Los Angeles, California
Towers are normally seen as machines of profit, sustainability, footprint, and skyline makers. Urbanists typically arrange towers by multiple architects horizontally next to each other, often described as a ‘complex’. This research studio inverts that idea in order to make the world’s first multi-architect tower, not as a democratic collaboration, but rather as architects working independently within a masterplan. In this case, five discrete 14 story segments designed by five individuals are combined to form a 70 story urban tower.
Beginning with a common tower structural frame, each of the 12 students designed two tower segments. First, a generic office building with a specialized skin. Second, a tower that uses ‘bubbles’ and machine aesthetics to combine the facade and interior depending on the selection of program to inhabit the tower. The conclusion is an arrangement of 24 segments that combine vertically to make a tower that is about style and iconography instead of density and urbanism.
The first project uses the theme of illusions and the depth that is created out of an organization of either regular or irregular grids. A façade project, painted cobalt blue aluminum panels create real depth from dissecting articulating linework and grids of graphic illusionistic patterns.
Using an organized grid, architectural complexity can be created with only one unit and a few simple transformations. The base unit is subsequently is divided to create areas of transparency or opacity. This unit is then multiplied over the grid of the building and either rotated or mirrored to produce seemingly random spatial and optical effects of breaking the façade apart. The resulting shadows work as an animation device to multiply these effects.
DEAD AIR SPACE
Sometime in the near future, the high-rise tower will no longer be seen as an expression of corporate wealth or singularity. Current projections indicate a migration from suburban and rural to urban environments. The general pursuit in the relocation is of the following: social interactivity (including a smaller domestic footprint and independence from the car) and career objections distanced from the corporate and instead rooted in social aspirations.
This scheme houses a School of Product and Industrial Design, in which individuals with the above interests learn to design and create object. The upper half is composed of apartment units, hydroponic farms, and a shopping gallery where the students are able to sell their work directly to consumers. All factors that to cater to the socially conscious yet entrepreneurial new generation.
In architectural discourse, spheres have been exiled to the level of fantasy and fiction due to their habitation and construction limits. Here, they make their comeback as a defamiliarizing device using scale and packing. Situated above these platonic spherical figures that make up the design school is a public segment that includes the hydroponic farm and housing units. These are sheathed under a blank, machinic, planar extrusion.
Much in the same way that the larger tower is about a group of people getting together for a corporate project with their own interests, this building links the blank and sober extrusion of a machine with the pop and expressive geometry of spheres or “bubbles” that house a design school and gallery.