Culver City, CA

Orchids de Oro is a retail center for the display and sale of exotic tropical plants and artifacts.  The property has a central location, immediately to the south of the Santa Monica Freeway, at the convergence of La Cienega Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, two major north south arteries.
The site is surrounded by an unkempt mixture of commercial and light industrial development, in an area crisscrossed with utility lines, underground pipelines and a flood control channel on the southern property line (severely limiting the “buildable” portion of the site).  The easements and the Redevelopment Area designation created a complex and arduous governmental approval process.
The retail center is an assemblage of new and existing repurposed structures; a vibrant urban marker in the dull, harsh environment, functioning as a “sign” to leverage its heavily trafficked location. The building assemblage synthesizes its imagery from the surrounding urban paraphernalia (telephone poles, steel cables, billboards), creating an animated relationship with its environs. The tough outer shell moderates the climate, noise and pollution, creating a tranquil haven to protect its delicate contents.