Brought to you with support fromSince 1997, California’s Belzberg Architects has consistently delivered forward-thinking facade systems across North America. Profiles is a six-story commercial building draped in a diaphanous and perforated carbon-steel veil that partially resembling a stylish extraterrestrial ship landed in the heart of Mexico City. Profiles is located mid-block, surrounded by rows of predominantly three-to-five-story structures. The south elevation of the project is highly exposed by virtue of its height, providing Belzberg Architects the opportunity to play with the building's corner. The facade consists of a CR Glass–produced curtainwall shaded by a cloak of perforated carbon steel fabricated by El Roble. Walkways are located between the screen and the glass, providing a significant amount of elevated outdoor space for the building.
With a newly proposed plan for a 100-unit senior housing complex by Belzberg Architects, the Los Angeles Jewish Home (LAJH) is making clear its plans to expand outside the San Fernando Valley are serious. The LAJH, with over 1,000 residents, is already the largest single-source senior housing provider in Los Angeles. Still, it seems its latest expansion can’t come soon enough. Although LAJH has yet to wrap up construction on a new, Gensler-designed campus in the coastal Playa Vista neighborhood, all 199 units in that $100 million project have already been reserved. This recently-revealed proposal will provide 100 additional units in a second location a few miles away. The new mixed-use complex, located in the Beverly-Fairfax area in L.A.’s Westside, will feature 40 independent living, 40 assisted living, and 20 guest rooms in a structure that will also contain a new synagogue for the Orthodox Jewish Congregation of Beth-Israel and a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (P.A.C.E) clinic that will be available for use by the public as well as residents. Belzberg Architects’s preliminary designs for the new six-story housing complex is a terraced apartment block whose pixelated, multi-planar facades step back from each street line to create terraces, balconies, and overhangs. Some of these areas turn the building’s corners, creating wrap-around mezzanines and loggia in a series of compositions that also include large, punched openings denoting individual apartment units. The similarly-variable ground level storefronts aim to activate the street while a rooftop terrace overlooks everything below. This approach mirrors LAJH’s Playa Vista outpost where neighborhood amenities include a library, gym, and community gathering spot. Evidently, the senior housing services provider is making a bet toward mixed-use development in an effort to keep its residents integrated with the wider community, and vice versa. According to materials released by LAJH, the mixed-use design aims to alleviate high rates of loneliness among the elderly population. The project’s public profile will surely get a boost from the P.A.C.E. clinic that both residents and community members age 55 and older will be able to use. The complex also contains a two-level, 137 stall parking garage. A timeline for construction has not been announced.
Architects have long relied on engineers to help execute formally or functionally complex concepts. But, as Belzberg Architects founder Hagy Belzberg points out, "architects usually work out a schematic design" in response to a client's needs, "only later to invite the engineer to help substantiate their idea." Belzberg's own experience collaborating with facade engineers at Arup suggests a different approach—one in which the designers and consultants trade ideas and expertise from the very beginning. With Arup's Matt Williams, Belzberg will outline some of the benefits of a close association among AEC industry professionals through two cutting-edge case studies at next week's Facades+ LA conference. Belzberg and Williams' dialog workshop, "Process Shaping Design: Design, Digital Fabrication, and Delivery" is organized around two projects with distinct origins. The first is the Gores Group Headquarters (9800 Wilshire Boulevard) in Los Angeles. "The building will be a case study in how adaptive facades can help us reappropriate existing buildings so we don't have to knock them down," said Belzberg. Digital fabrication technology, he explained, allowed Belzberg Architects to craft a new envelope that is "highly sculptural and unique, but still performative." The second case study examines a series of commercial buildings in Mexico City. "It's the same digital fabrication on a new building," said Belzberg. In contrast to the more typical approach, Belzberg Architects brought Arup on board before touching pencil to paper (or hand to computer mouse). "What we're trying to promote is a case study in which we brought in the engineers on day one, so it becomes more performative, more efficient, and even more cost-effective," said Belzberg. Besides sharing some of their own work, Belzberg and Williams hope to use the workshop to dig into other examples—cases contributed by the participants themselves. "No one's going to have to do any homework, or any sketches," said Belzberg. "But we want people to come in with case studies of their own that we can work on: Not just questions and answers, but we're hoping that other architects will bring real-life scenarios so that we can brainstorm opportunities. It's not just about our work, but an opportunity to discuss audience case studies." To sign up for "Process Shaping Design" or another lab or dialog workshop, register today for Facades+ LA. Learn more and review the symposium agenda on the conference website.
Four teams have been shortlisted to compete for the design of the Armenian American Museum in Glendale, California. Commemorating the contributions of Armenian-Americans and "sharing the Armenian experience," the 30,000-square-foot building will include exhibition space, an auditorium, library, classrooms, and support spaces. The announcement came on the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The teams, chosen by the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee (AGCC) of the Western US, include Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design, Belzberg Architects, Frederick Fisher and Partners, and Alajajian-Marcoosi Architects. The museum is in negotiations with the city of Glendale to secure a 1.7 acre property for the institution just south of the Glendale Civic Auditorium, at 1305 North Verdugo Rd. Lord Cultural Resources (who consulted on the 9/11 Memorial Museum) are helping develop the master plan for the museum site. Conceptual plans are due in mid-May, and the winning team will be chosen this June, said Berdj Karapetian, chairman of the AGCC's Landmark Sub-Committee. Karapetian said that after a feasibility study is completed the museum will begin raising money for the building, which he estimates could cost roughly $30 million to construct.