FIRM: standard llp architecture
PRINCIPALS: jeffrey allsbrook (aia, ncarb, leed, ap), silvia kuhle (aia, ncarb, leed, ap)
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: office of gordon polon
TEAM: evan shieh (job captain), greg corso, daniel dunham
ROLE: design development, construction documents, construction administration

YEAR: post-graduate
OPENING DATE: may, 2013
DESIGN LENGTH: three (3) months
CONSTRUCTION LENGTH: five (5) months

PROJECT SITE: 1201 s. la brea ave, los angeles
PROGRAM: art galleries, james turrell skyspace, offices
How do you design an ideal space for art? How do you design an environment that, rather than competing with the art, has such integrity that it can be reinvented by every new art installation - without losing its fundamental essence?

For Standard, these questions provide an ideal forum in which to pursue our interest in designing minimal environments - environments in which the architecture provides an armature for spatial experience without self-consciously drawing attention to itself. For Kayne Griffin Corcoran’s new exhibition space we endeavored to create architecture in its most elemental form – spaces, or envelopes, composed from a careful study of proportion, light and material. Spaces in which every detail had to be considered so as to vanish – to allow the art to take center stage, rather than the architecture. Our desire is to create environments that enable a dialogue between the art and architecture, offering nuanced experiences from one space to the next that are informed by the particular qualities of each space and the art that inhabits it.

The architectural design of the gallery transforms a typical bow-string truss warehouse into a museum-like gallery space, and the project incorporates the permanent site-specific work of artist James Turrell. In addition to a skyspace with a retractable roof, the skylights of the galleries are backlit with programmable LED lighting that can transform the space with color. The effect is somewhat similar to the upcoming Turrell installation at the New York Guggenheim.

The organization of the new exhibition space follows the rhythm of the former industrial building's existing structural system – a series of four trusses that support the roof, around which we created a sequence of galleries, supporting service spaces. Ceiling heights are maximized at the bottom cords of the trusses; pyramidal coffers with skylights reaching a height of 25 feet animate the main gallery. The result is a seamless integration of art and architecture, where light and sky are focused by the architecture in concert with Turrell’s masterful installations.

At Kayne Griffin Corcoran, the architecture provides prologue to the artistic experience. Through careful manipulations of proportion, light and material, the architecture shifts the context from everyday place to one in which the viewer is afforded the space and frame from which to be in direct relationship with the art and artist. Our intent was to create a space strong enough to stand on its own yet one that is stronger and more complete when in dialogue with the artistic vision and voices of others.

(back to the top)