The VAULT at Beverly Hills
UCLA Department of Architecture + Urban Design
2010-11 Robotics in Architecture Research Studio
Professor: Greg Lynn
Partner: Sontaya Bluangtook
Program: Auction House and Fine Jewelry Retail

Location: Beverly Hills, CA

The Vault at Beverly Hills redefines the fine art and jewelry retail experience by merging commercial display and architectural form. The Vault acts as a display window and vertical plinth that emerges from the ground rather than the facade. Merchandise displays are oriented both towards the street as well as to the interior of the department store. The retail window display no long becomes a static plane, but an activated three dimensional construct. The presence of the Vault becomes heightened within the programmatic function of the building, taking the secure and private aspect normaly associated with a vault and allowing patrons to view the contents as a retail display.

The research studio explored robotic movement in architecture through both a literal and phenomenal occurance. The phenomenal movement of Vault operates through its formal response to the site. The circulation of the building is dictated by the distinct pedestrian and vehicular roads that run parallel down the site. The intersection of Little Santa Monica and Wilshire serves as the entrance to the building based on its existing shopping and pedestrian traffic, while Santa Monica allows for the building to be viewed at higher speeds and larger scales. Once through the entrance, a series of escalators brings the shopper to the top of the vault and allows one to meander down through a series of ramps. The Vault is positioned in the center of the site, acting as a vertical core or mound of precious artifacts that one circulates around and through, much like an inverted Guggenheim. The Literal movement of the building occurs at the entrance where the large six story media wall slowly rotates closed over the period of the day acting as a Vault door.