Tom Wiscombe Architecture (TWA) has been selected as the winner for The Sunset Strip Spectacular Pilot Creative Off-Site Advertising Sign Request for Proposals (RFP) competition for a site located at 8775 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, California.
The firm’s proposal, a partnership with Orange Barrel Media and Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) beats out submissions by JCDecaux and Zaha Hadid Project Management Ltd.; Outfront Media, Gensler and the MAK Center; and Tait Towers Inc.
The RFP comes as the city of West Hollywood, California seeks to modernize the ubiquitous billboards that dot Sunset Strip, a 1.5-mile stretch of Sunset Boulevard that cuts across the city’s northwestern edge, for the 21st century. The municipality’s RFP called on designers to“ design a technologically advanced, engaging, one-of-a-kind, billboard structure” while also inspiring “a 21st-century vision with contemporary digital and interactive technologies, media, and multi-dimensional graphic design.”
View of West Hollywood Belltower proposal for the Sunset Strip. (Courtesy Tom Wiscombe Architecture)
TWA’s proposal seeks to reinvent the billboard as a typology overall, replacing its static, image-based, and automobile-centric qualities with digitally-driven and public space-making approaches. The scheme takes the typical double-sided billboard and rotates it 90-degrees so that the short edge of the sign rests on the ground. The two planes are then bent and folded into a configuration that allows for human occupation, with the whole assembly located in a public plaza.
Wiscombe described the project via email to The Architect’s Newspaper, saying, “Just a few months ago Elton John and Lady Gaga did a pop-up duet right nearby our site, in support of his AIDS Foundation. I like to think of our Belltower as a contemporary catalyst and venue for civic engagement like that. We are also committed to making it into a kind of digital testing ground for artists, who will be curated by our partner MoCA. They will essentially be able to take it over for periods of time. I think that fusing together the worlds of art and commerce will give the project life, and force us out of our habitual modes of consuming media.”