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John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects’ La Kretz Innovation Campus (LKIC) serves LA’s burgeoning cleantech community. The 3.2 acre interdisciplinary hub, where entrepreneurs, engineers, community activists, and policymakers innovate to support LA’s green economy, includes a transformed 61,000 SF warehouse in the vibrant Arts District. Offices, conference rooms, labs, prototyping workshops, and event spaces comprising the LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI, www.laci.org), in addition to LADWP facilities, exist in hand with PV-shaded parking, greywater filtration, and a microgrid system. The adjacent new Arts District Park, co-designed by JFAK with the City of LA, will soon be completed.
The design of LACI features flexible open areas that support new collaborations. JFAK created a ‘village’ concept, with streets that ‘loop’ around a central event space and connect the existing 8 bowstring truss warehouse bays. Natural light penetrates deeply. As people don’t always want to work in the open, a variety of semi-open and closed workspaces was also provided. The constant buzz of activity and shared knowledge gives rise to a dynamic community of constant innovators, learners, and educators.
The existing structure’s simplicity backdrops unexpected moments created by faceted walls, jewel-like skylight “funnels,” and a “living wall” at the lobby. Solatubes bring natural light to landlocked spaces. Sculptural geometries promote creative play and give distinct areas of the building individual identities.
In its flexibility, accommodation of different types of programs, and transformation of existing building stock, LKIC sets a high standard for urban revitalization while promoting innovation, education, community, and leadership across disciplines.