Atwater Canyon: an adaptive reuse project that connects different times and spaces
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Atwater Canyon: an adaptive reuse project that connects different times and spaces

A new shopping arcade in Atwater Village, Los Angeles

Formation Association

Atwater Canyon: an adaptive reuse project that connects different times and spaces
By Editorial Staff -

Formation Association approached the adaptive reuse of a former Los Angeles market by viewing the space as a kind of canyon, creating a passageway that’s partly open to the sky and dedicated to retail, restaurants, and leisure. The existing space was divided into two sections to extend the walkable and usable surfaces, and improve the visual and physical connections between the various internal and external areas. A similar approach was taken to the front and rear sections of the design – between a pedestrian zone and parking lot – which now have improved access. Located in a shopping area of the Atwater Village neighborhood of LA, the very project has been named Atwater Canyon.

Along the sidewalk, the front of the building has retained its postmodern elevation but has been enhanced with the addition of decorative work and native Californian Morning Glory climbers. The plants also extend to the roof and are visible from the street.

 

Connecting more than architectural spaces

Atwater Canyon, Formation Association ©Here And Now Agency (Paul Vu), courtesy of Formation Association

This canyon-like passageway can be seen as an extension of the front sidewalk through and out the back of the building as it passes various shop frontages and spaces along a semi-open pedestrian passageway between large windows and arches, punctuated by dark ceiling joists that underscore its geometric design. These architectural solutions further characterize this adaptive reuse project, forming the new shop windows. A very similar approach was taken for the rear entrance, which is marked by a high, quite narrow arch that offers glimpses of the interior, including the greenery and exposed ceiling joists. Natural light filters through the partially open roof and skylights, which also improve ventilation. This is most obvious in the triangular central courtyard, where light casts architectural shadows against a weathered brick wall.

The conservation of original materials and the addition of new, natural ones has created an ongoing dialogue between materials and sensibilities in an interweaving of past and present.

>>> Also read the editorial in THE PLAN 150, “Conservation and Transformation: Architecture as Memory.”

 

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Credits

Location: Los Angeles, USA
Architect: Formation Association
Buil up area: 576 m2 (6,200 sf)
Completion: 2022
Client: Rogg Partners

Consultants
Structural: Nous Engineering
Landscape: Terremoto
Signage: Still Room
MEP: Mars Engineering

Photography by Paul Vu (Here And Now Agency), courtesy of Formation Association

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