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L.A Cable-housing

Part 2 Project 2000
Stephen Tierney
Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) | UK
On average people move house every 5 years in Los Angeles.

The project for housing in downtown Los Angeles came from a desire to somehow make that city less mute. I wanted to string up layers of suburbia to try and make a living diagram. L.A. is often accused of lacking any collective memory or link between the population and the streets they live in. To some extent this is inevitable in a city where whole sections of inhabitants slowly move neighbourhood because of race, age and affluence. The one aspect of the city that very few citizens have any contact with is the political hierarchies. My new suburb of cables is counter-weighted by the movable floors of city hall in the civic centre. As each new level of strung-housing becomes more busy the corresponding government department begins to rise and must balance the difference with attatchable amenities. The project is intended as a prototype system that might spread beyond the bounds of downtown and even to the Malibu hills.

At the core of the project is an interest in very light structures as developed by recent yachting innovations. Particularly interesting in terms of architectural potential is 3DL sailcloth which is a new laminated 3D fabric patented by North Sails. This laminate can be custom formed at commercial rates and can include some of the vital servicing necessary for modern living: networking, solar shielding, variable opacity and even plumbing. The housing is a moulded blend of fabric and carbon-nomex laminates, fabric and stucture as unified constructed object.

Stephen Tierney

The characteristic of Stephen's output and outlook is a voracious appetite for architecture, culture and life. Nothing is missed: a political anachronism here - a new way with bent wire there, plus a phenomenal capacity for work.

He has spent several months in Los Angeles and really knows the area around his project. At a later stage, he flew for a few days to the Midwest, in order to check out some of the building materials that he suggests in order to see them tested 'in the flesh'. The notion of slinging capsules on the merest of threads from the lumpier corner of LA's downtown sounds, at first, a whacky idea. But look at the detail, look at his application. For those of us who watched it develop, look at the ability to refine: and between our internal portfolio reviews and the external examination, Stephen constantly 'tweaked' the scheme.

Peter Cook

• Page Hits: 4588         • Entry Date: 09 February 2000         • Last Update: 10 May 2001