Stark, gray, concrete, trash, dirt, grime, detritus, dark, separate, dangerous, monumental, performative, explorative, artistic… river.
The ecological succession of the Los Angeles River has played out amidst a sea of recent proposals for its “revitalization”, contending that the water course, through its channelization, had completely lost touch with the natural eco-system that once existed there. However, what had emerged in the river was, in fact, an artificial geology – one that accepted the grit and grime of its channeled walls as a veritable terrain for occupation and use.
As an artificial landscape, this thesis posits that a new type of public space emerge from the grit and the grime – one that does not seek to tame or revitalize the existing ecological conditions, but rather seeks to amplify the potential they possess as peculiar and fascinating urban conditions.
Like concrete strands or ribs that have slowly grown from the channel and been moved by the water over time, the benefits of modular redundancy are used to create a variety of spatial opportunities in the Downtown Industrial site. The project erodes through time, becoming a kind of occupied ruins in the center of a large city, simultaneously leaving behind a palimpsest of its original form. Through this process, ecological curiosities will take hold, where inhabitants are able to register time through the layers of material erosion and find opportunities to purposefully get lost in what seems like an archaeological dig site, embracing entropy and disorder as palpable and desirable urban experiences.