Confluences

Winning entry for the LABC 2018 Julius Shulman Emerging Talent Scholarship Award.
Transit Oriented Community project based in La Verne, California. The proposal speculated on the future of mix-use projects in the city of La Verne parallel to its rapidly growing market and the new metro line that connects La Verne to LA.
Team: Jose Avila, Erik Valle, Ann Gutierrez

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2018 Julius Shulman Competition Presentation


LA is an ever growing city whose waves of expansion run parallel to technology, mobility and socio/cultural development. The speed at which these technologies change produces a divided development between how fast a society can adapt to change and how fast architecture and the city can catch up. With this proposal we took on the problem of designing a building that can morph and grow in line with the technological and social development of our communities. This way of designing allows architecture to not only grow alongside its community, but it embraces a projective vision of future that helps form those communities as well.

The site is at the nexus point  of five distinct zones within La Verne. The city is home to major public spaces such as the Fairplex, Puddingstone Reservoir, and the University of La Verne. With the planned addition to the Metro Gold Line, La verne will become connected with Downtown Los Angeles making it more integrated with Los Angeles than ever before. This integration with the Gold Line will create convenient connections between La Verne and its neighboring cities while reducing traffic by offering alternate means of transportation between La Verne and Downtown Los Angeles.

The site’s proximity to this nexus makes it ideal for serving the needs of any of these adjacencies. Therefore our design intent was to formulate an architecture flexible enough to accommodate current and future programmatic needs while mitigating it’s scale and density relative to its context.

Architecture has typically conceived the notion of change as a negative effect that dilutes its ability to solve the problems it faces during its design process; but with this proposal we tried to consider change as the main driving force of a building’s life. La Verne is at a moment in time where the expectation of development and change seems to be at its highest; the metro line extension proposal, as well as the influx of diverse groups of residents and businesses have set the grounds for the growth of the city. This ideology drove the premise of creating a building program that is flexible in its volumetric and spatial qualities to adapt to a changing market and demand. We have propose a micro unit typology that is not categorized into residential, retail or office space; but rather, a unit type that fluctuates. This set up the problem of mediating between the different requirements that each program type requires and producing a volume that can address all of them without devaluing the space. As a result we created a micro unit that can be aggregated within the bar typology to address a wider range of possible tenants. Alongside this, the aesthetic and accessibility aspects of the units are considered by creating a window, door and corridor type that effectively bridges the problems of private versus public within a single flexible unit. The management of the unit’s program will be informed by real time data on the market’s demands as a way of anticipating the community’s needs and allowing the building to change the program’s area percentile to develop alongside the community. In the planning of the project we aimed to create new connections and green space while maintaining the old ones.

-The most major of these is a podium which provides green space above and maintains the connection of 1st street.

-Live/ work units along the ground level are given large rolling doors to support potential small businesses bringing the street into the building and vice versa.

-On typical levels, building infrastructure is contained primarily in the walls of the corridor, allowing the interior to mutate as demands for space change over time. Plumbing, H.V.A.C, and electrical can easily be installed and removed from a space by adding and removing fixtures from one wall. This allows for instance a series of apartments to be converted into a single office space by simply removing a few walls.

This proposal is a condensed idea of the future of architecture not as solid volume, but as confluent space. We attempted not to deliver a hyper developed proposal, but rather reintroduce architecture into a forward thinking discipline that serves the dual role of representing, and elevating society and diversity.