Bergamot Station, an internationally known art center is comprised of a series of industrial buildings converted into 45 art galleries including the recently opened Santa Monica Museum of Art. The program includes a ground level studio/gallery space with three artist live/work loft spaces above.
The fundamental challenge in this project was determining how to maintain continuity and coherence with the character of the existing industrial warehouse buildings at Bergamot Station without compromising formal and material experimentation and innovation. Thus, this project evolved as a carefully considered response to its context: a primary palette of materials was established with regard to the existing industrial materials at the site. Corrugated metal, steel and glass blend in with the surrounding context while cold rolled steel and translucent lexan panels create moments of distinction in the details of the building that set it apart and help establish its idiosyncratic identity. The building takes advantage of its unique siting amongst the industrial landscape. Nestled in between existing warehouse buildings on a narrow site, the facade facing the interior of the site unfolds itself gracefully along a canted corrugated metal plane that extends itself into the residual space produced by the adjacent buildings. The facade is further animated by window boxes and planes articulated as volumes unto themselves, which push and pull from the facades primary folds. The formal geometries and material richness of this facade have a dynamic effect on the leftover space-turning what was once experienced as in between and perhaps undefined space into one that now flourishes as a kind of courtyard or piazza for itself and the surrounding buildings. In fact, this residual space is now often used to host outdoor receptions and special events.