John Umbanhowar + Elizabeth Umbanhowar (hughesumbanhowar Architects) – Evaporative Fault

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This installation is part of the 2014 SKYLINE Event – held February 13 – 22, 2014, in Downtown Los Angeles.  For event information, please click on the ‘SKYLINE Main Menu’ link above.   For more SKYLINE 2014 installations, please click on theArtist/Architect Installationslink above.

John Umbanhowar + Elizabeth Umbanhowarcaseinstall(hughesumbanhowar Architects) – Evaporative Fault

INSTALLATION SITE #10
1106 S. Broadway
Fashion District, Downtown Los Angeles

“Evaporative Fault” seeks to reveal the slow/fast erosions/accretions of chronology and place at the interface of inside/outside in the urban environment. Using ephemeral/fluid materials—light, salt, time—the project engages passersby in noticing ineffable, sometimes ineluctable, processes that define and reflect the converging geological and cultural histories of Los Angeles. Lodged between the boundaries of defined architectural space and “open space” of the street grid, “Evaporative Fault” presents the viewer/participant with a conundrum—the apparent permanence and simultaneous fleetingness of the urban edifice at the interstices between inside and outside, nature and built environment, the corporeal and the psychological.  Architecture meets art meets landscape meets human psyche. At once object and site, a Plexi-glass structure set within the window frame of an historic storefront, appears as both wall and window. This “time vessel” acts as barrier, boundary and gateway, gradually allowing/revealing views to the other/in/out side. A pulsing/glowing beacon of light concomitantly invites and warns the passerby of things that were and of things to come. Over the course of the 10-day installation, this salt curtain wall, seemingly impenetrable, gradually erodes/drains—like an hour glass—ending in an amorphous and revelatory mass of salt within. It is a specular quickening of the otherwise invisible (or deliberately concealed) natural and cultural processes that define geological time and human development. This tenuous fascia between activity and dormancy in the downtown fabric is momentarily alight and in motion, a stage for the performance of human ego and environmental process, a space for confrontation, a moment of pause by which the accidental tourist, the glib go-getter, the engaged artiste, or the willing flaneur discovers, meditates upon, reacts against, or responds to material, moment and monument.

In so doing, s/he recognizes something familiar, and her/his own role in the (un)becoming of the city surrounding.

SALT WALL_FRONT_BUILDING_BLUE umbanhower image 2ELIZABETH UMBANHOWAR bio:

Elizabeth Umbanhowar is a practicing landscape architect, landscape studio design instructor at the University of Washington and curator and artist in Seattle, Washington. She has experience working at a variety of scales, conditions (topographic, economic, climatic) and idea and is versed both design/build and construction practices, large scale planning, sustainable practice, and contract and construction document development. Prior returning to graduate student in landscape architecture, Elizabeth served as Executive Director of the Kirkland Arts Center, Fund Development Director for the Wing Luke Asian Museum and served on the King County Public Art Committee (now 4Culture). She has extensive experience as a lecturer and studio design instructor in landscape architecture at the University of Washington and the National Garden Club. She taught art history and public art courses at Indiana University, University of Indiana, and the University of Washington. She continues to serve the arts and landscape community as jury member and curator for local arts programming, as well as contributing her volunteer skills in area schools and nonprofits as a presenter and mentor.

JOHN UMBANHOWAR bio:

John Umbanhowar, AIA, LEED AP is the Los Angeles based principal of hughesumbanhowar. His design process initiates in compelling ideas and his solutions are derived through cross-field investigations in materials, technology, the natural and social sciences. John oversees huum work and projects from beginning to end, directing the tempo of the offices and acting as its central hub for communications. His hands-on involvement runs from schematic design through completion of construction and post-occupancy. John has been integral in several historically significant Los Angeles building projects during his career including renovation of the Troxell House by Richard Neutra and EastWest Recording Studios in collaboration with Philippe Starck. He has been the recipient of multiple AIA awards and furniture design awards.

John serves on academice juries as well as speaking frequently on architecture and design in Los Angeles. John received his Master of Architecture degree from the Southern California Institute of Architecture/SCI-Arc.

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