Writer’s Block / CHA:COL


© Edward Duarte

© Edward Duarte
  • Architects: CHA:COL
  • Location: Downtown, Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • Design Team: Claudia Barbazza, Ruy Berumen
  • Area: 1500.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2016
  • Photographs: Edward Duarte
  • Design Principals: Apurva Pande, Chinmaya Misra
  • Designers: Claudia Barbazza, Ruy Berumen

© Edward Duarte

© Edward Duarte

From the architect. The Writer’s Block is a 1,500 square foot live-work loft designed as a creative production nook within a historic warehouse building. The space was purchased by a couple, one a New York Times bestselling author and the other a game designer. The unit was not intended to be their primary place of dwelling, and they approached CHA:COL for it as a compact urban getaway. Their work involved writing, drawing, music and game design within this getaway. They also needed it a place of respite between extensive book tours and travels. The loft was zoned Live-Work in downtown Los Angeles, a use set up specifically to address this kind of dual-use by artists.


© Edward Duarte

© Edward Duarte

Our design focus therefore centered on the creation of a compact but fluid artistic environment, to put users at ease with creative production and rest. Taking cues from their writing, gaming and fantasy environment background, we drew inspiration from the Escher-like geometries of the game Monument Valley.


© Edward Duarte

© Edward Duarte

Floor Plan

Floor Plan

© Edward Duarte

© Edward Duarte

The game is unique in its ability to transform  two dimensional lines and shapes into a three dimensional environment that a player inhabits. Similar to the way Ida moves through tilted planes and angular walls, we envisioned the clients moving through a central creative area (the angular 3D entertainment area on one side and the silent writers desk on the other side) into the lounge (the inlaid carpet bands emerge out of the custom millwork piece and climb up the walls as a bold graphic mural).


Mural Studies

Mural Studies

Our proposed design therefore played on a premise of shifting and fluid relationship between the graphic and the spatial. We studied many iterations of a single core geometry to aid each activity without shutting off other possibilities. We nicknamed our solution the Writer’s Block. As a central element it functions as spatial separation, production workhorse and a piece of furniture. A writing desk on one face, a shelf in another and a lounge elsewhere. The mural and floor finishes extend the concept of 2d/3d manipulation, interchangeably graphic and spatial. All design areas flowed from and into the Writer’s Block.


© Edward Duarte

© Edward Duarte

It was heartening to hear from the clients post-occupancy, that they love using the space extensively for their sketching, writing and musical work, and hang out there to collaborate often between tours and travels.


© Edward Duarte

© Edward Duarte

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