Why L.A.?

The challenge proposed in this thesis is to design the built environment like the automobile, and Los Angeles, California’s unwavering dependence on and attachment to the automobile creates an opportune atmosphere for such a type of architecture.  Resident of L.A., Matt Novak, lived for one year without a vehicle – as an experiment – after his car died one morning.  He wanted to really understand why L.A. drivers are so attached to their vehicles when there are a (very) few public transit systems that do exist.  He concludes his report with, “But even with all of L.A.’s progress with mass-transit, my car-less experiment will probably come to a close this year.  Life is just easier with a car in a city that still has a long way to go in order to make places like Santa Monica, Venice, the Valley and (perhaps most crucially for major cities trying to attract businesses and promote tourism) the airport accessible by train.”  As exhibited by Mr. Novak, Los Angeles is simply designed around the automobile, as are many other U.S. cities, and this attachment is not going to lessen anytime in the near future.
    I propose to explore a community-oriented architectural response to this thesis to be designed in Los Angeles.  Within the bounds of a city so architecturally diverse and so culturally vibrant, I foresee a positive and energetic response to the experience created within this new type of architecture.  

Existing Block

This is the biggest node in Santa Monica with the most potential for an exhilarating human experience.
The existing block is bound by Ocean Avenue, Broadway, Colorado Avenue, and 2nd Street.


Initial concept models based upon site forces

The major forces acting upon this block are (of course) the juxtaposition of the city "grid" meeting the coast, as well as excellent sunlight, a fairly constant ocean breeze - in addition to the Santa Ana Winds, and heavy pedestrian flow/energy.

Ideal walkways through the site vs. existing paths around the site.

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looking at the bigger picture

Taking some of the major nodes and axes of travel in the greater Santa Monica area and connecting them to examine city networking possibilities and to determine axes through the site.
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Axes Model Photo 1.png