The project’s legal status as a renovation of an existing structure placed unique restrictions upon the scope of work and the inflections within the facade’s surface.
An existing steel column grid left from a previous renovation, pre-determined floor-to-floor heights, and areas of existing stucco exterior walls from the original building provided opportunities for playful exchanges and guided the development of the design.
Based on a radical geometric contextualism, our concept for the 8746 Sunset Blvd attempts to produce an architecture of subtle sensations by inducing a physical and optical dynamism that both challenge and enhance the movement of the body. The formal logic of the facade is the outcome of a productive negotiation between geometric operations governed by the column grid of the existing building and driven by spatial conditions allowed by the singularity of the adjacent context.
The spatial performance of the boutique is based on various forms of inflections. The bending effect of two reciprocally ruled surfaces: the façade that bends inside up and the pliant stair that bends outside down, create a magnetic field that gravitates towards the interior. By means of local inflections such as horizontal aperture gills which span along the front of the store, the bending façade allows the dynamics sensation of pedestrian activity on the sidewalk and nearby strip.
Glossy and Pliant Surfaces
Conceptually, the design references the hard ridges, the pliant, locally responsive surfaces, and the clean, concealed seams, which typify automotive fabrication. Every effort was made to minimize the intrusion of connection details on the outer surface by allowing the structure and hardware of the façade to be recessed behind the surface’s ribbon-like seams. Doing so ensures that the formally monolithic and plastically polished integrity of the façade is not compromised by secondary elements.
Collaboration and Material Innovation
The material and structural expertise of 3Form was an essential part of the design development process, acting as feedback for the continued development of the storefront facade. A series of full-scale prototypes were developed and fabricated within the design process and PATTERNS supplied 3Form with the surface aesthetics and geometric information needed. Developing a set of custom details which would carry and seal the finished façade, as well as our interest in both, a reflectively glossy and viscously translucent surface.
The final material solution for the facade involves 3/8” polycarbonate panels, which would be extruded in a single pull, as opposed to the layered composite makeup of the Eco-Resin panels. Color and translucence are still entirely controlled by designer input. Molds for twisting panels will be CNC milled and polycarbonate panels will be heat formed over them at 3Form’s fabrication facility.
With the Polycarbonate panels, waterproofing and thermal expansion/contraction issues are taken up by hardware at the face of the panels, freeing the facade from any substrate or exterior wall. This has allowed the design evolution to include new translucence and lighting effects; which will help the project react to the neighborhood’s daytime and nighttime conditions.