M & V Branch Office

Rudolf Müller as Architects

Converting the building of a former garage, body shop and paint shop into a branch office of a company selling hardware and metal machining toolware falls within the projects that you simply need if you still desire to make endless search for the relationship between architecture and its surroundings, to historical and future development, and to detail. Or, the desire to search and to deliver as well, to put it more precisely. The aim is not to be bound by previously taken decisions, on the contrary, following critical discussions with experts, to select the seemingly best solution and to feel the client’s support. Subsequently, the whole process results in the absence of extremes, i.e. unilateral and pointless architectural exhibition and a unified and universal solution with stubborn efforts to reduce the budget at any cost.

In this particular case, the above-mentioned trust manifested itself in three major aspects determining the overall approach to the reconstruction. The first one is the effect of the location onto the building, i.e. the influence defining the expression of the building. The desolate surroundings, mainly characterized by a busy road, convinced all the stakeholders that it would be the best idea to turn the building inwards. An atrium was created in one of the central fields of the frame, with almost the entire interior turning to it. Here the investor showed again his tolerance, giving the green light to an unconventional approach to landscape architecture. Owing to this, the atrium houses a large-scale piece of rock to be gradually covered with moss. Compare to other, more conventional designs, this provides a more unrefined impression, better corresponding to the company’s job content.

The perimeter façade looks utilitarian, with the exception of the entrance area made of an attached steel lamellar grid whose vertical segments turn to the focus point located in the atrium area. It is thus possible to take a look in the interior from any spot in front of the steel grid, however, in the perspective, the strips create the mass emphasizing the entrance point by means of a protrusion. There are two reasons behind the solution: the protection of large-scale glazed walls and a clear identification of the building as a branch office of a company working predominantly with steel. The final design is a result of many hours of reflections and searching to ideal proportions and shapes. After all, it is a complex and functional parametric design based on a flexible custom solution.

Nevertheless, the investor’s approach tends to be most reflected in the work with detail, being involved in the design process separating certain quality and half solutions. It is not common practice these days to have the possibility to complete the project until the very last door handle. Despite an adequate amount of compromise, the author succeeded in applying a unified approach not only to the shell construction but also to the overall interior solution. In addition to the furniture, the project also included the graphic design of orientation elements, developing the showroom exhibition concept, or the comprehensive design of product glassware and chinaware including own accessories. The resulting coherent character is an outcome of intense cooperation of all the stakeholders not being afraid to discuss and showing confidence in one another. Hopefully, the building will serve to lasting satisfaction.

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Project Credits
Marion Anderson Hall, UCLA School of Management
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Marion Anderson Hall, UCLA School of Management

Parking Structure 5, 110 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90077, USA - Build completed in 2020
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