Prism gallery by Patterns 02.11.09

words Douglas Murphy

Patterns’ new Prism gallery on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood is a contemporary update of classic Californian pulp-modernism. Housing an exhibition space and bookshop, it is defined by its supple polycarbonate resin facade, which appears reflective by day and translucent by night.

The architects are part of the Californian digital architecture scene centred on the SCI-Arc school and this project makes use of various sophisticated design and construction techniques. In collaboration with 3Form, an advanced material fabrication company, the facade panels were precision manufactured and heat moulded into their double curved arrangement, which twists, tears and folds around the various functional openings.

This sleek facade is reminiscent of the rounded forms of a sports car, and in a way the building is part of a tradition of roadside architecture in California reaching back to the 1950s. Known as Googie, this was a dynamic, swooping architecture of diners, coffee bars and bowling alleys, inspired by the forms of rocket ships and Cadillacs. In fact, the Prism gallery bears more than a passing resemblance to the upturned roof of the original sunset strip “Googie’s” coffee shop by John Lautner, now long demolished.

For more projects from the Design Academy Eindhoven graduation show, pick up the December issue of icon, out soon.

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