UCLA

Daly, Kovacs, Sharif

NEWS

412 Building Design Studio
Background

The studio (Grid, Interrupted) is the second in the MArch I core sequence and focuses on the relationship between structure and architecture. Students were tasked with synthesizing structural logics with planimetric types, spatial matrices as well as formal character and organization. Additionally students were asked to develop positions on the degree of perceptibility of such tectonically based design strategies.
 
Program and site
 
The project adopts and adapts the program of the Frieze Art Fair – an international contemporary art fair that is held annually in London, in the fall, and New York in the spring – imagining it to take place annually for 2 weeks in late June in Los Angeles, near the vibrant arts district of Culver City. Programming for the remaining 50 weeks of the year is managed by the Frieze Art Foundation, which directs a publicly and privately funded co-operative focused on multi-generational arts education and related amenities and events, including experimental cuisine restaurant(s), screening facilities and smaller seasonal art fairs. 
 
The 100,000 sf + triangular site, which straddles the Culver City and Los Angeles municipal boundaries, is defined by Venice Blvd. to the northwest, Exposition Boulevard on the southwest and National Boulevard along the northeast. The Exposition Boulevard edge is further defined by the Metro Expo Line Light rail. Currently the site is a commuter parking lot and serves as the terminus to this phase of the Metro Expo Line (future expansion will move northwestwards to Santa Monica). 

The studio project assumes that the buildings along the Venice Boulevard edge will be demolished and that the current parking will be reallocated to a nearby site on the southeast corner of National and Washington Boulevards. 

Program GSF: 132,000 sf +/-

Cultural considerations

Given the building’s large scale, its function as a center of artistic production and consumption and location at a busy urban intersection, questions of monumentality and the artful inter-relationships between the arts, architecture and the city were part of the conceptual project development and helped guide organizational and structural logics. The locus of such speculation began with precedent studies as well as planimetric grid studies (field of columns), that framed compositional underpinnings of 3-dimensional matrices pushing space, structure and form beyond mere extrusion. 

Given the temperate climate, a program based on short-term exhibition and overlapping uses, and the quarter’s emphasis on structural matrices, building envelopes were to be conceived as lightweight assemblies integrating high degrees of transparency, natural ventilation and perimeter adaptability. While not precluding the potential for monolithic character and expression, the tectonic emphasis was on lightness rather than mass. 

Students were also asked to consider flexibility, modularity, repetition and difference and to develop hierarchies of primary, secondary and tertiary tectonic and planning systems. 

Guest Critics: Georgina Hjulich, Narineh Mirzaeian, Hitoshi Abe, Neil Denari, Anna Neimark, Gustave Heully, Greg Otto, Michael Osman, Jonah Rowen and Roger Sherman.

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