Thursday, December 28, 2006

LA's "Steel Cloud" (1988)

Back in 1988, Los Angeles had a competition to build a $33-million monument sculpture over the Hollywood Freeway between Olvera Street and the Civic Center.

It was supposed to rival New York's Statue of Liberty and St. Louis' Gateway Arch. The selection committee chose the "Steel Cloud" entry by New York architects Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture (now of Asymptote).

The glass-and-steel structure was to rise up to twelve stories above the Hollywood Freeway in
downtown Los Angeles and was to be linked by bridges to the city's ethnic neighborhoods. Passersby wouldl peer at 140-ft.-high aquariums and view scenes from Hollywood films projected on large silver screens. Asymptote's website describes it:

"The Steel Cloud, a monument to Pacific Rim immigraionto the United States, occupies a zone directly above the median strip of the Hollywood Freeway in Los Angeles. In an attempt to situate the monument in the context of the late 20th century an episodic architecture is proposed that is inspired by the optical phenomena, surveillance technology, telecommunication advances and the proliferation of information. This is a living monument, accomodating galleries, libraries, theaters, cinemas, parks, and plazas that are intersected by the fluid and transient spaces of the city."

Asymptote offers some model photographs as well:

Maybe Frank Gehry's billowing metal Disney Hall drew some inspiration from this idea?

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