In understanding the culture of the site -- that is to say, the conditions that presently exist and the aspirations of the community for the future -- our design developed through a methodical experimentation in environment, culture, market, sustainability, historical preservation, and societal considerations. Our design approached the site by first exploring the networks of the immediate context that we could enhance through the formulation of connections.
Located at the intersection of Broadway and Long Beach, our corner site took advantage of the Metro Blue Line as a connection to a vast transporation network and as a catalyst for the walkability of the area. Strengthening this connection was the commercial opportunity of the nearby Promenade and the alternative mode of transport culture that the Bicycle Parking would create.
Additionally, the American Hotel was adjacent to the site which remains the second oldest building in Long Beach. With an anticipated renovation project for the landmark, our design sought to create a connection through embracing the side wall of the building as a backdrop for performances or projected films viewings that would happen on the site; this allowed for a connection to the artist culture of the East Village Arts District. With a connection to the American Hotel in mind, our design also saw an opportunity in the celebration of the Northeastern corner where the majority of Metro Blue Line commuters would come onto the site and as a view to the artist galleries on the opposite side of the intersection. In many ways, this corner would act as a gateway into the building.
Using the connections established, the design then focused on replacing the parking spaces with habitable, sustainable shipping container modules. Programmatically, the shipping containers were organized differently in order to create optimal living and working conditions. Projections for the demand for temporary living in Downtown Long Beach was decreasing by 6% in the last 5 years and the projected office space was directing towards the Information, Tech sectors therefore creating the need for compact, flexible office space. The market analysis allowed us to design our modules to satisfy said programmatic demands. We then determined that the optimal location for offices would be on the first floor with views on both ends of the containers; this would allow for light and the opportunity for natural ventilation. The temporary housing units would be located at the second floor to allow for greater views and increased privacy.
Because the building would essentially be an organization of shipping containers, our design accordingly invested in a flexible system for structure and construction which is employed in a number of prefab buildings: Bosch structural framing which was made of 26% recyclable mass offered us a sustainable means for modularity and efficiency.
In short, the design is composed by the context and by the aspirations of the community for a brighter, greener future.