COMMUNITY CULTURAL CENTERPROJECT DETAILS
Banning’s Landing Community Center
In 1995, Tanaka Architects was awarded the contract by the Port of Los Angeles to design a 10,000-square-foot waterfront community center in Wilmington, California. This community center was named after Phineas Banning, who was the founder and primary force behind the development of the city of Wilmington.
Located at the heart of the Port of Los Angeles, the city of Wilmington is a harbor community with a strong presence of large freighters and container ships in the nearby bay. The main commerce of the community is closely connected to the shipping-related industry. Fascinated by the industrial landscape of this neighborhood, Tanaka drew his design inspiration from the massive contours of the sea-going freighters, dissecting them into a series of geometric forms and re-assembling them to create an innovative space. The result is an architectural composition of stunning sophistication, characterized by the skillful arrangement of asymmetrical, angular geometric shapes and the playful juxtaposition of various textural surfaces. The overall layout is marked by strong and rigid diagonal axes, which is suddenly interrupted by the introduction of the gentle and elegant curve of the main central hall. The simultaneous juxtaposition of hardness and softness is also carried out in the exterior surface of the building, where the massiveness of the concrete surface is unexpectedly softened by the transparency of the glass windows that adorn the main hall. The contrast between the solidity of the building and the ever-changing shimmering light of the ocean surface also plays an important role in fully experiencing the complexity of this architectural space.
Since its completion in 2000, Banning’s Landing Community Center has become a social/cultural locus for fostering community revitalization efforts in the city of Wilmington. It provides a community gathering space that can support a diverse array of activities, including exhibitions, receptions, meetings, festivals, and other cultural events.