A Tower, A Character

Instructor: Margaret Griffin
Course: Advanced Design
Semester: Fall 2016
Duration: 12 Weeks

(UTSoA Design Excellence Winner)

In Hugh Ferriss’ The Metropolis of Tomorrow (1929), he imagines the city as a collection of minuscule actors (us) who’ve constructed monstrous characters (our buildings). Ferriss poses the question, “How perfectly or imperfectly have the actors expressed themselves in their constructions…?” Questioning the characters we create leads to an essential discussion of their personalities, a missing dialogue in architecture. A skyscraper in a city can be read as a single personality in a cast of characters that together give life to an urban landscape.


Most of us experience such buildings only around them, near them, or next to them. We must have a conversation about the attitudes of our buildings, as we spend time with them just as we spend time with each other. Thus, my project was designed as a new personality for Los Angeles, one with an optimism expressed through posture, color, and formal clarity. It favors awkwardness over elegance and anthropomorphism over minimalism in order to achieve relatability. It does away with implicit metaphor and embedded action verb in order to simply be who he is, a new character in the landscape.