The Palos Verdes Historical Museum sought a new facility located on a sloping, grassy site on lower Point Vincente in Rancho Palos Verdes, just uphill from the existing interpretive center. The design of the new building reflects the setting with its panoramic views, yet maintains a low profile so as not to interfere with view corridors from the nearby neighborhoods.
The innovative design transforms the site constraints to create the opportunity for a net-zero building with solar panels in the berm of the green roof and geothermal walls that absorb heat during the day and reduce energy usage. Placing the entire building underground with a green roof blurs the boundary between building and landscape. Taking advantage of the sloping site, the glass-fronted museum entry, beneath the green roof, opens wide to unobstructed views north to the Santa Monica bay and beyond. The spacious terrace, designed to accommodate outside events, connects to nearby trails and the larger landscape.
Palos Verdes stone, expansive glazing, heavy timber beams and copper trim recall the material context of the nearby community. Interior spaces in simple finishes with moveable walls are showcases for the exhibits, and ideal for lectures, movies and other events.