Project Detail


Graduate Aerospace Laboratories

Pasadena, CA United States


Project Description

John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects — Caltech’s Graduate Aerospace Laboratories sought to transform its outdated, 18,000-square-foot lab building into a dynamic environment that would reflect the new modes of research going on there. In response, the architects developed formal and spatial analogies to reflect the nature of this research. Leveraging the concept of flow—how solids, liquids, and gases behave under differential pressure—the design team renovated the lobby and created new teaching and research labs, exhibition areas, conference rooms, offices, and interactive spaces. The lobby incorporates a suspended plastic ceiling articulated in response to the light sources above. One former lab houses a small museum for research artifacts, and a second-floor conference room features a sound-absorbing felt ceiling. "What I liked is that they took a series of highly worked objects and wove them around the existing structure," Aaron Betsky said. "They let those objects define different aspects of the building and give them identity." "I love the enthusiasm of it," Marion Weiss said. "But I was hoping for a more rigorous variation of the playful graphic objectives they sought—some have stepped up, but others seem too much like retail architecture."


Project Details

Graduate Aerospace Laboratories
Shared by:
Project Team:
    Alice Kimm, principal-in-charge; John Friedman, supporting principal; Claudia Kessner, project architect; Bob McFadden, project designer; Garrett Belmont, project designer; Brendan Beachler, project designer; Casey Hughes, project assistant; Pamela Schriever, project assistant;
  • Structural Engineer: TMAD Taylor & Gaines 
  • Plumbing Engineer: MEDG Engineers 
  • Mechanical Engineer: MEDG Engineers 
  • Electrical Engineer: Pacific Engineers Group 
  • General Contractor: Del Amo Construction 
  • Lighting Designer: Fire Ltd. 
  • Lighting Designer: Light Vision 
Project Type:
Project Status:
Project Size:
    18,000 sq ft


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