As the place in which the transition from driver to pedestrian occurs, the 409,000-square-foot LA Garage is a nexus of activity for people arriving on campus. “Coming to the table with no precon-ceived ideas helped make innovation happen,” notes Jeff Yrazabal, Principal-in-charge of the SRG Partnership. The design breaks up the typical parking structure mass, providing opportunities for daylight and creating a “wow” space in between: a public covered courtyard carved into the center of the building that encourages chance encounters, casual gatherings, and collaboration.
Surrounded by three sides of backlit glass showing iconic Olympic athletes, the courtyard faces the campus daycare center. Employees and their children can experience playful elements incorporated into the design such as a slide into the courtyard, rubberized pyramids, a balance beam and a run-ning track. Furthermore, bikes are provided in the courtyard to easily connect people in the space to the campus. “This is a place where people are introduced to the campus for the first time,” notes Yrazabal. “It’s where employees start and end each day, so that experience needs to be something special…not only in the parking structure but in all the outdoor areas and spaces between the build-ings.”
The LA Garage neither looks nor feels like a garage. “This is the place where people are introduced to the campus for the first time,” notes Yrazabal. “The concept was that rather than having a large, massive structure, we’d start to pull the structure apart into smaller scale buildings to create oppor-tunities to penetrate the building with natural light. Doing so created all these great spaces in be-tween. We brainstormed to find ways and moments where we could break down the scale of the building and focus on the whole aspect of movement and experience…to create something special. That opened the building up to functioning as a venue for special events, a way to create spaces that they don’t have on campus right now. The result is a place where you can have hundreds of people meet, gather, and celebrate. It’s an added value that the parking structure brings to the cam-pus at a larger scale.”
Embodying the theme of movement, which is key to the client’s design culture, exterior walls are canted and tilted to give the elaborate building skin of perforated metal panel and glass a dynamic quality while concealing the cars within. Aligning the panels in a pattern along a diagonal grid cre-ates a sense of leaning, making the building appear ready to spring forward. Layering of the façade elements provides both natural ventilation and adds to the garage’s dynamism. “The undulations and the materials definitely have an edginess to them, but the massing is for ventilation.” Yrazabal adds. “The result has authenticity because the edgy architecture is meaningful and is done in the name of performance.” The theme of movement also inspired the site design, which integrates sports and functional program elements that celebrate interaction, activity, fitness, and a healthy lifestyle.
Wayfinding is expressed in orange circulation elements for cars and people which reference the ex-ternal orange massing reveals. Pronounced entrances act like portals to create a holistic experience of entering, circulating, and exiting the garage. Maximizing this space housing 1,130 cars with safe-ty and efficiency, walkways separate pedestrians from drivers and guide those on foot to the court-yard. Each level is themed with supergraphics and colors for a different Los Angeles sports team, reinforcing the overall concept and making wayfinding an easier and more memorable experience.
Text provided by Architect