Articles Grimshaw to transform LA Chinatown parking lot into all-electric mass timber office building

Grimshaw Architects, in collaboration with The Riboli Family and development manager Granite Properties, has submitted an entitlement proposal to the City of Los Angeles to transform an existing surface parking lot at 130 West College Street in Chinatown into a dynamic, all-electric mass timber creative office building.

As a key anchor to the vitalization of the east Chinatown historic core, the proposed five-story, 233,000-square-foot development will create a sense of place by activating an underutilized portion of the neighborhood through greatly improved public realm and pedestrian experiences, ground-floor restaurant and retail space, and landscaped plazas and terraces open to both tenants and the public.

“With Grimshaw’s studio located just down the street from 130 West College, we feel very connected to the Chinatown neighborhood. It is important to us that our design for the building compliments the local architecture and contributes to the vibrancy of the community.”

Andrew Byrne, Managing Partner of Grimshaw’s Los Angeles studio

The design of 130 West College is based on a shared vision for a highly progressive development with a strong sustainability ethos and focus on climate-responsive design. The building will incorporate energy efficient and all-electric systems, on-site solar photovoltaic arrays, and the integration of carbon-sequestering mass timber to meet Grimshaw’s decarbonization goals.

Designed to attract people back into the office, the design consists of two workplace buildings arranged as a series of stacked sliding boxes that recede from the south, bottom to top. This strategy provides a series of exterior, south-facing terraces to create informal outdoor workspaces that support the evolving needs of future tenants.

“The design vision is to create a vibrant and flexible exterior environment to accommodate different types of occupation across all levels of the development,” said Byrne.

A pair of open atria within the two office buildings provides an abundance of natural light deep into the floor plates. The workplace is strategically programmed with enclosed spaces and meeting rooms close to the cores for focused work, while open collaboration spaces and amenities will be along the perimeter to promote social engagement and connection to the outdoors. Amenities such as generous bike storage, showers, and lockers will encourage a more sustainable mode of transit for tenants.

“Today’s workers prioritize wellness and social engagement in their everyday experiences, so it is imperative to design the modern workplace with purpose and intention to draw people back into the office,” added Byrne. “Our design for 130 West College will provide a robust mix of flexible workspace, desirable amenities, and outdoor space to support new ways of working.”

130 West College will now undergo entitlement review, with the next stage of design to commence in early 2024.

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