Audrey Irmas Pavilion at Wilshire Boulevard Temple
BEST PROJECT and PROJECT OF THE YEAR FINALIST
Submitted By: MATT Construction
Owner: Wilshire Bouelvard Temple
Lead Design Firm: OMA
Contractor: MATT Construction
Structural Engineer: ARUP
Executive Architect: Gruen Associates
Landscape Architect: Brightview
An expansion to the historic 1929 Wilshire Boulevard Temple, this new pavilion is architecturally compatible with its surroundings. The 55,000 sq-ft building, a trapezoid with one vertical and three sloping walls, is clad in randomly placed glass-fiber reinforced concrete panels, with perforated rectangular windows.
The structure features a 14,000 sq-ft, column-free ground floor with a vaulted, wooden ceiling. The middle level includes a chapel and event terrace with views of the temple’s dome and stained-glass windows, while the third floor is highlighted by a circular sunken garden, where a staircase leads to a rooftop garden terrace.
The building’s façade comprises over 1,200 GFRC panels, varying in size, shape, design function and orientation. Each panel had to be tracked throughout all processes from design to fabrication and finally to installation. The panels were purely decorative, neither weight-bearing nor watertight.
Photos by Jason O'Rear
The team investigated the most efficient solutions for a non-vertical structure and determined they could create a combination subframe/rainscreen to support the façade’s hexagonal panels and windows and incorporate flashing and sheeting. Due to the geometrically complex shape of the building, they developed various installation techniques to install the panels on the building. Some panels were picked by crane, while others were installed using scaffolding.
Custom-engineered framing attachments compensated effectively for potential movement in the building from double-height elevations, with minimal visual obstruction. The building’s 700-ton structural frame, which comprises steel beams and columns with buckling restrained braces to resist earthquake loads, is designed to resist its own weight under gravity, with three sloped elevations.
The long transfer girders supporting the upper-level columns accommodate an open, clear-span ground-floor event space of approximately 14,000 sq ft.
Photos by Jason O'Rear
Because of a tight project site on busy Wilshire Boulevard, the project did not have much room for material laydown space and construction activities. This included not being able to put a crane on the street. To compensate, the team developed solutions for sequencing deliveries and timing trades like steel, which required a large, complex set-up to execute.
The project team was also safety-conscious. The contractor conducted daily safety inspections, subcontractor audits and safety meetings. In addition, the project was subject to bi-weekly audits/inspections by the company's safety director and results were presented at bi-weekly company-wide staff meetings.
An example of the job’s safety awareness was evident in the construction of a structural steel, 3-story cultural event space. Three of the exterior walls were pitched at different angles, creating access challenges for the workers, which were overcome by way of boom lifts, swing-stages and various scaffolding configurations. Preplanning was key in addressing the project's fall and falling-object hazards. When hazardous behaviors or conditions were identified, subcontractors were notified immediately and required to submit a written corrective action plan. In the end, there were no recordable incidents on the project.