Samuel Freeman, a fine art gallery located in the City of Los Angeles, is part of the Culver City Arts District along La Cienega Blvd. The project is a complete re-purposing of an existing 5,900 square foot, one story office building with an atrium space at its center. Removal of 1,700 square feet along the rear alley allowed for the creation of nine previously non-existent parking spaces, which qualified the owner for several special Zoning and Building and Safety considerations, thus enabling the project’s construction both financially and from a design perspective.
Conceptually, the design creates a space that allows for an intimate viewing experience of the artworks. To transition from outside to inside is to enter the world of Samuel Freeman: a world that is private, calm, welcoming, and conducive to the quality of art viewing experience the owner seeks to provide. By maintaining the existing atrium space, but making its walls completely transparent and even retractable, the overall design unfolds gradually, creating an intriguing experience of outdoor/indoor circulation that encourages viewers to both linger and explore. Leaving the kinetic energy of La Cienega Blvd. behind one enters the private, calm and welcoming world of Samuel Freeman. The dissolved line between interior and courtyard affords a private connection back to the outside world encouraging guests to linger and explore this unique art viewing space.
Samuel Freeman will be the first “Green” art gallery space in Los Angeles. Innovative “light scoops” were specifically designed with passive ventilator chimneys above to bring soft North light into the main exhibition spaces and provide passive ventilation. Additional “light slots” balance the daylight entering the galleries. This innovative day lighting strategy was a key element in the development of the two main galleries. The passive ventilation system allows for flexible occupancy loading while maintaining a high level of fresh air exchange. The entire project features in-floor, solar thermal radiant heating under a reclaimed oak flooring. Salvaging much of the existing roof, concrete slab, and foundations from the original building significantly contributed to the overall sustainability of the design.
The Samuel Freeman project brings the intimacy and simple warmth requested by the client together with a design vision of “quiet creativity” to produce a unique type of space for viewing and selling artwork. The new building demonstrates both the clear viability of renovation projects and a shared client/architect vision of a sustainable art exhibition space.