Ballona Wetlands Arboretum

This design was completed during my second studio in the UCLA Masters Architecture Program. The brief was for an arboretum facility to be located in the restored Ballona Wetlands just south of Marina Del Rey with a program of a conditioned botanical garden space, outdoor living collection and research and education wings.

The studio examined the architectural concept of Column+, the use of columns beyond simple vertical structural members.I chose a specific precedent of the Palazo de Lavoro by Pierre Luigi Nervi, who proposed a series of mushroom column with a tapered cross trunk topped by radial I-beams supporting a steel roof with glass covered seams in between to let in light and an exterior curtain wall.

I maintain the column-roof module while varying heights, profiles and sizes to create a continuously varying landscape housing different types of spaces. This was achieved by turning the regular square roof into a cross shape with circular cutouts at all corners which make large perforations when the modules are joined together, creating space for planting and allowing light into the structure. Interiors are defined by a minimal curtain wall not at the roof exterior but along the line of the column, preserving the visual connection and blurring the boundary of the space.