North Hill Exhibition


North Hill presented an opportunity to engage a building that is an integral part of the multi-layered fabric of the city. Developed in the 1940s, this portion of LA’s Chinatown has historically sported a public face that invited the outside world, and a back stage where families lived and labored, where the living had sometimes spilled into the alleys and plazas. This urban pattern of use has, in the last decade, invited a wave of artists and gallery-ists to the area. Through a grant from the Community Redevelopment Agency, our client invited us to help redefine the building for a new generation of use.

We started by striping the building down to its concrete shell and introducing a lighter infill of cabinetry and movable walls. The tall volume of the main gallery counterpoints intimate art-viewing areas and workspaces tucked away from public view. At the facade, shifted planes of glass and steel create a perception of depth. An indoor-outdoor entry foyer dissolves the edge of where the street ends and where the private space begins. A sliding and pivoting circular gate modulates varying degrees of openness for different events with playful reference to the changing phases of the moon.

PHOTOS: Josh Perrin, Brian Jones