CASE STUDY : LOS ANGELES
We live in the Antropocene age, where forces of geological, biological and cultural change have been abstracted by our own relationship to the planet. Environment has ceased to represent the romantic ideal of nature that nurtured during the late 18th and 19th centuries and must now integrate the living, the non-living and the new scales of time that we are now confronted with. Technology has altered the understanding of our surroundings and therefore its symbolic nature. We wish to reconceptualise this idea by bridging together the digital and the analog in an attempt to re-present the invisible forces hidden within the territory by recontextualizing landscape processes in a post-natural world.
Located in a coastal basin surrounded by mountains, the city of Los Angeles begins its history as a colonial town founded by 11 Mexican families that established in the area in 1781 and be- came the foundation for what would later become one of the lar- gest metropolitan areas in the world. The time was followed by a wave of immigration, first led by the gold rush and later reinforced by the construction of the California Southern Railway System. The newly built connection enticed people from all over the country to settle in what was sold as a land of green gardens, cinematic wonder, rich in oil resources and real -state opportunities. The amount of people that rushed into the city, hungry for a new life, brought upon the need for more water resources. It is at this point that the history of the Los Angeles River takes a turn, leading to the destruction of an ecosystem which although located 300 km away from the city, is one of the main reasons why it has managed to survive throughout the years: the Owens Lake.
LANDSCAPES OF UNCERTAINTY
Ecologies of disaster
High and dry
Tracking methodologies and sensor devices
Black Gold Rush
The grass is always greener on the other side
For the Sci Arc exhibition Environment[al], Vogt Land- scape Architects have planned an all-encompassing space where different works by the participating architects (Estudio Carme Pinós, Gilles Retsin, Izaskun Chinchilla Architects, Enric Ruiz Geli and Coop Himmelb(l)au) will be articulated around an artificial landscape where different elements articulate and revitalize the history of water in Los Angeles.
The arrangements and Elements are found not on eye-level but inside the ground itself, forcing the viewer to look down and into the earth for questions and answers. The different elements found in the ground correspond to the major players in the growth of the city and their relationship to water, while the landscape itself alludes to another site, and the origin of a turn of the century ecological disaster as well as the source of water from the city: The Owens Valley. Simultaneously, a light horizon stretches along the space at eye level as a blinding reminder of the dan- gers and possibilities implicit in the landscape which we fail to see.
This new setting or parallel ecology seeks to bring together these different elements ( oil, water, light, vegetation and soil) to construct, through these, a new ecology based on a new concept of nature; one where the future of coexistence is based on man‘s acwknowledgement of an impending environmental collapse.
We would like to thank the following institutions, organizations and individuals for all their support and time:
- Sci Arc
- Consulate General of Switzerland
- Center for Land Use Interpretation
- La Brea Tar Pits Museum
- Los Angeles Public Library
- American Reclamation Inc.
- Rich McCutchan Archives
- [Izaskun Chinchilla Architects]
- Enric Ruiz Geli [Cloud 9]
- Carme Pinós [Estudio Carme Pinós]
- Wolf Prix [Coop Himmelb(l)au]
- Gilles Retsin
- Günther Vogt ,
- Herwig Baumgartner
- Marcelyn Gow
- Violeta Burckhardt
- Danny Wills
- Leah Wulfman
Juan Duarte Regina