Photos: Jeremy Bitterman

Located directly across from the Chinatown Metro stop, 843 N Spring Street will be one of the largest Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) buildings in Los Angeles. This month continues the installation of what will be 82,000 square feet of CLT panels in the hybrid timber structure developed by Redcar LTD, designed by LEVER Architecture, and built by Shawmut Design and Construction. The 5-story, 122,000 rsf office and retail building is an environmentally forward-thinking new office prototype featuring a tiered vertical garden courtyard by renowned landscape architecture firm, James Corner Field Operations, designers of the High Line.

The team collaborated to create a building that seamlessly weaves office spaces and the outdoors together via open-air circulation spaces, a rooftop deck, and balconies. Adaptively integrating a former two-story indoor market, 843 N Spring is a model for sustainable office design by incorporating a rooftop PV array, over 200 bike stalls and EV charging stations, and biophilic materials inside and out with landscape irrigated by a 15,000 gallon cistern that captures onsite rain water. For the 843 N Spring project, preliminary calculations show an estimated reduction of 1357 metric tons of carbon compared to traditional building methods, which is equivalent to keeping 287 cars off the road for a year.

Chinatown’s history and future is rich and diverse. The neighborhood is one the oldest in Los Angeles with some buildings dating back to the late 1800’s, and is also the most important transportation hub in Southern California, with Union Station at the center of it. The neighborhood has one of the highest concentrations of new multifamily residential developments in the City and has become one of the culinary centers of the region—recently labeled as “The Most Exciting Place to Eat in Los Angeles” by the New York Times.

Redcar’s involvement in Chinatown started in 2014 when it acquired 759 N Spring St, just a block south of 843 N Spring St. The property is now fully leased by social media giant, Meta and digital advertising company, Contend Media. Redcar owns six other assets in Chinatown with tenants such as Dapper Labs, NAC Architecture, Korrus, and Valyou Furniture.

“Redcar is pleased to bring this architecturally and environmentally iconic building to Los Angeles. This was a great opportunity to fit in with the existing streetscape and connect to the rest of the City through Metro. We are committed to this neighborhood and look forward to continued job growth and community collaboration,” said Jim Jacobsen, Chairman and CEO at Redcar LTD.

Specifically designed with the goal of pushing the boundaries of mass timber design at scale, the development is one of the first major Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) office buildings in Los Angeles. It is a hybrid structural system that combines 5-ply and 3-ply CLT panels and a concrete topping slab, with exposed steel columns and beams that account for the building’s gravity and seismic loads. Exposed timber panels cantilever over the balconies, and add a natural, warm aesthetic to the interior. The CLT installation will only require 8 days per floor for floors 3, 4, 5 and the roof and 2 days for the mezzanine.

“Working with Redcar Properties and James Corner Field Operations, we set out to create a new type of office experience that connects contemporary modes of working to Los Angeles’ incredible climate. For the first time, landscape and large scale mass timber construction unite to bring Los Angeles a unique, transit-oriented workspace. 843 N Spring Street’s sustainable design provides a new type of space where creative work can flourish,” states LEVER Architecture Founding Principal Thomas Robinson.

“Inspired by California’s iconic landscapes, the open spaces at 843 N Spring Street will create a connection to big nature in the city. The central vertical garden is envisioned as a ‘fern canyon’ with cascading green walls and reclaimed timber slabs set within a pebble floor. The rooftop meadow features drought-tolerant native planting and a spectacular view of DTLA,” said Sarah Weidner Astheimer, Principal at James Corner Field Operations. “The gardens at 843 N Spring Street function as connective tissue between indoor work environments, repositioning the value of nature in our daily lives—something that is essential for our collective health and well-being.”

“With a 26-year history of building in Los Angeles, we are extremely proud to work alongside Redcar Properties and LEVER Architecture to construct one of the first large-scale cross-laminated timber buildings in the city,” said Greg Skalaski, executive vice president of the West region at Shawmut Design and Construction. “Our team is uniquely positioned to successfully deliver this project—supporting our local expertise with Shawmut’s national experience with CLT—driving construction sustainability and innovation.”

843 N Spring is currently 40 percent through construction and is scheduled to open to the public in August 2022.

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