Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
critic: Karen LANGE
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Brandon Scott SAMPSON: The initial idea and research for this project developed out of my experience in Los Angeles last year. This thesis addresses the contemporary urban condition of downtown Los Angeles and introduces a way to take advantage of its voided urban fabric.
The Void Tower is a visionary and iconic project for downtown Los Angeles that brings together multiple different types of complex program to create a living, working and social place. At the confluence of the financial and entertainment districts, this project absorbs and develops one the largest parking lots along Francisco Street and 110 Freeway. In the most vertically dense part of downtown, this project proposes an idea for horizontal and vertical development that can be adapted to other static, urban voids in the city.
The design interests explored with this project were: contextual and formal development of a large complex program, the transition of a horizontal plinth to vertical high-rise program, and a subtractive design process to create dynamic spatial sequences and form. The landscape building forms that encompass the sloping urban park respond to urban, contextual, programmatic, and spatial conditions. The voids in the subtractive design process are emphasized at specific points where different programmatic elements meet and dynamic, transitional circulation occurs.
The idea of layered and voided programmatic strata influenced the design for the building envelope as well. The use of diagrid, secondary, and tertiary structural systems allows for a layered effect that changes the image of the building throughout the day. The double skin façade was designed through specific environmental studies to determine the shifting pattern, density, light transmittance of the panels, and the glass treatment behind the system.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
BSS: The work of Gordon Matta-Clark, Chow Martin, Lebbeus Woods, Rachel Whiteread, the many talented people I had the opportunity to work with at Morphosis, the recent work of Coop Himmelb(l)au, and my friends in Studio400.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
BSS: Listening to a range of electronic music and watching Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Homeland, and The Walking Dead.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
BSS: Coop Himmelb(l)au, Morphosis.