The thesis statement for my Degree Project:
A city unrefined, Los Angeles exhibits a mixture of characters, cultures, and vernacular architecture which represent the city's haunted history of greed, glory, and violence. But where are these identities found? The suburbs of South Los Angeles reveal a forgotten and depreciated identity true to LA. Gangs litter the streets with graffiti, tagging and claiming neighborhood territory, while the people struggle to create a sense of community. In South Central architecture has the potential to celebrate the ornament and crime of Los Angeles.
Examining Western Avenue as a patent, this project aims to provide a new type of social space that addresses the culture and needs of the South Central community. During the day, Western Avenue is overcome with fantastical cloud forms, which straggle amongst the banal buildings and stretch over streets, connecting the once barren rooftops. Spaces allow for miniature garden spaces, Saturday barbecues and yard sales. The barbershop along 44th street, burnt and forgotten for a decade is restored so that locals may once again gather for socializing and haircuts. At night, the street becomes enhanced with light. The cloud forms illuminate with a soft glow along the street stretch, giving people a new way to inhabit their suburb. The barbershop converts to a bar and a staircase leads up to the top floor. The burnt framing is a mere memory of what once was; the dilapidated concrete roofs are replaced with busting bars, music, dancing, art, and festivities. The gangsters and crime-ridden streets of South Central are mirrored and now exist in a topsy-turvy worlds among the rooftops---a gangster's paradise.
Location: South Central, Los Angeles