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The Samitaur Tower in Culver City, California is an odd but attractive and iconic landmark designed by Eric Owen Moss Architects and located along routes of both intense automobile and train-based transportation. Standing at 72 feet in height, it peaks above surrounding buildings which must adhere to a strict 56 foot height limit, drawing attention to itself and the images it relays.

Arch2o-Samitaur Tower-Eric Owen Moss Architects (13)

Courtesy of Eric Owen Moss Architects- Photography: Tom Bonner

Viewed from the front, the tower is a meshing of several circular rings, spanned and connected by screens. Behind these screens, a total of 10 projectors work to display artwork and public announcements to passersby.

The backside presents a sharp statement about the surrounding industries of showbiz and showmanship. A stark, steel-clad, flat backing confronts the viewer- expecting to see a continuation of the front-viewed rings. Punching out of this rigid backing are landings for the open-air staircase which climbs to the summit of the lookout. The tower offers itself as just that- a lookout to the surrounding areas, as well as a forum for display to a captive and willing audience.

Arch2o-Samitaur Tower-Eric Owen Moss Architects (5)

Courtesy of Eric Owen Moss Architects- Photography: Tom Bonner

The most powerful bit about the project is one that has already been mentioned, but deserves a second one- the element of set design is ‘mentioned’ and executed extraordinarily well. The part of the building meant to be seen and meant for seeing, is done out tremendously- and the back, the part not serving this purpose is appropriately economized… but done so in a way that is itself designed as well. Being a forum for the dissemination of info and image, the tower is also a physical forum, beginning its construction from a depression 12 feet below street level. Here in-built public seating is offered, providing a place to rest and take in the day and what more the tower offers.

Courtesy of Eric Owen Moss Architects- Photography: Tom Bonner

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