On the corner of historic Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, California, a gentle glow emits from the headquarters of The Gores Group, a global, private equity firm. Like ripples across still water, the building exudes a sense of calm as light plays between curving glass panels wrapped in an embrace around the exterior. Designed by Belzberg Architects, The Gores Group Headquarters is a masterful example of architectural balance and function. Unmoving but kinetic, striking but calming, this innovative reimagining of an existing office building structure makes a bold statement about the future of sustainable architecture and green building practices in Los Angeles.
As Hagy Belzberg, founder of Belzberg Architects, told The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles: “If architects do not address the environmental situation, we are basically missing the greatest opportunity we have.” This ethos of mindful sustainability manifests throughout Belzberg Architects’ structural design and conception for The Gores Group HQ. Careful attention to detail can be felt as one moves around the space, following natural ebbs and flows of energy and human intuition. The result is an optimal work environment for the company’s employees that also, through clever engineering, lessens the structure’s environmental footprint.
A complete re-design, The Gores Group Headquarters dazzles the eye with its visual play with California’s most abundant natural resource: sunshine. This energy and beauty is present throughout the building. The most immediate and striking use is enjoyed via the suffusion of sunlight across the seemingly kinetic exterior. By interrogating the idea of re-skinning an existing building, Belzberg Architects combined the concept of a double-layer curtain wall with a progressive use of new material forms. The exterior wall is composed of elements of stone, perforated metal and custom slumped glass that are united into a single visual field. Dancing between opacity and translucence, sunlight travels in and around the flowing curves of glass, teasing with distorted geometric patterns built into the interior wall. The overall effect makes the sprawling 120,000+-square-foot office space appear as delicate as a cloud. Within, a central atrium was carved out of the existing structure to allow natural sunlight to flood the interior. The result is the sense of permeable boundaries where light, air, and employees can pass freely between workspaces. The custom glass exterior is not only a visual delight, but is also woven into the sustainable energy systems of the building, providing superior energy transfer and acoustic cushioning.
Location Beverly Hills, CAClient The Gores Group
Size 120,000 ft2 Completion2014
Program Commercial, Office Space
Awards 2015 Los Angeles Business Council: Award of Excellence; 2013 The American Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies; 2015 A+Awards Architizer – Low Rise Commercial Office, Jury Winner.; 2015 City of Beverly Hills Architectural Award- category Innovation, Office; 2015 Illuminating Engineering Society Award of Merit
Architect Belzberg Architects
MEP ARC Engineering
Landscaping Consultants design studio ma
Interior Design Joan Behnke & Associates General Contractors Silverline Construction; Tatum Construction
Lighting Consultant ARC Light Design
Contract Glazier Custom Glass Specialists
Glass Fabricators California Glass Bending GlassManufacturer Pulp Studio
Lighting LightStyle Automated Systems Inc.
Flooring CG Custom Tile and Marble
Stone Stoneland USA
Wood Spectrum Oak
A sculptural staircase pours seamlessly out of the ceiling and offers easy access throughout the building. The soft curves of the stair, lit by LED lights, and its cerused-ash slats provide a comforting, earthen tone. The interior was co-designed byJoan Behnke & Associates. The unity of form between exterior architectural structures and interior details lends an ethereal quality to the workspace.
Out on a busy city street, the rejuvenating blessings of sunlight can seem a curse to the exposed. Belzberg and his team sought to optimize the healthful benefits of the sun, while also creating an area of peace and respite by designing an expansive rooftop deck atop The Gores Group HQ. JoshRezac, landscape architect for design studio ma, was engaged to create a unique rooftop garden experience for the space. Spread across two large spaces connected by a bridge, Rezac sought to match the “sculptural and contemporary character of the building.” He selected a variety of non-mainstream plants that created a varied sense of color and texture while also being drought resistant to the California climate. The clever use of cherry trees also provides added shade and solitude for visitors, and the roof terrace is further protected and beautified by a laser cut canopy that casts elaborate shapes in shadow across the space.
The sweeping rooftop landscape offers The Gores Group employees, clients, and visitors a refreshing escape from the traditional office world. Belzberg Architects and design studio ma optimized different spaces that can accommodate everything from company parties, individuals in search of solitary reflection, or even executive meetings.
At the center of The Gores Group Headquarters, planted securely in the atrium and bathed in regular sunlight, grows a 70 year-old olive tree. An important symbol to the company, it also represents the spirit of the building: The Gores Group Headquarters is a beacon of sustainable building practices, where the traditions of old have deep roots, but there is always space to continue growing into the future.