The team led by Tom Wiscombe Architecture has been selected as the winner of the Sunset Spectacular Billboard Competition, which tasked firms to design a multi-dimensional, kinetic billboard to “bring creativity and originality back to the Sunset Strip.”
Triumphing over finalist proposals from Gensler, TAIT Towers Inc. and Zaha Hadid Architects, the winning design, titled “West Hollywood Belltower,” draws from West Hollywood’s unique history and relationship with the billboard, and builds on its evolution from 2-dimensional sign to 3-dimensional icon-object.
Partnering with builder/operator Orange Barrel Media, Structural Engineer Walter P Moore and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), Tom Wiscombe Architecture has envisioned a proposal that rejects the stereotypical “sign-on-a-stick” billboard typology in favor of a “spatial and interactive” intervention on the streetscape.
The design of the Belltower consists of three faceted “petals,” which have been pulled apart and rotated to create an occupiable interior. Unlike standard billboards that are intended to be seen only in passing, the Belltower invites pedestrians to occupy the area around and within the billboard. In this way, the structure operates in a manner associated with deep-rooted urban archetypes representative of community engagement, such as bell-towers, clock-towers and obelisks.
On the outer faces of the perforated metal planes, a variety of technologies have been employed to display the billboard’s media content: irregularly-shaped high-resolution LED screens, video projections and theatrical lighting. These options will allow the Belltower to cater the display to specific content types, which will include a combination of commercial media, feeds from concerts and other cultural events, branding and news from the City of West Hollywood, and video art installations curated by MoCA.
The interior space will also be customizable, and will allow visitors to control its appearance:
“The interior space of the Belltower is vertical, immersive, and engages the public imagination. It contains a sculptural object that is programmed with interactive and trending social media,” explain the architects. “Pedestrians can interact with it directly via apps on their smartphones, altering patterns of light pulled from the deep web, or ‘pushing’ digitally altered media content onto it.”
Adjacent to the structure, a public square containing seating areas, site lighting, drought-tolerant landscaping and flexible space for outdoor markets or events will connect the billboard to the rest of the city while providing pedestrians with a setting to meet, relax and play.
“Ultimately, the significance of this project is that it will exist simultaneously in two realms: the local physical space of the Sunset Strip and the global digital space of social media. Potentially the most ‘Instagrammable’ billboard in the world, this project will actively share the uniqueness and creativity of West Hollywood with the world.”
The winning team will now continue to work with the city to refine their proposal before its realization.
News via Tom Wiscombe Architecture.