The Lafayette Park Recreation Center is the first completed LEED-certified building for The City of Los Angeles. The project is a 15,000 sqf addition to, and remodel of an existing 1963 community center, resulting in an L-shaped plan. The design challenge was to deliver an inexpensive public building that would be low- to no- maintenance, functional and attractive.
The solution was to employ inexpensive materials in creative ways to produce a building that is a welcoming destination for the community it serves, which include over 750 school age children at any given time. Concrete masonry units were supplemented to complement the brick of the existing building, concrete structural foundations, and glass and corrugated metal panels, delivering a durable and easy-to-clean recreational center with a strong visual impact.
In the new building a ramped entry provides access to the gymnasium (with an NCAA regulation basketball court) from the surrounding park. The project also includes a large lobby/meeting room, classrooms, an administrative office, community rooms, a kitchen and dining room.
On the northern side of the gymnasium, a glass curtain wall extends from the floor to nearly 30 feet above the ground. This introduces natural light into the space and is a visual extension of the park beyond. Around the perimeter of the gym concrete blocks wall are inset with glass blocks. The lighting effect in is dramatic – during the day, bright filtered sunlight streams in. In addition the concrete block walls also serves as structural sheer wall elements to reinforce the building.
The exterior facades of the gym are clad with corrugated metal siding horizontally banded grey and natural silver, which visually diminishes the height of the building and gives it a pedestrian scale.