John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects (JFAK)

John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects (JFAK)

Los Angeles, CA


LA Design Center

Part of a four-phase master plan, this project involved the transformation of two derelict warehouses in South Los Angeles (formerly called South Central) into the first phase of a new showroom district whose purpose is to serve the area’s many furniture manufacturers. The project also includes venues for cultural events. It contributes to the economic renewal of this historically overlooked neighborhood with 20,000 square feet of exterior event space and 80,000 square feet of flexible interior space.

Off-the-shelf materials such as concrete, polycarbonate, cement board, fabric, ordinary lumber, as well as small amounts of stainless steel and zinc sheet metal, were selected for their low cost, ease of construction, industrial nature, and inherent beauty. The building’s interiors were sandblasted to bring back the warmth of the existing wood and masonry structures.

The main exterior space between the two buildings serves as the social center of the project and can be used as an ordinary parking lot, a combination “people-car” space (its most common function), or a large event space. Several events, including the 2005 Los Angeles Chapter AIA Gala, have encouraged many Angelenos to visit a neighborhood they have never been to before.


  • 2007 The Bruner Foundation Rudy Bruner Silver Medal for Urban Excellence
  • 2006 AIA/Los Angeles Decade Award
  • 2005 AIA California Council Merit Award
  • 2004 AIA National Institute Honor Award
  • 2004 The Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award
  • 2004 AIA/Los Angeles Honor Award
  • 2003 Westside Urban Forum Westside Prize
  • 2002 Los Angeles Business Council: Los Angeles Architectural Award of Excellence

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Status: Built
Location: Los Angeles, CA, US
Firm Role: Architect
Additional Credits: Principal-in-Charge: John Friedman
Project Team: Alice Kimm, Dan Brunn
Structural Engineers: Mackintosh & Mackintosh (building); Franceschi Engineering, Inc. (gates); William Koh and Associates, Inc. (monument sign)
Electrical Engineer: Pacific Engineers Group
Landscape Architect: Orange Street Studio
Graphic Design: Garza Group Communications, Inc.
General Contractor: Brunswick Builders
Photography: Fotoworks