In a new exhibition at A+D Los Angeles, five architects—who at one time or another have worked at Jones, Partners: Architecture (J,P:A)—each created architectural propositions that use “technology in expressive ways, as a means of engaging the environment,” says J,P:A Principal Wes Jones. Inspired by the Rat Fink era of hotrodding, SOUPERgreen celebrates rather than hides technology, putting it out there for everyone to see. Jones likens the approach to mounting solar panels on a structure in the same way a flaring exhaust pipe defiantly juts out from a hotrod. “Souped up” architecture indeed. “We want the issues to be more apparent, more engaging, more fun, more visually impressive, so that you’re connected with those issues in a more direct or significant way,” says Jones. What follows is a look at these forward-thinking designs, including "appendages" cantilevered from skyscrapers, a self-sustaining urban farm scaled for a single-family residence, and a freeway system that launches cars to and fro.
The five architects espouse what they call “boss” architecture (“boss” being a synonym for cool as popularized in the hotrod era).
"In’stead" by AAA Architecture Principal Randolph Ruiz imagines what it’s like to live atop a big-box warehouse like that of Home Depot that is acres in size.
Ruiz proposes to reconnect civilization to the food chain by converting the roof of the big-box warehouse to a hydroponic farm ground that grows plants in water, without the use of soil.
"In’stead" uses a large sunscreening mechanism that covers the house and greenhouse, which can be adjusted for varying levels of shade. Much of the façade can be manipulated to allow for natural ventilation via windows or insulated louver systems.
Wes Jones proposes that a single occupancy vehicle half as wide as smart car could be the key to solving L.A.’s notorious traffic jams. These vehicles could be parked on houses that are built atop the freeway system, further de-clogging the roadways.
Jones’ home has a “launch and recovery” system where the house plucks the vehicle from the freeway and launches the car out onto the freeway again when visitors ready to leave. The home is powered by rollers it lays down on the freeway, collecting energy from the constant flow of traffic.
APLSD Los Angeles Design Principal Steven Purvis designed a self-sustaining urban farm at the scale of a single-family dwelling. Purvis’ urban farm has grow trays behind and underneath solar panels. The mobile farm is placed on a rail and is able to rotate, so it can track path of the sun.
Aryan Omar, a designer with Richard Meier & Partners, took on the challenge of creating homes built for California’s desert environs.
Omar incorporated different kinds of wind harnessing devices on the roof the home, which can provide enough energy for daily use.
Doug Jackson, principal of the Doug Jackson Design Office and Cal Poly College of Architecture and Environmental Design professor, brings new meaning to the words “living on the edge” by cantilevering his home on the edge of a Wilshire Boulevard office tower in downtown Los Angeles.
Jackson’s design is covered in energy-harvesting skin that continuously adjusts itself to environmental conditions. Its outermost layer is a photovoltaic fabric panel stretched over a flexible and pneumatically operated aluminum frame. The inner layer collects the energy of the wind using the principle of aerostatic flutter. “Rather than turning, they actually flutter, which causes a current,” says Jones.