Behnisch architekten and studio jantzen have teamed up for the ‘city of santa monica parking structure #6', which serves a variety of major destinations for locals and tourists in a downtown area on the los angeles coastline. the area presents a lively blend of activity, including retail shops, pedestrians, bikers, motorists, vegetated landscapes, and places for rest and relaxation. the garage seeks to enhance this public energy, via a spatially dynamic and highly performative façade. the elevation is composed of a colorful panelized metal skin, with a visually bold external staircase breaking through for circulation.
the porous façade functions to mediate daylight entry, specifically designed to transmit light deep into the parking levels while eliminating harsh direct gain and glare. each module is comprised of two triangular panels, one of which is perforated and white, while the other is colored and angled. the latter serves to catch and redirect sunlight into interior spaces, with strips of mirror-finish stainless steel its inner surface. beyond functional benefits, the permeable nature of the skin system produces a visual transparency, displaying a blurred motion of cars to the outdoor areas below.
the circulation scheme clearly directs parking patrons to second street below, where the majority of public activity occurs. the stair is broken into multiple segments across the large elevation, and weaves in and out of the outer skin. on the upper levels, it protrudes from the building to take advantage of the site’s ocean views.