The Devil Made Me Do It
The Santa Ana Winds that typically blow in the autumn are hot dry powerful winds that blow from the desert and – according to legend and literature – increase violence and crime. They bring dust and dryness from the east, turning sunrise and sunsets into spectacular displays and fanning or creating wildfires, ushering in fire-season in Southern California. They feature in Joan Didion’s and Raymond Chandler’s writings as well as several songs. Is there a link between weather and human behaviour, and our these winds an integral part of life in Los Angeles (or just death)?
When Humans Turned Into Butterflies
Did Frank Whittle inadvertently save a butterfly species or kill a community? Surfridge, California was a community that now lies abandoned and mostly forgotten and unseen at the end of the Los Angeles International Airport. It had once been a very desirable place to live, looking out over the Pacific Ocean, but the advent of the passenger jet-age meant that the city, using eminent domain forced residents to sell their properties. It lies vacant still with the streets and infrastructure still visible but has like e.g. the DMZ become an accidental nature preserve of sorts.
City Of Gold
The Stowell Hotel started as a rather grand hotel on Spring Street in Banking District of Los Angeles, it later became the El Dorado Hotel, which became a flophouse as white-flight took hold and the Banks moved north. The revitalisation saw the building turned into luxury lofts after artists and then galleries had taken over the downtown area. The building now has a restaurant in the former lobby and a bar called El Dorado replete with the newest gimmick must-have, a speakeasy called The Stowaway. It would be a look of changing neighbourhoods and gentrification through the history of one building. It is also right next to the first skyscraper in Los Angeles, which featured in 500 Days of Summer, so Rasagy might like it.
Diamonds Are Forever
This building has cropped up in two other modules (including this one) already, which could be a bad sign or a good sign. The Diamond exchange building went from an entertainment space as Warner Bros. theatre to a church, to a jewel wholesaler – what is next for this building? It is an example of a Los Angeles that mercilessly builds upon, razes, forgets and moves on, rather than let nostalgia build monuments to its past.
Any image of Los Angeles invariable includes palm trees. They provide no fruit, no wood, no shade, and very little benefit to air quality. They barely are trees at all. Having been introduced as a promotional tool in the 19th century, they have become some of the tallest palm trees in the world in what might be its most horizontal city. They mimic or perhaps led the way that Los Angeles’s signage, culture, and architecture developed. Like Googie architecture, they optimistically reach for the sky, and like the Hollywood sign, a piece of promotion has become an icon of a city.
I like the connection to the previous work on this module, not sure if that is too much though, and if maybe it might make sense to try a completely new direction.