Dubbed "The Whale" by local residents, the Shatto Recreation Center is a community facility housing a full-size gymnasium, a performance stage, three meeting rooms, an equipment room and a director's office.
In plan the building is a simple rectangle, but its' dynamically curved form eludes to a beached marine mammal complete with an angled, galvanized steel canopy crafted to look like a fin.
Located in an open park setting in a tough inner-city neighborhood near downtown Los Angeles, the 12,000 square foot Shatto Center was designed to withstand vandalism and graffiti without looking like an imposing fortress.
To meet the demands for economy and durability, both north and south elevations are animated with patterns of split-faced, sandstone colored red brick, with accents of glazed black concrete blocks.
The abstract pattern of the facades, developed in collaboration with Los Angeles artist Ed Moses, was inspired by ancient calligraphy and Aztec architecture. The curving structure is crowned with a continuous, galvanized steel roof.