Darin Johnstone Architects Transforms 1980s Office Building for Pasadena’s ArtCenter
Add commercial design to the mix at the ArtCenter in Pasadena, California. Darin Johnstone Architects transformed a 1980s office building into, well, an art center. Classrooms, studios, offices, and exhibition spaces occupy the top five floors. On the ground level is a bona-fide gallery, named for donors Peter and Merle Mullin, the avid car collectors behind the nearby Mullin Automotive Museum.
“The project projects back to the city.”
For exterior signage, Darin Johnstone added a double-sided fin wall extending out from the 6,300-square-foot interior. The signature element, he explains, evolved along with the concept of the gallery: “Thinking about the automobile as an art object itself as well as an instrument for viewing the gallery while driving past caused us to turn our plan inside out.” Now when approached from the north, 12-foot-high fins in powder-coated steel display the word gallery. From the opposite direction they spell out mullin. At either end of the space, two large glass pocket doors allow vintage vehicles to easily enter for a display period, then leave. No traffic jams here.
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