Site montage, west elevation.
You might not like it, but parking structures are an integral part of Los Angeles's urban fabric. A ubiquitous urban presence, these quasi-buildings are more than eyesores, and can be used toward more constructive purposes. That's the approach Eric Own Moss Architects (EOM) took with Pterodactyl, a two-story office space perched atop a 1999 steel-frame parking deck that, true to its name, looks like a stylized prehistoric bird.
Site montage, east elevation.
Scheduled to open in January 2014, the 20,000-square-foot Culver City office is pretty tiny when compared with the monstrous size of its host, a 178,629-square-foot 800-car garage. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in, well, guts. All those stacked and tumbling roof lines—which the uncharitable might mistake for post-disaster wreckage—actually divvy up on the interior into nine rectangular boxes. The future office tenants will be treated to orderly, at times sharp, slices of space housing conference rooms, offices, a media and production room, a lounge, a cafeteria, and a library, among other areas.
"The Pterodactyl name came from us, simply because the form, particularly the structure (much of which is visible) relates (in my head anyway) to that of a prehistoric bird about to take off from its perch on the parking garage roof," writes Moss.
The ground floor of the office. Thanks to its high perch atop a four-story structure, Pterodactyl will offer unobstructed views of the city, ocean, and Santa Monica Mountains.
Not far away in Culver City, EOM is constructing another formal building, this one much more bendy. The Waffle, which began construction in November, will house a four-story conference space behind its undulating louvered skin. When it opens this fall, conferees will be treated to a large, open conference space on the first floor, a mezzanine lounge, private meeting rooms, and an open roof deck with a view of something called the Cactus Tower!
The Cactus Tower (foreground) functions as an urban garden and focal point for the Waffle (background). A renovated warehouse adjoins the two.
The Cactus Tower is a 60-year-old steel-frame structure that once held an industrial press. With the removal of the press and the sheet-metal cladding, the steel frame remains. The architects added five steel trusses made from steel pots, creating a soaring, 30-foot stand of cacti and possibly the lowest-maintenance vertical garden one could ask for.
All images courtesy of Eric Owen Moss Architects