Tumbling into tomorrow

Nick Myall
Wednesday 20 Jan 2016

The Pterodactyl is the final imaginative phase of the Wedgewood Holly office buildings in Los Angeles

Designed by Eric Owen Moss Architects, The Pterodactyl is an office building for an advertising agency atop a parking garage in a complex of new and remodelled buildings in Culver City, Los Angeles in the USA. The perceived relationship of the two uses from the primary west elevation emphasises the office building presence and minimizes the visibility of the parking garage.

The four-storey parking garage that serves as the Pterodactyl's podium predates it, but was built to withstand the load of an upward expansion. Completed in 2015, Pterodactyl stands on top, but also cantilevers out front of the parking structure, reducing neighbours' sight of the banal and furthering the sense that something uncommon is at work here.

Despite its tumbling-blocks appearance, the building's main level has a simple rectilinear interior. It has an open floor plan suited to contemporary office layouts, and much of its glass front is two stories high, providing an appealingly day-lit setting that a look at the exterior might not suggest. Above it is a level where the roof's angular contours create some private and semi-private spaces.

Setting the 16,000 sq ft building atop a four-storey parking garage provided a unique piece of the project's sustainability strategy.

Buildings in the area are three floors or less, so the office building on the roof affords spectacular views of the entire city from downtown to the Santa Monica Mountains to the Westside of Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean.

Because it is above many of the neighbouring buildings, the west-facing main facade is exposed to sea breezes for passive cooling. Most glazing faces north, and south-facing sections are covered in standing-seam metal panels that reflect the hot sun away from the building.

The building was selected by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) as a recipient of the 2016 Institute Honor Awards.

Nick Myall

News Editor

Key Facts:

United States
Commercial Offices

Want to submit your project to World Architecture News?

Contact The Team