Vespertine by Eric Owen Moss in Culver City, California
A preliminary study model made from a square pile of note paper, describes a concept for a tower which is not quite a regular box, nor a clear, spatial departure from the regular box. Rather the model suggests a conceptually soft geometry, or better, a twisted tower. The tower twists along its height – rotates slightly, both clockwise at the top and counterclockwise toward the bottom. The plan shape and size is maintained as the tower volume pivots. The curvature of the form is conveyed by the horizontal and vertical steel plate grid that frames the glass enclosure. As the curvature increases, the spacing between plates is decreased to maintain the planar glass panel subdivision.
The proposed glazing system is composed of horizontal and vertical ‘fins.’ Glazing components were never curved, so the outer curving surfaces are conveyed as the aggregate of the plate steel fins. This new structure will serve as the home of an exclusive restaurant. The internal structural frame closely follows the exterior shape. Four corner columns undergo a series of compound miters to reflect the curving form. The building consists of a ground floor, a mezzanine, a second floor, and an open-air roof deck connected by an internal stair and elevator.
The restaurant entrance is marked by a pool lined with concrete blocks, formed to a curve, and filled with water. Guests enter at the ground level and are escorted to their seats on the floor above. The mezzanine level serves as the main dining floor, an intimate setting with seating for only 22 patrons upon custom built steel banquettes surrounding CNC-milled translucent acrylic tabletops. As guests exit they will pass by a curved 26 foot long table, suspended from the mezzanine and second floor ceilings, which delivers a keepsake upon their departure.
An outdoor garden of equal footprint as the tower is located to the east. The garden consists of mounded earth, concrete tables and stairs, and planted flora to serve as an outdoor gathering space for casual dining and cocktails. A secondary support building, the Wedge, will be built to the west of the site, abutting the original warehouse structure.
Location : Culver City, California
Program : Restaurant
Size : 5,500 square feet including roof deck
Dates : 2007-2016
Key Staff : Dolan Daggett, Hugo Ventura, Vanessa Jauregui, Zarmine Nigohos, Kyoung Kim, Fausto Nunes, Daniel Hapton, Cayetana Lopez, Eric McNevin, Andrew M Wright
General Contractor, Building Core & Shell : Samitaur Constructs
General Contractor, Restaurant : Howard CDM
Structural Engineering : NAST Enterprises
Electrical Engineering : Moses & Associates
Mechanical Engineer : Project MEP
Surveyor : J.O. Nelson Land Surveyors
Landscape Architect : Land Images
Steel Banquette Fabrication : Tom Farrage & Co.
Precast Concrete Fabrication : QCP
Furniture Fabrication : A Single Tree
Structural and Facade Steel Fabrication : Plas-tal
Kitchen Consultant : KRB Specialists
Awards : LABC Grand Prize, 2018
LABC Best Restaurant, 2018
Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award, 2018
Photographer : Tom Bonner Photography