Location: Los Angeles, CA
Project Year: 2013
Project Team: Christoph a. Kumpusch, Adam Orlinski, Ali Fouladi, Ryan J. Simons, William Orlando, Carlos Rodriguez, Cecil Barnes, Joey Jacobson, Kimberli Meyer

How do elements of architecture, construction, and movement interplay in the complex built environments of Los Angeles?

While Earth Wave started as an investigation to the possible answers of the question “What is architecture for?” – it extended to define a more resilient and sustainable thinking, unphased by the whims and trends of a field constantly trying to define and reinvent itself. Originally imagined and constructed as one of two dozen 20×20 earthquake protection modules to be deployed in Reggio Calabria, Italy, which faced complete destruction in its 1908 Messina Earthquake. It was taken from Reggio Calabria to Los Angeles, adapting to different contexts through its form. The Earthwave is an inhabitable drawing—referencing assets and stories, adapting to accommodate each other. A visitor, upon arriving at the site, is invited to move through the structure’s swarms at 1:1 scale. The structure reignites lines of thought that cannot be easily identified or labeled. Inhabiting the structure introduces a new dimensionality while referring to the 2D and 3D nature of the project. The site allows Earthwave to capture and symbolize the city’s energy without inhibition. The word “adaptability” takes on a different framework here: The design is purely urban in nature—its steel members creating a hierarchy of imperceptible forces constantly in motion throughout the city—and has regained the rampancy of its form. The siting of the project frees it from being perceived as an object to be viewed from a distance, and transforms the structure into a metric of urbanity meant to be freely moved through. The Earthwave is a 3-dimensional embodiment of a challenge to the perceived notion of what is considered architecture, and a transcendental experience of sustainability in inhabitation.

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