West Hollywood, CA

In 1966 Edward Ruscha published a photolithographic book documenting, in the most banal sense possible, the ordinary architecture in Every Building on the Sunset Strip. Beyond its commentary on the mundane, accustomed Los Angeles vernacular through a maniacally redundant task of photographing each building, it further allows the surveyor an opportunity to understand and extract patterns of building typologies appearing and reappearing across the city.

Every Angelino, though maybe unaware, is well acquainted with the under designed, over built corner strip mall typology. Built several decades ago, these ubiquitous structures are primed for redevelopment. Gentrification, whether good or bad, has decreased the need for strip mall retail and increased the demand for design conscious creative office space.

We have focused, for this study, on a portion of Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood where the ubiquity of this building typology is overwhelming. We designed around the idea of retaining 40 percent of the existing retail clients while repurposing the second floor with creative offices. While we are not opposed to the vernacular, we do not subscribe to the paradoxical notion that the common, everyday architecture cannot be well designed.

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