critic: Erich SHOENENBERGER
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project:
Circuit Architecture (Fajer AlQATTAN, John TORPY, & Victor NUNEZ): This project expands the function of standard car showroom and creates a facility that not only provides space for the display and sales of automobiles, but also serves as an educational tool to create awareness of Hydrogen Fuel Cell (HFC) cars.
The interweaving of pedestrian circulation with an interior vehicle test track creates a dynamic and interactive exhibit of HFC vehicles. These “circuits” provide a logical means for filtering pedestrians into the building at ground level and also form the conceptual basis for the building’s form.
Due to the building’s unique location on the Santa Monica Bay, exterior “strips” construct a louver system that allows for natural ventilation from the ocean breeze. This reduces the need for mechanical systems to where they are only needed in private spaces. The strips are manipulated to create a structural truss system and control the visualization of some areas. A central atrium visually connects the pedestrians and vehicles throughout the facility and emphasizes the fluidity of the building’s form.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
FA, JT, & VN: The location of this project became very influential to our design approach. Since this is a region in which the dominant means of transportation is the car, it was our intent that the architecture reflects both the automotive culture of the locale as well as the product being showcased.
To develop this automotive theme, we began by completing a series of studies examining a variety of production and concept cars. After researching different types of energy systems, we decided to use hydrogen fuel cells as the basis for our project development. We also looked very closely at modern automobile design, paying particular attention to the creasing, folding, and panelizing of the vehicle exteriors.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
FA: Listening to Thievery Corporation, Justin Timberlake, and Frank Sinatra.
JT: Listening to Finley Quaye, Gary Clark Jr., The Black Keys, and Daft Punk.
VN: Reading The Power of Habit by Charles Douhigg, listening to The Black Keys, and watching The Walking Dead.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
FA: UNStudio, Weiss/ Manfredi, West 8.
JT: Shigeru Ban, UNStudio.
VN: Grimshaw Architects, Snohetta.
Additional credits and links:
Erich Schoenenberger (Design Professor)
Hart Marlow (Digital Assistant)
Andrew Kroll (Teaching Assistant)