This recently opened Equinox club is prominently located in the in the 8-story, 363,000 SF (33,724 square meters) One Culver building within the heart of Downtown Culver City. A pedestrian scaled urban context surrounds this 1980’s mid-rise building which was recently transformed into a mixed-use destination that formerly served as the HQ office of Sony Pictures. The former the Sony Pictures Plaza was designed by Los Angeles-based architect Maxwell Starkman in 1986. The design concept of this luxury fitness club was inspired with the site’s unique location and lineage in the creative entertainment hub of LA.
The presence of the club has three unique exterior frontages on the first level, each with distinct urban characteristics: street, urban café, and main entry. The façade is defined by the concept of “iconic portals” identified by the qualities of three street frontages: Washington Boulevard, Madison Avenue and the entry circle drive. The Washington Boulevard portal frames the expansive group fitness studio while integrating a composition of cementitious panels, custom formed concrete fins and glass within an exposed ½” (12.7mm) thick steel plate frame. To further accentuate the form of the steel portal, a pronounced steel ‘C-channel’ profile detail defines the bold orthogonal architectural expression. When driving on Washington Boulevard, the vertical sculpted concrete fins engage a visual motion and movement inspired by the location’s historic roots as a film and entertainment industry city. The sculpted concrete fins are custom cast GFRC which were prefabricated and installed into the steel flanges within the steel portal. Each steel plate portal is structurally designed as a cantilever from the building envelope that seemingly floats above the ground plane and create a purposeful contrast and juxtaposition from the existing building. The lighting design was carefully integrated to enhance the various layers of the façade design through introduction of a shallow recessed linear LED fixture on the top and base of the portal to wash the surface of the ‘fibreC’, glassfibre reinforced concrete panels and the GRFC concrete fins.
The Madison Street façade engages to the property’s landscaped terraces which celebrates the outdoor and indoor connectivity activated by the health café and urban garden. The main entry, designed with a more intimate and human scale, is defined with a pivoted corner and a custom steel door and wood inlay. The façade is designed to boldly penetrate into the interior main entry and elegantly integrate the portals expressed on the exterior into the main lobby.
The 30,490 SF (2,832 square meters) club anchors the entry experience by blending the café, retail boutique, and the membership concierge with a sculptural stair wrapped in 1/2" (12.7mm) steel plate enclosure that leads to the second level. The second level of the club connects a luxe lounge with the viewing deck of the Sony Pictures Studio, linking private entries to the lockers, shower and steam sauna and spa suite. Playful details of precision-cut vertical white marble slabs and steel plates create bold and textured entrance portals into the locker suite. A palette of a contrasting pair of rich stained oak and naturally veined Brazilian stone slabs are curated with blackened steel and bronze metal bespoke details. Carved beneath the sculptural steel stair is an intimate tech lounge with an integrated leather upholstered niche. An artfully fabricated 8” (203 mm) diameter custom glass tube and 1/2" (12.7mm) diameter steel rod screen offers privacy in the lounge while offering openness and connectivity to the main axis of the club, leading to the open fitness area. The minimal white ceiling plane that floats above the open fitness equipment playfully folds up, mimicking the sculpted fin angles, toward the portal view of the urban streets environs. The open fitness floor connects the group fitness studios and a framed view out to the tree-lined streets of Downtown Culver City.
This luxe fitness club is in the final stages of WELL certification and distinguished as a pilot project for Fitness for the WELL by the International WELL Building Institute. The iconic steel portal showcasing the sculptural precast concrete crafts a bold architectural identity as a contrast to the existing building and redefines the benchmark of luxury health and wellness spaces. This luxury fitness club makes a bold presence in the buzzing creative hub of Culver City and celebrates an elegant integration of interiors with the exterior design.
RDC is a full-service architectural design firm headquartered in downtown Long Beach, CA, USA. RDC has over 160 architects with offices in Long Beach, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Rogers, San Diego and Shanghai. RDC is a design collaborative, with over 40 years in practice, dedicated to inventive solutions that transform the constraints of each project into the design trajectory. RDC is an award-winning, industry leader who invests in a collaborative approach that results in architecture that is of enduring value to the partnership with their clients and their communities. RDC’s expertise and innovative culture is drawn from the diverse collegial atmosphere of our specialization in brand understanding, retail, store planning, interiors, hospitality, wellness and entertainment design. RDC leverages a multidisciplinary approach from start to finish and are committed to responsibly and positively impact the built environment as ambassadors of sustainability innovation.
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