The Little Tokyo Hotel and Theater is a new multipurpose cultural center in downtown Los Angeles. The project brings a contemporary venue for live performance, retail, open public space and hotel accommodations in the busy Little Tokyo district.
The project uses generative computational techniques in conjunction with coloration, patterning and color shifts to conceal and distort perceptions of volumes and surfaces. Scripting is first employed to redefine single surface geometry with densely packed spheres. The original edges become softened and the surface area is redefined in a lumpy, almost whimsical manner. The coloration is then derived through attractor based scripting, with a desire for rapid color shifts as opposed to gradual color gradation.
The result is a visually engaging, colorful and voluptuous skin that encases the theater and creates a large central atrium in the hotel.
The building houses several retail spaces and a cafe on the ground floor as well as the hotel lobby and an art gallery space. Level 14 contains a pool and spa area with deep pool floors that create the ceiling of the restaurant and lounge area beneath. Parking for the complex is located below ground.
As seen in the elevations, a contour pattern of the sphere packing extends from the building skin onto the hotel glass. It encourages multiple readings of the project by presenting the shift between two-dimensional and three-dimensional patterning. The fritted glass pattern allows ample light to enter the hotel rooms and office spaces.
The glass frit pattern is derived from the contours of the colorful composite panels and is a two dimensional representation of the sphere packing. The pattern is applied to the unfolded glass elevations, creating a continuous design that wraps around the building edges from one facade to the next. As the legibility of what the skin is concealing is loosened, the reading of mass, volume and surface becomes harder to distinguish.
The exterior skin is fabricated using individual composite fiberglass and foam shells that are milled, molded and painted off-site. The building’s primary structure is a steel truss and wide flange beam system that divides the building into an x and y grid. A steel decking and waterproofing layer is then installed, weatherproofing the building. Glazing and concrete floor slabs are also put in place. The secondary structural steel tubing system then attaches to the primary structure, creating an outline of the composite panel edges. The composite panels are then lifted and clipped into place.
Status: School Project
Location: Los Angeles, CA, US
Additional Credits: Design: Yi-Hsin Lin, Jason Orbe-Smith
Design Development: Crystal Chum, Yi-Hsin Lin, Jason Orbe-Smith, Wisarut Wattanachote
Advisor: Tom Wiscombe
SCI-Arc, 2GAX Studio, Spring 2011