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2016 MCHAP


Eric Own Moss Architects

Culver City, CA, USA

January 2015


Eric Owen Moss Architects


Samitaur Constructs (General Contractor) Fruchtman & Associates (Mechanical Engineer) Nast Enterprises (Structural Engineer) Silver, Roth & Associates (Electrical Engineer)


Frederick & Laurie Samitaur Smith


Tom Bonner


The Pterodactyl includes an office building and parking garage within a complex of new and remodeled buildings in Culver City. The 800 car garage is the larger program component with a 20,000 square foot office on top. But the perceived inter-relationship of the two uses along its elevation emphasizes the office building presence, and minimizes the parking lot visibility. The two story office space begins on the fourth floor of the garage. The first office floor shares the fourth floor parking deck. The protruding west elevation of the office building is a three-level structure that steps down in front of the lower parking floors and suspended over the automobile entry/exit. The office building is formed by the intersection of nine elevated rectangular boxes, lifted one level above the garage roof, stacked either on top of or adjacent to each other. The boxes are supported on the steel column grid extended from the parking structure two levels above the 4th floor deck. An interior, second floor bridge, running north-south, connects the boxes. Each box is glazed on the north, with glazing running perpendicular to the entry elevation. The main office floor is rectangular in plan and enclosed with a glass wall that extends vertically to meet the elevated boxes supported one level above the main floor, with the box-second floor designed as a sometimes-open-to-the-floor-below mezzanine. The main floor is an entirely open plan, while the mezzanine is compartmentalized as the closed area portion of the program requires.


The Pterodactyl is an office building for a creative advertising agency atop a parking garage in a complex of creative office buildings in Culver City, California, located just 10 minutes from Downtown Los Angeles. The 800 car, four level parking structure is the conceptual podium for the office building. Buildings in the area are three floors or less, so the office building on the roof affords spectacular views of the entire city from downtown to the Santa Monica Mountains to the Westside of Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean. The parking structure is straightforward and of inexpensive construction – steel frame, metal decks, regular bays, and ingress/egress ramps at opposite ends of the west face. The required fireproofing of the structural steel was treated as a finish material and precisely applied to the steel frame, absorbing sound and reducing noise pollution from the many cars that use the garage daily. The perceived relationship of the two uses from the primary west elevation emphasizes the office building presence and minimizes the visibility of the parking garage to the surrounding office campus. This project is the final phase of the campus: office buildings that were originally part of a grouping of contiguous warehouses in Culver City that had been added to incrementally since the 1940s. The design premise required a strategic removal of portions of the original building identities, allowing sufficient space for landscaping, and accommodation of both pedestrian and automobile circulation on the site.


The building tenant is an advertising agency. The operational use of the building is a clear indication the evolution of the workplace — access to technology, size and configuration of the spaces people need, and flexibility and mobility within the office are redefining conventional office configurations. The ground floor is an open plan. The second floor is subdivided into nine “boxes” that are more privatized and have their own personalities. Natural light is provided (or blocked) in variety of ways to accommodate a wide range of tasks within the space. A series of double height volumes provide communication hubs within the building that span both floors. A central bridge re-connects the individual boxes on the second level and allows you to walk the length of the building. The building lends itself to a different sociology. The configuration of the building facilitates the energy and enthusiasm of the people who inhabit it. The activity within the building is allowed to spill out to a series of outdoor venues for meetings, office lunches, and break-out working environments. Buildings in the area are typically three floors or less, so the office building on the roof affords spectacular vistas of the entire city from downtown to the Santa Monica Mountains to the Westside of Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean. To hear about “The coolest _____ office ever” directly from the tenant, please visit

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