The Lowly Billboard Gets a Makeover on the Sunset Strip

December 13, 2015
The common billboard, reimagined by Los Angeles-based Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects.

Billboards exist to attract attention. And, thanks to clever advertising techniques and seductive imagery, they often succeed. But while the imagery of billboards is optimized to lure eyeballs, the armature that holds that imagery is pretty much invisible.

So when ACE Advertising and the City of West Hollywood commissioned architect Lorcan O’Herlihy’s to redesign a billboard on the city’s famous Sunset Strip, he decided to focus on making that armature a more integral and interesting part of the billboard.

“The structure itself is a kind of throwaway,” says O’Herlihy. “It’s just tubes.” The thought of reimagining that structure intrigued him. O’Herlihy’s firm has garnered awards and renown for its multi-family and institutional work, but he and his team see projects like this one as opportunities to rethink the mundane, utilitarian infrastructure that’s become so ubiquitous in our cities. “We think that architecture can be applied everywhere, including billboard structures,” he says. “We felt that was an area to speculate, that you could actually look at the structure as being an important design element,” he says. “We wanted to make this thing an architecturally inventive idea.”