Doc Magic | Notes of Interest
The design of this interior work space, for a technology company that transmits highly sensitive information over the Internet, had to convey the company’s strong virtual presence through an equally powerful physical environment. This objective was achieved, in short, with the unique play of light and careful sculpting of passageways that connect the open work spaces.
The problem of how the architecture could convey the transfer of information was solved by mapping light fixtures in a complex binary pattern behind translucent walls, creating the “fuzzy” edge that implied the virtual. Two different kinds of spaces were identified in the project. The first was “places of movement,” characterized by a person’s fleeting experience of spending only a few minutes in the space. These spaces would receive the glowing walls. The second was “places of congregation,” such as meeting rooms and work areas, where people would sit for hours. These are more static in nature and characterized by bright colors to contrast with the bare and pristine light corridors.
The detailing of these spaces was so important. The light corridors had to be absolute in their minimalism in order to achieve the feeling of the virtual. All evidence of reality had to be banished. No attachment details are visible in any of these walls, although they fit tightly against each other to prevent light leakage. The walls are easily movable, allowing the light fixtures to be accessible. Any heat build-up behind the wall is quickly carried away with the air conditioning system, and the space is fully conditioned and lit without any punctures in the ceiling.
The project represents the original commitment to the study of a single paradigm that so eloquently embodies an obscure goal and the follow-through from concept to reality.
- © Ralf Strathmann
- Architect: RA-DA
- Owner: Doc Magic
- Location: Torrance, California
This beautiful design creates a powerful and fluid space where light dominates.
With a strong conceptual parti, the project submission described real challenges in executing such ambitious design exploration.
The rigorous execution achieved the effect of "fuzzy space," a subtle, experiential, and poetic reference to the digital world.
Overcoming the realities of budget and construction detailing, the idea remains, with a deliberate use of color, mature detailing, and skillful planning within an awkward building shell.
2013 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture Jury
- Andrew Wells, FAIA (Chair)
- Dake Wells Architecture, Springfield, Missouri
- Susan H. Jones, FAIA
- Atelierjones, LLC, Seattle
- Carlos M. Martinez, AIA
- Gensler, Chicago
- Ronald J. McCoy, FAIA
- Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
- Catherine M. Truman, AIA
- Ann Beha Architects, Boston