When an artist titles a piece, a series, or a body of work Untitled, it may appear to the viewer as an abdication of responsibility, or blatant indecision designed to confuse the viewer. And yet, more often than not, the decision is made to establish a shared experience of open-endedness and subjectivity between the artist and viewer. The decision to avoid a title can potentially liberate any work from belonging to a single movement, choosing instead to reflect ageless human conditions and the ever-changing qualities of how we perceive the world around us. Such was the decision behind the naming of OFFICEUNTITLED, the Los Angeles-based architecture firm with an extensive range of projects behind them in their young career. The firm's three principles—Shawn Gehle, Benjamin Anderson, and Christian Robert—met while working at Gensler and first established an office together in 2013 under the name R&A Architecture and Design. Changing their name in 2019 to reflect the undefined nature of their practice, OFFICEUNTITLED currently has a handful of exemplary work behind them and a wealth of projects set to be completed in the near future. AVA LA Arts District Developed as a “base camp” for the creative community in Downtown Los Angeles, AVA LA Arts District is a seven-story complex broken up by multiple courtyards conceived as impromptu workspaces. The project will be up to seven stories in some parts of the 3.75-acre property and will contain approximately 475 live/work units, 24 of which will be reserved for low-income housing. The overall plan was designed in recognition of the adjacent light rail station that is set to be completed within the next few years. “AVA opens up to this context and the new urban fabric at ground level,” the firm wrote, “while reinterpreting the horizontality of Los Angeles through its form.” The exteriors were designed in a nod to the large, turn-of-the-century industrial buildings found in the area, while its interiors are minimally designed with board-formed concrete and fiber cement paneling. When completed in 2023, AVA LA will be neighbors of several significant developments, including a mixed-use project designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and Michael Maltzan Architects’ Sixth Street Viaduct. 9th & Hil OFFICEUNTITLED’s adaptive reuse of the May Company Parking Garage in Downtown Los Angeles, one of the first purpose-built parking structures in the United States when it was completed in 1926, will maintain much of the character of the structure while adding mixed-use programming and a penthouse in the form of a pristine glass box. The upper two floors of the 400-car structure will be transformed into creative office space, while the ground floor will become a grocery market with exposed Beaux-Arts detailing throughout. The project, set to be completed in 2021, will require extensive renovation of its iconic facade, for which it was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 2011. Woodlark Completed in 2018, Woodlark is a hotel in Portland, Oregon, developed as an adaptive reuse of the historic Woodlark Building and adjacent Cornelius Hotel into a single, continuous building. To develop the aesthetic for the 150-room hotel, the firm brought the opulence and ornate design of the two structures into the 20th century through the use of “subtle, soft, and elegant” detailing while renovating the exterior facades in their entirety. A penthouse and stair tower penetrate the roofline of the tower half of the hotel while still maintaining the site’s French Renaissance style and iconic rooflines. The design of the hotel’s interiors is a nod to the verdant landscapes unique to the Pacific Northwest, down to the ‘mossy’ velvet and natural wood tones throughout the ground floor, restaurant and lounge bar. Through a reimagining of the two buildings’ interiors as one, OFFICEUNTITLED achieves a balance between vernacular and indigenous aesthetics in the middle of downtown Portland. Cayton Children’s Museum Set within the upper floor of Santa Monica Place, OFFICEUNTITLED’s design for Cayton Children’s Museum is a free plan defined by playfully-scaled landmarks that allow visitors to determine paths through the 30+ exhibits on display. These objects are referred to according to their unique external appearances and textures, with names such as the Armadillo, Porcupine, Onion, Egg, and Drum. According to the firm, “these objects solve non-exhibit program requirements while [bearing in mind] that everything is a teachable moment in a children’s museum.” The firm’s goal to use the objects to blur the relationship between architecture and exhibit is perhaps best demonstrated by the Courage Climber, a vibrantly-colored net structure hanging above over 20 percent of the museum’s total floor area. The installation allows children to unique navigate space through a novel method while offering views of other exhibits throughout the museum. “Made to inspire a sense of curiosity,” the firm explained, “the design is a contemporary space for exploration and adventure.” Completed June of this year, Cayton Children’s Museum sets a high standard for design for spaces intended for children.
Posts tagged with "R&A Design":
395 Santa Monica Place, Suite 374 Santa Monica, CA 424-416-8320 The 21,000-square-foot Cayton Children’s Museum is a new multilevel experience curated to engage children with the physical world. OFFICEUNTITLED (formerly R&A Design), a Culver City, California–based firm, has designed a space for children to explore unhindered, as the nets, colorful palette, costume lockers, full-size helicopter and firetruck, and even a wall covered in pool noodles are all intended to spur tactile interaction without requiring constant adult supervision. The museum is on the third floor of the open-air Santa Monica Place mall, an adaptive reuse project on the top floor of the Frank Gehry-designed building. Despite being titled as a children's museum, the space provides a welcome respite for parents and children alike. However, if visitors walk past the enormous aardvark carved from plywood that houses the reception desk, they’ll find the “Courage Climber,” an entire level made from nets, which only children can access and that spans 20 percent of the museum’s footprint. Other architecturally scaled objects house the museum’s various non-exhibition programmatic elements such as ticketing and security, including the “Armadillo, Porcupine, Onion, Egg, Houses and Drum.” The space is broken into five exhibition “neighborhoods” with distinct educational elements. Launch Your is a space for zero-to-two-year-old children to explore different topological arrangements through touch and is intended to help them strengthen their coordination. In Let’s Help, children can explore what it means to be a farmer, veterinarian, or first responder. The Together We section has been stocked with exhibitions meant to promote group activities and team building. In Reach for, visitors can stretch their legs and climb all over the web of nets. Finally, things slow down in Reflect On, where children are encouraged to take a more contemplative attitude about the world and consider how they can better connect with nature. The museum is open from 10:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $14, but the museum will be free for low-income families during the first year.
According to recently-submitted documentation, a sinuous hotel tower designed by Culver City–based R&A Design slated for the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California is one step closer to coming to fruition. Developer Charles Company recently submitted the project—located at 9034 Sunset Boulevard—for approval by the City of West Hollywood. If built as planned, the 19-story tower-and-podium complex will include 185 hotel rooms, 17,000 square feet of hotel-related banquet and event spaces, 5,700-square feet of retail space, a 7,500-square-foot restaurant, and a 915-square-foot art gallery. The project also calls for 550 parking stalls to be located in a four-story underground parking garage. The project would also include 14 apartment units and a helipad on its roof, Wehoville reports. The so-called Sunset Tower project is set back from the street and is located on a 1.3-acre T-shaped lot. The tower portion of the project features curved and rotating floor plates that project beyond the building envelope to create outdoor spaces as the floors rise and shift in position. Renderings for the project also depict the tower’s upper levels with much taller floor-to-floor heights, indicating that those levels will likely contain public spaces. The project’s retail and restaurant uses will be organized within a three-story podium structure that will meet the sidewalk. The podium structure is depicting as having a rooftop pool and other amenity spaces. The hotel tower complex comes as the West Hollywood area continues to add sizable numbers of new hotel complexes on and around Sunset Boulevard. Neil M. Denari Architects recently proposed a 91-unit hotel for a nearby site that features black metal panel cladding. A hugely controversial hotel tower project by Gehry Partners is slated for 8150 Sunset Boulevard and has been held up with lawsuits and community outcry for its height as well as the developer’s plans to tear down an iconic mid-century modern bank that currently occupies the site. A timeline for approval of the Sunset Tower project has not been announced.
The West Hollywood Planning Commission (WHPC) has approved a small-scale, 11-unit apartment building designed by Culver City-based R&A Architecture+Design. The project is designed as an intimate courtyard apartment complex, with a series of two- and three-bedroom units organized around a central, shared open space. The dispersed masses of the complex are clad in a variety of surface materials, including corrugated sheets of aluminum, vertically-oriented wood siding, and expanses of glass. The more solid sections of the building are studded with punched openings that signal windows, doorways, and passageways into the courtyard in a manner that corresponds to the surrounding low-level density of the neighborhood. Units in the project average 1,585-square feet in size, according to a press release, and are connected to various types of outdoor spaces, including rooftop gardens and balconies. The project is designed to facilitate natural cross-ventilation via the courtyard, exterior staircases, and unit doors that are clad in louvers and screens. The units are also designed with concrete floors throughout that will act as thermal massing for each home. Christian Robert, principal at R&A explained the contextual massing of the project in a press release, saying, “(the) segmented massing respects the scale of nearby homes. As architects, we thoughtfully pay attention to the context and work to maintain the community spirit.” The intense contextual focus of the project is no mistake on the part of the designers, as the project comes on the heels of several controversial developments in the city, like the Gehry Associates-designed 8150 Sunset project. Recent, density-oriented projects have rankled locals in the densifying municipality and across the Los Angeles region. Los Angeles voters recently defeated a controversial and anti-development measure that sought to curb new housing production in the city, but a weariness toward dense development has taken root nonetheless. Construction on the R&A Design project is scheduled to begin spring 2018.