OMA's fashionable design for Prada in Beverley Hills
In the late 1990s, as part of its strategy to protect brand image, Prada, the international fashion house based in Milan, Italy, began to rethink the traditional design format of its retail stores.
The new strategy breaks from the traditional store model in a shift towards technologically innovative shopping spaces called epicenters.
Following our collaboration on the Manhattan store, this second epicenter in Beverly Hills is a welcome opportunity for Arup to offer structural, mechanical, electrical, and public health services to achieve the architect’s vision.
Defining features include a ‘disappearing’ facade, dressing rooms made from PDLC (Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystals) glass, specially cast sponge walls, and a glass roof.
Constructing an all-glass pitched roof required careful consideration. Its totally exposed structure has to work with the architectural, mechanical, and electrical aspects of the building.
Our solution was a series of exposed tube steel frames spanning the entire width of the building that also provide a seismic-resistant diaphragm for the roof, a mounting surface for thelighting fixtures and some internal shading.
A particularly important architectural element was the innovative ‘disappearing’ wall on the ground floor. It consists of an aluminium cladded lift wall that drops into the basement when the store is open.
It was necessary to control energy loss from the opening in the winter and to provide a comfortable environment in the summer.
The solution was a large-scale air curtain. It provides filtered, unconditioned air when the outside temperature is greater than 65°F and uses spare building heating capacity to temper the air curtain supply air to 65°F when it is cold.