Architecture Thesis Abstract:
A set of mutations within the infrastructure of the freeway designed in order to make it act more like a network of public spaces, otherwise frustrated by its existence.
Physical manifestations of public space need to be redefined in order to embody cultural ideals of social connectivity. Mass media is a successful model of society’s communicative outlet in the virtual realm: in its ability to incite involvement and creativity. Architecture is also a communicator with the public. Architecture, as the physical communicator, is too often projecting a message driven by the mundane, top-down nature, conveying corporate or institutional messages of control, rather than those of a multitude of individuals. “Multicultural” cities, like Los Angeles, exist more as a series of distinct microcosms, rather than a heterogeneous unit. The freeway system as it exists in Los Angeles and other urban cities, holds the most potential to operate as a networked set of public spaces, more akin to the communication we value culturally through the digital network. In its current state, however, the freeway is ambivalent in doing so. The freeway suggests that it breaks down divisions throughout the city in this way, but actually operates to create them. While the spread of the system reaches a multitude, it does so hierarchically, lifted off the ground and away from the activity of the ground plane, rather than in a rhizomatous way. It creates boundary conditions unprecedented by way of its scale, shift of speed, and elevation. Experiences of its use are isolating and desolate in its current state. A series of mutations within the freeway system promote instead, a networked public space that invites bottom-up participation, genuine social exchange, and an objective public. These mutations provide for an ad-hoc, spontaneous connectivity that fixed and discreet elements do not provide. The transformations promote a looser, less predefined use of the freeway in relation to its surroundings. The family of mutations, however, is inextricably linked by the nature of the connective freeway thread, and a set of material and operational techniques based on the freeway system itself. Within this genetic code are digital media pixels, embedded in the surfaces of the mutations, allowing for the display of uploaded bottom-up information content to be broadcasted at large. Opportunities for overlap, maximum chance interactions, and unplanned activities are promoted by a somewhat haphazard set of amalgamations within a set of formal principals. They serve to blur distinctions between freeway and city grid, and aim to dissolve physical compartmentalization in hopes of doing the same culturally.
Status: School Project
Location: Los Angeles, CA, US
My Role: Sole Designer (Thesis)