James Fuentes — Los Angeles, California

Date: 2023
Status: Complete
Category: Commercial, Cultural
Size: 3,870 s.f.
Team: Chris Leong, Dominic Leong, Hannah Frossard, Ý Nhi Tran, Remi McClain
Collaborators: David Hertz (Architectural Consultant), Labib Funk & Associates (Structural Engineers), Dot Dash Lighting (Lighting Design), OM Construction (General Contractor)

The Los Angeles outpost of the James Fuentes Gallery occupies a 1920s era commercial building along a lively strip of Melrose Avenue. In contrast to its busy surroundings, the exterior is treated as a neutral, anonymous form. The building envelope is painted diamond white to express the character of the original brick pilasters and sawtooth detailing. Glass block and solid metal doors replace the storefront glazing to create an opaque visage from the street.

The 3,870-square-foot interior is made up of 3 spaces — a reception area, a large exhibition room, and an intimate viewing room — organized by a series of 14-foot walls that meet the exposed wood of a bow-truss ceiling. Seismic bracing installed in the 1990s is left to puncture through the gallery walls, amplifying the contrast between old and new. The rear parking lot will be repurposed into a courtyard for gatherings and environmental installations.