SoLa Impact’s mission to preserve, refresh, and create high-quality affordable housing has revitalized Black and Brown communities throughout Los Angeles. Since 2015, SoLa has acquired 1,500 units and is currently in the development, construction, and rehab on another 1,300 new units in the greater Los Angeles area. SoLa Impact currently owns and manages 200+ buildings across its three real estate funds.
The company’s primary initiatives—building and maintaining high-quality affordable housing developments—were naturally aligned with the Opportunity Zone legislation when it was created, which provided an avenue for SoLa to develop The Beehive campus. As the nation’s first Opportunity Zone business campus, The Beehive truly represents the spirit of that legislation, as the campus was born from a desire to uplift, not uproot, minority-owned businesses and local entrepreneurs.
The sculpture functions as the focal object at SoLa Impact’s Beehive campus, gathering visitors around it. While standing underneath, it creates a vista from where to experience the open space on campus. The sculpture delicately rests the ground; the shell is dramatically thicker above. Apertures progressively increase in size towards the top, lightening the experience within sculpture while creating shadow play on the ground.
The design is the result of a delicate balance of forces within a physics simulation. The arch is created by outwards forces mimicking the voluminous Manilla shape balanced with catenary gravitational forces and planarization forces acting on the individual shapes. The interior shell is self-supporting, while the outer pieces buttress the form and provide rigidity.
Tessellated hexagons form the sculpture, but some shapes have five sides and some seven. Some are askew while others are perfectly symmetrical. A total of 497 unique pieces form the sculpture weighing 3,785 pounds, and each piece is strong enough to hold the other’s weight. The tessellation symbolizes the organizational strength derived from individual, unique elements.
“Manilla(s) were used in West Africa as a form of general currency, but later became associated with the slave trade. In many respects, it was the original “currency for the black economy”. Our goal was to fuse the honeycomb concept with the original West African currency.
It recognizes the painful past of slavery, but in our interpretation, reclaims the original purpose of Manillas as a representation of black entrepreneurship. Manillas are still collected in West Africa, particularly in my home country of Nigeria, to represent a thing of beauty and value.”
– Martin Muoto, Founder & CEO of SOLA Impact
Planarization of hexagons was
developed from Christian Muller’s
white paper titled
Conformal Hexsagonal Meshes,
Form-finding physics simulation was
developed using Daniel Piker’s
Client SoLa Impact
Architect Office for Collective Architecture / Kirill Volchinskiy, Necils Lopez
Structural Engineering Nous Engineering /
Matthew Melnyk, Mit Gala
Landscape Design SoLa Impact /
Beatriz Salazar, Sergio Gonzalez
Fabrication Mancia Quality Construction /
Construction Management SoLa Impact /
Beatriz Salazar, Sergio Gonzalez
Photographs by Paul Vu/
Here and Now Agency
process photographs by Sergio Gonzales