WATER & POWER
This proposal for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Headquarters seeks to subvert iconicity through the use of the doppelgänger, or the uncanny icon. The uneasiness of the two towers confuses the authenticity of the icon while disrupting its status as an urban wayfinding mechanism. The space of the plaza is charged by absence, establishing a blank urbanity. To further subvert the icon, the towers are figured as anonymous at the scale of the skyline, using warped massing tropes from familiar office typologies. This figuration blurs into spectacle at the pedestrian level, where dark mirrors create strange reflective projections of the ground level. Thus, their identity is further masked by their status as objects to be looked into, rather than looked at. Sectionally, the project seeks to leverage the kind of blankness and indeterminacy of scale found in infrastructural spaces such as electrical substations. Furthermore, the sundered nature of the program-- split between office space and infrastructure-- is manifested through a kind of ripping in section, where the interior and exterior conditions seem to be ambivalent toward one-another, creating a loose-fit or mismatching between enclosure and interior programmed space.
Critic: Jason Payne
The initial exercise for the project began with the selection of an electric substation. These small structures are scattered around the Los Angeles Area, often found hiding in plain site near freeway exits or in residential neighborhoods. A reimagining of their interior and exterior conditions became a testing ground for ideas of interiority, exterior expression and the relation between the two. This exercise was then refined to begin the larger exploration of the headquarters proposal.