University of Illinois at Chicago
critic: Sarah DUNN.
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Nazifa VIRANI: What if there was a new type of monumentality in Los Angeles?
These new monumental forms attach themselves to the existing infrastructure, in order to transform the perception of the both: the highway and the city. The forms disrupt Los Angeles infrastructure by settling into their residue, they consist of apertures that allow for the passing of ramps and elevated freeways.
Moreover, what if the new monumental forms were used to create an urban threshold? Similar to the manner in which the Arc de Triomphe recontextualizes a series of Parisian boulevards, the new monument for L.A. would recontextualize the iconic freeway system. The self-similar forms of the primitives could combine to form a large bridging monument. The new monument is inserted as an urban threshold. Not only mediating the boundary from one highway to the other, but also from one side of the hill to the next. Creating a distinction in the facades emphasizes the two sides of the monument: the softer side facing the valley, and the more regular side facing Los Angeles.
The interior is a nesting of baths, meditation chambers and shrines, within a maze. The idea is not that of a linear progression, but instead you can enter on either side through a maze that can drop you off in one of the bigger space. It takes that which already exists in L.A.—the detox culture, and amplifies it, by placing it where it doesn’t belong. It provides a relief from the highway
The monument mediates the landscape and the infrastructure: not just interacting with the highway but also the hilly topography of the west. Inserting the monument as an urban threshold means not only recontextualizing L.A. highways but also signifying a moment in the city and in time.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
NV: John Hejduk, Ettore Sottsass, Rotofugi, and Los Angeles.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
NV: Reading, on the “L”: Jeffrey Kipnis, A Question of Qualities. Listening to, in studio: M.I.A; Xxyyxx; and Hozier.
Watching, during all nighters: Twin Peaks.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
NV: Good provocative architecture: Design with Company (Stewart Hicks & Allison Newmeyer); Weathers (Sean Lally); BudCud; SPORTS Collaborative; Urbanlab; Johnston Marklee; TheVeryMany (Marc Fornes); Speedism; and Bureau Spectacular.