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Art Colony

Los Angeles, CA

The building would be located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles and would accommodate living quarters and studios for artists, with additional services such as a large art gallery, a library, a lecture room and general office spaces.


The design develops along parallel ideas around functional, metaphorical, and programmatic foundations, which are bonded into a unified product. In order to involve the community to be part of the activities and the work of the individual artists, the structure contains a pathway which is used for both public circulation and access to the facility. This path extends all the way through the height of the building assuming the appearance of a sliced gap allowing natural lighting to easily penetrate in all the indoor spaces within this infill condition. The cut through the building assumes a specific angle to prevent direct sun exposure and heat gain during the warm seasons; it also works as sundial to keep time.


The exterior of the building is meant to be as continuous, uniform and as abstract as possible giving the perception of having either no personality or perhaps a very strong personality at the same time, blending with the neighboring building with a rigid softness resembling many forms of modern art. The skin is constructed with large bamboo glue lam evenly spaced for  sense of scale and uniformity while allowing softer and indirect lighting penetrate the perimeter spaces during all daytime hours. In addition it functions as a semi privacy screen for the artists creative spaces, allowing them to look outside, but not easily observed by the pedestrians walking by.


The strategy creates a niche for the artists and a space that is lived inside out with the exception for the pedestrians walking through the public pathway, maintaining the artists almost absent from the impact of outside world and giving them space to be completely absorbed within a creative cocoon. Isolated in a creative environment, free from external inspirational pollution, the artists might need sometime a brief escape to reconnect with the outside world and peers, the same way art cannot self sustain without the world around it.  In order to create a strong an meaningful connection with the larger scale environment surrounding the building, the spaces designed for common use or semi public functions assume the shape of prisms penetrating through the skin of the structure, travelling unaffected through the entire space while shaping the program around them; the hierarchy is clear, outside environment wins over the creative escape in which the artists might want to hide.  The ends of these large shapes are glazed surfaces which serve the function of framing selected views or landmarks.

The main exhibit gallery frames on one side the Los Angeles skyline and on the other is a see through projector screen where artwork is displayed; the building across the street can be viewed through the projected art creating a playful connection with the typical graffiti wall which populates the streetscape in the area. The artwork projected can be seen from the street as the sole iconic element for the building; it changes and evolves with time, and is never the same.

The library frames the train station, the food court is equipped with dark glass to enjoy the sunsets at the horizon and finally the open sky corridor that gives access to the living spaces, frames a view of the hills.