reinforced concrete two-story building located in Santa Monica, California was
constructed during the Second World War for the production of military
equipment. Over the years, the building was used for multiple purposes
including the initial site of the Southern California Institute of Architecture
(SCI-ARC) and the home for numerous street people over extended time periods.
Joseph Duda, at the time operating both an architectural consulting business
and a construction firm, converted a trashed-out portion of the building as his
own live/work space.
1350 sf space with 10' ceilings and a studio-long northern window wall, the
only natural light source, required extensive architectural surgery. A leveling
layer of lightweight concrete was poured over the existing slab and
approximately half the floor was tiled; the other half was carpeted. The tiled
section housed the "dirty" area - where power tools caused dust. The carpeted
portion held the living and design studio space. Virtually the entire live/work
area was rewired to bring in track lighting on separate circuits and to handle
The remodel was completed
mostly from recycled and salvaged materials. Joseph created a five-sided
bedroom with reclaimed casement windows of various sizes and configurations on
three sides to allow light from the north window wall to penetrate the southern
walls of the studio and the inner bathroom. The addition of interior windows
also provided ventilation throughout the studio when power tools were not being
used. The architect added salvaged French doors between the living/studio area
(the clean space) and the working/studio area (the dirty space).
It took a crew two weeks just
to patch holes. $1,000 of primer and semi-gloss paint was sprayed to
cover the walls and ceilings as part of the space had at some point been
painted black. Thousands of holes in the acoustic ceiling were patched with
expandable foam and spot-primed.
Two closely spaced concrete bearing walls (6 feet
apart) ran the length of the building. The space between was used for toilet,
storage, and a compact galley-type kitchen.