Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of AECCafe.com, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.
Virgin Megastore in California by MARK DZIEWULSKI ARCHITECT
October 3rd, 2013 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: MARK DZIEWULSKI ARCHITECT
This project strives to provide a rigorous design for a building type that is sometimes overlooked by serious architectural investigation. It is the first purpose-built structure for the international music retailer, Virgin Records, who needed a strong identifiable architectural image to provide them with a clearly recognizable landmark within the existing urban context. The challenge was to provide them with the dramatic impact they needed whilst overcoming the limitations of a site with a very narrow frontage.
The solution was to extend the second floor, as a dramatic steel and glass sculptural form, over the roof of the neighboring buildings. This doubles the perceived scale. The sweeping curve of the three-dimensional form and structural references represent the graceful solution to the complex engineering problems involved.
The massing and exposed steel structure are a direct expression of this solution and establish an architectural vocabulary that continues throughout. The dynamic sculptural form appears to spring from the neighbors’ roofs, providing a sense of drama and theatricality whilst adding movement and vitality. The rear of the building re-interprets this form and motion in a more abstract volumetric composition.
The signage is carefully incorporated to become an essential part of the design: adding or subtracting any element would disrupt the proportion and balance of the whole.
Environmental control was an important factor. The harsh summer climate led to the use of several innovative systems including: independent venting for the storefront displays, a metallic-colored skin and roof to reflect heat, high efficiency mechanical units and shaded entries.
The project creates a sense of place. It is festive and playful yet proposes a serious architectural discussion. The building provides a strong presence in an urban context generally lacking a sense of center or image. It has become a destination with an identity that exists at the larger scale of the city itself. It has stirred public interest in architecture, inspiring features in local newspapers and television. In short it provides a landmark and icon not only for Virgin records but also for the city.
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