Amanda Gunawan and Joel Wong: 6 AM

Amanda Gunawan and Joel Wong from Singapore: “I (Amanda Gunawan) graduated from Sci-Arc in 2016 and worked under Morphosis for a little while before starting my own firm @owiudesign. The reason for this was because a chair that we had submitted and designed for a competition got selected to be displayed in Paris Design Week (and then consequently Milan Design Week thereafter). And so we formed @owiudesign, an Architectural Design practice based in Los Angeles California that's focused on, true to our name, OWIU (an abbreviation for the only way is up) - progressive design. On the side I photograph and occasionally write (have written for certain publications) at @amandagnwn

University: Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

Professor(s): Casey Rehm


Name of Project: 6 AM

Project Description: This thesis is about the production of an Architecture in which two antithetical morphological systems are forced to dialogue in a tactical manner in order to create a contemporary mixed-use development. While these two morphological systems have their individual merits, the mediation of these two antagonistic tactics will inevitably result in multiple tensions that have architectural implications on a variety of scales. We begin with the identification of these two different entities. The discrete, defined by its striated forms, combinatorial properties, repetitive nature and rapid assembly methods. On the other hand, its counterpart, the continuous, is regarded for its ability to produce poly-scalar spatial effects and its structural continuity that make long-spanning spatial configurations possible, sometimes taking on the role of flowing or soft form.

The site of this thesis is in the Arts District, a proposed development referred to as 6AM, which is an abbreviation of the street intersection at which it is located, Sixth St and Alameda, less than a mile away from Sci-Arc. The project consists of 2.8M SQF of program. This includes residential, commercial, office spaces, a hotel, a school, exhibition spaces- essentially constituting everything and to put it simply, a city within a city. Our ambition for this thesis is to create a mixed-use residential project that operates according to an urban model what with the emerging public transportation in LA that will now directly connect the Arts District to other major parts of the city from the West all the way to Pasadena.

In approaching a project that is so large-scale, there is a need to utilize both top-down and bottom-up approaches to design and assembly, taking advantage of the strengths of both methods. Residential units remain strictly bottom-up assembly as well as design method while the facilities part of the residential area adopts a top-down method. Many other programmatic spaces incorporate the fusion of these two methods, the imposition of a gridded repetitive system and how these components encounter the singular continuous elements.


We studied two precedents in great detail that ended up heavily influencing this thesis. Kowloon walled city and Corbusier’s venice hospital. Both precedents are starkly different from one another with Kowloon Walled City being a much more of an informal Architectural project as compared to the extremely formal Venice Hospital. One is designed by an architect while the other is simply a settlement. Our aim for 6AM was that it should possess the systematic structure of Venice Hospital, whose every detail was meticulously planned out while allowing for a dynamic growth method, the development was to be built on the idea of phased dynamism.

Our discrete elements are made up of a single module, similar to Corbusier’s venice hospital. One that is able to switch directions, is structurally sound and is able to be mass-produced using simple materials with simple joinery. Most importantly, these elements can ultimately produce a myriad of possibilities, both expected and unexpected. This module was then used to create components, from small scale items like furniture to structural elements like beams and columns. It allows for the creation of more complex macro-components. It is also used to infect the continuous and provide regulatory structure and organization in spaces that require some. The discrete also eliminates the need for singular and estranged furniture pieces because everything becomes built-in.


Instagram Username: @owiudesign / @amandagnwn / @zhoujoel