A sight for sore eyes

Tuesday 25 Oct 2011

Innovative design transforms utilitarian building into civic symbol and certified sustainable structure

The design of the 300,000 sq ft parking structure establishes a strong presence within a cluster of prominent buildings in Santa Monica's Civic Center. The project also exemplifies the city's commitment to sustainable design whilst strengthening the urban fabric and providing public amenities.

Completed in June 2007, one of the challenges was to create architecture out of a common building type — one that is not generally associated with high design standards. The design transforms this standard service amenity by viewing it from a fresh perspective and taking it to a higher level where it can have a positive influence on its surroundings.

Beyond the primary purpose of providing parking spaces, the structure offers a visually memorable arrival point and gateway to the new Civic Center, street-level retail and café amenities, spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and the city, a garden and a sense of personal safety.

Pre-cast white, ribbed concrete panels are set in a rhythmic, variegated pattern on all façades, capturing and enhancing the rich play of shadows provided by the brilliant sunlight whilst screening the presence of parked cars. A series of bays made of channeled coloured glass breaks down the scale of the structure and is set at varying sizes and angles to bring a light, luminous and ever-changing quality to the building.

As the bays are lit up in the evening, their glow appears as a shimmering curtain. Photovoltaic panels on the roof provide most of the building's energy needs. The project's innovative architecture and urban design transform a utilitarian building type into an iconic civic symbol, while achieving one of the first LEED-certified sustainable parking structures in the U.S.

Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team
  • Town Planning Manager | Housebuilder in Surrey | 3+ years' PQE

    Are you a Town Planner with some commercial experience under your belt (consultancy or developer)? Would you like to work for a regional housebuild...
    • Lewis Davey
    • Surrey - near M25/M23 junction
  • Principal Planning Consultant (Policy)

    This is a career opportunity for somebody looking to play a key role in the delivery of an effective and efficient planning policy service.
    • Capita
    • Manchester/Salford (North West) or Breckland or North Tyneside or Barnet (North London)
  • Planning Officers

    Work as key members of the Councils development management service providing pre-application advice, dealing with applications and appeals.
    • Chiltern and South Bucks Council
    • Amersham, Buckinghamshire
  • Enforcement Officer - Hertfordshire

    A Local Authority in Hertfordshire are looking for an Enforcement Officer to assist them with a backlog of cases for an initial contract of 3-6 months
    • Oyster Partnership
    • Hertfordshire
  • Planning Officer

    Do you want to work for a Planning Authority in a superb world-class location, that also has an outstanding record of achievement?
    • Plymouth City Council
    • Plymouth, Devon