Diaphanous House | UCLA 2008 | Instructor: Jurg Lang
Venice, California

As cities develop new and responsive ways for dealing with urban density such as New York or Chicago, Los Angeles offers a very unique condition for horizontal densification. Due to the seismic demands that buildings must meet, vertical density becomes a less viable option for urban growth in LA resulting in tightly compact horizontal expansion. Conceptually, this project interrogates this idea of horizontal compactness thus consolidating all servicing and ‘hook-up’ aspects of typical housing programs into a prefabricated horizontal core. By doing so, more flexibility in spatial specificities such as materiality, enclosure, opacity/transparency, and structure arise.

Many precedents have shown with steel structural systems the potential delicacy and precision in detailing building systems. Mies’ Farnsworth Pavilion exemplifies the transparent quality and minimalist detail that steel structural systems allow. However, this particular project, placed within LA’s dense residential fabric, does not inherit the same contextual conditions that Mies was dealing with therefore, spatial separation and enclosure are meant to be perceived as hazy, or of having a diaphanous quality. At night the project becomes a semi-translucent lantern highlighting the open space preserved at grade level.

Jurors: Jurg Lang, Mark Mack, Glenn Yehrani, Gwynne Pugh