Natalie Kester

Natalie Kester

Los Angeles, CA, US


Senior Project - Osseus

Osseus: The Los Angeles River Warehouse Rehabilitation

“The river itself portrays humanity precisely, with its tortuous windings, its accumulation of driftwood, its unsuspected depths, and its crystalline shallows, singing in the Summer sun. Barriers may be built across its path, but they bring only power, as the conquering of an obstacle is always sure to do. Sometimes when the rocks and stone-clad hills loom large ahead, and eternity itself would be needed to carve a passage, there is an easy way around.”

- Myrtle Reed, Old Rose and Silver


A skeleton, osseus, as “an internal or external framework of bone, cartilage, or other rigid material supporting or containing the body of an animal or plant” is translated into a new roof to an existing warehouse in Vernon to contain various riparian habitats in a large 8,000 square foot space.  The roof is designed to combine both the river’s winding power and path of water and humanity’s precision.  

The architecture of an adaptive reuse of a warehouse’s roof consists of three layers: the skin, the skeleton, and the body.  The skin is the roof habitat which houses a walk-able roof with wildflowers natural to the Los Angeles riverfront.  The skeleton, reflective of humanity’s precision, is the rigid wooden frame forming an internal exoskeleton, being the roof itself.  This frame, representative of the river’s path, is based of a series of curves originating from the Los Angeles watershed, which was altered to facilitate pedestrian movement and large habitats.  The body is made of three large habitats, in the main exhibit space.

Osseus is the combination of both humanity’s rigidity and nature’s unpredictability through the creation of a space that can be experienced from above, below, and within a skeleton.  

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Status: School Project
Location: Vernon, CA, US