The dominant “indoor-outdoor living” narrative that drives so much of Los Angeles’s architecture can seem old and tired, but every now and then a project comes along that presents a new perspective on this classic arrangement. The Terasaki Research Institute (TRI) by Los Angeles–and Sendai, Japan-based architects Atelier Hitoshi Abe (AHA), is such a project. TRI was founded by the late Dr. Paul Terasaki, a University of California, Los Angeles professor and longtime almost-client for AHA whose exciting visions for potential projects could never quite get off the ground, as Hitoshi Abe, AHA principal, explained. One day, Terasaki approached Abe with a realizable commission: new offices for a namesake research institute that would carry on Terasaki’s legacy in the field of modern organ-transplant technology. Terasaki was interested in experimenting with a new brand of semi–al fresco, semipublic architecture that could better engage with the community and support lectures, exhibitions, and other public programs. The doctor tasked AHA with creating a 15,000-square-foot building that could function more like an arcade courtyard than a research lab; AHA responded by connecting street and interior via an outsize internal hallway overlooked by the building’s main programs. The inverted complex is located in Westwood—steps from the UCLA campus—in the shell of an old commercial building sandwiched between an Urban Outfitters and a Sur La Table. There, a plate-glass and stucco facade gives way to a broad foyer that contains a small bookstore filled with daylight and medical texts. Beyond a round desk and up half a flight of steps, the building’s main level unfolds on either side of the internal street, which is proportioned for group gatherings and socializing. The 25-foot-wide hallway runs the length of the building, creating two atrium spaces that are connected along the ground but are interrupted above by a pair of bridges, one containing offices and the other a lounge. The rough stucco-clad walls in the gray atria are populated by seemingly random punched openings. Some of the square apertures are transom-height windows into office and meeting areas; others are waist-level connecting to a single-loaded corridor wrapping the second floor. A tertiary field of smaller squares along these walls conceals air-return grilles. A translucent, double-membrane PTFE roof system supported by a lightweight metal tension structure encloses the space. The hub-and-spoke design leaves room at the top of each atrium for an oculus, which the architects wrapped in reflective metal. The mirror-finish oculi reflect different kinds of light and views into the space depending on the time of day, including twisted vistas of the surrounding city with its postmodern condominium and office towers. Beyond the second sky bridge sits a serene presentation room that functions like a gallery and is oriented around a large LED screen that shows a rotating selection of electronic art and media. Abe explained that he and Terasaki came together hoping not just to bring the public into the institute, but to extend the life of the street into the offices “so researchers could look with interest into their own building.”
Posts tagged with "Hitoshi Abe":
As promised yesterday, we are going paparazzi. We have pix of the architecture event of the week: the opening of LA's A+D Museum. (See Slideshow Here). The event drew hundreds into the museum's brand new space, a beautiful white jewel box located on the ground floor of a midcentury office building. Guests were treated to tunes from KCRW DJ Tom Schnabel, and bid on works of art and sculpture created by some of LA's biggest architects and cultural icons. Big names contributing work included Bruce Mau, Max Neutra, Lorcan O'Herlihy, Thom Mayne, Richard Meier, Hitoshi Abe, and many more. And so it begins for a museum that has for years been known for not having its own space. Welcome home.
PACKING UP CAMP Now that Donald Fisher’s CAMP project in San Francisco is officially dead, talk is swirling about where the Gap founder’s art collection will go. The whispers have focused on one obvious suspect: SFMOMA, which has already begun planning a 100,000-square-foot expansion that could get even bigger. One rumor has it that the museum is talking to the city about acquiring an adjoining fire station and building a new one elsewhere in return, in order to offer the Fishers their own digs. SFMOMA director Neal Benezra coyly parried questions with the comment: “We welcome the opportunity to partner with the Fishers to find a home for their collection as part of an expanded SFMOMA campus.” PEARLS BEFORE SCI-ARC Few talking heads can dent an architectural ego like critic, curator, and professor Jeff Kipnis, who moderated a chat at SCI-Arc on July 29 with Eric Owen Moss and Thom Mayne about Moss’ new installation at the school. Among Kipnis’ gems, he praised Moss’ garrulousness with the bon mot that he got paid by the hour for such events, and marveled at Moss and Mayne’s ability to argue with themselves—not among themselves, mind you, but each with his own self! Days later SCI-Arc hosted another panel, this time with Moss, Mayne, Hitoshi Abe, Peter Cook, Wolf Prix, and Peter Noever, among others. The event had the makings of a navel-gazing nightmare, but Eavesdrop promptly fell asleep and can’t recall a thing. Honest. RAISE HIGH THE WINDOW WALLS Everyone adores the Center for Architecture in New York, the storefront space run by the AIA New York chapter that draws more activity than any other such facility. Word has it that AIA Los Angeles is among those green with envy, which could mean a departure from its eighth-floor digs in Mid-Wilshire. The group is said to have hired a real estate consultant to scout locations nearer to Museum Mile. Will Wright, head of legislative affairs at AIA/LA, was semi-mum on the matter: “We have long-range plans to evaluate the opportunity to evolve into an Architecture Center.” Roger that, Will. Easy does it, we always say.