A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California

A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California

On the surface, it feels like an age since California could lay claim to being at the cutting edge of architectural design. The Case Study series might have kick-started an aesthetic, but even though the style of long, low and lithe design persists, it’s long since evolved into the default choice of creative-minded hedge fund managers, with price tags to match, rather than the low-cost homes they were originally intended to be. But scratch the surface, and there’s an awful lot going on.

The thirty-eight firms represented at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art’s new show, ’A New Sculpturalism’, illustrate the sheer variety of scale and style that characterises contemporary Southern Californian design, from the world-conquering shapes created by Gehry Partners, Greg Lynn, Morphosis and Eric Owen Moss, to the innovative residential and cultural projects of Warren Techentin, RoTo, Coscia Day, Lorcan O’Herlihy, Brooks + Scarpa and many, many more.

Regular readers will be familiar with most of these names from Wallpaper* Architects Directories past; suffice to say there’s still plenty of fire left in the Californian design community. On the evidence presented, it’s not too much of a stretch to lay the credit (and the blame) for much of modern architect’s formal adventurousness at the feet of the Californians, as the very analogue, hands-on deconstructivism of early Gehry and Owen Moss blossomed into a digitally designed landscape of swoops, curves, angles and extrusions that would have repercussions all over the planet.  

The show takes place in a classic Gehry-designed space dating from the early 1980s,  and will feature three specially-designed full-scale pavilions, by Atelier Manferdini, P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S and Tom Wiscombe Design, as well as models and imagery.

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