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Chris Burden's Zoning Code-Exploiting "Small Skyscraper" Will Be Erected in Pas's One Colorado

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Chris Burden is the artist who used to be most well-known for "Shoot," a performance piece in which his assistant shot him in the arm, but these days he's the guy making huge urban-themed installation pieces, most notably LACMA's "Urban Light" (but also LACMA's noisy little city "Metropolis II"). Now his "Small Skyscraper," which grew out of "bureaucratic frustrations Burden faced when trying to construct a studio on the rural property he bought in 1991," according to, will be erected at the One Colorado shopping center in Pasadena. The 35-foot tall structure was designed with help from local architects Taalman Koch and has been living on Burden's Topanga property--the idea is that its height and small floor area (four rooms totaling less than 400 square feet) exploited a now-closed loophole in the LA zoning code that "allowed small out buildings, like green houses and sheds, to be built without a permit," according to the Armory Center for the Arts, which is staging the work.

Burden calls his baby building "a modern-day log cabin," but it's actually made out of "prefabricated interlocking aluminum framework" and includes "added design features, such as a low roof parapet." The Art Newspaper says that originally the team "considered developing it into an actual habitable structure, with sliding glass doors and a one-man elevator," but nixed that because Burden wanted to keep it "in that grey zone it; it could be a building, but when Mr Inspector comes knocking you say, 'Well, that's not a structure, it's art.'"

"Small Skyscraper" will be at One Colorado from August 11 to November 11.