3A Design Studio
Fall 2017 (In collaboration with Neil Vasquez)


S. Bixel Street and 7th Street , Los Angeles

The project is to design an office and hotel high-rise located in Downtown Los Angeles. Currently, there is a dichotomy of separating the technical innovations and the ideas produced out of the technical innovations in architecture in order to stabilize architecture. In this way, many skyscrapers has reduced itself to a pure extrusion with a corporate grid, communicating the capitalistic power architecture can hold. It has become “an organism” that is most concerned with its most efficient use of space and the highest profit per unit of space. In this case, to achieve the most productive use of space, the building surfaced has thinned out to its most, with the glass curtain wall as almost a skyscraper standard.


We were interested in the building envelope as a three dimensional, almost spheric condition, where the surface of the building serves as an important site of control for not only the economics and structure of the building but also its novel exterior and interior conditions. To bring back its historical context, a high-rise references a column that is composed of a bottom, middle and top. While our high-rise still follows the continuity of an extrusion, the discontinuity within creates dynamic spaces for the experience of visitors. Additionally, the relationship between the structural members and surface are always changing. Instead of designing a facade in a hyper rational and entirely algorithmic way, the curvaceous form of our skyscraper is created by working with profiles and curves that gestures to the city. The building is able to detach itself from an ideology that privileges an autonomous relationship to its context and situate itself into the site of the skyline of Los Angeles while remaining familiar to the people who interact with it.

Final Product


Elevation and Section


Precedent Analysis > Facade > Massing Studies > Space Articulation > Final 

Precedent Building: 
Atlanta Marriot Marquis Hotel - John Portman
(more analysis and drawings here

The main investigation examines the particular impact of the building envelope and its material and geometrical determinations as a Tall Building form. The presumed identity of the contemporary tall building as an extruded thin curtain-wall facade is contested. The building facade makes up the building’s outermost membrane and can greatly influence its formal presence within a city as will as the 

articulation and tectonic design of its interior components, guiding the placement of apertures or of its material developement, its affective qualities, aesthetic forces and sensibilities of the time. And of course, the building envelope has a crucial environmental role in terms of its permeability for daylight and ventilation as well as its capacities for insulation and solar-shading. By studying such formal, tectonic and performative specificities of a precedent, a tall building form is designed from the outermost surface, then the spaces it encloses, focusing on its surroundings and its iconographic performance in today's metropolis.

Diagrams from left to right
Circulation > Tectonics > Program > Facade Unfolded Elevations


Facade Physical Model

Massing Studies Physical Models

Final Physical Model