Architect: Eric Owen Moss Architects

Location: Culver City, California

AIA awards Eric Owen Moss Architects’ Pterodactyl as a recipient of the 2016 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture. This office building for an advertising agency atop a parking garage in a complex of new and remodeled buildings.

Is it a set of blocks exploding out of a parking garage, or a monumental pterodactyl crouched there? Passersby may puzzle over what they're seeing, but they're sure to engage with the eccentric form.

The four-story parking garage that serves as the Pterodactyl's podium predates it, but was built to withstand the load of an upward expansion. Completed in February 2015, Pterodactyl stands on top, but also cantilevers out front of the parking structure, reducing neighbors' sight of the banal and furthering the sense that something uncommon is at work here.

"Important aspect of what architecture does for expression in everyday life." — Jury comment

Despite its tumbling-blocks appearance, the building's main level has a simple rectilinear interior. It has an open floor plan suited to contemporary office layouts, and much of its glass front is two stories high, providing an appealingly day-lit setting that a look at the exterior might not suggest. Above it is a level where the roof's angular contours create some private and semi-private spaces.

Setting the 16,000-square-foot building atop a four-story parking garage provided a unique piece of the project's sustainability strategy.

"Deliberate and clever." — Jury comment

Because it is above many of the neighboring buildings, the west-facing main facade is exposed to sea breezes for passive cooling. Most glazing faces north, and south-facing sections are covered in standing-seam metal panels that reflect the hot sun away from the building.

Additional information

Engineer - Electrical: Silver, Roth & Associates

Engineer - Mechanical: Fruchtman & Associates

Engineer - Structural: Nast Enterprises

Furniture/Accessories: Gensler

General Contractor: Samitaur Constructs


2016 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture Jury

Josiah Stevenson, FAIA (Chair), Leers Weinzapfel Associates Architects, Boston

José Alvarez, AIA, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, New Orleans

Brad Cloepfil, AIA, Allied Works Architecture, Inc., Portland, Oregon

Roberto de Leon, AIA, De Leon & Primer Architecture Workshop, Louisville

Julie Eizenberg, FAIA, Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Inc., Santa Monica, California

Julie Engh, Assoc. AIA, Highland Associates, New York City

Elizabeth Hallas, AIA, Anderson Hallas Architects, P.C., Golden, Colorado

Danielle Jones, AIAS Representative, Zelienople, Pennsylvania

Christian Zimmerman, FASLA, Prospect Park Alliance, Brooklyn, New York

Image credits

Pterodactyl 1 - 2016 Award for Architecture

Tom Bonner Photography

Pterodactyl 2 - 2016 Award for Architecture

Tom Bonner Photography

Pterodactyl 3 - 2016 Award for Architecture

Tom Bonner Photography

Pterodactyl 4 - 2016 Award for Architecture

Tom Bonner Photography

Pterodactyl 5 - 2016 Award for Architecture

Tom Bonner Photography