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Hotel’s Renovated Porte Cochere Greets Guests with Origami-Like Sculptural Façade Clad In ALUCOBOND® PLUS Spectra Color-Shifting Finish

Project NamePorte Cochere
LocationLos Angeles, CA
ALUCOBOND® PLUS White Gold, Brushed Carbon
ArchitectsHouston Tyner
General Contractor Driver Special Projects Group (SPG)
FabricatorElward Systems Corp.
InstallerCrowner Sheet Metal Products, Inc.
Photography© Daniel Lunghi Photography courtesy of 3A Composites USA

A unique, glistening origami-like sculptural façade greets guests arriving at a Los Angeles airport hotel via its newly renovated Porte Cochere.

Tasked with transforming the dark, dated façade of the original 1980s-era hotel arrival tunnel, Houston/Tyner, a professional architectural corporation based in Torrance, Calif., wanted to create “a showcase for the boulevard” with the nearly 300-foot long 14,950 square-foot Porte Cochere that spans the entire length of the hotel, according to Russel Tyner, AIA, NCARB, principal architect, Houston/Tyner.

“We wanted to create a very dynamic entrance for guests with a bold design that is light and uplifting and that could serve as a gateway to Los Angeles,” said Tyner. “In order to completely reshape the skyline along the main corridor to LAX, we used the origami panels as a reflection of rolling, thunderous clouds while incorporating an LED thunderbolt in the facade’s lighting.”

 “Our design team landed on a contemporary design of sculptural suspended rolling clouds; however, we knew that our vision might be hard to execute,” said Gina Cabotaje, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, associate, Houston/Tyner.  “We began our search for an exterior rain screen that would provide the flexibility to make our concept real. And, in order to add elements of dimension, we focused strongly on lighting design.”

The sculptural design of the renovated Porte Cochere was created with ALUCOBOND® PLUS aluminum composite material (ACM) by 3A Composites USA. A total  of 16,745 square feet of 4mm ALUCOBOND PLUS was installed as cladding, including 8,180 square feet of ALUCOBOND PLUS in White Gold from The Spectra Collection of color-shifting finishes and 8,565 square feet of ALUCOBOND PLUS in Brushed Carbon (previously called Brushed Graphite) from The Natural Collection’s Element Series.

(As the original “aluminum composite material,” ALUCOBOND PLUS has been developed exclusively to allow architects and designers to meet the fire performance requirements of today’s building standards while using ACM as the material of choice. Consisting of two sheets of smooth .020” aluminum thermo-bonded to a solid, fire retardant core, ALUCOBOND PLUS is one component of the assembly that meets the requirements of fire classifications while offering the proven product properties such as flatness, form-ability, durability and ease of fabrication. ALUCOBOND PLUS is manufactured in a standard 4mm thickness.)

“After researching alternatives, we landed on ALUCOBOND PLUS exterior wall panels to provide just the right amount of flatness, rigidity and formability,” said Cabotaje. “Being extremely lightweight and thin, this ACM gave us the design flexibility to execute our vision of a bright new sculptural façade.”

The architects selected ALUCOBOND PLUS in White Gold in the Spectra color-shifting finish for the Porte Cochere’s exterior sculptural façade and interior walls as well as to create five chandelier-like soffit medallions that were installed from the interior ceiling.

Existing vertical columns were re-wrapped in ALUCOBOND PLUS Brushed Carbon from The Natural Collection and highlighted with four-color LED lighting.

(ALUCOBOND PLUS Spectra colors are transitional finishes which celebrate the natural color shifts that occur in materials that affect everyday life; the subtle nuances and color contrasts found readily in nature, the glowing luster and sheen in modern metals and the color shifts found in today’s luxury goods. Color adds fascination to the world; ALUCOBOND Spectra colors add fascination to architectural design. ALUCOBOND PLUS Natural colors amplify the natural beauty and character of many natural elements to enhance the design of your architectural project while maintaining the durability and lightweight properties of aluminum. )

“We initially were drawn to the depth and richness of the ALUCOBOND PLUS Spectra colors,” said Cabotaje. “One of the things we love about the origami panels is their varying, dynamic surfaces that allow light to reflect and create abstract and ever-changing shadows – like those of clouds rolling across the sky. The color-changing illusion of the White Gold further enhanced our vision for the origami panels, while the Brushed Carbon created a perfectly balanced contrast. When selecting the panel colors, it was also important to us that we stay mindful of our renovation’s impact on the existing building. We feel that the carbon color compliments the original building and creates a seamless transition into our new Porte Cochere.”

Fabrication and Installation

The ALUCOBOND PLUS was fabricated by Elward Systems Corp. , of Lakewood, Colo., and installed by Crowner Sheet Metal Products, Inc., of Baldwin Park, Calif., with an Elward Systems Corp. custom 3-D route-and-return system.

Anaheim, Calif.-based Driver Special Projects Group (SPG) – an affiliate of Pasadena, Calif.-headquartered C.W. Driver Cos. – served as general contractor for the project. Project management services were provided by Los Angeles-headquartered Cumming Corp.

Houston/Tyner architects spent six months designing the Porte Cochere’s façade, inviting Elward Systems Corp. to join the project in a design-assist role in May 2017.

Elward Systems utilized AutoCAD 3-D software and CNC routing to bring the architects’ vision for this sculptural facade design to life. To ensure design specifications, Elward Systems built a detailed plywood mockup prior to fabricating approximately 1,000 ALUCOBOND PLUS panels.

Each of the sculptural façade pieces is designed and fabricated from an individual panel of ALUCOBOND PLUS and contains no seams.

“To create the 3-D shapes, the ALUCOBOND PLUS was routed and returned to different depths and orientation,” said Scott Jawor, regional manager, Elward Systems Corp. “The fabrication process was similar to folding a napkin.”

While sculpturally substantial, the origami-like façade cladding pieces remained lightweight, according to Jawor, who described the weight of the ALUCOBOND PLUS as “negligible” and negating the need to retrofit the existing façade to accommodate additional weight.

Sizes of exterior soffit sculptural façade pieces ranged from approximately 2 inches by 1.5 feet up to 2 feet by 15 feet. The five interior floating chandelier-like soffit medallions measured approximately 3 feet by 8 feet.

“The unique geometry of these pieces was enhanced by the color-shifting properties of ALUCOBOND PLUS in the Spectra finish,” according to Jawor, who said the White Gold panels appear to shift in color from pristine white to a gold tint. “This project really lent itself to the color-shifting characteristics of Spectra.”

Elward Systems worked closely with Crowner Sheet Metal Products – especially during field measurements for the project. Panel installation was completed over the course of 16 months as the hotel remained open to guests.

The renovated Porte Cochere opened in June 2018.

“Our clients wanted to create a vibrant, light-filled Porte Cochere that would be timeless,” said Tyner. “They were very pleased with our design. Overall, we think people love it. It’s a very energetic and happy place.”

Introduced in 1969, ALUCOBOND is the original and world’s best-known aluminum composite material. ALUCOBOND PLUS is manufactured in the United States in the Benton, Ky., plant of 3A Composites. The 3A Composites USA headquarters are based in Davidson, N.C. For more information about ALUCOBOND PLUS ACM, call 1-800-626-3365, email info.usa@3AComposites.com or visit www.alucobondUSA.com.


About 3A Composites


3A Composites has developed, manufactured and marketed high-quality aluminum composite panels, structural composite material, plastic sheets and lightweight foam boards for architecture, visual communication and the transport and industry markets since 1969.

3A Composites is part of the international 3A Composites Group, which belongs to the listed company Schweiter Technologies headquartered in Horgen, Switzerland. 3A Composites has approximately 4,400 employees worldwide. 3A Composites’ well-known brands ALUCOBOND®, DIBOND®, FOREX®/SINTRA®, GATOR®, KAPA®, FOME-COR®,ALUCORE®,AIREX® and BALTEK® are the category leaders in the markets served.

® ALUCOBOND is a registered trademark of 3A Composites USA.

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