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United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 770

RENOVATION – UNION SERVICE CENTER | UFCW, Huntington Park, CA, 2016 | Construction is underway at the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770 Workers Center in Huntington Park. The facility will allow union members to access services provided by the Union close to where many of them live and work.

The United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 770, Huntington Park Work Center will function as a satellite administrative and service center for union members. The Union represents grocery store workers, meat packers and other food processing workers. Huntington Park is home to a number of union member work sites.

The program calls for three separate functional components: office and meeting space for union administrative staff; private offices for affiliated organizations that provide legal and health counseling to union members; and a large, multipurpose space to be used for seminars, large group meetings, rallies and other events. The office components were arranged along the west and north walls, with a lobby/reception area in the corner between them. This arrangement allowed these spaces to have equal access to the lobby and perimeter windows, while simultaneously defining the multi-purpose space.

UFCW corner perspectiveThe existing building, constructed of brick masonry walls, steel sash windows and a wooden bow-truss roof, had been previously used as a hardware store. The existing heating system consisted of a pair of inefficient gas heaters suspended from the roof structure. There was no air-conditioning system. The walls and roof were not insulated. As part of the work of this project, the windows are replaced with insulated, high performance systems, divided in a fashion similar to the originals. Insulation was also added to the underside of the roof to improve energy performance. The exterior walls were sandblasted to remove paint and expose the  brick.

Since the building would be occupied by the union and several other organizations working collaboratively for the benefit of the union members, those functions were built so they would be perceived as discrete objects within the larger space: individuals making up a larger, more effective group. Architecturally this is achieved by permitting few of the new, interior partitions to extend above the bottom cords of the existing trusses so that the overall space stays open. Where it was necessary to protect the acoustical integrity of individual spaces or to separate the different zones of the HVAC system, the trusses were glazed from the top of the bottom cord to the underside of the roof. This strategy also permits daylight to penetrate throughout the building , from both the perimeter walls and new skylights installed across the roof of the large open space. All primary spaces receive sunlight from multiple directions throughout the day.

The exposed elements of the HVAC system are arrayed to reinforce the spatial organization of the project. Since the existing roof could not support the required new equipment, a new freestanding tower, located at the intersection of the L-shaped interior plan, extends through the roof to support the necessary, new equipment. This location allowed the design team to minimize the ductwork required to serve all the spaces. The body of the tower houses the supply and return air manifolds for the two heating and cooling units above that serve the four separate zones of the building.

The architectural elements of this project are minimal, a reflection of the modest budget. They all have been carefully placed and articulated to work together to achieve a functional and pleasant space. Ducting, vents, piping and conduit runs have all been gathered, located and routed deliberately, so the open space that extends over the entire interior remains open and uncluttered. There are no suspended ceilings , except in small support and service spaces, so everyone shares in the entire volume of the building and has a sense of a larger enterprise. Constituent components are clearly and separately articulated to give them their own identity within the larger whole.



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