Mixed Use Project. Santa Monica, CA
Responding to the overwhelming interest in digital craft and the homogenous surface, the project focuses on volumetric aggregation and formal disassociation, while engaging with material optics and the use of architectonical language in contemporary design.
Following the boundary conditions given, the parti aimed for a heavy top volume that splits into three masses towards the bottom, liberating the ground to provide a semi-protected public space. The dynamicity of the context and the corner condition of the site become drivers of the project as the masses are given hierarchies, producing sequences in terms of presence, size, posture, and saturation. Additionally, the multiplicity of circulations and the introversive quality of the building encourage the spectator to move around the site and towards the main plaza.
All commercial and cultural areas are located both in the ground level and around the underground plaza, for direct public access. The residential units are all oriented to face the ocean in the southern massing, while the offices are distributed in the other two masses in the middle floors. The hotel is positioned on the highest levels, providing the best views and direct contact from all the other areas, as the masses merge on the top.
The optical effects, generated through the planar projection of textures and windows over the masses, are intensified through sculptural cuts that create multiplicity of viewing angles and distortions on the patterns, making the spectator engage more directly with the project. The main projection planes are leaning towards public space or the beach according to each massing.
Beyond perforations on a façade, infiltration of light or openings towards views, the window becomes incidental to the form as it is extruded throughout the mass, generating intricate public spaces and interwoven masses while destabilizing the difference between interior and exterior. The type of window and its behavior varies within each mass, breaking the monotony related to programmatically similar spaces.
The influence of the projection technique on the context, if not literal, will be present through reflections on surrounding windows and the views towards the city from inner spaces. Recognizable, pre-existent windows are selected and oriented in relation to the windows in the context, in terms of verticality or horizontality, proportions and rhythms, providing familiarity while at the same time exploring a new spatial role on the creation of inner space. The use of concrete and glass, fused with the digital patterns, provide a new architectural language that maintains a close relationship to its context.
Through differentiation and integration, iconicity and contextualism, the digital and the familiar, this ambivalent building stands out and blends in the Santa Monica City.
Instructors: Elena Manferdini, Marcelo Spina, Casey Rehm
SCI-Arc // Spring 2014