Hirsuta’s Rawhide brings prairie style to Los Angeles

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The unusual roof has been recreated in the Sci-Arc Gallery in Los Angeles
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Shingles were curled to replicate years of weathering
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A 1:1 model of an unusual Utah residence’s roof dominates the SCI-Arc Gallery space.

If you can’t take the people to the architecture, you have to bring the architecture to the people. In the case of Raspberry Fields, the experiment in unorthodox shingling from Hirsuta, Jason Payne’s L.A. architecture and design firm, the remote plains of Utah may be a little too far for most people to make the trek.

The original project turned a dilapidated century-old, single-room schoolhouse into a residence, cladding it with narrow cedar shingles designed to gradually curl upwards after decades of weathering Utah’s fierce winters – an unapologetically shaggy appearance reminiscent of strips of shoe leather. Now, for those who can’t get to Utah, a 1:1 recreation of the roof dubbed Rawhide has been erected at the Sci-Arc Gallery, part of the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles.

While the original Raspberry Fields cladding was designed to weather slowly, revealing the effects of time gradually, the L.A. version sped up the process by artificially aging the shingles through steam-curling.

Payne’s technique brings the finish on the roof and exterior walls front and centre, focusing attention not on the bones of the structure, but on the tactile qualities of the wood – rejecting the popular use of digital design to push the boundaries of spatial technique in favour of a material-based approach to generating a unique and welcoming atmosphere.

Rawhide will be on display at the Sci-Arc Gallery, 960 East 3rd St, Los Angeles, until September 11.

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