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The Flat Out Large


Architectural & Urban Project. 2021

SCI-Arc Vertical Studio Spring 2021

Instructor: Tom Wiscombe, Samuel Flower

Site: Koreatown, Los Angeles


This project explores formal potentials of the “flat out large”, how these super-slender, super flat volumes work and locate at the central commercial area of Koreatown, Los Angeles. There are many on-progress high-rise projects which are complex towers including residence, commercial space, metro station and offices to deal with the issues of density here. And many architects tried to find a way to provide more residence, pedestrian and public space for the attracted citizens and visitors for Korea town. So my start point is to utilize the idea of the
flat out large to reorganize the density of Koreatown with the all these elements happened here.


In a world full of congestion and medium-scaled humanist buildings, there are many advantages to these mysterious FOL buildings, which have small footprints, small profiles, and large graphic elevations. Their size and slenderness resonate with contemporary building types: megamats provide massive floor plates for highly sought-after creative and tech spaces; superslabs respond to the tiny housing revolution with contracted floor plate depths. Defying the extruded, gravity-centric city of the 20th century, FOL buildings drop down from above, creating cities on top of cities, something called “Hypercities.” Where they land, they create discrete, bounded spaces like interiors of giant houses.

This is a new form of adaptive re-use, where the old and new city dock together without fusing, in a non-binary
condition we might refer to as a third object. The third object is virtual, but concrete, and it contains chunks of
dense, bounded, three dimensional urban space within the sprawl. This is not continuous city-building as we
know it—it is discrete world building. It preserves the history of a city by piling things up and leaving everything
in play rather than maintaining the charade that the city is a holistic anthropomorphic body that needs to be continuously mended. Parts remain at a distance, resonating, anticipating the next layer.

Design process and city skyline

Project Overview

Clipping Building floor plans

I stack, rotate and tile my parts (slabs) vertically to make a different proposal of form with the current 631 Vermont Ave high- rise project. I try to reorganize the density here in the looseness way to make new construction interact with surrounding avenues, blvd and pedestrian space below. 


On the new ground platform with loosely composed FOL buildings, I create a new composite space of Asian
market, pedestrian mall and restaurant under these shadow-cast objects. It is inspired by the famous open-air
nighttime bazaars of Asia, where people come together to eat, drink and socialize. In the daytime, it plays the role as park, business plaza or social space. That provides a kind of possibility to protect citizens and attract the residents here to get down and surrounding residents and visitor to come together to generate a new collective ground world.

Toy-style model turntable

Aerial View and nightmarket

Technical Drawings

Eastern elevation

Slab arrangement (mega floor plans)

City collective solar fields

Physical Model

Studio Project

Architectural & Urban Project

SCI-Arc Vertical Studio 2021 Spring


Tom Wiscombe, Samuel Flower


Shuai Ma


Koreatown, Los Angeles

Tools and Techniques

Rhinoceros, AutoCAD, Keyshot, Adobe Suite

Spring 2021

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