Darin Johnstone Architects

Darin Johnstone Architects

Los Angeles, CA


Art Center College of Design Fine Art + Illustration Building

The most obvious challenge posed by the charge to transform the original ‘Post Office’ building into a home for Art Center College of Design’s Fine Art and Illustration departments had to do with negotiations between the existing conditions and the program. The given program of galleries, classrooms, studios and offices filled the entire existing volume while still requiring an abundance of natural light. The existing building contained only five natural light sources: a thirty foot square skylight above a double height space in the center and double height voids in all four corners that we termed ‘light courts’. Formal galleries and circulation (conceived as informal galleries) were used to connect all the ‘light courts’ effectively carving the mass of classrooms and studios with circulation and light. The result is a gallery setting that serves as a canvas for the school’s aspiring visual artists. The central sky lit space was transformed into atrium galleries that are open to the public and featuring outside exhibits to be curated by the college. DJa was invited to do the first ever outside exhibit / installation ‘drawn out / light mass’ in the atrium galleries at 870 S Raymond. 

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Status: Built
Location: Pasadena, CA, US
Firm Role: Architect
Additional Credits: Photo Credit:
Joshua White /
© Lawrence Anderson Photography, Inc