Chris Martin

Chris Martin

Los Angeles, CA, US


Urban Sprawler, Industrial Creeper, & the Transient Threshold

This project focuses on the collection, storage, and distribution of water in an arid climate. Through architecture’s engagement with fluid substance we reconsider architecture’s threshold condition between interior and exterior. Our design develops a system of bio-capsules derived from the nesting of compound orbicular geometries and the way in which their spatial configuration begins to promote circulation for elements in flux. We’ve developed an assemblage whose complex and regenerative spatial arrangements take shape as the unit adapts to its environment. The forms lend themselves to a multitude of formal variations responding to unique local ecologies within the greater Los Angeles area. 


These assemblages utilize a permeable enclosure that oscillates between macro and micro porosity in order to maximize water collection and circulation for the cultivation of our synthetic vivarium. 


A parallel function that these units perform is their active participation in indexing micro climates within Los Angeles’ various ecologies. Sensors embedded within these assemblages collect data that contributes to a digital network stretching across the city. This data is sent back to the site where it is disseminated to the public, thus making the site a broadcast hub. 


The performance of these units pose interesting implications that call into question our conventional understanding of threshold. The circulation of water from the vessels located along the periphery to the nested bio-cells and underground discharge channel effectively erodes the legibility of site. The ground plane becomes a permeable membrane penetrated by the proliferation of these assemblages near local ruptures. Water directed from the LA River is treated through a series of filtration silos and stored in a subterranean reservoir. Annual rainfall collected by the vessels occupying the site above further dilutes the river water to be used for irrigation of vegetation. The “site” then becomes a transient threshold maintaining a state of flux. 


These drawings privilege various context while reflecting on the cultural and temporal characteristics of the site. They situate the project in the politics of water conservation and land use. The drawings embody inevitable transformation of a site that eludes definition.

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Status: School Project
Location: Los Angeles, CA, US
My Role: Student
Additional Credits: Jacques Lesec, Marcilin Gow, SCIarc