John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects
1461 E 4th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033
213 253 4740
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c. JFAK, 2020
One of the most effective sustainable design strategies is to reuse old buildings and not sacrifice their already substantial carbon footprint. This project does exactly that, and to boot for a new facility dedicated to creating new sustainability technologies – a double win. The dark interior was opened up and illuminated with a large skylight; the long, hanging “sunshades” that blocked almost all of the building’s available light were sawed off; and the bridge that separated the building from the rest of the campus was replaced with a light-filled pavilion for casual socializing, presentations (this is a popular destination for school field trips), and receptions. This facility catalyzes innovation, and advances scientific breakthroughs through promoting interdisciplinary interaction.
The iconography inside reinforces the mission of the facility. The color palette is derived from the colors found in the visible spectrum (or rainbow), favoring the high-energy reds and yellows that new photovoltaic panels, developed in the labs, seek to corral. Reminding scientists and visitors alike of the urgency of the work being performed inside, the building’s core is clad with customized images of the rotating earth that were obtained from JPL. As one rotates around the core, so too does the view of the earth.