Lower 4th Street Pedestrianization

Sustainable systems project at The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), instructo Jamey Lyzun, 2015

with Miwa Espinoza Sunaga, Deborah Garcia, Suhan Na and Soohyun Park

Using large canopies to visually unite the streets connecting the school's various buildings, this scheme proposes a formal strategy that can accommodate numerous performative demands of architecture, from shading to wayfinding and placemaking.

This project speculates on a masterplan for the extension of the campus for the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). Programmatically, the plan calls for an expansion of roughly 72,000 square feet, divided between two existing buildings on site. Particular emphasis is placed on the ecological responses of the building with its Los Angeles context.

Site Ecology as Building Parameter

Rather than formally molding a scheme to match regulatory demands such as LEED, this project presupposes a kind of design guidance which might exist inherently in any site or context. Beyond cliché green design tactics which project unrealistic expectations such as green roofs onto inappropriate sites, this is an approach which takes into account the inherent limitations of its surroundings.

Entering beneath the canopies, a large amount of diffuse light is allowed to permeate the courtyard while blocking harsh direct light. A visual motif of thin, banded shadows bathes the courtyard, giving the place a distinct identity and unifying the disperate buildings of the campus into a coherent block.

In doing so, we can highlight specific architectural responses that speak to chosen factors of ecological engagement in order to lessen the impact of the building and its masterplan on the environment.

These tactics include deep consideration of orientation and sun exposure, facilitating a series of direct architectural responses in the forms of double skins, air shafts and calibrated apertures.

Pedestrianization Scheme

On the exterior, the project purposes a pedestrianization of an otherwise unnecessary cross street. Slight redirections in traffic actually streamline the experience of driving through the neighborhood and allow the creation of a large, public plaza spanning the distance between the two buildings.

Covered by a series of variably shaped fins, this becomes an enhanced public space that entices connection between institution and public.