The design concept for the Stealth originated with a requirement for the excavation and removal of toxic earth on the west street front of the formerly industrial site. One of three contiguous warehouse structures, forming a single working space, was demolished to provide ground access to the area where the polluted soil was to be removed. A concrete block wall was constructed to enclose the two remaining warehouses on the east, and the Stealth was constructed to the west, against the new wall. A portion of the excavated area, underneath the overhanging new structure was re-graded, and landscaped forming a sunken garden and meeting space, six feet below the sidewalk elevation.
The north end of the original warehouse that adjoins the new structure was designed as a performance and meeting area for the tenant, Ogilvy. The stage is enclosed by a movable wall of steel doors which opens to the new garden. The stage can seat 150, the garden, 600, for a theatre-in-the-round performance. The new block wall that separates the old warehouses from the new building has two primary openings: the north aperture forms the theater proscenium which holds the sliding steel doors; the south opening admits vehicular traffic, which passes through the wall on the way to a parking area at the rear of the site.
The new structure itself has a three-sided north end elevation, and a four sided south elevation. Over its 100 meter length, the building section transforms, changing its interior and exterior shape continuously as it moves from the triangle end to the square or the square end to the triangle. The building was intended to be divided among three tenants. Ogilvy occupies the ground floor theatre, with the stage positioned in the old warehouse, and the audience seating, outside, under the long span truss portion of the new structure. There are two full floors, lifted in the air, on the south end of the building, useable by one or two tenants. The steel frame structure approximates a plan grid on the south, facilitating a simple organization of tenant space on the two floors. The building center holds a glazed, elevator lobby on the ground floor, and open decks and bathrooms on floors two and three. The painted steel bathrooms and related mechanical equipment structures on the decks were prefabricated off the site and craned into place. Visitors enter the lobby at grade, and proceed up the elevator to open pedestrian walks on two and three, and then move either north or south into the tenant spaces. The north end, also designed for a single tenant, contains the second floor and a mezzanine above that opens to floor two below.
The bold geometric form and visible transition in section from a square to a triangle, appealed to the creative advertising agency that occupies this ofﬁce building. The tenants felt that the building and the high visibility resulting from its prominent raised location reﬂected their own ethos of creativity and innovation. As a “gateway” to the campus-like cluster of buildings and landscape by EOM, the building announces to the world that something important and unique lies within.
Three existing warehouses in an old industrial area of Culver City, that at the time was largely derelict and unoccupied, were converted to ofﬁces that would attract a new type of tenant who was less interested in the usual amenities of commercial space, such as a downtown location or conservative building type, and more interested in the technical infrastructure of the building and a stimulating work environment. In the warehouse closest to the street, chemicals used by a former tenant had leaked out over a number of years and contaminated the soil. The ﬁrst warehouse was demolished in order to gain access to the substandard earth. That earth was removed, leaving an enormous cavity. Rather than ﬁlling the hole, it was reshaped to form a large outdoor theatre/garden with seating for 600.
48,000 square feet
Business Week/Architectural Record (BW/AR) Awards, 2003
33rd Los Angeles Architectural Awards, 2003
CC/AIA Design Honor Award, 2002
Westside Urban Forum, 2002
AIA/LA Design Award, 2001
Los Angeles Business Council Design Award, 2001