Belzberg Architects is a group of young designers guided by the experience and curiosity of Hagy Belzberg, FAIA. Each individual from the firm was drafted by his/her peers for specific skills which merge in various ways to not only conceive designs, but to manifest them as well. The suppleness of contemporary forms and the character of both natural and synthetic materials have become fascinations of the firm and have influenced the working methodology of the firm in general. As a practice, Belzberg Architects challenges the efficacy of digital design within the constraints of physical environments in an effort to understand an interesting and possibly unexplored tectonic reality.
The evolution of the firm’s work identifies both the overriding agenda that Hagy has established for his projects as well as his openness to allow that agenda to be influenced by the talents of his team. In early projects, it became clear that architecture is space defined by surfaces. Projects such as the Mataja Residence and Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse explored these surfaces, primarily ceilings and roof-scapes, as folded, fragmented and shaped. Around 2002, Patina Restaurant exercised the use of CNC routing as both a subtractive process in the wall panels, and more interestingly, as a profiling tool in the ceiling. The ceiling was partitioned to accommodate constraints associated with fabrication, installation and lighting. The realization of this ceiling both as digitally conceived and as having an uncertain depth altered the way in which future projects would be addressed. The Lab and Ahmanson Founders Room explored various attributes of ‘deep surface’ such as texture, materiality, the inclusion of accessory components, the subdivision of single surfaces into workable panels, prefabrication protocol and installation constraints. Current work takes these issues further to address large scale implementation, performance, and sustainability. The skin of the Target Tower is composed of aggregated components which are environmentally proactive, and the Selma Office Tower uses an aggregation of truncated, pixel-like units to passively allow for more open, accessible space on the exterior of the building. Given the origin and evolution of the firm’s work, the agenda of the firm has proven its nimbleness with regard to the shifting influences of the team as well as the evermore demanding variables within the physical environment.