3555 is located in Conjunctive Points and is the most recent addition to the ongoing urban-scale collaboration in Culver City, California between architect and developer to revitalize an area of previously dilapidated industrial and warehouse buildings.
The original brick structure was built in the early 1950’s as an industrial warehouse located directly adjacent to a now abandoned Southern Pacific Railroad right-of-way. A masonry second floor was added in the late 1990’s as the building was converted into a sound stage for in-coming film production companies in the area. A recently completed second expansion phase adds a third floor for additional office and conference space above the existing production facilities as a headquarters for a cable television station.
In order to accommodate a third floor, a “foundation” of steel beams was built along the perimeter of the existing roof to distribute the additional load of the new floor. Steel and wood columns extend upward from the new frame to support the new undulating roof above. The roof shape is determined by height limit averaging in order to allow the program volume to be distributed as needed.
The complex roof geometry is constructed with 42 foot long glue-laminated wood beams at 12 foot centers and 2x rafters at 16” centers. Each beam was laminated and milled to a unique curvature and has a continuously changing bevel on the top surface. CNC-milled rafters were installed perpendicular to the beams and rotated to be perpendicular to the roof surface along their length. Each rafter has a curve cut on one side, is notched on either end for hanging, and has a milled index code for identification and location within the roof system.
Because the wood structure is exposed on the interior, the exterior building surface must perform as an insulated package. The surface is composed of a plywood shear diaphragm on the interior, rigid insulation and fire resistant cement board sheathing on the exterior. The outer surface is a translucent spray-applied fiberglass material, developed specifically for this project, to waterproof the skin and conform seamlessly to its unique curvature.
Extensive research and testing was necessary to develop the appropriate balance of resin, color, texture, substrate and strength. Working with the fabricator and manufacturers, 12 foot by 12 foot mock-ups tested the application process of the fiberglass material, application techniques for corners and edge conditions, and weatherometer data to ensure the system would perform well once applied. Ridges located along topographic lines of the sloping roof accentuate the curvature while acting as a mechanism to direct water runoff.
The third floor addition is intersected by two 42’ long skylights of mullion-less structural glass which span 6 feet between the three office modules. On the north side, a courtyard is cut into the façade and steeply slanted glazing was engineered to self-support. An aluminum storefront system was reinforced by steel to support the acute angle of the glass.
The third floor expansion was to develop a system for adding office space to the building over time. Three additional fiberglass modules are anticipated for future expansion.