Chris Martin

Chris Martin

Los Angeles, CA, US


Downtown Los Angeles Recreation Center

This project creates a recreation center to service the Downtown Los Angeles community. The site is currently a parking lot surrounded by office and mixed-use buildings. Zoning regulations limit the height of this building to three stories. This recreation center will house four rock climbing gyms, one ice climbing gym, a jogging track, an administration area, and community gathering space. 


The design centers around the idea that individual programmatic elements can be linked through an overarching visual effect. 

The elements of this building are the skin and roof, jogging track, climbing towers, administration area, and the site itself. 


Material studies on forces applied to a contained group of objects led to the understanding that visual connections can be made by the latent forces. The theme of part to whole through visual representation becomes the driver for this project. 


The climbing towers set the base for this visual effect by creating a field of related elements. Each tower bulges and tucks, but it’s when they are viewed as a whole that the bulging and tucking of one tower is understood to have a visual effect on the other towers in the system. The track is affected by the bulges in the tower as it carves a path through the resultant void space. Administration areas of this building play opposition to the towers as they come together in a primitive block anchoring one end of the building. The skin and roof create one large container for the system. Louvers in the facade of the building fold close along the path of the track, tracing it on each face of the building. On the fifth facade, the roof, the louvers form apertures at the top of each climbing tower. The site takes on two relationships. A plinth rises from the ground where the building sits, ever so slightly separating it from its context.  At the entrance, lines carried down from the facade create an articulated parking lot. 


Effect serves as a method of generating relationships between parts in this project. These relationships allow the parts of the system to be read as a whole. Without any one part the effectiveness of the whole would be reduced.

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Status: School Project
Location: Los Angeles, CA, US
My Role: Student
Additional Credits: Ramiro Diaz Granados, SCI-arc