Tasked with transforming the dark, dated façade of the original 1980s-era hotel arrival tunnel, Houston/Tyner, a professional architectural corporation based in Torrance, Calif., wanted to create “a showcase for the boulevard” with the nearly 300-foot long 14,950 square-foot Porte Cochere that spans the entire length of the hotel, according to Russel Tyner, AIA, NCARB, principal architect, Houston/Tyner.
“We wanted to create a very dynamic entrance for guests with a bold design that is light and uplifting and that could serve as a gateway to Los Angeles,” said Tyner. “In order to completely reshape the skyline along the main corridor to LAX, we used the origami panels as a reflection of rolling, thunderous clouds while incorporating an LED thunderbolt in the facade’s lighting.”
The sculptural design of the renovated Porte Cochere was created with ALUCOBOND® PLUS aluminum composite material (ACM). A total of 16,745 square feet of 4mm ALUCOBOND® PLUS was installed as cladding, including 8,180 square feet of White Gold from The Spectra Collection of color-shifting finishes and 8,565 square feet of Brushed Carbon (previously called Brushed Graphite) from The Natural Collection’s Element Series.
“Our design team landed on a contemporary design of sculptural suspended rolling clouds; however, we knew that our vision might be hard to execute,” said Gina Cabotaje, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, associate, Houston/Tyner. “We began our search for an exterior rain screen that would provide the flexibility to make our concept real. And, in order to add elements of dimension, we focused strongly on lighting design.”
“After researching alternatives, we landed on ALUCOBOND PLUS exterior wall panels to provide just the right amount of flatness, rigidity and formability,” said Cabotaje. “Being extremely lightweight and thin, this ACM gave us the design flexibility to execute our vision of a bright new sculptural façade.”
The architects selected ALUCOBOND® PLUS in White Gold in the Spectra color-shifting finish for the Porte Cochere’s exterior sculptural façade and interior walls as well as to create five chandelier-like soffit medallions that were installed from the interior ceiling.
Existing vertical columns were re-wrapped in ALUCOBOND® PLUS Brushed Carbon from The Natural Collection and highlighted with four-color LED lighting.
“We initially were drawn to the depth and richness of the ALUCOBOND PLUS Spectra colors,” said Cabotaje. “One of the things we love about the origami panels is their varying, dynamic surfaces that allow light to reflect and create abstract and ever-changing shadows – like those of clouds rolling across the sky. The color-changing illusion of the White Gold further enhanced our vision for the origami panels, while the Brushed Carbon created a perfectly balanced contrast. When selecting the panel colors, it was also important to us that we stay mindful of our renovation’s impact on the existing building. We feel that the carbon color compliments the original building and creates a seamless transition into our new Porte Cochere.”
Houston/Tyner architects spent six months designing the Porte Cochere’s façade, inviting Elward Systems Corp. to join the project in a design-assist role in May 2017. Elward Systems utilized AutoCAD 3-D software and CNC routing to bring the architects’ vision for this sculptural facade design to life.
Each of the sculptural façade pieces is designed and fabricated from an individual panel of ALUCOBOND® PLUS and contains no seams.
“To create the 3-D shapes, the ALUCOBOND PLUS was routed and returned to different depths and orientation,” said Scott Jawor, regional manager, Elward Systems Corp. “The fabrication process was similar to folding a napkin.”
While sculpturally substantial, the origami-like façade cladding pieces remained lightweight, according to Jawor, who described the weight of the ALUCOBOND® PLUS as “negligible” and negating the need to retrofit the existing façade to accommodate additional weight.