Built 1992-onward in Los Angeles by RoTo Architects, Carlson-Reges House is an inimitable masterpiece.
Its architect Michael Rotondi describes the building as if various parts piled on top each other like children construct their building piece by piece, one component supporting the other one, until the whole structure holds together. He also adds, in that building process, the form of the piece is the end result of more important goal, the idea of having the structure stand up.
In the case of Carlson-Reges House, the resultant form is quite poetic. The architect, in my reading, while choreographing the construction, holds onto ever changing concept of spatial relativities. Sometimes thought out before hand sometimes spontaneous, these are series of intellectual and material strategies.
My first inclination to call the building is “story within a story.” A good way to describe the new components inserted within an old concrete shell. However, this is not a nesting concept, as the story within freely moves in and out of the structure. This is one of the foremost spatio-structural experiences of this building where the user moves into the whole, while transiting this highly artistic amalgamation. The old and new are opposed and balanced in the same time, holding together, ends becoming beginnings, beginnings feeling like they were always there.
Another aspect of the building is felt rather than read.
In this jungle of heavy industrial steel, cut up liquid storage tanks turned into swimming pool and other invented programs and functions. The scrapped metal and other recycled materials whose industrial past lives are still apparent, the house has the meditative experience one usually associates with naked nature.
Carlson-Reges House has grown out of logistics.
The house is located next to railroad tracts in the periphery of downtown LA's industrial section, inside the artist commune known as the Brewery and across the UPS distribution center, on a cul-de-sac. Within the area where the keys to LA's next big urban development potentials are located.
It sits there, talking through a visually direct line with the image of the city, downtown skyline. Perhaps telling that the buildings aren't passive and compliant but given the chance, like the Brewery, they would participate in the re purposing our city's fabric as well as their own rebirth.