Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Friday, May 28, 2010

Coop Himmelblau in Downtown Los Angeles

I’m happy that I’ve found an article at about the High School #9 in Los Angeles, California. First of all, every time I saw its round windows in the gray boring walls, I was wondering who’d be the architects that add more gray to the city (it has enough of it). I never related the tower to this building and I was also concerned about the meaning of it. This is what says:
“High School #9, LAUSD’s new flagship high school project with emphasis in the Visual and Performing Arts, is in direct vicinity of the downtown Los Angeles cultural corridor with Disney Concert Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The school campus will include four academies for education in music, dance, theater arts and visual arts, and a theater for 1,000 visitors which can be open to the public.
The tower, a unique and highly visible sculptural landmark, will provide a point of identification for the students, a symbol for the arts in the city and a sign for the positive development of the arts, education and our society. The tower also relates to the immediate context of downtown Los Angeles and the other cultural institutions within.
A spiral in form of a #9 which revolves around the tower completes the sculpture and is an expression of the dynamic development of our society.”

Now, being an architect myself, and with experience in “reading” buildings and their meanings, I could never have imagined such a symbol for the “dynamic development of our society”. This is not that I don’t understand the spiral, the problem is that the picture published at is aerial, and you can see it as in a model. But, when you are at speed in the freeway, the only thing you see is the tower that looks like a building. That’s the problem, you don’t understand if it is an empty silly building good for nothing or a huge sculpture dedicated to nothing. I took a picture myself, inside the car, and I promise to look for it, or take another one.
Maybe some architects forget that real buildings are not to be seen as massive models, unless you are inside an airplane instead of a car, with the view blocked by the freeway walls and trees. From this point of view, the tower is absolutely out of context.
Tatlin had this idea of the spiral conforming the tower. This is a great sculpture, I highly prefer this one, because the tower is in itself a spiral and doesn´t need ramps to express the idea. No extra elements needed! Image from
*All pictures have been downloaded from

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