Los Angeles, CA
Density Fields is an investigation into the accumulation of material densities and their resultant structural and spatial effects. This extreme cantilever built of aluminum and polypropylene rope hovers over the courtyard of Materials & Applications in Silver Lake, Los Angeles through February of 2008. Defying classification as either sculpture or architecture, the piece flexes with a gesture that projects a dynamic set of trajectories beyond the small courtyard, toward adjacent buildings and features within the neighborhood.
Our goal was in balancing a set of structural ideas, the programmatic needs of the space, and the desire to use basic geometries to create a rich spatial experience within the space itself. The primary structural question posed by the piece is, “What makes the idea of using lines different in terms of their structural properties and how might that be exploited in creating an architectural affect?” The idea addresses tensile properties, thereby limiting the structural possibilities, but also allows for a more specific way of designing that exploits tensile strength. This line of inquiry led to a structural principle that utilizes a dense field of lines. The installation consists of two basic materials: (1) an aluminum frame extending up from the ground and out into the space, and (2) a series of fine, tensioned ropes pulling the cantilever in the opposite direction, forcing it to hover above the ground.
The development of the project was the negotiation of two primary objectives: (1) the conception of a spatial idea involving the accumulation of dense fields of material overlap (with this idea in mind, one priority became the insistence on a delicate and inexpensive material choice), and (2) the creation of a three-dimensional geometry extracted from the surrounding neighborhood. Given that objective, our site investigations took into account two primary “lines of communication” occurring within the space. First, those running perpendicular to Silver Lake Boulevard, existing as a series of lines connecting points on both sides of the small courtyard, and; secondly, those running perpendicular to Silver Lake Boulevard connecting windows, edge conditions, and points of entry to similar conditions found in and around the existing courtyard. In capturing the spirit of those three-dimensional site investigations, the scheme utilizes a cantilever that relies structurally on an elegant combination of tensile and compressive members, maintaining both the spatial and geometrical intent.
Design + Fabrication:
Abbey Chong, Cory Hill, Jian Huang, Justin Oh Lighting Design: Thomas Paterson, Luxpopuli Structural
Engineering: Bruce Danziger, ARUP
Photography: Art Gray, Scott Mayoral, Dwayne Oyler
Sponsors: The Harpo Foundation, Fountainhead, Detex, M&K Metals