The RDRC was asked to give this project a preliminary review due to the size and scale of the project, and the historic nature of the campus. This review was intended to give early feedback to the applicant regarding architecture and landscaping, and project compatibility with the surrounding area.
David Choye, project applicant gave an overview of the proposal. Project architect, Myung Chung, also participated in the introduction. The project proposal is for reuse of the Hunt-Wesson, Con/Agra property. The applicant proposes to construct a new 2,500 seat two-story sanctuary building on the site of the existing single-story general office building at the southwest corner of Brookhurst and Commonwealth. Also proposed is a remodel of the existing research and development building near the northeast corner of Brookhurst and Valencia, including the addition of a new gymnasium. The applicant reviewed the overall site plan and elevations of both of the structures, relating exterior features to interior floor plans.
The project retains the existing corporate office building, designed in the International Style by architect William Pereira. This building was constructed in 1962, and is listed by the City as a potentially significant structure. The project generally preserves the overall campus plan, as well as most of the mature landscaping.
The major issues that the Committee discussed include:
The campus has historic significance; the Committee appreciates that the project respects the campus environment, that it does not interrupt the layout of walkways and retains much of the mature landscaping. The Committee commented that it would be nice to eliminate the fence between the Hunt Branch Library and the campus.
The campus has three major buildings, constructed over time in three distinct styles. While the appearance of the Pereira Building emphasizes its steel structure, the Research and Development Building (proposed education building) has a more massive concrete design.
It would be appropriate for the architectural style of new construction to reference architectural elements of the historic site, specifically; the strong vertical and horizontal features such as T shaped structural elements and overhangs. This concept is reflected in the Pereira Building, the benches found elsewhere on campus, and in the adjacent Hunt Branch Library.
The proposed atrium features a barrel vault as an architectural element. There are no similar curvilinear elements on site, instead consider utilizing the T shaped column/overhang concept.
Consider the T shaped column/overhang concept in the gymnasium, as well, to add light through clerestory windows at the roofline, instead of applying the vertical glass elements as shown on proposed plans.
Also consider using the T shaped thematic element at a pedestrian level.
There was some concern about the lack of natural lighting in classrooms in the education building. The project architect noted that this was due to existing structural conditions that cannot be easily modified. Because of the variety of materials used in this building, the Committee was less concerned with some of the modifications to exterior wall materials, and suggested that interior lighting be made a greater priority.
The exterior stairway element needs more study.
The building to be removed to make way for the Sanctuary is the weakest building (architecturally) on site.
The proposed Sanctuary design creates depth, rather than presenting a flat horizontal surface. The Committee appreciates this aspect of the architectural design. They feel that the depth and use of horizontal and vertical elements complements historic aspects of the site.
On the west side of the sanctuary, the entry should be made more prominent, more of a focal point for pedestrian traffic.
The Committee wanted to see the landscape berm along Valencia preserved.
They discussed the possibility of saving some of the trees proposed for removal, and transplanting them in new locations on the site.
The proposed parking lot along Brookhurst, at the southwest corner of Brookhurst and Commonwealth, will remove a number of mature trees. Many of them are mimosa trees, and some are very large, tall pines along Commonwealth at the northern perimeter of the site. There was a desire to modify the parking lot to preserve the perimeter trees, to maintain the landscape buffer and berm along Commonwealth Avenue.
The applicant agreed to review the plans in light of the comments of the RDRC, and to incorporate changes as necessary. Staff noted that if the project is approved by City Council, it would return to RDRC for a final review of architecture and landscaping plans.
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:50 P.M.