north hill

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 hybrid pattern of use has drawn a new generation of inhabitants to the area. Through a grant from the Community Redevelopment Agency, our client invited us to help redefine the building for reuse.

1800 SF

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.