This project was initiated to create a home for art center college of design’s growing entertainment design department. The program consisted of a home room, visualization labs, motion capture studio, direct instruction spaces, offices and storage. The primary challenge was to create a spatial identity for this contemporary department in the iconic Craig Ellwod building constructed for the school in 1976. The building, considered by some to be Ellwood’s best non-residential work, is a study in Miesian high modernism. While the exterior, the structural system, the underlying order and especially the bridge are extraordinary, the building interiors were clearly impacted by budget and deviated from the original driving concepts of flexibility, transparency and openness. Our approach coined ‘even less is more’ was to work to understand and accentuate (through reduction) the ordering system, the building proportions, and to exploit latent building qualities through light, transparency, reflectivity and contrast.
Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography
"As the Digital Age continues to increase our interaction with screens, typography, which has always been a core element of graphic design, has become increasingly vital to our visual culture. Consequently, Art Center developed a plan to become a central and influential force in this burgeoning field by providing a dedicated space to advance the research, teaching and understanding of letterform design and typography. To that end, in 2015, the College founded the Hoffmitz Milken Center for Typography (HMCT) in memory of Professor Leah Hoffmitz Milken, a well-known typographer, letterform designer and esteemed Art Center faculty member. HMCT was designed to become home to and a catalyst for the enhanced study of typography and letterform design."
Art Center College of Design
The program consists of gallery, workshops, archives, conference area, offices and support spaces. The project located in the modest footprint of the former print making studio in the ‘wind tunnel’ building at 950 South Raymond Street, needed to function as forum, lab, research center and think-tank. The production and display of letterform across scales and mediums became the primary driver for the design organization along with formal operations deployed to create new visual connections and display opportunities.
1111 level 6
In 2014 Art Center College of Design purchased a 1980’s mirrored, lozenge shaped, 128,000 square foot, six story high rise at the very end of the historic 110 freeway in Pasadena. By its position in the city, its location at the southernmost end of the future south campus and its sheer scale the building will eventually become the school’s gateway. But not yet. With an overall master plan implementation on a 15-year horizon the school first needed to begin using the building to address its immediate needs and academic program growth.
Starting at the top level of the building DJA was asked to convert existing nondescript office space to drawing and painting classrooms. More than that the brief called for another south campus outpost; An academic and cultural destination. In addition to direct instruction spaces the program included galleries, student ‘living rooms’, offices, as well as meeting and conference spaces. The project needed to demonstrate that the existing building could be converted to support education, promote culture and align with the high aesthetic standards of the college. The design utilizes the existing powerfully horizontal space and continuous ribbon windows while disrupting the typical monotonous high-rise core and program relationships. Cross axial connections were cut into the mass of the program to create public spaces with views and natural light.
Fine Art + Illustration Building
The most obvious challenge posed by the charge to transform the original ‘Post Office’ building into a home for Art Center College of Design’s Fine Art and Illustration departments had to do with negotiations between the existing conditions and the program. The given program of galleries, classrooms, studios and offices filled the entire existing volume while still requiring an abundance of natural light. The existing building contained only five natural light sources: a thirty foot square skylight above a double height space in the center and double height voids in all four corners that we termed ‘light courts’. Formal galleries and circulation (conceived as informal galleries) were used to connect all the ‘light courts’ effectively carving the mass of classrooms and studios with circulation and light. The result is a gallery setting that serves as a canvas for the school’s aspiring visual artists. The central sky lit space was transformed into atrium galleries that are open to the public and featuring outside exhibits to be curated by the college. DJa was invited to do the first ever outside exhibit / installation ‘drawn out / light mass’ in the atrium galleries at 870 S Raymond.
(180) folding chairs stored
(60) overflow lecture seats
300 square feet of sonic baffling
72 linear feet of pin-up space
movable, configurable, durable
designed, constructed, deployed in (30) days