Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hayden Tract

Samitaur Tower, where videos and
art reproductions are projected at night

Although I’m more of a “linear” kind of gal, I nonetheless love non-linear architecture. Gaudí’s naturalistic Spanish masterpieces, Frank Gehry’s EMP and Disney Hall, and even the wacky facades of the old BEST showrooms can all provide endless hours of fascination. A bit disturbing at first glance, these types of amazing buildings always provoke thought as well as emotion. I am a big fan.

I was, therefore, thrilled when the Southern California Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians offered a tour yesterday of Culver City’s own Hayden Tract. Initially built by Sam Hayden as a postwar industrial park, the factories in this 40-acre area were largely abandoned by the mid-1980s. Enter Laurie and Frederick Samitaur-Smith, a couple of progressive urbanists, who saw the development potential of the buildings and so began renovation in 1986. Their vision: to use forward-looking architecture to attract creative, forward-looking tenants. Today, the Hayden Tract stands as an excellent example of adaptive reuse and is the hub of Culver City’s cultural renaissance.

Designed by local architect Eric Owen Moss, some of the buildings are whimsical, others pose geometric challenges. All of them are interesting. (Click on images to make larger.)

The Stealth building: triangular on one end,
rectangular on the other

Interior detail

Stealth (background) and circular "intervention" to break-up
the monotony of a nearby windowless wall

3535 Hayden - note the drooping corners

3535 Hayden - the bow-string trusses are from
the original building

3535 Hayden - interior art gallery space

Interior trusses detail

Tim contemplating the view

Cactus Tower renovation of
former industrial press

Cactus detail

The Umbrella corner feature

Umbrella side view

Another view

The Beehive

The Box

The back of the Samitaur Tower

Samitaur Tower detail

The Hayden Tract is located at the intersection of National Blvd. and Hayden Ave. in eastern Culver City. Most of the buildings are visible from the Expo Line between the La Cienega and Culver City stops.

Expo Line zipping along National Blvd.


Ginny said...

This is so cool! Why didn't I know about this place?

Ginny said...

This is so cool!