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Garrett Leight California Optical

West of West brings an ethereal lighting scheme to this Dallas optical shop
The architects at West of West have brought Golden State cool to the latest retail outpost of Garrett Leight California Optical in Dallas, Texas. For the sunshiney space, founding principals Jai Kumaran and Clayton Taylor looked to nature and James Turrell’s luminous work. You don’t need 20/20 vision to see the beauty of this inspiration. Here, in their fifth store for the company, the Los Angeles and Portland–based firm crafted a calm ceiling “cloud” that orients the crisp space from above. “The interior of the store was inspired by conditions found in nature and then abstracted, condensed, and refined,” Kumaran said. “By manipulating light and volume an immersive spatial experience is created that separates this store from its suburban surroundings.” Garrett Leight Dallas opens in the city’s Knox-Henderson district this fall. For the store, the brand’s first in Texas, the team also created custom furniture and planters, built-in eyeglass display cases, and a lighting system that illuminates the frames for sale.
Garrett Leight 3109 Knox Street Dallas
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In Wicker Park

Wheeler Kearns’s coffee and record shop Purple Llama boasts a giant faceted ferrous steel bar
A massive faceted ferrous steel bar anchors the Purple Llama, a new coffee shop and curated record store situated along popular Division Street in Chicago’s Wicker Park. The idea for the record store–coffee shop comes from the owners’ experience in the rich coffee scene in London, while the angular form of the space is derived from the company’s quirky purple branding. Dan Wheeler and Emmanuel Garcia of Wheeler Kearns Architects worked closely with brand designer Brian W. Jones of Welcome to develop the space. Besides the imposing bar, one side of the 1,000-square-foot shop is defined by a faceted bright wood wall, while the opposite end is filled with a cartoon landscape of mountaintop llamas and the Chicago skyline. In the back, a “records vault” displays a small selection of vinyl records on built-in shelving. Purple Llama Coffee & Records 2140 West Division Street Chicago Tel: (773) 687-9900 Architect: Wheeler Kearns Architects
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9 Dekalb Ave

Construction marches on for SHoP’s 1,000-foot Brooklyn supertall
After the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved Brooklyn's first supertall skyscraper, construction teams wasted no time springing to action. Designed by New York firm SHoP Architects the 1,000-foot-tall tower is going up on 9 Dekalb Avenue.  A recent scout out by New York YIMBY, found that the site behind the old Dime Savings Bank is now clear and the structure is going up. The former bank is in fact being incorporated into SHoP's design and this is where the LPC came in. The commissioned praised SHoP's work, describing the project as “flawless” and “enlightened urbanism at its best.” Others are not so impressed. Gina Pollara, former president of the preservation advocacy organization Municipal Art Society (MAS) told The Architect's Newspaper (AN) earlier this year that supertalls like the one scheduled for Dekalb Avenue are out of context and out of scale with the neighborhood The building will house 417 units and offers a bronze, stainless-steel, and stone skin. As the tower stretches upward, bronze ribbons will join gray spandrel and vision glass panelling. Here, black metal is to employed in a similar, linear fashion running up the building’s facade, being joined by interlocking hexagon that facilitate views out. Also speaking to AN this year, Gregg Pasquarelli, founding principal of SHoP, said that the facade detailing is such so that when two sides of the hexagon are viewed from an oblique angle, it will resemble one face, a sleeker reference to the grand old New York skyscrapers like Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building. Brooklyn's first supertall was initially due for completion in 2019, however, YIMBY estimates the completion date to be a couple of years later.
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GLCO

West of West designs hidden pop-up store in L.A.’s Melrose Place shopping center

Los Angeles– and Portland, Oregon–based architecture firm West of West recently completed work on a 400-square-foot pop-up shop for optical and sunglass retailer Garrett Leight California Optical (GLCO).

The store is located behind Alfred Coffee & Kitchen in the Melrose Place shopping center in West Hollywood, California. The pop-up shop includes birch-wood-clad interior partitions as well as typographic murals by design studio Cool August Moon. Designs also include a specialized display wall made up of white wooden pegs that support shelves and handheld mirrors.

One of the typographic walls is framed by a built-in bench made out of black-painted birch with a pair of tropical indoor potted plants. The bench sits adjacent to a secondary storefront entrance—the primary access point is through the coffee shop. That entrance is highlighted by a sheet of safety glass and is decorated with GLCO’s orange logo. That logo appears again inside the store, cut out of the birch accent wall behind the sales desk. An experimental magazine shelf made up of wooden dowels is located opposite the glasses wall; a lens-tinting machine and a marble-clad point-of-sale kiosk fill out the remainder of the space with raw concrete floors throughout. West of West explained in a statement: “The project was fascinating to us because of its hidden location—the experience of discovering an unexpected space is in contrast to the majority of the work we do.”

The store is open through the end of June.

GLCO at Alfred Melrose Place 8428 Melrose Place, Los Angeles Tel: 917-262-0955 Architect: West of West

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Concrete Plans

Craft collaborations elevate Thakoon’s flagship Soho store by SHoP Architects

Like an architect, fashion designer Thakoon Panichgul carefully balances contemporary and historical influences. His eponymous brand has won him fans from Michelle Obama to Target, but when it came time to build a brick-and-mortar store, Panichgul and New York–based SHoP faced a more complex balancing act. They wanted to carefully devise an interior that would reflect its Soho surroundings and the Thakoon aesthetic, all while grabbing the attention of passersby and setting itself apart from competitors.

“Thakoon was really interested in making [the store] of its place, of New York, bringing in the grit of the city,” said Coren Sharples, principal at SHoP. Concrete with dark aggregate covers the floors, and the architects tapped Brooklyn-based Fernando Mastrangelo Studio to cast multiple concrete walls throughout the store. Mastrangelo reproduced the subtle gradients of his furniture on an architectural scale, pouring multiple layers of gray-hued concrete in a single casting. “This was crazy, it was done on site,” said Sharples. “This was formed up and poured. Really a little scary, but [Mastrangelo] was amazing.”

Wood was also an important part of Panichgul’s vision—the designer had prepared a mood board with several wood treatments that figured prominently in other fashion brands’ aesthetics. These ranged from light treatments with vernacular ornamentation (what he called “American Traditional”) to richly grained and darkly stained (“American Glam”). SHoP and Panichgul ultimately chose an unfinished white oak (“American Cool”), a look that left the wood in its raw, natural state. White oak surfaces sinuously undulate along the showroom’s walls even as they retain a dry, coarse texture. The architects and client also worked closely with Brooklyn-based furniture maker Vonnegut/Kraft on the store’s wood furniture: Connection details, leather seating, and each edge and taper went through multiple iterations before landing on a design that features simple woven-leather straps. Vonnegut/Kraft’s pieces stand in the main showroom and hug the curves of each dressing room.

Extra seating is provided by travertine blocks that were CNC-milled in Italy to 3-D models provided by SHoP. Panichgul tapped London-based designer Michael Anastassiades for the principal lighting features: simple orbs with brass detailing. Brass is also used for the store’s clothing rods and the towering sculptural display rack that stands prominently in the main showroom.

Taken all together, the materials find ways to somehow be both angular and curved, smooth and gritty, even as their neutral tones give the clothing center stage. “We wanted it to be infused with material sensibility and warmth, but at the same time, it’s always this line you walk because you don’t want to overpower or dictate,” said Sharples.

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WAVE/CAVE

SHoP Architects unveils new terra cotta installation for Milan Design Week
Yesterday, New York–based SHoP Architects unveiled a “sculptural terra cotta enclosure” designed for Interni Magazine’s Material Immaterial exhibition which will be on display during FuoriSalone 2017, in Milan. Called WAVE/CAVE, the structure was commissioned by Interni as a partnership among SHoP, ceramics manufacturer NBK Keramik, and aluminum products fabricator Metalsigma Tunesi to “explore the dual spirit of design.” Erected in the main courtyard of the Ca' Granda at the Università degli Studi di Milano, the enclosure is formed in three strata of aggregated terra cotta modules, each uniquely carved to create the undulating contours of the interior space. The 1,670 units were manufactured by the Germany-based NBK Keramik, which was able to produce 797 distinct profiles while using only one extrusion mold. Fluted on the outside and laced together on the interior with an ornamental web-like pattern, each block was left unglazed and when stacked they stand over seven meters tall. The enclosure functions more like a sculpture than an occupiable space, as one’s experience of the interior is largely viewed from the periphery or the second floor of the adjacent cloister. This was essential to the design concept that SHoP imagined for the assemblage; the firm stated that it is “open to the action of life around it but accessible only to the imagination and the gaze.” This is strategy is a reaction to the speed at which contemporary life is lived—a “deliberate counterpoint to the internal agitation and disrupted attention spans encouraged by contemporary media and technology.” Christopher Sharples, principal at SHoP, said:
We've always been interested in working with traditional materials.... Today's technologies allow us to draw out their material authenticity in new ways. The collaboration between SHoP, NBK Keramik, and Metalsigma Tunesi on WAVE/CAVE was an effort to demonstrate the poetic possibilities of terra cotta while suggesting new directions for its use in contemporary construction.
Lighting was designed by PHT Lighting Design Inc. and engineering by Arup. This project will be on display until April 15.
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It's Still Rock And Roll To Me

SHoP and Gensler revamp the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island
The New York offices of SHoP Architects and Gensler have teamed up to bring the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island back to life. As part of a $165 million renovation, SHoP worked on the facade aspect of the design while Gensler configured the interior. Billy Joel will inaugurate the venue tomorrow with a concert. The Coliseum first opened in 1972, but after 40 years of being the Islanders' ice hockey home, the arena had fallen into a being a shadow of its former self. Developer Forest City Ratner Companies took on the task in 2013, teaming up with SHoP. The two firms had previously worked together on the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and their second collaborative project appears to have produced a facade of similar standing. Comprising 4,700 brushed aluminum fins, the facade gently undulates upon a horizontal axis as it wraps around the Coliseum. This is achieved by altering the fins' angled vertices incrementally. According to a press release, the material references Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis—the first non-stop solo transatlantic flight which took off nearby. The interior, meanwhile, makes use of the infused daylight from a new exterior glass storefront which illuminates a redesigned concourse, main entrance, and circulatory areas. New seating has also been installed within the 416,000-square-foot space. In addition to this, a new VIP Club and Blue Moon Beer Garden have also been installed as event amenity spaces. For performers, "residential style living spaces" are part of the venue's "Artist Quarters." 1,500 staff are set to work at the Coliseum which will also double-up as a home for the Brooklyn Nets’ NBA Development League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, as well as hosting family shows, sports, and outdoor festivals. “Our goal was to create a space that reflected the tremendous sense of place that permeates Long Island, from the look of the building, to the taste of the food,” said Bruce Ratner, executive chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies, the developer of the new venue in a press release. “Our talented architectural and development team have succeeded beyond our dreams, creating a venue that is visually striking and wonderfully comfortable. We’re excited about the opening and are looking forward to the ongoing development of this entertainment destination.”
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Hope in the Valley

MADWORKSHOP’s Homeless Studio at USC delves into rapid rehousing prototype design

The MADWORKSHOP Homeless Studio, taught by University of Southern California faculty Sofia Borges and R. Scott Mitchell, spent the fall 2016 semester exploring how architecture students can use their skills to address the growing homelessness crisis in Los Angeles.

The studio was funded by MADWORKSHOP, a nonprofit started by David and Mary Martin of the A.C. Martin family in 2005 to bridge the classroom and real world architectural experiences. This semester, the group explored the architectural manifestations of homelessness in order to have students postulate solutions aimed at re-housing individuals.

For their first assignment, students combined off-the-shelf and found materials into mobile “nomadic shelters.” One group repurposed the chassis of a shopping cart, adding telescoping plywood platforms to create covered sleeping surfaces. Two prototypes are designed for bicycle transport: One, a generous box on wheels, utilizes welded aluminum sections for structure and infill panels made of wood and corrugated plastic, while a second works as a mobile bed with a retractable plywood roof wrapped in canvas drop cloth. Others are designed as pushcarts that facilitate fully reclined sleeping positions, with drop-down, accordion-hinged hatches or telescoping pod sections. The prototypes convey a keen sense of appreciation for the dexterity with which transient populations live their day-to-day lives: The compartments on each prototype can lock shut and are designed to be packed up in a few minutes using minimal labor.

Next, students worked with artist Gregory Kloehn to build single-room “tiny homes” that can be used on a semi-permanent basis. These makeshift explorations are designed with space for a bed and reading nook, and were crafted from found objects including shipping pallets, a truck camper, and even mannequin busts, which were used as shingle siding. Here, the students were able to explore the minutiae of domesticity to a level of intimacy not typically emphasized in undergraduate architectural education. The students designed and built cupboards, countertops, and shelving. The emphasis was on introducing subtle aspects of domestic life for occupants, like threshold conditions that could be used as a type of front porch, beds differentiated from the ground, and, perhaps most importantly, a sense of privacy. “A quiet space to get stabilized,” explained Borges, who is also acting director of MADWORKSHOP.

Next, the class partnered with Hope of the Valley, a faith-based missionary organization active in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley area—a region that saw its homelessness population increase by 36 percent last year—to develop a modular rapid-rehousing prototype the organization could deploy as needed.

Over the second half of the semester, the class consulted with fabricators, architects, housing developers, and the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety to develop a series of prototypes that could be deployed in as little as two weeks. Vacant lots, the students postulated, could be used as sites for so-called rapid re-housing approaches, tiered measures aimed at re-introducing formerly homeless individuals to sheltered life. Their plans incorporate existing parking lots, under-utilized land, and potentially, land currently slated for redevelopment but not yet under construction, as sites for these temporary housing projects.

The group maintained an eye on the nuts-and-bolts aspects of its proposals, incorporating the technical nuances of the building code into the schemes and settling on a 30-unit courtyard housing proposal that would provide housing units for individuals on a floor above shared eating and leisure areas. The Americans with Disabilities Act compliant complex was also designed with access points for Hope of the Valley’s mobile healthcare team to pick up and drop off patients. Borges described the overall design process: “We brought in all levels [of the design and review process] to the conversation; we’ve really been making it a priority to be compliant on all levels so that we are not a proposing pie-in-the-sky proposal, but a solution.” The team worked to generate modular approaches that could not only be rapidly built, but potentially exist as pre-approved designs vetted by city agencies, ready to be deployed immediately. Mitchell said, “as unit production increases, overall costs will drop via economy of scale. The mobile aspect of the units will have a further costs savings as they are redeployed across multiple sites.”

The class built a full-scale mock-up for its final review, fabricated using the university’s shop. The result is striking in its efficiency: 92-square-feet of white-walled interiors outfitted with a built-in dresser, bed, and desk made of plywood. The rectangular space is outfitted with a special window assembly on the end opposite the door that has been designed to facilitate passive ventilation. From the outside, the modular nature comes into greater focus, as the welded steel moment frame with structural insulated panels is used to structure the module against the white, surface-nailed exterior cladding made of enameled aluminum sheets. The metal frames are designed to attach to adjacent modules while also providing overall structure to the complex.

The plans were praised at the studio’s final reviews, which were attended by representatives from Hope of the Valley, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, nonprofit homeless housing provider Skid Row Housing Trust, and others. Next, the team plans on moving forward with city agencies to get working drawings for the module approved so the pods can be fabricated and deployed across the city.

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MoTower

52-story SHoP-designed tower revealed for downtown Detroit
New York City-based SHoP Architects, working with Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson Associates, has released new information and renderings of a two-acre site in downtown Detroit. It has been some time since we have seen any new developments for the former site of the J.L. Hudson’s Department Store and the fewer details about what was planned for the site has had Detroiters more than a bit curious. With this latest revelation, Detroit is looking at a much larger project than initially thought. “The driving force behind our design for the Hudson's site is to create a building that speaks to the rebirth of optimism in the city's future and an experiential destination that positively impacts Detroit in a meaningful way,” said William Sharples, principal at SHoP, in a press release. “The building is conceived around a huge and inspiring new public space, a year-round civic square that, both in its architecture and its culture, will foster and convey the feeling we all share when we work together to imagine what this great city can become.” The site of the new development was once home to one of Detroit’s largest retailers, Hudson's. The 25-story department store was at one time the tallest department story in the world. At over two million square feet, it was the anchor of the thriving Woodward avenue shopping corridor. With the declining economic state of Detroit in the 1970s, not even the retail giant could survive. The store was closed in 1983 and the building eventually imploded in 1998. Bedrock, the real estate firm co-founded by Detroit native Dan Gilbert, are developing the site. “Our goal is to create a development that exceeds the economic and experiential impact even Hudson’s had on the city. We believe this project is so unique that it can help put Detroit back on the national—and even global—map for world-class architecture, talent attraction, technology innovation and job creation,” explained Gilbert as part of the announcement. The Downtown Development Authority has approved a timeline which sets the ground breaking for the development on December 1st, 2017.
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Design-Prototype-Build

MADWORKSHOP announces 2017 fellows
The Martin Architecture and Design Workshop (MADWORKSHOP), a Santa Monica, California–based foundation focused on incubating student design projects into built work, has announced its 2017 design fellows. The five students—Heeje Yang, Jayson Champlain, Jeremy Carman, Belinda Pak, and Joseph Chang—are all currently fourth-year students at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Bachelor of Architecture program. A sixth, previously-announced fellow, Riccardo Blumer, is a practicing architect and researcher from Varese, Italy. The six fellows will spend the next year being incubated by MADWORKSHOP as they elaborate designs for a series of individual pilot projects. The fellows’ projects, according to a press release issued by the foundation, will focus on MADWORKSHOP’s 2017 design theme: Emergency Architecture. Yang will work on improving the designs for the Chair Six prototype, a foldable chair designed by 2014 fellow Yuan Yao. Champlain and Carman, both of whom participated in the MADWORKSHOP-funded Homeless Studio taught at USC last semester, will partner to develop innovative approaches to the safety- and privacy-related aspects of temporary, post-disaster shelter design within the context of large sports stadiums. Pak will work on prototype designs for an emergency wristband that can convey medical and contact information while Chang will design a backpack that converts into a stretcher that could be carried by a single person during emergency situations. Finally, Blumer will develop research on the design of socially-conscious architecture through the use of innovative technology and representational techniques. MADWORKSHOP was founded by David C. Martin and Mary Klaus Martin in 2015 with the aim of supporting “the next generation of inventors and designers with a focus on technological craftsmanship.” The organization funded an elective studio at USC during the Fall 2016 semester that focused on developing a rapid re-housing prototype that could be deployed in as little as two weeks. The studio, taught by MADWORKSHOP acting director Sofia Borges, a faculty member of USC School of Architecture, and R. Scott Mitchell, owner/principal of L.A.-based Gigante AG, partnered with non-denominational ministry Hope of the Valley and consulted with nonprofit housing developers and city agencies while developing their prototype. Also in 2016, the organization also installed the Sanke furniture system in the courtyard of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. That installation, a colorful collection of tables and chairs designed to operate as a deconstructed communal table, was developed by 2015 fellow Sonia Lui. For more information on the fellows, see the MADWORKSHOP website.
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Phase 2

$2 billion waterfront project in Washington, D.C., adds SHoP Architects, Michael Van Valkenburgh, HWKN, and others
It’s awards season, even in the architecture world. This week developer Hoffman-Madison Waterfront (HMW) announced the 11 architects chosen for the second phase of the District of Columbia’s waterfront development, The Wharf. The Wharf is a $2 billion project that runs along nearly one mile of the Washington Channel’s Southwest neighborhood. At completion, The Wharf will bring more than three million square feet of mixed-use space to the D.C. area. Phase 1 of The Wharf project (about 1.9 million square feet of mixed-use development) is currently scheduled to open in October 2017, with Phase 2 breaking ground sometime in mid-2018. “We have selected a diverse group of locally, nationally, and internationally renowned designers, knowing they will bring their talent and expertise to The Wharf, building a waterfront neighborhood that is an integral part of the city,” said Shawn Seaman, AIA, principal and senior vice president of development of PN Hoffman. Washington, D.C.–based firm Perkins Eastman DC will continue to act as the master planners and master architects of The Wharf, allowing for continuity between Phase 1 and Phase 2. Firms (all New York City–based, unless otherwise noted) joining the team are as follows: SHoP Architects will design two office towers in Parcels 6 and 7 with related retail spaces in collaboration with WDG Architecture, who will act as the architect of record. ODA will design mixed-income multifamily apartments and related retail on Parcel 8 of the project, while Rafael Viñoly Architects will add luxury condominium residences in Parcel 9. Morris Adjmi Architects will be designing their first commercial building in Parcel 10, adding more office space to the development. Washington, D.C.–based STUDIOS Architecture has been chosen to design the multi-use marina services building. Hollwich Kushner (HWKN) will be designing the Wharf Marina, and S9 Architecture will be responsible for Wharf Marina Operations and the Cantina Marina Pier. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) will design M Street Landing, the outdoor space connecting the waterfront to the Arena Stage. Wolf | Josey Landscape Architects will continue their work from Phase 1 of the project, which included the detailing of The Wharf Promenade, The Channel rooftop, and other public space. The first phase of The Wharf will open on October 12, 2017. More information about The Wharf is available here.
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Green Machine

L.A.’s La Kretz Innovation Campus in is a one-stop shop for cleantech development

The La Kretz Innovation Campus (LKIC), designed by John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects (JFAK), is a new business incubation center in Los Angeles developed by the Department of Water and Power (LADWP), the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles, and Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), a nonprofit tasked to transform the city into a green-collar hub.

The 61,000-square-foot “sustainability factory” is located in a collection of single-story, masonry-and-bow-truss warehouses from 1923 in L.A.’s Arts District. The neighborhood, home to the Southern California Institute of Architecture and a growing number of creative industries, is well-suited to benefit from a “Cleantech Corridor” specifically zoned to support the green economy-related development now running through it.

The complex is meant to be a place where, as JFAK founder and principal Alice Kimm said, “Ideas for new goods and services can be birthed, researched, developed, prototyped, and pushed out to market from under one roof.”

The complex, measuring 290- by 200-feet, is carved into eight similarly sized warehouse bays mirrored about a central axis. The eastern four bays are dedicated to business incubation services: office spaces, meeting rooms, and lounge areas. The western half of the building contains maker spaces: state-of-the-art fabrication rooms with robots and wood shop tools.

While the exterior of the building has been left mostly untouched, the whole of the structure has been seismically retrofitted and its interiors upgraded with new surfaces and partitions. Upon entering the building, one discovers a waiting lounge demarcated by an abstracted triumphal arch. The area is wrapped on two sides by a luscious indoor green wall while white prisms—actually, light cannons designed to reflect sunlight indoors—descend from the ceiling above the adjacent reception desk. Spaces beyond contain an arrangement of single-height partitions and fully-enclosed meeting rooms, all sandwiched between polished concrete floors and the soaring, lumber arches of the bow-trusses distinctive to L.A.’s industrial architecture.

Kimm explained that daylighting strategies guided the design: “We staggered the placement of enclosed spaces so light could penetrate all the way through the building.”

The following bays provide more offices and lead to a semi-formal, wood-paneled amphitheater and cafe lounge. The lounge overlooks the new Arts District Park, designed by staff landscape architects from the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering with JFAK, who designed a shade structure for it. The half-acre park features a playground and landscaping fed by a gray water–reclamation system designed by LADWP. BuroHappold was the mechanical and sustainability engineer.

The western portion of the building contains utilitarian conference rooms, laboratories, and fabrication spaces. Generously proportioned gypsum and glass partition–lined hallways snake along the main party wall at the center of the complex, connecting the business and fabrication spaces along a social core. These routes connect physically discrete spaces, giving the building’s interiors a sense relative impermanence that contrasts with the solid masonry walls and the elaborate truss ceiling above, now bedazzled with all manner of mechanical and electrical systems.

Kimm explained: “[With LKIC] ‘adaptive reuse’ meant that we had to make a building that had enough identity on its own, as a unifying architectural framework, but that would still allow the individuals to have their own voices. The project revolved around finding a balance and knowing when to stop.”

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