Adjacent to a heavily-traveled shopping strip in Alhambra, a dynamic Chinese enclave east of downtown Los Angeles, the calligraphic forms of this banking building are pared down to basics: a roof, an enclosure, a point of entry, and a sign.
The point of entry is marked by a rolling, circular mass that acts as both seal and symbol. Heavy, and sized to cover the circular portal, the door emphasizes the notion of security latent in the project, while reinforcing the underlying geometry of the design. On the inside, a pattern of louvers and circular apertures for lighting accentuate the convex curve of the roof. Extending beyond the point of enclosure, the pattern defines that of the aluminum roof panels, to reinforce the concept of the roof as an autonomous geometric object.
Executed in aluminum, glass, and Portland cement plaster, each form is elemental, governed by primary geometry, and uncompromised by allusions to utility or brand.
As one drives by, the building is animated by changing perspectives, enhancing the relationship with passing cars. A roadside graphic sharing the material palette of the building echoes the graphic atop two exposed-steel columns, and the westward tilt of the roof seems to flatten as it floats towards the streaming traffic. The three-dimensional structure yields a succession of views governed by parallax and speed.