Wattis Institute Entry Facade

Honor Award

This project provides a new, highly visible interior façade and entry vestibule for the CCAC Wattis Institute, located in the old Greyhound bus warehouse that is currently home to the California College of the Arts. The Institute is non-profit gallery space displaying contemporary art and design exhibitions and events.

The new, high precision metal façade, painted a visually prominent lobster orange, softly swells outward to catch the viewer's eye from the sidewalk. Proceeding toward the entry, the façade's sectional curves visually recede and its appearance flattens. Openings become visible, providing a clue into the gallery spaces within. The façade's variegated shifting and pooling of solid and void perceptually change relative to the viewer's position, and simultaneously act as sign marker and porous threshold. The façade becomes, in a sense, animated in real time.

With an overall configuration of 122 unique pieces, the units were designed and fabricated using computer aided design and fabrication processes. The aluminum pieces were laser-cut and precisely folded, then fastened to form trusses that were shipped to the site. Budgetary constraints mandated use of lightweight materials that were simple to install yet sophisticated. The overall façade creates an "implied form" whereby the entire three-dimensionally curved surface is never fully constructed, only implied through the layering of individual elements.


Jury Comments: 

"A powerful, clear, and vivid statement achieved with a minimum of visual effort and materials and on a low budget. The sensuous undulating form of the screen wall, a vivid icon in itself, becomes kinetic as the visitor approaches the entry, completing the transformation from a soft opaque bulge to a partially transparent planar screen in the process. Acting as a foil to this form, the angled column features bold graphics identifying the Wattis Institute."

Design Firm: 

Thom Faulders/Beige Design


California College of the Arts

Location City: 

San Francisco, California

Project Area: 


Open Date: 


Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

Florian Holzherr

Design Team: 

Thom Faulders (Principal in Charge), Noah Sherburn, Ethan Anderson




East Bay Laser, Graysixs, Dehard Construction

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