The Audrey Irmas Pavilion, OMA New York’s First Cultural Building in California Nears Completion

by | Sep 2, 2021 | Featured Slider, Latest, News

OMA / Shohei Shigematsu has completed its Audrey Irmas Pavilion at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, the firm’s first commission from a religious institution and first cultural building in California. Expected to open in January 2022, “the new 55,000 square foot Pavilion is a response to the Wilshire Boulevard Temple’s vision for its campus to create a much-needed space to convene”.

Designed by OMA New York, by Partner Shohei Shigematsu with Associate Jake Forster and Architect Jesse Catalano of the design team, the Audrey Irmas Pavilion is located on Wilshire Boulevard, in the heart of Koreatown/Wilshire Center in Los Angeles, California. Back in 2015, OMA was selected to design the project, and create a “platform for gathering, forging new connections with the existing campus activities while inviting the urban realm in to create a new civic anchor”. Named for its lead donor, the pavilion respects historic traditions and reflects on modern civic needs.

Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear
Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear
Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear
Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear

The making of the Audrey Irmas Pavilion sustained forward momentum through the COVID-19 Pandemic, a period in which the act of human interaction was questioned and contemplated. Its completion comes at a time where we hope to come together again, and this building can be a platform to reinstate the importance of gathering, exchange, and communal spirit. — Shohei Shigematsu, OMA Partner-in-Charge.


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Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear
Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear

Starting from a box, the molding of the building was created in regards to the adjacent historical buildings on the campus. On the west side, it slopes away from the existing Temple, generating a new courtyard between the two buildings. From the south side, the design opens an existing courtyard to the sky. In addition, it reaches out to the main urban corridor, Wilshire Boulevard, to establish a new urban presence.

Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear
Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear
Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear
Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear

We assembled a constellation of spaces, distinct in form, scale, and aura—an extruded vault enveloped in wood establishes a multi-functional, central gathering space and connective spine; a trapezoidal void draws tones from the Temple dome and frames its arched, stained-glass windows; and a circular sunken garden provides an oasis and passage to a roof terrace overlooking LA. Three interconnected voids make the solid form of the Pavilion strategically yet surprisingly porous, engaging the campus and the city. The Pavilion will support both old and new activities, values, and traditions to foster a renewed energy for gathering. — Shohei Shigematsu, OMA Partner.

Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear
Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear

Three gathering spaces interlocked and stacked one atop another, puncture the building: a main event space (large), a chapel and terrace (medium), and a sunken garden (small). At the ground level, the design of the main space seeks to echo the Temple dome by lowering the arc, while at the second level, a more intimate chapel and outdoor terrace are formed. Drawing from the geometries of the Temple’s dome interior, the façade is a single hexagon unit with 1,230 GFRC panels.

Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear
Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear
Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear
Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear

As the ideal host for the Wilshire Boulevard Temple community, the Audrey Irmas Pavilion provides gathering spaces that can engage both internally and externally. In relationship to its classical counterpart, the pavilion offers a dynamic dialogue, politely reclining from the Temple and leaning towards Wilshire Blvd to invite visitors in. A complex of interior and exterior spaces distributed over multiple levels connect the campus to city and frame new perspectives of the existing temple. After six years of collaborating with the Temple, the design team is so proud to deliver a nimble infrastructure ready to meet the diverse community’s needs – spiritual and municipal, reflective and communal, flexible but unique. — Jake Forster, OMA Associate.

Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear
Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear

AUDREY IRMAS PAVILION

  • Status: Expected Opening January 2022
  • Client: Wilshire Boulevard Temple
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Site: An addition to the Wilshire Boulevard Temple’s Erika J. Glazer Family Campus
Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear
Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear

Project Team:

  • Partner-in-Charge: Shohei Shigematsu
  • Associate-in-Charge: Jake Forster
  • Team: Jesse Catalano, David Chacon, Caroline Corbett, Nils Sanderson, Andrea Zalewski, Natasha Trice, Marie Claude Fares, Wesley LeForce, Sandy Yum, Jade Kwong, Shary Tawil, Joanne Chen

Competition Team:

  • Partner-in-Charge: Shohei Shigematsu Partner-in-Collaboration: Jason Long, Rem Koolhaas Associate-in-Charge: Jake Forster
  • Team: Yusef Ali Dennis, Caroline Corbett, Sandy Yum, Sang Woo Kim, Nicholas Solakian, Stavros Voskaris
Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear
Courtesy of OMA New York, Photography by Jason O’Rear
  • Executive Architect: Gruen Associates
  • Structure, MEP, Facades, FLS, Communications: ARUP
  • Performance Space Consultants: TheatreDNA
  • Landscape: Studio-MLA
  • Lighting: L’Observatoire International
  • Graphics, Signage, Wayfinding: Space Agency
  • Civil Engineer: Rhyton Engineering
  • Vertical Transportation: Syska Hennessy Group
  • Kitchen and Food and Beverage: Clevenger Frable LaVallee, Foster Frable / Laschober + Sovich
  • Security: TRC
  • Client Rep: Searock Staffold
  • General Contractor: MATT Construction

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