Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hayden Tract

I've always liked Culver City. From the surviving movie studios (Sony) to the jazz clubs, to the revived downtown area, this part of LA has always seemed comfortable. Yeah, I'm sure there are some dubious parts of Culver City, but that's the same in every urban area.

So I ran across an article in the New Yorker about an architectural renovation of an old warehouse district in CC called the Hayden Tract, a 2-3 block street surrounded by railroad tracks, freeways, and Baldwin Heights. Back in 1980, the developers (Samitaur-Smith), contracted with the architect Eric Owen Moss to renovate, well, more than renovate... to create around this area. As a result, the Hayden Tract is a most visually exciting district. Interestingly, Moss didn't just design one building, but many buildings in this district. So the whole area has his signature... as a testament to his design abilities. These days, the area is occupied by small tech companies, the Tennis Channel, and, in other buildings around this street, the UCLA art studios and many more small businesses. As the following pictures attest, this must be a very fun place to work. Moss has a very modern and even playful approach to these buildings, with very odd and obtuse angles, lots of steel and plexiglass, and yet it all fits over the old warehouse buildings.

First, a free standing staircase marks the beginning of Hayden Ave.


Here are three views of the Samitaur office building.




Here's the Tennis Channel building.


And some other structures...





Moss seems to have a particular fascination with stairwells.



There were some other Moss buildings in this area, but we couldn't figure out how to get to them... seems that for all the great work on the buildings, there are no green open spaces... the only common area for several structures is a parking lot! Curious... Anyway, this was a very fun diversion, reasonably easy to get to (except for all the street construction!) and yet another fascinating adventure found in the greater LA area.

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