suckerPUNCH: describe your project.
john FARRACE: Los Angeles is a huge city that, because of its size and transportation infrastructure, allows for an unprecedented amount of diversity contained in a single city. The people of Los Angeles are connected through massive freeway systems that become extremely clogged and, as a result, the act of driving takes longer than it should. Because of this, driving becomes an introverted experience. We lose interest in the environment (specifically the built environment) around us because none of it engages us and/or pertains to us; we get preoccupied with the radio, our cell phone, shaving, reading the newspaper or whatever.
The project’s approach has to do with taking the typical introverted experience of driving and use the car as a catalyst to create highly dynamic and interactive experiences, that actually encourage social interaction and a more extroverted driving experience…and ideally make people get out of their cars and mingle.
This is handled by interacting with the driver. There are two opportunities to do this.
One has to do with how the project is perceived from a person in their car on the street. The building’s form is overtly “auto-centric.” It makes it clear that the building is conducive to car movement. There is an internal automobile loop which is formally expressed on the outside of the building as well as a transparent car elevator that moves cars into motel units where the car is displayed for literally the entire city to look onto.
The other opportunity to interact with the driver has to do with how the project is perceived from a person in their car on the site. This experience is a more in-depth look at the public spaces and shows what activity actually happens there. This is handled in the automotive loop, the car elevator and the drive in movie components. These components allow the to be integrated into the design by taking the public program and intersecting them with the on-site car movement. The automotive loop is a tube for cars that has two potential functions (depending on the user): bringing cars to the tower (if you have a room in the motel) or more importantly, a highly experiential attraction for visitors. This experience allows the car to become a vehicle that essentially narrates and gives a “preview” of the social parts of the project. It very literally intersects the social hall, overlooks the plaza, and empties back into the parking lot ultimately informing (in a direct way; views are framed while in the tube) the user of the activities happening at the motel that they could potentially participate in.
The tower component of the motel is a way to celebrate the car in a very visual way for outsiders and a very direct/physical way for people renting the units. It makes users aware of the way the car is so integrated into their life. They literally park in their unit. The way the car is oriented, looking out onto the city from a high vanishing point allows for people to have an experience in their car that is impossible to get elsewhere.
Finally, overall, experiential moments are caused by the formal requirements of car movement. Virtually all the spaces somehow interface with the automobile, whether it’s a space that is formally shaped from car movement or it’s literally interfacing with a car moving. The pedestrian constantly comes into contact with the car and there’s an overall understanding that the car and person are working close together.
sP: what or who influenced this project?
Metabolists, high contrast, cars, rhino 4
sP: what were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
Listening to hella Prince and Nate Dogg, watching Tron 2 Trailers and Red Asphalt
sP: whose work is currently on your radar?
Asymptote, Neil Denari, Joseph Kosinski
Thanks to Chris Warren