JFAK was selected to transform a property in the City of South Gate into the future home of the Russell Westbrook Academy. Founded last year by Los Angeles native and LA Lakers basketball star Russell Westbrook, the Academy, currently housed at two separate leased facilities, is dedicated to improving access to educational and outdoor opportunities for the youth and greater community of South Los Angeles. The South Gate site is currently occupied by a 50,000 SF warehouse-turned-classroom-building used by East Los Angeles College (ELAC), a Carl’s Jr. restaurant, and parking. Owned and operated by LA Promise Fund (LAPF) and supported by the Russell Westbrook Foundation, the Academy comprises both a middle school and high school. From its new home in South Gate, the Academy will expand on the educational, career support, and outdoor community opportunities it offers to local students. JFAK has commenced master planning the site and will design facilities to host a variety of new programs including a community recreation center and gym, classrooms, daycare, parking, and food service. Also being integrated are outdoor education, recreation, and dining functions. The existing Carl’s Jr. is expected to be transformed and usable by the summer of this year. The 50,000 SF warehouse, renovated to contain 37 classrooms, will open to middle and high school students in Fall 2024. Working collaboratively with LAPF, Russell Westbrook Academy, and Owner’s Representative and Project Manager Primestor Development, JFAK will assist in realizing the remaining master plan components beyond that date.
The Pio Pico Library Pocket Park and Parking Structure will consist of a public park located on-grade, at the location of the current surface parking lot that serves the Pio Pico Public Library. This area is one of the most park poor in the City, with a very dense population. The
Park is intended to serve the neighborhood and visitors to Koreatown. It will function as an outdoor extension of the Library providing reading areas and social spaces for Library patrons. The project will also include façade enhancements to the public library, which fronts directly onto the park. The library’s new façade will include a new building logo that will form a bold graphic on the building and will help to enliven the identity of the park. This much-needed new public park for Koreatown will ameliorate the neighborhood’s hard surfaces with a softened multi-purpose outdoor public space that is vibrant, colorful, and functional. It will be a space that the entire Koreatown community (and indeed, the City) can enjoy. Part plaza, part event space, part play and recreation area, Pio Pico Pocket Park will also nurture a greater understanding of biodiversity and environmental sensitivity through its design elements and embedded graphics. As such, it will provide a great venue for outdoor learning and library activities.
The new Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant (DCTWRP) Maintenance Facility will include approximately 48,000 SF on two stories. The building is divided into two programmatic volumes connected by a common roof. The volume to the south includes the warehouse on the ground floor, which provides storage space for all parts, materials, and portable tools required for the maintenance of the DCTWRP. Above it on the second floor is the facility’s main administrative wing, with three closed offices and a workroom, as well as three conference rooms that will be used to hold meetings and training sessions. Movable walls between the conference rooms will allow the three separate spaces to be combined into one large room that can accommodate over 100 people. Portable, modular furniture will make a multitude of furniture layouts possible. In addition to upgraded shops and warehouse, the new facility will house all required support functions including offices, conference rooms, library, lunchroom, locker rooms, and other programmatic elements. The facility will be LEED certified with a target of LEED Gold.
The new kindergarten classroom building at Wonderland Elementary School is a sculptural one-story building that is mostly curved in plan, presenting a soft edge towards the campus. The design builds upon the idea that “wonder” can be expressed in an architecture that is simple, sculptural, light-filled, colorful, and full of unexpected moments and spaces of discovery.
The program calls for two kindergarten classrooms, student restrooms, faculty restroom, electrical and utility room, covered walkway to provide protection from inclement weather, and storage rooms that are accessible from the exterior. Toplight, provided through skylights and solatubes, is a key component of the design. A covered walkway is integrated into the volume of the building to shelter users during rainy days. Each classroom has a special circular reading nook that is toplit and will form the basis of small-group teaching, independent reading, and other special activities. The building is designed to meet Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) sustainability measures.
The City of Anaheim’s Public Utilities Department will replace its current field office building with a new state-of-the-art facility – Crew Quarters Building, or CQB – that will establish inspiring and efficient workspace and support services for both field workers and those permanently stationed there. In addition, on a nearby property facing Vermont Avenue, a new Sustainability Education Center (SEC) will provide the community with an classroom, training, and exhibit facility that will educate the public about sustainability, available technologies, and resources, and the latest in single-family-home advancements. To address the latter, an 800 SF demonstration home will be included within the SEC that will showcase the latest affordable appliances, electronics, and materials that can be found in the typical American middle-class single family dwelling. The SEC will also include a large demonstration garden that will be used to hold outdoor classes and events and host larger-scale outdoor exhibits. The project, currently in Schematic Design, is expected to be completed by Spring 2022. It is envisioned that the SEC will attain Net Zero Energy performance, and serve as a model for other cities.
JFAK is in the first phases of designing a complete renovation of UCSD’s Main Gym and Natatorium to update it for new contemporary fitness and athletics uses, as well as for a new generation of students and users. Originally completed in 1968, the buildings are excellent examples of mid-century modern architecture, and a portion of the buildings’ façade is historically protected. The project will include approximately 65,000 SF of renovation, restoration, and seismic retrofit, and an approximately 15,000 SF addition. The project will comprise a full seismic retrofit of both buildings. It is intended to be certified LEED Silver at minimum. We’re excited to be working with the UCSD community to breathe new life into this pair of iconic buildings.
Situated in an area of the City of Palmdale planned to undergo higher-density, pedestrian-friendly development centered on a forthcoming California High Speed Rail station, the proposed 58,000 SF Palmdale SAVES Navigation Center will provide vital preventative services to those at risk of becoming homeless, as well as assist currently unhoused individuals and families by providing temporary emergency shelter. In particular, the facility will host a large new food pantry at street level that expands upon an existing food bank operated by South Antelope Valley Emergency Services (SAVES). Above, two levels of interim housing will provide the critical shelter component.
Consulting closely with housing and service providers within the Antelope Valley and across the country, and building upon the organizational framework of SAVES’ existing food pantry, JFAK empowered the new facility to serve widely varying needs of distinct demographics by, first, designing each floor to operate self-sufficiently, and second, incorporating adaptability into the spatial organization of each floor. Larger spaces are left open to allow for multiple functions to be handled within, and services are grouped together in central locations to allow all other activities to flow freely around them. This balance between fluidity and separation fosters flexibility for operators of the various on-site services.
The careful attention to functionality as well as adaptability, within a sculptural, iconic design that presents an optimistic face to the City, addresses the pressing needs of the community while acknowledging the dramatic urban transformation of which it is a critical part. The project embodies Palmdale’s commitment to ensuring that its evolving urban core is accessible and welcoming to all.
CIVIC reimagines the West LA Civic Center (WLACC), which currently houses an abandoned courthouse, outdated senior center, underutilized central plaza, and functioning library and municipal office building. The design transforms WLACC into a vibrant new mixed-use hub of residential, civic, and commercial life – and suggests what thoughtfully-designed urban living in Los Angeles might offer in the near future.
CIVIC celebrates WLACC’s mid-century modern character through balanced but dynamic and widely varied massing that responds sensitively to the surrounding context. Its overall density is moderate, but its variation allows the accommodation of increased numbers of residents and types of uses. Importantly, the corner of Corinth Ave and Santa Monica Blvd becomes a new welcome point, drawing pedestrians and visitors using mass transit into a dynamic necklace of connected and inclusive public spaces that come together to form a new “Town Square.” Taller, higher-density buildings are located along Santa Monica Blvd. Lower-density townhouses line Iowa Avenue at the south. The park and plazas of the Town Square are bordered by retail, existing library, and relocated bandstand, and are anchored at the northeast entry by a vibrant new senior center.
CIVIC’s architectural expression celebrates heterogeneity as a defining characteristic of our richly diverse and vibrant metropolis. The market-rate housing helps to subsidize the affordable and senior housing. The project, with its distributed varieties of housing and amenities, welcomes all ages, incomes, and races – and eschews privatized living in favor of interaction and community.
Cumulus suggests dynamic new possibilities for urban signage within the framework of The Sunset, a re-visioned, pedestrian-oriented retail and wellness development at Sunset Plaza. Cumulus takes the place of three existing static signage elements on The Sunset property that will be demolished, and is a sculptural steel structure holding two new static signs positioned for maximum visibility from cars traveling both east and west along Sunset Blvd. Cumulus establishes a striking silhouette in the skyline of West Hollywood and acts as a gateway connecting the contrasting physical landscapes of the City; ground with sky; and the immediacy of the pedestrian experience with the more distant, 35-mile-per-hour view. It is a technological garden in the sky.
Cumulus is placed atop The Sunset’s easternmost building. Approximately one-third of its overall surface area is planted; the remaining convex surfaces are painted to replicate nature. The two static signs are pressed into the richly three-dimensional volumes of the frame, and the concave indents that surround the signs are rendered white to offer up the highest possible contrast between billboards and frame, image and context.
Through both its form and its greenness, the frame advances the City of West Hollywood’s and The Sunset’s common mission to advance pedestrianism, connectivity, and human-centeredness – ingredients that make up a uniquely urban sustainability. As a “cloud”, it also refers to our ubiquitous information cloud. But while information technology has its pitfalls, Cumulus uses it to humanize our world by providing a whimsical spectacle to be marveled at, one that provokes wonder and perhaps even joy. Cumulus also enhances the often alienating automobile experience to be richer and more surprising.
Cumulus, in reframing the billboard atop The Sunset, defines a familiar terrain anew.
One can argue about the defining characteristics of Los Angeles; however, 3 stand out:
- its cultural creativity (most famously generated by the film industry, but also by its artists and artisans);
- its technology (as the birthplace of aerospace, as well as home to Caltech, UCLA, and USC); and finally
- its cultural diversity (more languages are spoken in metropolitan LA than in any other city in the world).
One of Los Angeles’ most visible immigrant groups is its Koreans, notable for reviving urban life in the heart of Los Angeles. This project, a new urban gateway in the center of “Koreatown”, was conceived as a marker of Korean identity as well as of the longstanding friendship between Los Angeles and South Korea. It is designed to reference Korean cultural traditions without resorting to mimicry.
The beauty and usefulness of this approach is that it speaks to many complex issues. First, it suggests the inevitability of assimilation. Second, it is inclusive, rather than exclusive, of the many ethnic peoples who live and work in Koreatown. Third, it is open to interpretation, and as neighborhood “boundaries” shift, it will remain as a celebration of urban living regardless of who lives there. Finally, its use of programmable LEDs, which can generate any sort of image, exemplifies the kind of technological innovation referenced above – which also speaks to the forces of technology and globalization that unite, rather than separate, this dynamic metropolis.