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The Vue, San Pedro, Calif.

In the place where the 11-story Pacific Trade Center building once stood, a new contemporary high-rise tower provides a powerful new symbol of the renaissance taking place on the Old Town San Pedro waterfront. In 2006, the Pacific Trade Center building was abated of asbestos and literally imploded to make way for the future. Galaxy Commercial Holdings commissioned GMPA Architects Inc. to design a modern residential tower that captures the magnificent waterfront views and draws them into each apartment as part of the aesthetic. The completed 16-story tower opened in December 2008.

“The Vue is the first high-rise residential building in Old Town San Pedro,” said J. Kobi Moses, AIA, principal architect on the project. “Its layout was carefully choreographed to encourage interaction between residents and the public—promoting a sense of community and creating a lively pedestrian experience to activate the neighborhood, which is in transition.

To promote smart growth, all of the public spaces, the pool and the gym front the street, strengthening connectivity. Poolside stairs intersect the street, encouraging walkability and a healthy lifestyle.”

Drawing inspiration from the nearby Port of Los Angeles, the new structure mimics the rectangular blocks of stacked containers at the port with vertical elements taking their cues from the cranes. The architect specified Reynobond ACM from Alcoa Architectural Products to create a nautical feel, accentuate the vertical lines of the design and to provide contrast to the windows of the blue-green and yellow glass that symbolize the ocean and the sky, lending a nice balance of solids and transparent materials. Additionally, the metal panels shimmer in the light, bringing a touch of drama to the design.

Erected on an unusually narrow site with a 20-foot (6-m) slope from street to street, the architects designed a “Z-shaped” building to maximize views and minimize shadows cast from adjacent structures. Alumawall Inc. fabricated 95,000 square feet (8,826 m2) of Reynobond ACM, RB160, FR core in a custom Silver Metallic finish. The Reynobond ACM panels were installed on the exterior columns,fascia and soffits in Alumawall’s 1400 series wet seal system.

“We had to field measure the entire project due to the post tension slabs which caused the building to twist and the finish floors to vary in elevation,” said David Warda, president of Alumawall Inc. “The staging of the panels was very difficult as the site was very tight. So we prefabricated all of the panels in our shop in San Jose.”

The Vue features 318 condominium homes with one-, two- and three-bedroom penthouses ranging in size from 700 to 1,700 square feet (65 to 158 m2). The unusual “Z shape” allowed for the judicious placement of windows to maximize waterfront and hillside views—60 percent of the units feature harbor views and 90 percent enjoy harbor and/or hillside views. Residents can enjoy a rooftop deck complete with a pool, private cabanas, barbeques and a panoramic view. The architects also incorporated innovated sustainable strategies into the project.

Owner: Galaxy Commercial Holdings, Beverly Hills, Calif.
General contractor: Bovis Lend Lease, Los Angeles
Architect: GMPA Architects Inc., Santa Monica, Calif.
Fabricator: Alumawall Inc., San Jose, Calif.
Installer: Giroux Glass Inc., Los Angeles
Metal wall panels: Alcoa Architectural Products, Eastman, Ga.,