This project engages the Archeological as a method by which we might face ourselves, conceiving Hollywood as archeological pretext. In this, archaeologies of invention aggregate themselves in the year 2013 A.D. around a site on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Argyle Avenue in Los Angeles. There, they are instilled both in stone and onto the ground. These imprints remain as permanent reminders of what once was. Irrevocable reconciliations with a transient site, they engage the impermanence of architecture as a method for cultural inscription.
What constitutes a “Boys’ and Girls’ Club”? Inherently, the program of this building represents an architectural imposition towards asocial ends. Located beside the W Hotel, its very existence hints at a fantastically Angeleno juxtaposition, the quintessentially collaged combination of a series of urban worlds collated in semicoherence within a stone’s throw of another.
A Boys’ and Girls’ Club becomes an internalized world,interwoven in a nearly Calvinistic resistance from the exterior. It is a haven,the fleeing cause of which we might put on trial. From what precisely does the Youth Center gain its subjectified perception of the outside? The club is, by definition, a deterrent from improper activity, a prison from the “sins” of boredom, themselves the byproducts of an apathetic childhood spent wandering the streets of semiurban Los Angeles. This must (or, at least, could) be overturned. Given the unique situation of the site, a contrasting drama of Elitism (The W), retrospectivism (the theater) and depression (the current site) constitute an ensemble of architecture which ought to be cast towards the production of a blurred perception of space. As it protrudes through the site,it entices both the rejective and inclusionary qualities of the program.
In one essence, the building might begin to play an off-ongame with the public atmosphere around it. Considering the overtly present entrance to the Metro, the lobby of the W and Hollywood Boulevard herself, an impetus can be formed by which formal qualities might be arrived at. In this manner, the form is not sculpted, later to be interjected into the present conditions, but rather it is extrapolated from the inherent regulating geometry of the situation. This is not a senseless repudiation of the qualities already extant, instead a possibility for the colonization of both critical inquisition and contextual pretext.
Hollywood Boulevard is a lot of things; Argyle Avenue is a few, too. This is the conundrum-filled intersection between a path to the not-so-distant “suburbs” and the ephemeral feel of true urbanity. It is a moment haunted by several mish-mashed glimpses of Los Angeles. Although Hollywood Boulevard represents a major interjection throughout the urban fabric of the area, Argyle Avenue is only a momentary slice, a brief but jarring experience between the sickeningly suburban and seemingly urban.
Bifurcated by the freeway, the situation of the Boys’ and Girls’ Club presents itself as a sort of urban petri dish of the general stature of Los Angeles. A hill of density rises in an otherwise desolate expanse of sprawl, tract housing encroaches from the East and industry smudges its premises from the South. The site cries for both repudiation and confirmation at once.
While the situation is unlikely to remain as is after a thorough expansion of urbanity in the wake of the Metro’s extension into the area, its current situation is to the utmost worth notating in the design of the Center.
In so doing, four ground planes are effectively created, only one of which reflects the current actuality of the site. When has Los Angeles ever been concerned with reality? These levels stack and squish towards the heavens, sorting themselves from most rational to most aberrant. The basement finds itself solidified on the abstract architectural conception of the flattened site. It is, at its core, the fantasy of a skewed architecture. To the contrary, the roof forms around a completely differentiated system. More than a mere duplication of the landscape, it morphs to the point of introducing a falsity to the city. It presents something which never was and never will be. Through its undulating surface bulge the imprints of a falsely collected urbanism, the ghosts of a recompiled Los Angeles.
This explication of the exterior, derived from the topology of the site, inherently begs a look inside. Therein, we encounter a Campo Marzio of Angeleno byproduct stacked between a series of landscapes. Drawn from the multiplicitous essences of the site, it makes into immediate archeology the ephemeral conditions at hand. Upon its encounter, these fail to stack properly. The implied diversification of the landscapes blurs as each level employs its own agents to slide into the next. Functional in their allowance for circulation between the levels, these vertical extrusions question the solidarity of the whole and the sovereignty of the individual. This thing plays somewhere in between, inscribed into the urban mechanism as neither sum nor part.
The Illusion – It depicts before our eyes the moment by which it was disjoined from the otherwise linear historical timeline. This jolt provides for us the oddity that is a kind of third person perspective on humanity. For the moment one gazes at the artifact, life itself becomes a transient state. The plasmid realm onto which this encroaches amounts to a purgatory between times. Inherently within this state, it is possible that we might look onto ourselves through the vantage of cross-linear combination. Neither state (the altered present nor the resurrected past) quite align with their prospective realities, but the misaligned intersection of the two encompass something entirely novel which belongs in the state of the alternative. It proposes a small asterisk in the lineage of time to the ends that we might propagate conceptual progression via intense retrospect.
The Lie – In this duplication of the former moment within the boundaries of the fleeting present, the artifact deceives us by our own nature. We project onto it both our intentions and our wills in the most subjective of ways. History becomes what we want to see of it, often left to the byproduct of self-image and perceived value. This is, though, not to be rejected. It affirms a consistently valid interpretation of the present conditions on which we tread, because, in projecting onto the artifact our contemporary intentions, we effectively imbue ourselves deeply within the past, as if standing before a mirror. Through it, we fade into our own perceptions both vain and virtuous. If only we become aware of this transaction, we might progress towards a self-comprehension in the form of an objective mirror onto the present. In the ruin, we find ourselves presented with the definitive tabula rasa. The history lies before us unwritten to the ends that we can script what we will.
The Permutation – Within the dichotomy between the retrospective depiction and the present redefinition, there lies intrinsically the possibility of an overlap. This gradient zone of obscurity which crosses the two presents to us the opportune entanglement between the present and the idealized. Through it, we might come to understand ourselves in our escapist reclusion towards the mirror, where we meet before us the shadows cast onto history. In this brief kiss between objectivity and irreality, an entirely new element is considered. A transcendence occurs which neither seeks to rewrite the past nor to relive it. By this, we enter into a cyclically recursive loop of production in which we ingrain the present within the archeological and at once continue the march forth. The product of this might be a heightened sense to what we ourselves are, the realization by which we proactively shape the mere possibility of the approaching determinism that is the future and contemporaneously engage the precise moment inhabited by the present’s unceasing cartography that foments so vanishingly into the past.
Boys and Girls Centers typically present themselves as prepubescent outlets for energy in their current form, overly emphasizing sport program and active spaces. This can be seen as evident by their common auxiliary use as sport centers in their respective communities. Although this is not to be directly undermined, this Center could be proposed as an inherently cultural institution, focused on the progressive production of sociological artifacts to feed preemptively the collective archeology of the Angeleno zeitgeist. Although sport-oriented requirements in program can nonetheless be incorporated, an emphasis could be sidelined either to their integration as a cultural force of production or the importance of more directly cultural endeavors might be shifted into the limelight.
Due to the sheer amount of program within direct access from the street by requirement, a series of access points to the building will be needed. To fulfill their functionality, they must be both secure in hours of disuse and heavily pragmatic when called into action. Varyingly, they might begin divide the areas of the site by program, while still taking into account interesting overlaps or opportunities of adjacency between distinct and autonomous elements (sport program might juxtapose nicely with cultural zones towards ideological purposes).
Extra-large spaces account for nearly half the program. Alongside their ostracization to the exterior (where they might become direct zones of performance for the larger urban condition of the neighborhood), interior placement ought to impose an irreality by which massive expanses of false urbanity clash with the predefined words of an abstracted reality (the boxes).
Note – This is a brief reflection on reflections as an impetus to how the reflection of a façade or any other architectural agent might present us with ourselves.
Narcissus was not in love with himself, but, on the contrary to a higher degree of specificity, with his reflection. Rather than performing the self-loving portrayal we have cast upon him, he was merely a victim of the inert beauty of the dematerialized human soul. His was a decision without other option, for from within the pond’s surface he saw at once everything and nothing that he was. Unknowingly, his actions ignite for us the power that is the image, or (better christened) the mirage. From the waters of his silent pond, Narcissus was beloved to something without physicality. It was not the human he loved, but instead the essence of its being. Etymologically cast to the asylums of self-preponderance by our industrious ethos of the contemporary age, one might counter that Narcissus, under his aquatic enchantment, simply loved everything that seems to be, is not and cannot be in one time. The reflection cast back onto him the infinite depths of his own humanity, forever staining the source from which they arose. The inverted image he saw was not quite reality, but enticing enough to offer him the capability to grasp something with which a sum is produced in no parts.
Note – As reflections might take us out of ourselves just enough to gain a vantage by which we can contemplate our existence, blurs could, as well. This goes along with a series of photographs taken to explicate the point, hybridizing a series of preexisting buildings with the ideals of a blurred aesthetic. Perhaps the blur is a way to flee the present. Some thought about the state of renderings was also going on in conjunction with this to a certain level.
In the contemporary condition of the West, the present has become uninhabitable. Temporal refugees, we flee towards two salvations: the past and the future. In the wake of Modern naïveté, the latter has been disheartened. It lays as a wasteland in our foresights, remaining only in its incrementally dismantled form, the byproduct of two jetliners on an otherwise quotidian morning in September. Disenfranchised, we have clung to the hindsight, a time of blurred idealism pervasive with positivity before the eventuality of an unforgiving reality. Straightforwardly rendered, the present and its uncontrollable ramifications thereafter leave us without control. We find ourselves to be the victims of an uncanny and transient determinism, cast aside into a consistently expanding pool of banausic martyrdom. Nostalgia becomes the post-rationalization for our comprehension of an idealized past. The least of three evils, this series presents itself as an interpolation into the realm of nostalgia through recognizable abstraction in architectural form (or any recognizable form, in general) and icon as the preemptive arrival at a threshold for further exploration.
Note – This was a little unrelated, something I had written earlier. I thought still though that, particularly within the context of one specific site, they might begin to pertain to establish some basic ideas about where things might depart from.
Architecture might stand to learn a great deal from the Hipster.
To understand this hedonistic advantage which might forefront architecture with both the means and the methods for appropriation of the next styles, we must adequately inspect the identity of the hipster whom we wish to interrogate.
The Hipster is the prefect cultural leach. He ventures from one subgroup to another, plucking what he feels at any whim into his bucket of multicultural trickery. While a postmodern environment in which such an action could occur might predestine that he take into full account the societal ontologies of these newly found identities which he has accumulated, the sheer might of the Hipster’s will dictates that no such prior judgment should transpire. Delicate backgrounds, historical contextualities and sensitive narratives alike find themselves off the table of usual discussion when under the reappropriation of the Hipster.
Such could be architecture. (But perhaps we might just interpose a slight amount more judgment in our discrepancies towards the strawberries we choose to pluck from the architectural bushes.)
The specific historical context behind the architectural or otherwise cultural referential offered to us must be ignored in a method specifically catered to pillage what we will of any connotations. Geometry might better stand to remain pure geometry, and critical weight might well just wait at the door. The architectural party, fueled by a heavy dose of who knows what and Rhinoceros, has begun.
These referenced elements should be employed for the inherent value that they offer the subconscious connection the cultures to which they originally belong. Though this might preclude the appreciation of their formalities by the outsider, it does two things which insulate it from the fires of previous failures.
Thing 1. These gathered ontologies of both cultural and architectural features can appeal at both subconscious and conscious levels to differing constituencies. While the local embraces the familiarity of the object before him, the tourist might immerse herself in a world worthy of appraisal on a purely formal level. Both, in turn, can carefully escape to the level of flâneur within this novel geometric mood.
Thing 2. The direct employment of the architectural feature or cultural contextuality can predoom architecture to overarching specificity and ultimate loss. That is to say, any architecture designed so intrinsically to one existence could never attain any other. It existed in banal boredom within the confines of its only declaration. Should we introduce the possibility of a multiplicity of identities into this conglomeration, we ought therein to encounter a more basal integration of architecture within sociopolitical circumstances. After all, a bipolar building is more fantastic than its calmer little brother. More years of family-driven subjugation and parental abuse leave as greater entertainment to us, the onlookers to this mighty disaster. Times will change, and the building will be eroded slowly into their sands. As we stalk this architecture through its puberty and early adulthood, we should not fear to imagine it to be a fading Hollywood princess. Her slow demise before us across the innumerable covers of tabloids and papers only invigorates us to invest ourselves equally, if not more, in her soon-to-come replacement.
Perhaps the ultimate salvation for this proposal lies in the effective abstraction of the symbol. This is not to predetermine that recognizable character of the reference is of no importance, but rather it only attempts to widen the boundaries within which the building itself may exist. The reference, that is to say the icon, must not always take its intrinsic form before our eyes. Rather, it is an illusive spirit of the Olympian mountains. As it descends onto our mortal realms, it takes whichever form it will from a myriad smörgåsbord of options. This is the abstracted icon as both specific and universal.
Back to the Hipster. This shameless salvation of subgroup-based references effectively summates in the creation of a super-culture. The Hipster cares only about his immediate reward as the most ranged accumulation of a swatch of culturalities as omnipotent as the ancient Silk Road. In so doing, he is bound to alienate a variety of peoples. This is unimportant. We must remember that each individual culture simply represents a non-amalgamated potential for a more inclusive society (to the Hipster). The Hipster, by his very behavior, does even without his personal knowledge an act of miracle by which he leads a procession slowly welcoming into the mainstream a slew of otherwise ignored fringe slices of society. Should they choose to resist, so be it. His is simply the invitation to join something more prolific than the individual. It is the sheer propensity to define the very culture itself.
Architecture might do that same. By incorporating this bank of potential styles, the architecture itself gains the keen power of blissful nostalgia. The many cultures of the world could, in this case, flock behind a piece of built form simply for the reasons of subconscious connection. The building as the opiate of the masses. To ignite in their minds the subtle connections into whichever history they themselves are an exogenesis of is to harness the ultimate power over their inclusion in an architectural commonality. Without excluding one member of their respective casts, these pieces of omniarchitecture employ every nacent note within the tonal toolbox to produce songs which might enchant the newcomer and reignite the longtime fan. They sit atop the cliffs and hum to the passing sailors before. Instead of beaconing towards the rocks, they guide around the bend into a luscious cornucopia of abundant möglichkeit.
This is a built ontology which surmises the complete extinction and utter proliferation of the milieus of mankind simultaneously. By convection and convention alike, we are drawn forth into a new whole. There we stand, triumphant for our personal inoculation against boredom. In the formal moment we so choose, this architecture enchants us by the way of the subconscious. It partakes in us the equal investment which we divulge in it by way of purely existing within its confines.
This is an architecture which reinterprets the parameter as a methodology of incorporating more than simple vectoral geometry into the production of form. It proposes a radically different agenda in the age of the computer. Like the Internet itself, it places on the table a stance of negotiation to and fro between distinct form and nostalgic retroactivism.
He, the Hipster, picks at his will in a purely selfish brush with connection. He grasps for the sweet nectar of inclusion but feigns from the disagreeable aftertaste of commitment. Rather, he has learnt how to mitigate the wills of so many into the collective progression into the tomorrow. It is by this blended reality that he overlooks the sea of choices before him and closely approximates the most average point while exclusively avoiding the trenches of boredom and mundanity. He is an architecture and a non-encroaching perspective.
Liberated from the connotations and consequential conversations of specificity inherent to the choice of replication within existing geometry, this architecture seeks a vocabulary for the formation of geometrical relationships and copulation of spatial intricacies.
This is the proposed architecture of everything, nothing and anything in between.
The bottom floor is by definition a fantasy, an imprint into the ground – an architectural idealization (impossibility) within a sloped site. This is the land of irreality. While it forms the shadow of what is above, the details have been skewed, a hurriedly compiled mess of preceptory mish-mash.
The ground floor is the morning after, a suddenly unbeknownst realization of what happened before (or what might come to pass after?). It is the cold reality which foments below the hopes of the dreamers.
The first floor is by far the most dramatically altered slice of the building. It is neither full fantasy nor harsh truth, a sort of crossing point between found and introduced things. Prometheus, having found fire, is chained to the mountain, destined to have his liver plucked an innumerable set of times more. Likewise, the first floor is intrinsically chained to the ground, gazing down to its vastly inert prominence. It gazes from capture towards the sky, a close yet intangible realization of what could otherwise be.
The combination of the Second Floor and Roof both allow for access and repudiation of the intersection between Hollywood Boulevard and Argyle Street.
The aggregation of the existing buildings on the site produces a variable “kissing” effect. False urbanity thrusts forth, a harsh counterinsurgency against the orthogonal grid of Los Angeles. Met with this quasi-Medieval logic of packing, the very elements which once comprised the built form of the neighborhood betray their masters.
Moving into the building, the multitude of ramps pronounce the presence of the visitor. He becomes the artifact, the living relic of the ruin. As if acting as pedestals, the circulatory paths of the building permit an understanding inherently grounded in observation. Those who pause survey over the transgressions before them, while those who choose to go forth on their routines become involuntary parts of the spatial ballet.
Architectural interjections into the otherwise flowing interior zones become seminal in the preemptive comprehension and consequent perception of the space in question. The extruded volumes of the rooms resolve into what appears to be solid objects along a landscape, when seen from circulatory areas. Only the transition across the threshold of these antonymous beings, united purely in concept and singular relation to the undulating fields above and below them, reveals the ploy, forcing a one-on-one confrontation with the sky. Long the object of architectural ambition, it is employed purely as a methodology for the abutment of man and himself within the context of architecture. Nature, once the supreme force, is reduced to the priority of ceiling paint, subordinated to its own production: light.
In these areas, we come to encounter only ourselves. Tempted by the innumerable presentations of our very ethos between the streets and the corridors of the building, each room brings us only to face the barest understanding of ourselves. Only the interjection in the processional circulation of the labyrinth in which we find ourselves, we realize that reality is merely as strong as its presentation.
In a world wrought with the afterbirth of the Futurists, we have become obsessed with speed and movement. Our gaze sets only on the blurred object, and yet its truest nature is obscured by the tracks it leaves. We are unable to comprehend both its objecthood and its singular ontology when it shifts, in a gradient smoothing into the fabric around it.
To engage its agency as the reductionary force behind our understanding of authenticity is to put on trail the intentions of our humanity. Without an imposed halt, the endless entanglement of our circulation leaves us powerless. Only the voyeur, he who stops in disregard to the flow for a momentary appraisal of that which transpires around him, gains the jurisdiction over the performance before him.
To these ends, several interjections may be purported, though with the strict earmark not to exclude other possible solutions. Firstly, a façade of several thousand metal bands forms a moiré. Themselves a kind of physical manifestation of the sum of many parts so integral to the formation of a city, these allow for a myriad of spatial interactions to occur. In their arrangement, they establish distinct viewing corridors. That is to say, tight orientations in their regulating geometry produce differing vistas of the building. From the concourse of the Metro Station across the street, the Boys and Girls Club reads as a united whole, the moiré acting as erasure of seismic variations along the envelope. The onlooker gains a unified understanding of what is presented before him.
Moving down Hollywood Boulevard, an orchestrated visual procession occurs in which the solidity of the structure dissolves into the air. The confidence once gained by the acknowledgement of the singularity before the eye capitulates to a mess of parts. The sum is subsumed in the multiplicitous presentation of its very constituencies. Like childhood, the Center seems so break apart, in so doing leaving only the byproduct of its eradication, the vanishing of any prior understanding of its essence, as it approach the ends of its viewings.
This dissolution of the massing allots for unique visual perceptions. Apertures provide vantages onto the interior of the compound which allude to the interactions proscribed within. A voyeurism gathers as those on the exterior catch only momentary passings from beyond the walls. They see only fleeting seconds of the circulatory nature of the interior, aghast at the severe performance before them. The rarity that is to emerge onto the street only to encounter from eight stories’ height below the face of one person, distantly peering from between two slats far off in the façade, becomes the driving force of the exterior presence of the building. Small slips in the rooftop catwalk allow for similar interactions along the streets and entrances to the facility.
From these, the viewer can only reconstruct reality from the shards of its shattered cadaver. Like broken porcelain, its countenance is in the agency of the subject, his complete service to recompile. The blur, the fragment and the reflection become keystone components to this interaction, questioning the verity of the assumptions we sequester to our minds as visuals. Our perception of reality is permitted solely by the direct consequence of architecture.
Los Angeles County encompasses the existences of some 9818605 people ÷ 4752.32 square miles = in any given square foot the probability of encountering one person equating to a negligible chance of 0.000074109907%. The sheer urbanity of the city has presumed the potential for serendipitous human interaction, instead forging a vortex of complications, entanglements and overlaps. In these ephemeral crossings, the citizenry of the city kiss, their lives scraping one another in the most minuscule of strokes. To amplify this scar amongst the dizzied lives of the populace is to heighten their awareness of the transient nature which they cohabitate.
This blurred existence acts as pretense for the exploration of the effects pronounced by the contemporary city. Superimposed by the fluid integration of space-eroding technology into the Modern life, we pass to and fro with little regard for the physical environment around us. Our senses have become numb to the intricacies of spatial interaction in a landscape obsessed with speed, productivity and comfort. Thus, estrangement must become the status quo. To remove ourselves in a bout of escapism is the only prerogative by which we might approach a novel understanding of ourselves.
This moment of removal marks the point at which we stare ourselves in the mirror. We gain the illustrious eyes of the third person, an omnipotent presence that encapsulates us in its gaze, when we step beyond our quotidian pretenses.
What conjures the site? We find at the intersection of Hollywood and Argyle a conundrum of constituencies haunted by their perspective pasts.
Nostalgia the chief agent of this mirror, we look upon ourselves by the estrangement of the present in this particular type of interaction. To further the effectiveness brought by this jolt of hyperreality, a series of phrases, indications or questions is interjected along the moiré of the façade. These accompany the shifting vantages onto the overlapping panels which comprise the envelope to allow a varying system of interpretations and foci as the subject revolves around the mass.
They come in four categories of signification: functional, informative, pensive and interrogative.
Functional indications serve an clearly eponymic purpose, both directing the circulatory entrances of the compound and expressing to the interior the intentions of the program, though not in a ubiquitously honest manner.
Informative scripting similarly indicates functional items, though not particularly things which are to do with the building or its program. They express an acknowledgement by the building of its own context.
Pensive words inscribed to the façade ask the onlooker to contemplate his position. They present a reproduction of some of the inherent qualities of the site, a regurgitated reality to the ends that we might encounter a mirror of our own behavior.
Interrogatives, finally, grasp the rich depth of constituencies surrounding and even imbedded into the situation at hand. Among other things but of note, they beg the viewer to ponder the political exchanges which foment into contemporary California, an intersection of distinct cultures with onset ramifications.
All functional elements are placed by their according programmatic zones. For entry to the pools, the corresponding façade is marked. The relationship for other categories of signification become more complex in nature.
Hollywood – Placed along the faces of the envelope which abut Hollywood Boulevard. Does the sign reference the street, off of which the theatricality of the building plays, or does it instead indicate the larger neighborhood? What difference does this make?
Los Angeles – Sign says, “You are here”.
Argyle – It seems befitting that Los Angeles should begin to name its streets at least in possibility after fashion. What’s in now and out tomorrow. Argyle Street represents the permanent imposition of a fashioned style into the urban books of history. It is a literal investment in the most unsuitable stock for the most vain reasons.
Carlos – Mensaje, 2 febrero 1848, 12:02: “adios muchacho. me tengo que ir oi que la fortuna existe en guadalupe hidalgo xo”
Vista del Mar – An invisible sea is the perfect thing for urban Los Angeles, an unobtainable incorporation far larger than the provided land. Thus, it must hover in the air. Finally, every Angeleno can escape the Summer’s sun beneath a suspended volume of both hydrogen and oxygen.
Freeway – It is fitting that the typography already extant on the site should be referenced. The sign marking the entrance to the freeway shall be at least metaphorically transferred onto the building.
Exit – In a way, an exit can be an entrance, at least in speaking about formal space. On the freeway, for example, an off-ramp represents topologically the same object as an on-ramp. On a building an emergency exit is also an unlabeled entrance. To demarcate this is to bridge the harmonious cries of typology which echo between the exit and the on-ramp. To rephrase it in a more systematic approach: off-ramp = on-ramp = exit. By the transitive property, on-ramp = exit.
Pedestrians – Typically, the pedestrians of a site enact a procession only on the periphery of the grounds. This building somewhat inverts this relationship. In this way, an entire set of pedestrians is lifted into the sky to inhabit both the main roof’s corridors and the openings atop the towers. By placing “Pedestrians” at the spire of Tower 1, the more prominent and immediately encountered of the two, the site is doubly engaged. A question of the relationship between those on the street and those above emerges, facilitating their metaphysical interaction as flâneurs of a multiplicity worlds.
Door – Why say to say “Entrance”? An entrance is so obvious — just that which it is. A Roman imposition into the English tongue, it is perferable under current circumstances to use “Door”. Not only is “Door” truer to the Germanic bases of the language, but it remains far more ambiguous. Does the building refer you to the main entryway, the pivot between one false reality and another, or does it simply label the very thing which one approaches, as so many of the other labels do? A duality enters to many of the meanings, both representative and fed off the completely double nature of LA and Hollywood alike.
LA – It is important here that LA and Los Angeles are differentiated. Los Angeles is a place. LA is a presumed reality. Los Angeles is what one sees as one approaches LAX from the expansive ocean or the barren desert. LA is the experience one attains driving past the Capitol Records Building. In other words, while Los Angeles remains a label for maps, an imposed human entitlement which regardlessly means nothing more about any physicality beyond its mere placement on Earth, LA signifies a completely phenomenological escape into irreality and decadence. LA is the Atlantis of the 21st century.
Exchange (1) – The balcony, great foundation of public spectacle! We require only a willing spectator and an actor for this performance. Let the exchange ensue.
Exchange (2) – LA as a lost Peronist starlet: You won’t believe me; All you will see is a girl you once knew, although she’s dressed up to the nines; At sixes and sevens with you. … Don’t cry for me Argentina! The truth is I never left you. All through my wild days, my mad existence, I kept my promise; Don’t keep your distance. And as for fortune, and as for fame, I never invited them in, though it seemed to the world; They were all I desired.
Estrangement (1) – Estrangement is heavily employed by the building. By the removal of the individual from his environment, an effectively blinding accumulation of presumptions and dispositions, the draw backs of pedestrian vision are overcome. He might look back upon himself through an enlightened portal. In this action, he sees something not previously envisioned. It is said that Kandinsky round the final separation of his art from its object when he encountered one of his own paintings turned unknowingly onto its side. Facing the momentary abstraction of that which was previously taken for granted, he was able to proceed.
Estrangement (2) – Puberty is nature’s equivalent of both intrapersonal and interpersonal estrangement. It seems ironically destined that it should coincide along the façade with the Teen Center, which itself lies slightly off proper alignment with the actual programmatic area to which it in fact corresponds.
Removal – The action by which Estrangement is achieved, removal is the verbal epithet of this design. Its placement references literally the removal of the ground (perhaps the final item of reality to which we cling) and the subtraction of accountability in the present which that action signifies for the scheme. By feeding our last reference of verity to the unsure forces of erasure, we are freed of the presumptions we might carry.
¡Mírame! (1) – For animals, circulation represents potential weakness. In transciency, a dulled distraction is taken on. Times spent in movement offer little concentration for protection and fortification. It it therefore appropriate that the building specifically demands the street to watch its tower, the container for the physical recreation of architectural circulation as performance. To see through its apertures is to capture those inside cloaked in an unguarded act. Only the uncertain skin of their enclosure offers protection against the visual collision of two personalities. Those outside, the reality, fiercely encounter their doppelgängers. Man sees himself uncomfortable recast in a hallucinogenic daze as architectural spectacle.
¡Mírame! (2) – Mensaje, 5 augusto 1962, 4:25: “mirame, soy starleta! mucho ha pasado. nos encontraremos pronto? debemos irnos a prada o mejor burberry?”
Interaction – Architecture as the facilitation of a scene. The balcony as the manifestation of a metaphysical detachment, an ingrained difference between two parties. Enter Romeo. Romeo: "He jests at scars that never felt a wound." Juliet appears above at a window. "But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief, That thou her maid art far more fair than she: Be not her maid, since she is envious; Her vestal livery is but sick and green And none but fools do wear it; cast it off. It is my lady, O, it is my love! O, that she knew she were! She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?" … Juliet: "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I’ll no longer be a Capulet." Romeo: [Aside] "Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?"
Intersection – This project is in essence an exchange, which requires the intersection, or at least the tangency, between two entities. It exchanges the true for the surreal, the original for the reproduction and the encounter for the voyeur, among other things. To reconstitute the urbanity of Downtown Hollywood is to offer an exchange of perceptions. It is a chance by which the present meets itself, fortified. A solidification of that which is (but someday will have been), the creation of this ruin establishes a surreal entanglement in an otherwise linear narrative. In architectural terms, each point of intersection offers a unique exchange between constituencies. Only those who halt perceive this delirious game. For them, the observational aspect of the role as surveyor overtakes the will towards movement. They circumvent the system, establishing their own realm within the architecture.
Façade (1) – It is no coincidence that “Façade” is positioned among its neighbors: Gym and LA. Enter Venice Beach and Hollywood, alike. Its interpretation is that of the beholder. The literal labeling of architecture becomes ground for critique of society and bodily perception.
Façade (2) – The façade is the threshold of architecture, the momentary break between the interior and exterior. To askew its properties is to blend the two worlds previously established in solemn distinction.
Performance – Everything is inherently a performance of some means. A script is the performance of a sequence, an architecture is the performance of a design, and an interaction is the performance of a complex set of socially intrinsic beliefs. When the Spanish encountered the indigenous peoples of the American continents, a series of performances on both parts would unleash a set of both horridly catastrophic and endlessly pivotal consequences. Of these, both Los Angeles and LA were results, though distinctly of different calibers.
¿Dónde está el mar? – No me puedes decir esta mentira. No la veo. He estado buscando por mucho tiempo, pero sólo encontré un océano de varias personas pasando por una ciudad que no exista.
¿Quién es Carlos? – Who the fuck was he?
¿Quién era? – The Spanish conjugative system offers a great deal of leniency. In particular, the perfect tense of many verbs overlaps between the first and third persons in the singular. So, “¿Quién era?” can either mean “Who was he, she or it?” or “Who was I?” Who is he? Is he Carlos? Was he a she? Was she a starlet? Or, who am I? Am I the restitution of a long Hispanic legacy, the conquered ground forever stolen by the American from both the Mexican and the Native before him? Am I the historiographically underwritten overtone to a pâté under the assumed identity (or playing the theatrical part) of a metropolis?
Agency (1) – 9601 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, California 90210, +1(310) 271-1777
Agency (2) – According to one digital amalgamation, “agency is the capacity of an agent (a person or other entity, human or any living being in general, or soul-consciousness in religion) to act in a world”. What then is the agency of architecture? Moreover, what is the agency of a piece of architecture, especially in the setting of Hollywood?
Suburbia – The suburbs, along with the densified areas along Hollywood Boulevard, are the chief constituencies of the Center. To acknowledge them is both to accept their predominance over the architectural outcome of the project and to call attention to their ontologies. When demarcated before itself, what will suburbia encounter? Typographically presented with a mirror, a contemplation should ensue, the ends of which might reveal more than anticipated.
Exodus – As an exit from a condition, exodus requires an initial location. As a statistical fact, the reemergence of the American population into the cities requires a source. Urbanity quenches itself on the freshly hunted spoils of its byproduct.
Perception – Towards the aft of the compound, something happens. As if the curtain were ever so slightly lifted on the stage, the building reveals on of its innumerable tricks. As the pedestrian of the rooftop catwalks descends, on his path to break through the façade in a grand performance before the parking, he passes through the negative space which is typically enclosed entirely with frosted glass separating the catwalks from the areas below. This, for him and those below, breaks the illusion momentarily. Disenfranchised, those involved are shown the trickery they have become accustomed to. His perception of the phenomenological performance before him is finally portrayed as no more than mirrors and fog.
Image – Behind every image is a compositional frame work . In the age of Google, our immediate presentation with images in the forms of pixels, the logic of which transcends our typical comprehensions, man has become even more removed from the image. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction has forgone its prominence, forever replaced in the psyche of the masses by Art in the Age of Digitality. A screen, in turn, is the accumulation of many small things. It is in fact the accumulation of preceptorary parts, the sum of which produces a kind of reality. Does this inherently link the notion of reality to an amassed object? Is reality the result of an intensification of conditions into one coherent system? If so, the estrangement of that system’s parts from their respective roles might offer the possibility of a redefinition of their means, or, at least, a reconstitution of their understanding .
Duality (2) – Inherent to the dual is the possibility for the separation and subsequent confrontation of each part with its contemporary. Should we remove these actors from their placements on the stage, we might find the awkwardly blurred space which inhabits that moment between personalities (the actor and his role), an uncomfortable overlap.
Architecture cannot be urbanity, but rather the mere composition of it. Urbanity is the result of the accumulation of architecture. Not yet an “ism”, urbanity mimics the complete dissolution of order, translucent drapery above the face of highly local pragmaticisms. Through the façade, the link between these otherwise intertwined (yet distinctive) agents of the built realm might converse. Absently reciprocal entanglements are put into a formal and philosophical interrogation.
Please, let me explain.
The script is an ideal catalyst for an architectural commentary. In its escapist synatx, true meaning is forgone for momentary interjection. Uncompiled by its rough punctuation yet distinct in its linear prerogative, we find its flotsam as an unclaimed territory for the propagation of a narrative.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
Enter children and citizens, ascended and exiting from stairwell onto roof of tower.
They pause, leaning beside the edge of the rail. Below them, a maze unfolds in the roofscape. Among its passages, other inhabitants float before them. Surveyor’s of this foreign landscape, they migrate and mingle on the paths, orchestrating a visual performance of space between its rafters.
The roof-dwellers gaze down on them. They become the architects, their subjects the immediate result of the architecture. Both engage a game of cat-and-mouse, actor-and-director. As the overlords see over their landscape, the serfs dodge in and out of intrusions. Their movements both reveal and disguise their presence in the building, complicating the otherwise direct relationship between the seer and the seen.
What might occur with this intertwining of constituencies? In this circumstance, the engagement of a performative architecture both enables and enslaves us. Which role to we assume, and what does each mean?
If we choose to look over the others below us, are we truly in control, or do we purely ascend to witness and an ephemeral assembly? Like a film, what we see is merely mirage, a temporary recasting of quotidian existences to the ends of falsified control.
Inversely, if we walk below, do we tease those on the tower, or do we chain ourselves to their visual wills? We walk about, but do we really move or do we fulfill a deterministic script aligned to our masters above?
The subordinate and the superordinate become jumbled in only several meters’ space. No longer can a clear judgment be called as the two parties take on reciprocally diminutive (or empowering) roles.
The balcony is an inherently performative space. It beguils and yet commands the interaction of two parties.
Entrapped before its rule, they must engage the script as planned. They themselves become willing actors of the architecture’s agency as definer of moments. Their very interaction is merely the production of the architecture they encounter, and yet they do not realize it.
A ruin is an odd thing, a temporal quality which belongs to neither the present nor the past. Upon encounter, it presents us with a reality removed and eschewed from any precedent. It is inherently the result of an accumulatory process by which many various times are compiled into an exquisitely surreal collage. In so doing, the ruin acts as an index of the things which were, collating its references into categorical fields which, when entered, reveal for the researcher the unique qualities belonging to a myriad of periods and authors. In the Boys and Girls Club, we come to face ourselves in an abstracted iteration of Hollywood. This representation takes into account the misguided iconography of the postwar tract housing, the falsely superficial theatricality of Hollywood and the voyeuristic quality of Angeleno social life. Together, they uniquely reference and challenge the site and Hollywood’s intentions alike from critical standpoints both internal and external to the situation.
Perhaps, it is easier first to take on those external references which the building confronts, as they are fewer in number and often shallower in scope. This is not though to say that they have no implications to those internal references. To the contrary, both categories of implications dealt by the architecture are intertwined and pivotal in their consequences and meanings. They are simply more efficiently digested in separate bouts before a grand summary can be attempted. As aforementioned, these external identifications of the project culminate around the perception of Hollywood as an overly superficial place of performance and over-the-top theatricality. Rather than rejecting these qualities as disingenuous, the architecture has assumed them to be inherently exploitable characteristics of its site. Moreover, this choice engages the entirety of Los Angeles as the effective capital of culture in the media-driven 21st century.
Why would this project ever attempt outrightly to reject the performative aspects of Hollywood? They are, in fact, quite unique in their ability to produce experiential moments for the patrons of their architecture. For example, this account is addressed in the seemingly overdone circulatory systems of the building. These systems of ramps and stairs beg the visitor to engage them as kinetic moments within the experience. This performs a two-fold function. Without definite perception, those inside the building are compelled to circulate endlessly. At times, their trails lead them to dead-ends, often resolving into dramatic scenes which present them with vantages onto other functions of the building. Upon other encounters, they can simply engage these streets as methods for crossing the programmatic regions of the building. Whichever intention is held, they without inherent consent engage the theatricality for the building. The ruin acts as the inquisitory stage for a question of authority over the individual. Are we to continue onwards, forever caught along the will to progress, or does the momentary halt in our path aid us in understanding the role we perform?
Only those who stop within the circulation realize the trickery they have become accustomed to. They see before their own eyes the power which architecture had taken over them, and, hopefully, begin to question the exactness of the building in that process. For them, the questions of forms’ references should come into play. Because of the nature the process took on in creating the formal aspects of the design, we find inside the compound many moments of normality, which, when accumulated, present an intentional question of their own reality. Regular systems of organization extant since the rationalization of architecture can be found, but they only resolve into larger ideas which nearly without pause reject a portrayal of a ubiquitous system for their logics. Like Hollywood, the compiled image put forth is reluctant to take one explanation. Instead, it materializes before us as an intersection of various elements, each trapped in a ballet with all the others. Their local compromises allot a great deal of interchange among their ontologies, and both the unique experiences of each as well as the perception of their summed whole amass the experiential qualities of the building, especially in its relationship with Hollywood.
Other elements add to this dichotomy between the theatrical communality of the building as a whole and the local experience devoted to the individual. Like a film, the success of the project depends on the engagement of the viewer. As a spectator, it is his choice either to follow blindly the powers at play or to invoke them as moments of pensive contemplation about the urbanity of the site. This is the point at which the project reaches a more internal connection with Hollywood in a self-actualized repudiation of the present. Here, the present is merely a tool. A moment is frozen in the history of Hollywood, a thing to be compiled, to be studied and to be abstracted. In this abstraction, the act of memory so inherent to the existence of a ruin is employed. In fact, it has been studied and proven by science that each time we recall a particular memory, it is likely that we change it ever so slightly.
Recent attempts at therapy for soldiers returning from gruesome scenes of war have capitulated this hypothesis, forcing their subjects to relive a series of violent moments. These computer simulations gradually underwrite the memories which have haunted these soldiers with kinder plots. Though those killed or maned still remain casualties, their fates are slowly rewritten to appear less tragic, less random and perhaps more honorable. Akin to this, the Boys and Girls club begs the flâneur to recompile his perception of Los Angeles’ urbanism. The seemingly collaged set of elements unites between two undulating surfaces to present two distinct interpretations of the site. In one history, the messy onlooker simply views the continuation of the chaos in Los Angeles’ cityscape. Nothing has changed. In the other, we read a unique locality in which the parametric inputs of many various elements combine to produce interesting overlaps, experiential consequences and urban questions. The theatrical nature of both Hollywood and the ruin find a tangent between one another in this presentation of a blurred reality. It becomes impossible to read the articulations which differentiate the vast expanse which exists in the composition. Instead, we find in the place of boundaries a gradient of space. Specifically, the circulatory systems of the building offer few conclusions. It is important to note again that when such conclusions are to be found, they are highly curated to force an audience to emerge. The spectator leaves his role and is forced to confront reality. Here, the building cuts its defense of Hollywood’s ways and asks those involved to gather before their acts. They themselves become the voyeurs. The site building presents many stages for them to engage, as well as recasting the larger site as a performance in its own regard.
This is the goal of the Architecture on the scales of both the individual and the collective. That is to say, the actor and the audience are treated similarly to the ends that they might learn from their own relationship. The methodology behind this process centers around estrangement. The very nature of the project exemplifies the qualities of this as a foundation for the collective reinterpretation of reality. Each person to enter the building is presented with a series of estrangements. The ground is rarely flat for very long, and the walls seldom gather en masse to form grids, as commonly gauged by the unknowing pedestrian. It is in these hopes that both those external and internal to the context will, through these described references as well as the elements for which a description would only overload this piece (the moiré, the typography, the sky-lit rooms et cetera) can come together in their relationship to the present which their very actions are continuously inscribing. They are given the opportunity to look onto the very moment which defines the inscription of the present: their collective acts.
This is by its own nature tied to the deep ontology of Hollywood as the cultural producer of our times, and, in their collation, the building and its site seek to eschew the compulsory nature that current exists. We are allowed, then, to grasp the finite complexities which define our reality. Like a play before our eyes, the condition of our interactions in this urbanity are subject to our scrutiny. What could come from this is left unknown, the will to define of those who have seen with new eyes what they typically take for granted. Its functional presence in the site, the deterministic qualities of history (the script done ex post facto), the ruin (the result of this deed) and culture (a product of Los Angeles) are enticed by our presence within the architecture for the purpose of honing our own authorship of the moment.
Recently, Glitch Art has emerged from the bowels of Digital Art as a verified contemporary medium. Due to its relatively young age, little has been made of it either philosophically or theoretically. Basic claims center around a nostalgia latent in a world where technology functions purely on the binary of life and death. A laptop rarely works “a little”, instead choosing the more polar statuses of “running” or dead” to describe its condition. Perhaps the Glitch is like a VHS, something ephemerally caught between functionality and technocratic schizophrenia.
In any case, the more reputable of the Glitch Art finds itself inevitably tied to a particular facet of its own ontology. As all Glitch Art is inherently an abstraction, its very basal nature is tied to a precedent. This precedent will eschew itself into a haunting force in the artwork, and, thus, questions of recognizability and reference arise.
In the Boys and Girls Club, a similar concept is approached. Through the abstraction of a slew of references encased by the scheme, various problems are created in the perception of a whole. How can we see a mass when in reality it is comprised of some three-thousand individual slices which are, in turn, variably laden in several materials? What is the agency of each? What does it mean when the whole of the composition is not always legible? These are among some of the issues brought forth.
It is the aspiration of the building that the inhabitant take these provocations neither blindly nor complacently. By intentionally interjecting architectural elements into positions of authority, and thus compromising the typical relationship one might have with a piece of architecture, the design offers numerous points at which these questions might naturally arise in a coerced yet subconscious method. When one stops to ponder the exact nature of the forms encountered throughout the building, it then attempts to, at least, touch upon the geometric ontology of Los Angeles. Should the inhabitant feel a strange sensation upon the realization that each of the rooms roughly mimics the size of a typical suburban home?
Like Hollywood and Her productions themselves, the building is a conceptual compilation of precedents and references. In a distinctly Postmodern era, these produce a ruin of the present in that they collect and without intentionally curatorial rationality to project our condition as humans onto ourselves. When we look at them, we see a skewed yet familiar moment. Hints of recognizability remain, but the overall work confounds our interpretations at complacent first glances.
If we choose, we can become the subject of the abstraction. We wonder through its urbanity and pass about its contrived stages, forever either spectators or actors (or both?) to another constituency entirely. Should we realize the engagement we have encountered, we stand before a world ready to explore. In it, the many variations of these experiences await us, observational opportunities to grasp an comprehension further embedded into our cultural and societal psyches.
Once compiled, the elements which comprise the Boys and Girls Club harbor a series of carefully calibrated phenomenological affects attuned to heighten the experience within and around the building. Primarily, these nuances serve either to accentuate or to extrapolate from existing ideologies about the design.
For example, the undulating surface of frosted glass hanging between the upper floors and the roofscape serves several optical purposes. At a mundane level, these panels filter the light coming through the skin into the building, diffusing its power to evenly light the interior and, in so doing, aiding in the differentiation between true exterior and somewhat more enclosed spaces of circulation. At another level, these interact with the catwalks hanging in the upper spaces of the roofline. As light passes through the stacked system, a gentle shadow is cast onto the interior spaces of circulation. Thus, the reconstruction of the urbanity (in the form of streets, manifest as catwalks) which has been reconstituted from the abstractive operation at play is constantly projected upon the circulatory spaces of the main building. One level of circulation overlaps another, itself referencing an estranged reality. As visitors pass along the catwalks, their shadows, too, are cast into these spaces. They therefore become a piece of the abstraction. In essence, they come to represent the citizenry of this newly formed, yet so alien, ontology which exists on the rooftop of the building.
As if levels of a hypothetical city, an orchestration of those on the roof, who watch those along the catwalks, who shade those on the interior, who provide spectacle for those in the rooms, a hierarchy (though without clear ability to ascertain either direction or authority) is established by which the building feeds its own mechanisms.
Yet another cog in this machine is collated in the text which has been sliced into the envelope of the building. In total, there are seven systems of panels which interact: moiré panels in three directions (SW to NE, SE to NW and horizontally) and text panels in two directions on two layers, aligned to respective systems of moiré paneling. Applied to these five systems are four materials, corresponding to each of the directions and its corresponding layers of text (which alternate the materials in opposite directions). These materials range from matte black to mirroring and perforated metal. Combined, they allow a variable penetration of light throughout the circulatory spaces as well as a constantly shifting perception of solidity along the structural envelope. As one goes through both interior and exterior spaces of the compound, the perception of the skin’s ability to carry light is in constant question. In turn, it is never certain to which level the reconstitution of the scheme’s parts have been compiled. Added to glass, dimensionality and interior-exterior relationships are exploded and often flipped so that those within the space as a collective constituency are constantly unsure of the validities in their experiences.
When one gazes onto the skin from either side of the building, they interact usually with one panel, as the spacings designed into the moiré are dimensioned to the human scale, not unlike the columns along the façade of the original World Trace Center complex in Lower Manhattan. They are likely to see either whatever lies on the other side of the panel (if it is perforated) or a reflection (if it is glazed). Under the lighting conditions present throughout the site and within the bowels of the compound, the dichotomy between these options can become quite blurred. To this end, the momentarily brief realization that what was once one’s own reflection but is truly that of someone entirely else can have dramatic emotional impact.
Of course, measures are taken to relieve some, though not all, of the anxiety inherent to this experience. Here, too, the value of the lightwells and rooms come into view. Beyond providing relief from the overly fragmented spaces along the perimeters of circulatory pathways, rooms reward the endurance of visitors by bathing them in total, unfiltered light. After having approached various interpretations, abstractions and mutations of light as it slivers between the perforated skin of the building, the rooms offer oases. Herein lies also the aspect which differentiates the spaces of the rooms from those of the passages. Together, the linear hierarchy of the hallway so typical to architecture, where those within a building leave the secondary nature of the passageway for the primacy of the room, is not reversed but eliminated. Each attains a crucial experience within the composition. In the halls, the overtly circulatory nature pressures the visitor to remain always on the move, thus estranging them into a state of discomfort towards the building. The rooms provide spaces to halt this progression, areas from which those who have not yet become keen to the theatrical trickery might look back on their experience with eyes anew.
Among other optics employed throughout the design, these aims culminate in the production of an entirely skewed experience. As if to take the urbanity of Hollywood (and, by that account, Los Angeles, as well) into a mirrored prism, the architecture seeks both a diagrammatic exploration and an experimental abstraction which remove the visitor from the present into a state of suspended reality, much like a visit to an archeological site, frozen in time like a stuttered video. This temporal condition returns the subject to the reality which he or she once inhabited with a new perception, forever estranged from prior understandings.