The Brig


John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects (JFAK)

G.C. / Installer

Brunswick Builders


Benny Chan, Fotoworks. Detail Drawing Courtesy JFAK.


Venice, CA


Laminated Series AHFC. Bonded Series equivalent B-AHCT.

Revitalization: Located in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles, this 2001 renovation of a well-known but down-on-its-heels bar helped catalyze the transformation of Abbot Kinney Blvd. into one of the most vibrant commercial streets in the city.

High/Low: The richness of materials, colors, and textures in the new design creates a sensuous public space that welcomes the diverse spirit of Venice. Its mixture of elements from high and low culture maintains the original, ad-hoc quality of the bar’s interior while appealing to a new generation of patrons.

Expanding Boundaries: Literally expanding the party to the outside, a fourteen-foot long steel table with an integrated ashtray moves in and out of one of the bar’s two front doors and creates a lively space for smokers to gather on the public sidewalk. In the early evening, it serves as a communal dining table, when patrons eat tacos and pizza from down the street with drinks they buy at the bar.

Public Loggia: Suggesting that the ubiquitous parking lots in LA can also do double duty, the parking area for the Brig was conceived as a public plaza where both cars and people can intermingle – much like in an Italian Piazza (since this is Venice!) The building’s iconic mural, which has served as the unofficial gateway into the neighborhood since its creation by Art Mortimer in 1972, has been restored and lit with fluorescent lights supported on a cantilevered steel and wood “loggia.” Its bench is enjoyed both day and night by patrons and the public at large.

Read the full text and see many more images at JFAK.