Hippification: Inspired Reuse And Design @Dodla 2018

By via www.dwellondesign.com
Photographed by various

DODLA 2018: Authentic Space and Reimagined areas 

by Lisa van Eyssen

Authenticity. A word that is easy to say but trickier to embody. The panel brought together at DODLA to discuss ‘Hippification: Creating Authentic Zones’  shared projects that represent the authenticity of design, structure and environment. The focus was on run down, forgotten urban areas as diverse as a midtown city center in Detroit, to a disused fish processing area in Santa Barbara California and a burgeoning arts district at the heart of downtown Los Angeles. With a coterie of architects, city planners and designers of all backgrounds, these reimagined zones have capitalized on found materials and solid structures, breathing new life into once decaying areas.

Michael Poris, Clay Aurell, Josh Blumer and Brooks T. Atwood @ DODLA 2018

AB Design

The Funk Zone + The Mill: Clay Aurell along with Josh Blumer, at AB Design, headquartered in Santa Barbara, presented their redevelopment of a disused waterfront district, once a former commercial fish processing area.  The city of Santa Barbara coined this area ‘the funk zone,’ sitting just south of the historic warf. AB Design renovated half a block at the heart of the funk zone, a largely industrial area that since the early 2000s, had seen only a small offering of interest by way of wine tastings and a smattering of public places, but no one would make the mistake of walking there at night. AB Design started by converting a packing house into retail space, wine tasting, a brewery and distillery. They added a wine collective,  restaurant,  and bakery and opened the buildings, once closed off to the sidewalks, with large industrial windows and doors that allow engagement with the community and a street life to emerge. 

A light touch, AB Design Studio's renovation philosophy stays true to authentic materials and structure, eliminating what shouldn’t be there, and allowing for the gems beneath to emerge. The Lark restaurant hosts a myriad of areas to dine along with The Pullman Room, whose walls, coated with a black wax tarnish, were discovered hidden under layers of insulation. This offered the design team a unique finish to the walls they hadn't known about prior to the renovation.

Photo: AB Design Studio

Photo: AB Design Studio

Another project, The Mill, gave AB Design the opportunity to break up long unused tenant spaces into live/work spaces, generating more local interest and expanding the attractions of Santa Barbara beyond just the Main Street center most commonly visited.

Macintosh Poris Associates

Michael Poris, Macintosh Poris Associates, shared the redevelopment of the Woodward Avenue Block in midtown Detroit, a fifteen year process of renovation which includes, the Garden Theater, Foundation Hotel, Townsend Restaurant and the Woodward Gardens.  Poris, once based in LA as a young architect likened the Detroit he found upon his return as ‘Berlin after the war’. The necessity of bringing a sense of pride and validity back to this decaying city was a focal point in the new design. The goal was to reconnect the Woodward block to the rest of midtown and to take the space from dilapidation into destination hub.  

The theater, originally designed by C. Howard Crane (designer of Fox Theaters) in the early 1900s, was in disrepair, damaged by fire with burned out floors and plaster. 

Photo: Macintosh Poris & Associates

Under the plaster, lay stunning brick walls that could be exposed and contrasted with contemporary elements. The theater had in the 1960s become The Village, an R&B club that hosted young high school musicians the likes of Bob Seger, Mitch Ryder, and the Detroit Wheels during the height of a vibrant music scene.

Photo: Macintosh Poris & Associates

The Foundation Hotel, built out of the ashes of the former Detroit Fire Department (literally the fire department burned down in the 1900s) gave the designers a chance to update excellent existing materials and to create a new home for visitors, enabling them to see Detroit in a whole new way. Where firetrucks once stood, the breath of space and architecture could now be a central entry for the hotel, with restaurant, bar and club. 40 different local artists were brought in to create and preserve the heritage space.

Photo: Macintosh Poris & Associates

Photo: Macintosh Poris & Associates

The design team were then asked to address the issue of the 1989 Comerica building on Woodward avenue, structured like a fortress with no inviting quality to beckon the neighborhood or nightlife crowd. They decided to create a restaurant space, designed with an all year summer feel, relying on glass and steel and virtually no solid walls. 

The result is a magical space that allows the urban life outside to be a part of the restaurant. Townhouse is bringing the urban population into a once abandoned area of the city and creating a true interest in the future development of Detroit. 

Photo: Macintosh Poris & Associates

R&A Architecture + Design

Brooks T. Atwood, Design Director at R&A Architecture + Design rounded out the conversation with his project in the arts district of downtown Los Angeles. The complete rejuvenation of DTLA cannot be underestimated. Once solely a legal and governmental center surrounded by dereliction and decay, DTLA is now a major destination for dining,  community activism, art and music events and financial institutions. R&A Architecture + Design is challenging several building projects, focusing on preservation in a new way. Embedding images from local artists to create a sense of ownership and pride in the local neighborhoods.

Taking an old drugstore at 9th and Hill, once an apothecary in the 1920s, finding history in a glaringly tinsel town has tested designers to bring together preservation with local artistry and energy. Keeping the authentic structure and important design details, they have added to the block, what Atwood calls ‘two wormholes’ on the roof,  created two story high glass gardens. Using a 1920s like apothecary vibe, the design is meant to create a speakeasy style grocery store in downtown L.A.

With any project, Atwood continually asks the question “What is the soul of a place?”, focusing on the authentic moment of space and time that people can jump into. Their new project now in development at the heart of the arts district will be a mixed use of 457 live work loft spaces. Investigating the surrounding alleys and streets to discern the environment, the kind of artists that have come before, with a mindful eye on the past, informing the details of the present.

Photo: R&A Architecture + Design

Tagged As

contemporary, livingroom, blue, hippification, architecture, interior design, gentrification, ilovedesign, dwellondesign, reuse materials, authentic design, renovation