby/gallery, and the orthogonal street grid of Santa Monica for the classrooms and non-profit offices. These three elements collide and forge the massing and sculptural composition of the building. The classrooms and offices max out the height limit at three stories on the eastern end for programming efficiency and compatibility with the neighboring office building. Moving westward, the building steps down to the height of the auditorium, then steps down again for the entrance lobby and gallery space. This stepping down in the building’s mass allows the garden more sunlight and lends to a human scale to the campus and street.

Public space makes up the first two levels of the building, with access to the auditorium’s balcony seating and control room located at the second level of the gallery. The multi-function conference center, occupies a partially double-height space with large clerestory windows that dramatically capture afternoon light from above the adjacent building volume, extending daylight hours into the space. Additionally, operable windows take advantage of the thermal chimney effect to capitalize on cross ventilation, reducing air conditioning needs and energy consumption. Walls lined with bookshelves and art, a fireplace, a relaxed seating area, and a large window looking out to the street create a den-like atmosphere that is the heart of the institute. If the Leadership Center is the institute’s “den” then the auditorium is the “living room.” Its design consists of a proscenium, thrust stage, ground level seating, and mezzanine level seating. A reflective acoustic wall, when lowered from the fly loft, makes the auditorium room a complete acoustical environment supported by massive sound reflecting walls, sound locks, displacement air supply, and absorption panels, rendering microphones and amplifiers unnecessary. This design accommodates the rigorous acoustical criteria of chamber music performances and has recently become a new venue for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. The thrust stage design also is well suited for the school and is used for theater performances, poetry readings, town hall meetings, classes, graduation, and film festivals. Sightlines are important in any auditorium, but it is particularly important in school design where students can be quickly overpowered and intimidated by utilitarian, perfunctory spaces.

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The theater is a true “multi-functional” space, designed to do one thing really well - in this case serve as a chamber music setting – while performing well for other key functions. “Multi-function”, employed in this way, should not be confused with “multi-purpose” rooms, which are designed to do many things yet do not excel at any particular one. In this project indoor and outdoor spaces are highly defined, yet provide opportunities for small impromptu meetings, collisions, convergences, and teaching to occur. The clients were concerned that a tight urban site combined with the constraints of fire codes, building codes, facility maintenance, etc., would make for a “cold,” “institutional” building. They wanted a building that would be “warm” and “inviting”. They wanted an anti-institute institute.

The selection of finish materials reinforces this notion of “warmth,” and was inspired both by the immediate context as well as traditional academic architecture. Brick as a material has such a pedigree in school buildings but is also used in the neighboring 1930-40s era vernacular bow truss buildings. We selected weathering steel because it is in the same color family as brick, and has the “warmth” of brick, but is a material more suitable to a modern steel frame building, as part of a composite wall cladding system. The terra-cotta orange color of the stucco comes from this color spectrum of brick while the silver hue of the classroom volume is borrowed from the bow truss buildings’ cap sheet roofing.

The material palette and indigenous sycamore and oak trees attempt to capture the poetics of both the nearby vernacular buildings as well as the southern California landscape. This contextual grafting is balanced the self-reflective nature of the auditorium. Two acts, of looking out and looking in, are the formal manifestations of the client’s mission to urge students toward productive self-reflection, scholarship, and activism.

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Ground Level Plan - Theater Auditorium

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Massing Volumes HAEV

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Second Level Plan - Leadership Center HAEV

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Third Level Plan - Non Profit Offices

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Sustainable Design Attributes HAEV.

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Garden and Roof Plan HAEV

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Converging Grids

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Site Entrance from Olympic Blvd.

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Project location, Santa Monica

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Architectural Renderings: Olympic Blvd. Entrance

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Concept Elevation Drawings

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King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences: Administration Complex :: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

THE KING SAUD BIN ABDULAZIZ UNIVERSITY FOR HEALTH SCIENCES ADMINISTRATION BUILDING

with Perkins & Will, Los Angeles

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Architectural Photography: Nick Merrick, Hedrich Blessing Photographers
 

Part of a 200,000 sq.m. (2,152,000 sq.ft.) master plan based in the Middle East for a Medical University campus. The 13,200 sq.m. (142,083 sq.ft.) Administration Complex includes the President’s suite and a 800 seat auditorium, which features a glass curtain wall positioned on axis with the campus mosque. A VIP restaurant located directly above the auditorium provides views to the Saudi Arabian landscape beyond. Steps leading from the courtyards on either side of the auditorium to the quad reinforce the relationship with the campus and mosque. The courtyards provide access to administrative offices, and various ansillary spaces regarding students such as the cafeteria, library, and classrooms.

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Administration Building Entrance - Study Model - by JBA

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Administration Building nearing completion - Perkins & Will LA

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Administration Building - Renderings by JBA

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A Noise Within :: Pasadena, California

A NOISE WITHIN

Pasadena, California

Architectural Photography: Benjamin Ariff Photography
 

This project, completed in 2011, gives new life to the historic Stuart Pharmaceutical Building designed by Edward Durell Stone in 1958. The former corporate office and laboratory complex is transformed into a classical repertory theater featuring a full auditorium, stage, and supporting spaces, while showcasing significant architectural features of the façade and public lobby spaces.

Edward Durell Stone made the cover of Time Magazine on March 31st 1958. Behind him in the photo was his most recent accomplishment, The Stuart Company Building in Pasadena, California. The combined laboratory, manufacturing, and office complex featured a garden designed by Thomas Church, a distinctive perforated concrete masonry unit façade and a vast atrium lobby lit by pyramid- shaped skylights within 81 coffered bays. In 1998 it was listed as a Historic Building on the National Register after having achieved both City and State levels of recognition.

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It is important to place this building’s transformation within its historical context. The Stuart Company building was created in 1958 as an ideal corporate workplace complete with employee swimming pool, outside garden spaces, cafeteria, and a large lobby for social functions. Built before the surrounding suburban area was developed, the company needed this elaborate architecture and amenities to attract employees to relocate and work there. Yet despite these features and its national recognition, by the mid-2000’s the Stuart Company building had been long abandoned. As a large site abutting the Foothill Freeway and the Metro Gold Line (at that time under construction), the land the complex sat on began attracting developers. For these reasons the Stuart Building was considered by the city and preservationists to be an endangered historic building.

Eventually the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) took control of the site. As the northeastern terminus of the Gold Line was on the Foothill Freeway median directly across from the complex, the site was needed for a massive structure to support a burgeoning regional transit hub. Designed to attract “park and ride” commuters to downtown Los Angeles, the structure - accessible via a pedestrian bridge spanning the freeway- would provide not only parking for 1,000 cars, but also bicycle and motorcycle parking and a bus stop serving four lines. (Fortunately, the parking facility only took a portion of the site, allowing the Stuart Company complex to be preserved.) It was sold to a development collaborative under an agreement that over 350 units of housing would be allowed on the remaining land provided the historic building and surrounding gardens were restored to perfection and that a portion of the space be donated to a suitable non-profit entity.

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Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program (left) Photo by Craig Schwartz (right)
 

The Stuart Company complex was then divided into zones of varying historic significance, determining the degree of integrity to the original in their preservation. An idea took shape that the original lobby, of highest significance, would be used as a main lobby for the new apartment complex and as space for public community events. The façade and garden were also of primary historic significance, and together their restoration and the construction of the apartment complex to the south were completed as the first phase.

For the non-profit component, a Shakespearean repertory theater company would be making two levels of former laboratory space its new home. The advantages for both the theater company and the development as a whole are many. To begin with, the theater’s selection of a previously-developed site reduces land consumption in a sprawling region. The reuse of an existing building conserves and avoids consumption of more building materials than the construction of a completely new structure. The locality would experience no stress on its street parking as the theater is inhabited primarily outside of business hours, and furthermore all required parking is provided by the Metro structure so no additional land is consumed for parking. The theater contributes to development density by siting itself to take advantage of the existing, robust infrastructure of the adjoining transit hub, while encouraging alternative forms of transportation. It also enhances to the livability –and walkability - of a community devoid of cultural institutions.

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The story of the new theater’s physical design and construction is one of restraint, respect, and acceptance of the original structure. There is very little precedent for building above and over a historic resource with this level of recognition. Moreover, the design team was tasked with placing one of the most vertical of building types, a theater, within an extremely horizontal building, all the while maintaining rigorous adherence to the Secretary of Interior’s standards for a historic building. While the laboratory space to be adapted for the theater’s use was determined to have no historical significance and so could be altered, the former office space directly behind it had to retain a moderate degree of integrity to the original. Working closely with the preservation consultant, a design was developed to add an additional story not to exceed 12’-0” – the height of the first level – and to excavate below the building to achieve the minimum necessary height for a properly functional theater. The compact massing encouraged the nesting of programs, with the sunken theater maximizing heat and sound insulation – lowering climate control costs and energy usage – and the office space above profiting from light and views.

The theater’s administrative program was inserted in the structure of the auditorium. New office space is housed amidst the exposed trusses above the theater’s catwalks, stage and seating area, sharing that level with the upper reaches of the theater’s fly loft and recessed mechanical well. The structure of the third floor was designed to reflect features of the original building, such as the original column grid which may be observed in the exterior steel trellis on the north and east façades, while the advancing and receding volumes reflect the rhythm of the historic elevation below. Floor-to-ceiling glazing allows abundant daylighting, which combined with controllable task-lighting helps to reduce energy costs. The roof surrounding the offices is covered with historically correct, yet high performing white gravel which both reflects the sunlight to prevent a heat island effect, while diffusing it to reduce glare for office inhabitants. Finally, the open plan and expansive glazing allow workspaces to take advantage of clear views of the Sierra Madre mountain range, providing theater administrators an important connection to the outdoors.

The exterior and, now, interior historic façade can be enjoyed by the public before and after theater events. The theater’s auditorium is so situated that it can be accessed directly from both the new ground level lobby and the adjacent, historic shared-use lobby one story below. Careful attention was given to the stair composition to create a graceful procession from the new lobby down to both the founder’s mezzanine / balcony level and to the auditorium’s lower level seating. Dressing rooms and back-of-house space are within the former lower level lab space. Behind its dramatically horizontal façade, the theater and its 350 seats are a hidden surprise subtly woven into the historic fabric of this restored building.

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Historic Resource Mapping

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Transverse Section

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Section View of Theater with Offices above ANW

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Entrance Level Plan from Foothill Blvd. and Historic Garden

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Lower Level Theater Auditorium Plan

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Exterior Office Level - Architectural Steel Detailing

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Upper Office Level Exterior

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Upper Office Level Plan

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401'-0" Historic Elevation with Addition

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Architectural Rendering

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Langham Huntington Hotel :: Pasadena, California

LANGHAM HUNTINGTON HOTEL

Pasadena, California

 

This project is a design idea for a substantial renovation of the historic Langham Huntington Hotel (formerly the Ritz Carlton Huntington Hotel) in Pasadena, CA. In addition to removing an existing above-grade parking structure the objective and program was to add sixty condominiums and townhouse units over a 1000-car subterranean parking structure. The design improves site circulation - pedestrian and automobile - and emergency vehicle access while allowing ease of access to and from the subterranean garage to accommodate parking for large events in their banquet facilities. A park-like “Green Space” is added on the corner of Wentworth and Oak Knoll Avenues to step down the massive scale of the historic hotel to one more suitable to the context of upscale single family homes. Throughout this development traffic is controlled and screened from view of the nearby residents.

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Concept Master Plan - Site Plan

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Hotel Entrance Drive with Townhouse Units

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View of Townhouses with Neighborhood Park, Historic Hotel in the background.

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The Sycamore at Catalina :: Burbank, California

CATALINA STREET HOUSING

with Pablo Maida Architects

Burbank, California

Architectural Photography: Benjamin Ariff Photography
 

This twenty-unit affordable housing project was developed through a partnership between Burbank Housing Corporation and the City of Burbank. Set in a mixed single-family and low-rise multi-unit residential neighborhood near Burbank Airport, the complex on Catalina Street distinguishes itself through its sensitive handling of light, landscape, scale, and open space.

The Sycamore strikes a balance between the increasing need of density and respect for the modest scale of neighboring dwellings. Broken into five volumes of housing atop sub-grade parking - yet well below the allowable height limit – the two-story project employs a warm, “domestic” material palette. Though the syntax is modern, the use of wood, smooth finish stucco and stone paving evoke Mission Era garden courtyard architecture. The main pedestrian entrance, the “Garden Gate,” is centrally located under an open wood pavilion, while the parking entrance is adjacent to another pavilion named the “Porch.” The wooden trellis motif is repeated over the balconies of individual units to add a vertical rhythm to offset the horizontal expanse of the building.

The pavilions and trellises not only bring human scale to the complex’s street elevation, but they facilitate and signify the transition from public to private spaces. The Garden Gate and the Porch are flanked by Bougainvillea-hued red walls, intensifying their interaction with the street. Sunflower yellow distinguishes communal elements such as the Community Room and the trellised sitting area above it, while wood cladding is generally found where people most closely interact with the building, such as their private entrances, stairways and balconies. The progression of public to private spaces continues within the units, as in true garden-apartment fashion, each unit’s entrance and living areas face the courtyard, with bedrooms oriented around the perimeter. This not only enhances security but hopefully contributes to the sense of community in The Sycamore.

Communal areas within the courtyard also benefit from a carefully choreographed balance of light and shade. The garden apartment design allows for ample natural lighting and cross-ventilation, while necessitating protection from the brilliant San Fernando Valley sun. The courtyard screens units from direct sunlight while allowing for diffuse natural light, while trellises and vertical architectural fins protect the Community Room and other gathering areas from prolonged exposure to the sun.

Such sustainable features as a bio swale, bicycle parking, solar panels, electric car charging, energy efficient appliances and more, combine with guiding principles of cross-ventilation, natural light, privacy, views, ease of circulation, and security will forge a very livable design. That this project affords such a high quality of life is a testament to the client’s mission, as manifested in a design that can be read from without, and experienced from within.

As time goes by the architecture will yield more to the landscape. The trellises will be covered with colorful, drought-tolerant, and shade-giving Bougainvillea. The namesake Sycamore planted at parking level will grow above the height of the building. The street-side trees and plantings will mature, enhancing the privacy of the courtyard, individual units, and reinforce the notion of a garden apartment.

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Site Plan

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Second Level CATALINA STREET HOUSING

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Sustainability Diagrams -  Credit: Jeremy Quinn CATALINA STREET HOUSING

Lumira Hotel & Resorts Oman :: near Moscat, Oman

LUMIRA HOTEL AND RESORTS OMAN

near Moscat, Oman

 

The drawings of our preliminary concept design are intended to represent program space allocation, stacking, and adjacencies. In this concept design is an idea of the building's mass, however, yet to be developed is the articulation of the exterior skin. Our intention with development of exterior cladding and surfaces is to respond to the solar orientation and express the function of the program on the building's elevation. Taking advantage of northern orientation, all suites will require minimal solar protection and have expansive glazing, maximizing exterior views of the sea. The program to the south - spa, kitchen, service spaces etc. do not require as much window area, and would have a more solid cladding to offset heat gain. Stone, steel, and glass would be the preferred materials.

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We kept the spirit and essence of Lumira’s circular concept and stacked the rooms along a semi-circular composition to maximize views and engage with the landscape. The Lobby, Restaurant, and Concierge are on the ground level with glass on both sides to allow continuous, uninterrupted views from the courtyard through the building to the sea and horizon beyond.

Massing and general organization of the building is symmetrical in appearance, particularly in the inner court. To the south, on axis, is the Ballroom, which is intended to be expressed on the elevations. To the north is the Lobby with view to the pool. A trickle of water reinforces the axis and guides one’s eye towards the lobby and view beyond. The Fine Dining restaurant is located off the lobby with expansive views of the water. The Bistro Restaurant is located on the second level near the spa with views to both the courtyard and outward to the sea.

Arrival is grand and has multi-functions; entrance and exit by automobile may be controlled with ballards. The ingress and egress to parking can be at the entrance with drop off adjacent to the lobby or on special occasions the ballards may be lowered to allow limited traffic through the courtyard for direct access to the Owner's Suite, and/or a more formal entrance to the ballroom. We have shown parking covered by the building, this is more expansive approach however parking could be located adjacent off-site, if allowed, or some other alternative could explored once we have a better understanding of the site and topography.

Owner’s Suiter is located prominently across the courtyard from the entrance and projects beyond the profile of the building for its own sense of presence and identity. It is conveniently located near the lobby, restaurant, pool and main public spaces. Maximum privacy will be secured in the development of the design to maintain the Owner Suite’s close proximity to the hotel and allow no sightlines into the owner’s private exterior or interior spaces.

Straight forward and elegant design, the building, we believe, would prove cost effective. It will have dynamic visual impact upon arrival, a real landmark, and be a pleasant, enduring experience for the visitors and guests. The architecture will blend seamlessly with the landscape and from the hotel one will experience the majestic surroundings of the sea while shrouded in complete luxury.

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Images of Historic Architecture of Oman

King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences: Sports Complex :: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

KING SAUD BIN ABDULAZIZ UNIVERSITY FOR HEALTH SCIENCES: SPORTS COMPLEX

with Perkins & Will, Los Angeles

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

 

Part of a 200,000 sq.m. (2,152,000 sq.ft.) master plan based in the Middle East for a Medical University campus. The 5,100 sq.m. (54,895 sq.ft.) Sports and Recreation Complex is comprised of two extruded volumes. The large, main volume contains the entrance/lobby and indoor basketball and volleyball courts. The smaller volume houses exercise/training rooms, squash courts, prayer rooms, and offices. A courtyard at the center of the main volume provides areas for outdoor sports as well as a lap/recreation pool, while connecting main progroammtic elements together.

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Sports Complex - Computer Study Model

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Building Concept Diagram

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Ground Level Plan

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Interior Pool View - Rendering

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Gymnasium View - Rendering

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Huntington Medical Research Institutes :: Pasadena, California

HUNTINGTON MEDICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTES

Pasadena, California

 

Huntington Medical Research Institutes (HMRI), is an independent, nonprofit, public-benefit organization known internationally for its pioneering biomedical research and development. Operating primarily from several locations along South Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena, HMRI and other local medical partners approached the City of Pasadena with the concept of creating a regional draw for medical research. This led to the formation of the South Fair Oaks Avenue Specific Plan, whose goals were incorporated into HMRI’s proposal for a new research and development facility along that street.

JBA was brought on during the initial stage of the project. The concept design for HMRI’s proposed new 36,874 sq. ft. biomedical research building combines the needs of a modern research facility with a sensitive understanding of its site. The proposed design is in compliance with the design guidelines set forth in the South Fair Oaks Specific Plan and takes full advantage of its solar orientation to protect the building from heat gain while providing mountain and cityscape views allowing natural light into interior workspaces.

The architecture of the building is clearly modern with lots of glass on the north elevation allowing a partial view of the interior from outside the building. The exterior elevations typically reflect the program it serves: floor to ceiling glass for offices and meeting rooms, clerestory window serving the lab spaces. The building’s main public entrance can be easily identified, and there is a distinct separation of public/private space.

The orientation of the building allows for internal site pedestrian circulation as called for in the South Fair Oaks Specific Plan. There is a tree filled landscape garden court separating/screening parking areas from Fair Oaks Ave. The garden court and composition of the building and western elevation in particular combined create the identity of the new building.

The proposed building is three stories of lab spaces and offices that serve the lab spaces. Labs spaces are not lending to expansive glazing. Labs are oriented as functional blocks of the building to the southern edge of the property. The southern elevation is a composition of clerestory windows with exterior shading. On the opposite side of the building is the north elevation where glazing is maximized for views and natural light. The roof slopes downward from the north to the southern elevation creating interest, scale, and a further articulation and emphasis on the general organization of the building.

A modern style of architecture is very appropriate and compatible with this neighborhood. The themes of light, views, public/private separation, wayfinding, landscape, sustainability, etc. are much more employed here in this design than in any nearby buildings, new or old. The context is very commercial, the buildings and district have become too commercial looking. This new building will have the look of an institute that is more academic. When you look at this design it is clearly not a speculative development, it is an architecture that is reflective of a new permanent home for HMRI and imbues the program and purpose of the building in its design. The elements of the architecture, the roof scape, windows, openings, entrance is synthesized into a composition of a calm, quiet repetition. The resulting building presents richly, poetically detailed, subtle variations in textures but an architecture that is calm, quiet, and collected.

Pasadena architecture always has a strong relationship with the landscape and an architecture that works with its climate and connecting the exterior and interior, City Hall building with its open dome, for example. The Myron Hunt designed library with entrance courtyard design is another example. These iconic Pasadena buildings have a strong connection with the landscape and climate of Pasadena. Laboratories and new construction tend to be hermetic and air conditioned, but a strong connection between architecture and landscape has been made through views, spatial continuum, and visually connecting the exterior and interior.

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Hearst Ranch Beef :: San Simeon, California

HEARST RANCH BEEF STORE

San Simeon, California

 

The Hearst Ranch Beef Store, located in San Simeon, Ca, is found within the State of California’s Visitor Center for Hearst Castle. Completed in 2008, the store is a retail kiosk for the promotion of Hearst Ranch products. The architecture is derived from agricultural buildings on the ranch, primarily the Dairy Barn located on the northern end of the property. Hearst Ranch products are displayed as well as many artifacts from telling the history of the ranch and Hearst Family.

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