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Four Design Firms Display American Skyscraper Architecture As Museum Art

  • <p><strong>MANIPULATION<br />
Firm: Tom Wiscombe Design</strong><br />
“[Wiscombe] can bend the metal as if it were rubber, fold it in on itself. That’s really an experiment in folds--parametric collapsing of materials, that sort of thing. He talks about it being kind of a punch, like putting his fist through a rubber glove.”</p>
  • <p><strong>NOVEL CONSTRUCTION<br />
Firm: P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S</strong><br />
“They’re using sailcloth and graphite tape to create a structure that reflects an investigation into new materials. L.A. has always been a place where people have experimented with materials and structures, whether it’s wood or stone or metal or whatever.”</p>
  • <p><strong>STRETCH GEOMETRY<br />
Firm: Atelier Manferdini</strong> <br />
“[Principal architect Elena Manferdini is] using digital technology to create the feeling of a garden. L.A. architecture is really about the way an artist has a certain amount of personal expression.”</p>
  • <p><strong>HIGH ART<br />
Firm: Ball-Nogues</strong><br />
“They’re making it out of old newspaper and a kind of advanced version of papier-mâché. You think about Gaudi, the architect in Barcelona, and you think about what he was able to do without a computer. This is what he could have done with one.”</p>
  • 01 /04

    MANIPULATION
    Firm: Tom Wiscombe Design

    “[Wiscombe] can bend the metal as if it were rubber, fold it in on itself. That’s really an experiment in folds--parametric collapsing of materials, that sort of thing. He talks about it being kind of a punch, like putting his fist through a rubber glove.”

  • 02 /04

    NOVEL CONSTRUCTION
    Firm: P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S

    “They’re using sailcloth and graphite tape to create a structure that reflects an investigation into new materials. L.A. has always been a place where people have experimented with materials and structures, whether it’s wood or stone or metal or whatever.”

  • 03 /04

    STRETCH GEOMETRY
    Firm: Atelier Manferdini

    “[Principal architect Elena Manferdini is] using digital technology to create the feeling of a garden. L.A. architecture is really about the way an artist has a certain amount of personal expression.”

  • 04 /04

    HIGH ART
    Firm: Ball-Nogues

    “They’re making it out of old newspaper and a kind of advanced version of papier-mâché. You think about Gaudi, the architect in Barcelona, and you think about what he was able to do without a computer. This is what he could have done with one.”

In the late 1970s, West Coasters such as Frank Gehry and Eric Owen Moss redefined American architecture—replacing stolid corporate towers with sculptural intrigue. Today's breed continues that legacy, and at a Museum of Contemporary Architecture exhibit in L.A this month, four of them translate their vision into art. Curator Christopher Mount explains.

A version of this article appeared in the June 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.