Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of AECCafe.com, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.
Cactus Tower in Culver City, California by Eric Owen Moss Architects
July 2nd, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: Eric Owen Moss Architects
Where We Started
Samantha Hart, owner of Foundation Content, a Chicago-based media, production, and graphic design company expands to Los Angeles, and rents a 30,000 square foot warehouse.
Existing walls are poured concrete. Existing roof structure is a sequence of wood bow string trusses. The building was originally used for light manufacturing, and was constructed in the 1940’s. A large steel frame, enclosed with corrugated metal, 50 feet high, located just outside the warehouse, once housed an industrial press. The tower is now vacant.
The Cactus Tower/The Cactus Truss
The old industrial press tower is stripped, revealing a ramshackle steel support structure, and a supporting concrete block wall. The intention is to use the existing structure to position an outdoor meeting and gathering area. The steel frame is re-engineered, and the block wall repaired.
A new “green structure” is installed mid-way up the tower, providing a canopy/pavilion that defines a space for outdoor work and relaxation. This new structure is composed of 28 steel pots, each holding sufficient earth for a single, Mexican Fence Post Cactus (Lemaireocereus Marginatus). The pots are positioned in six parallel lines of pots, running east-west. Each pot-line is a linear sequence of five cacti, and a new structural truss spanning from one edge of the original steel structure to the other.
The pots are compression struts, five per truss, serving as the vertical chords of the five new trusses that compose the garden. The top chord of each new truss is an 8 inch steel “T”, the bottom chord is a steel cable. Each pot is slotted from below, and the depth of each slotted pot varies as a function of the position of each pot in the truss sequence. The slots follow the line of the bottom chord/cable from one end of the structure to the other. Perimeter pots have the deepest slots; centrally positioned pots, the least. Irrigation lines and lights, unseen from below, are located on the top chord “T’s”. A ladder leading to the cacti is provided for maintenance.
In the center of the Cactus Tower, two pots are omitted from the sequence to allow for the penetration of the afternoon sun to the meeting area floor. As a consequence of its height, the Cactus Tower is seen from long distance, a symbol of drought tolerant greenery on the West Los Angeles skyline. The Cactus Tower is the result of combining an environmental advocacy position, an outdoor space, and a new truss typology. The Cactus Tower will serve as a logo and a conceptual model for the sort of production work to be delivered by Foundation Content.
Production Studio and Support Facilities
A large new, multi-purpose production studio, constructed of metal studs and drywall, tightly wrapped with acoustic fabric is designed and constructed within the 30,000 square foot shell. The production facility is surrounded by a variety of open and closed conference facilities, private offices, post-production venues, and eating and relaxation accommodations. Three glass roll up doors are installed on the perimeter walls of the existing concrete shell, opening to the Cactus Tower just outside.
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