Light Box

On a gritty stretch of Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles, the PSPMLA office sits on a previously vacant 2,500 sf infill commercial parcel. Dubbed the “Light Box” for its simple geometry slotted in acknowledgement of the natural solar conditions, the 2,200 sf office for a boutique property management firm discretely slips into the streetscape of tightly packed auto body shops, neon sign fabricators, digital printers, and various light commercial businesses. The design expands upon the urban texture of the street, while also carving out a bright, naturally illuminated respite for the office staff and their clientele.

The project is composed of two primary furniture elements, a double height rift sawn white oak clad spatial volume and a white lacquered cluster of seating modules, inserted into a 25’-0” wide X 66’-6” long X 22’-6” tall building envelope. To maximize the useable area of the narrow lot, the exterior walls were assembled and waterproofing installed horizontally on site and then tilted into position along the property lines with a crane.  Following the completion of the envelope, the furniture elements were installed within the space. The office’s interior is organized into three zones of program: the double height ground floor area contains the primary circulation and the staff seating; the ground floor of the wood insertion is populated by the waiting room, conference room, two management offices, and the restrooms; and the mezzanine holds additional staff workrooms and storage areas.

In response to the contrasting goals of an open and naturally lit, yet secure and private working environment, the “Light Box” is fitted with an array of skylights within the ceiling slots at the roof and a perforated steel screen at the Venice Boulevard façade. The skylights register the time of day through the constantly changing light on the wood interior. In addition, the scale and orientation of the façade screen provides diffused lighting in the afternoon and presents an illuminated edifice by night to safely light the sidewalk and bike parking at the street. Ultimately, the “Light Box” serves as a device to both capture and emit the quintessential glow of Los Angeles.

Project Team: Aaron Neubert (Principal), David Chong (Project Architect), Jeremy Limsenben, Xiran Zhang / Structural Engineer: Gordon Polon Consulting Engineers / General Contractor: Bulson / Steel Fabrication: CWI/Fred Vasquez / Millwork Fabrication: Dan Taron and Bulson

Publications: Archdaily, December 22, 2016