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Designed by:
Demar Matthews, American  Search this
Subject of:
Watts Towers, founded 1921  Search this
H x W: 2834 pixels × 2126 pixels
File size (Total): 4.79 MB
digital images
digital media - born digital
Place depicted:
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States, North and Central America
May 2020
As Black residents are forced out of their neighborhoods by rising housing prices (a result of gentrification in Los Angeles), architectural designer Demar Matthews wanted to center his designs on what he dubs “Unearthing the Black Aesthetic.” This digital illustration is an extension of Matthews' project “R Cloud House.” Prospectively sited in Watts, the 700 square foot structure is imagined as a maker space to be shared, with a community kitchen with access to fresh fruit and vegetables. The form of R Cloud House is inspired by the “shotgun” style house used by Black residents of New Orleans and the project's façade takes pattern inspiration from box braids and waves. The roof itself, and its representations in Matthews' renderings like this one, resemble a crown, calling attention to the significance of the person who wears it - in this case, a Black person for whom the design is made.
A digital image of an architectural rendering titled "Optimized-To Host Space." It consists of a single JPEG file (.jpg). The top half of the rendering features a grayscale image of the Watts Towers set against a cloudy sky. Below the towers is a digitally rendered image of an irregularly shaped building whose roof ascends and descends at sharp angles, reminiscent of the top of a crown. Some sides of the building feature concentric circles and squares. A gold symbol is repeated in the center of each circle. A man dressed in brown athletic wear is superimposed on the image of the building. Bending backwards, he looks ahead as he stretches his proper right arm above him and his proper left arm beneath him. Mully is printed on his sweater and joggers in white uppercase letters. He also wears a sneakers and black sunglasses. The bottom half of the image features the side of a building. Much of it is airbrushed in yellow and pink. Text on the roof of the building reads [MEAT / GROCERY] and [BEER /WINE / EAT]. A man and woman standing outside the building, beneath two surveillance cameras, look up at a spot the woman points to.
African American  Search this
Architecture  Search this
Black geographies  Search this
Communities  Search this
Design  Search this
Urban life  Search this
Credit Line:
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Demar Matthews
Object number:
Restrictions & Rights:
© Demar Matthews
Permission required for use. Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.
See more items in:
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Collection title:
Rendering Visible
Decorative Arts, Craft, and Design
Data Source:
National Museum of African American History and Culture