In 2014, KDA was selected by the City of LA to develop and design a new recreation center to replace an deteriorating gymnasium on the same site. The original rec center, a large manor hall with a vast fireplace, first served as a community gathering space. In the 1960’s the city removed the fireplace and installed a substandard basketball court; although the court was not regulation-sized, the recreation center has an established basketball legacy, counting professional players Nick Young and Cedric Ceballos among its alumni.
The neighborhood surrounding the recreation center is a microcosm of Los Angeles, centered amongst diverse social groups and housing types. This heterogenous quality to the area’s urban fabric led to a lengthy public process; it took two years to build a consensus for the project’s final direction.
The site, an attenuated triangle bounded by busy traffic on Robertson Boulevard, presented limited opportunities for the large rectangular volume of a basketball court, and the surrounding perimeter of mature Melaleuca trees further limited planning options. To engage with the rhythm of the existing landscape, the building's exterior walls weave at the dripline of the trees to form a ribbon, thereby stabilizing the structure in a manner similar to the famous serpentine walls at the University of Virginia. The project is organized around a regulation basketball court with supplementary meeting spaces filling the edges of the irregular site.