Pair of buildings interact and compliment

Tuesday 24 Jun 2014

Colorado Creative Studios scheme to start on site in Santa Monica this autumn

DRDS in association with Balian Architects has created a new design for the Colorado Creative Studios in the Mixed-Use Creative District, Santa Monica. The area has been positioned as a re-development zone with a focus on creative and mixed-use program that includes creative office space, commercial retail and new residential apartments. The project is due to begin on site in autumn 2014.

The project is a 200,000 sq ft creative office development located primarily along Stewart Street and the intersection of Colorado Avenue. It is a critical juncture that acts as a gateway to a new development area and local residential neighbourhoods. The project is comprised of two buildings that are divided by an extension of Pennsylvania Avenue that sub-divides the property into two specific sites.

Building 1 (SHIFT), located along Stewart and north of Pennsylvania Avenue, is designed with a unique façade that creates ‘visual moments’ to catch the eye and break down the scale of the building. This is created by cantilevered slab edges that allow significant shifts in the architectural façade. These shifts are achieved by the project’s unique post-tensioned structural slabs allowing cantilevered façades to project as much as 7ft from the outside face of perimeter columns. This is A-typical of more conventional office building and creates a dramatic architectural presence for the project.

The shift of the curtain wall is on the upper 3 floors with the ground floor supporting a pedestrian friendly and active urban environment. The façade is an amalgamation of gray tinted, clear and slightly reflective glass. The predominate glass colour is a varying shade of gray tint. This is visually striking and creates a counter point to building 2 which is envisioned to have a glass system that is lighter and airier. By implementing this strategy, the team effectively subdues the perception of spandrel condition and softens the horizontality of the building. This also assists with sustainability goals while allowing more latitude with highlighted façade areas.

Building 2 (ICE) is designed to interact and compliment Building 1 and the surrounding community. In terms of form and scale, the building is an intermediary between the city and neighbouring buildings. On the south-west corner, the facade rises up, referencing movement and culminates in an apex that receives an approach from the south along Stewart Street. This movement also allows passers-by to view inside and interact with the internal creative offices located at that corner.

An intended cafe and the main entry are located at the north-west corner creating a dialogue with Building 1 and creating transparency that highlights these areas. The building distinguishes itself from traditional commercial buildings by being a precise sculpture rising elegantly from the plaza underneath. 8ft cantilevers allow for of dramatic projections that also create protected zones at the plaza level. 


Client: Colorado Creative Studios
Design Architect: d r d s
Executive Architect: Balian Architects

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