BARRIO EMERGENCE: The Dynamic Translatability of Chicano Culture into Contemporary Architecture

September 15, 2017 | Autor: Gustavo Leclerc | Categoria: Postmodernism, Social Production of Space, Spanglish, Emergence, Susan Sontag
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The Dynamic Translatability of Chicano Culture into Contemporary

Gustavo Leclerc


The relevance of contemporary architectural design is intrinsically
dependent upon it's being in-step with the aesthetic and spatial
sensibilities of its time. Within southern California, one of the most
dramatic contemporary influences on aesthetic and spatial
sensibilities is that of Latinization, in particular, Mexican/Chicano
cultural practices. Responding to this influence, this paper
speculates on the emergence of a Spanglish architectural design
framework informed by Chicano cultural practices. The development of
this framework begins with an analysis of the 'charged fields' of
dynamic materialism in East Los Angeles, namely, Baroque Style, Dense
Surfaces, and Adulterated Organization. This process utilizes a system
of analysis called functional grammar which allows for a systematic
inquiry into Chicano cultural practices within the paradigm of the
informal spoken conversation. This framework aims to 'stretch' the
relationship between architecture and specific forms of popular and
marginal material culture by speculating on the behavior informing
them. Then guided by a formulation of this emergent spatial logic, it
looks for tangential inroads and alternative patterns to begin to
articulate a new 'grammar of translation' for LA's Chicano
material/visual culture into the realm of architecture.

Los Angeles Context
Los Angeles is the second largest Mexican city in the Americas, and along
with the rest of the southern California region, it is undergoing a rapid
process of Latinization due to shifts in demographics. Latinization is
defined here as the transformative process of space[1], both social and
physical in a specific urban milieu.[2] This trend, while widespread, has
one of its longest histories in East Los Angeles, the location in which
this analysis is situated. Rem Koolhas expands on this notion of cultural
and spatial transformation to state that, "Our old ideas about space have
exploded. The past three decades have produced more changes in more
cultures than any other time in history. Radically accelerated growth has
redrawn our familiar maps…borders are inscribed and permeated."[3] A
question arises then as to how we can define, measure, and predict the
direction of this 'spatial turn,[4] and in particular, how it has, and
will, manifest in architectural practice. While architectural design may
not be the first creative practice to show evidence of this transformation,
historic trends suggest that it will eventually become a strong force in
defining it.[5] A system of analysis then is needed to characterize, and
speculate on the nature of these rapidly unfolding aesthetic and spatial
changes as well as to apply them to architectural design. At this point, a
system of analysis would also serve as a system of translation, a
speculative transformation of Chicano, southern California, urban, spatial
aesthetics into the realm of architectural design.

On new inroads and the Spanglish framework
To effectively articulate a new Spanglish framework to define these
aesthetic and spatial changes, an analysis of the cultural and material
spaces of Chicano (East) LA needs to include an examinations of the nuances
of its spatial logic, intuiting and measuring the hidden aesthetic
sensibilities and practices that mark its landscape. These sensibilities
and practices are collectively referred to here as Spanglish[6]. The notion
of Spanglish space and architecture then extends this idea to describe the
infusion of Chicano aesthetic sensibilities[7] into urban structures both
within East Los Angeles and throughout Los Angeles with a focus on the
three distinct charged fields informing its materiality and spatial logic.
These include Adulterated Organization (meta-level), Dense Surface (ultra-
level), and Baroque[8] Style (sensorial-level). Special attention is given
to the emergent processes that produce these three fields within East Los
Angeles, with the intent to outline a series of principles that can inform
new design tools for experimental and speculative architecture.

The system of analysis used here to speculate on the Spanglish framework
draws upon a theory of language called systemic functional linguistic
theory (or functional grammar),[9] which is adapted here to work in an
architectural/spatial context. An important tenant of this theory is that
form and meaning (or in this case, form and spatial affect) are interwoven.
In other words, there can be no affect without the structure to create it.
This system, adopted to analyze architecture, can provide both the system
of analysis for these Spanglish spaces, and a measure of the varying
degrees that Chicano aesthetic influence is present within the
architectural structures and spaces of the city. Unique in systems of
language analysis, functional grammar posits that all language is realized
in a social context, and that the success of any lexical or organizational
choice relates to its appropriateness for that given context, whether
formal or informal, written or spoken. Within this framework, spoken
language is viewed as a distinct mode of language in its utilization of the
shared experience of participants (i.e., the manner in which gesture,
prosody, and tone reference aspects of a shared environment); social
interactiveness (i.e., the frequent back and forth exchange, and switching
of roles between speaker and listener); and the complex "chaining" of
specific ideas and linking betweens parts of a larger discourse. East LA,
from this perspective, operates as a type of informal spoken language with
its highly performative, dramatic, and ever changing temporal nature.
Robert Somol echoes this view of analyzing architecture as a type of verbal
exchange in his article, "Pass it on…", where he puts forth the notion that
the structure of gossip is the best format for guiding speculative
architectural design.[10]

Through the application of functional linguistic theory as a lens through
which to view urban space and architecture it is possible to move fast
through the myriad of spoken words and spaces that make up the city,
searching for a new signification, a distilling framework of meaning from
the 'other' sides of the architectural text. This analysis of the city
focuses on explicit characterization of space and form, inseparability of
form and affect, spatial and architectural characteristics/elements grouped
by function for analysis and design, and a focus on context to determine
the significance of architectural characteristics and the organization of
elements. Bernard Tschumi, in his latest book, Event-Cities 3: Concept vs.
Context vs. Content[11], makes a strong argument for looking at the complex
relationship between the specificity of contexts and the production of
architectural concepts. He advocates the view that architecture should be
in tune with the characteristics of contemporary urban culture, in which
conflict, confrontations, and contaminations, and their inherent tensions
and differences might lead to alternative architectural knowledge and new
modes of action.

Functional grammar uses three metafunctions to characterize language
aspects. These metafunctions are tenor (describing interpersonal context),
mode (describing organization), and field (describing elements). To apply
these concepts to architecture, these metafunctions are referred to here
respectively as situatedness, organization, and elements. Situatedness
refers to the theatricality of space, and the relationship between
architects/designers, space, and audience/users. Situatedness also relates
to the tone of these relationships and how they are manifest in
spatial/aesthetic production. Organization refers to the nature of the
placement, proximity, and size of various spatial elements within a given
environment. And finally, Elements refers to the specific architectural
elements of a space, from surface, volume, and boundaries, to openings,
passageways, and blockages. While the elements are generic for any built
environment or structure, the emphasis of one over another mark a Spanglish
logic and aesthetic dynamic.
Using this framework to characterize the aesthetic sensibilities informing
Spanglish space, a portrayal immerges of baroque style, dense surfaces,
adulteration of space, as well as everyday interactiveness, non-permanence,
moods juxtaposing aggression with sedation, and the speed of spatial
production, experience and use ranging from "fast and furious" to "low and
slow[12]". These three aspects have come to take on their specific nature
through a type of emergent behavior. More specifically, they have come into
being through a specific type of community organization, where the creation
of economic, residential, and event-based systems is not a highly
centralized process brought into being by specific institutions or
governance structures, but instead brought into being through a distributed
agency spread out broadly among East LA residents.

For architectural purposes, these metafunctions can be seen as working as
charged fields, or spatial manifestations of the imagination[13] arisen out
of collective systems of survival formed at the local level. In other
words, there are specific forces within an urban landscape that are the
result of emergent systems that have come to dominate the look and feel of
the landscape. They are "charged" in that they act as manifesting agents
for aesthetic and spatial sensibilities.

Situatedness as Baroque Style
In East LA one can see a focus on baroque style within the charged field of
situatedness. This is specifically evident in the frequent enacting of bold
aggression which affects the mood of the landscape. Aggressive tactics
refer to attacking or confronting. An effect of aggressive design can be
manifest as graphic display. For example, in a common poster image of
soccer players stuck onto storefronts, men are portrayed as posing
forcefully in graphic black and white. In several instances, this image of
aggression is echoed by the placement of metal bars in front of it,
surrounding the building façades. Metal bars in East Los Angeles are
aggressive in their repetitive, graphic linearity, as well as baroque in
their elaborate ornateness, gaudy paint, and exuberant design.

Historically Baroque style in the Americas is intimately related to the
concept of mestizaje. Mestizaje is a global phenomenon originating at the
dawn of the modern period and with the expansion of Iberian
colonialism[14]. Mestizaje is seen as the global reality that triggered
migrations, forced relocation of peoples, established slavery as the
colonial system, and set into motion the circulation of artistic
expressions, ideas, cultural practices, and products. Mestizaje has its
contemporary, globalized, and updated version in transculturation. The
concept of transculturation seeks to account for the negotiation and
translation of cultural processes that are formed in the context of unequal
frameworks for power relationships. It links the term acculturation, which
implies assimilation, with deculturation, a concept that implies loss.
Understanding how these processes of transculturation[15] of contemporary
Chicano culture are materialized in the urban spaces of Los Angeles and how
they can be 'translated' into instrumental principles to develop new forms
of architecture is through the Spanglish framework.

Another frequent expression of situated style in East Los Angeles is that
of acceleration and deceleration. As can be seen in many graffittied walls
in East LA, an effect of acceleration is the creation of a sped up, hyper
visual field. On the other hand, deceleration refers to slowing down. A
design effect of deceleration is the careful delineation of form and the
slowness of the creative process, as can be seen in the structural and
performance elements of the low riders.

Current local characteristic of East Los Angeles, regulated at the local
level, include the existence of simultaneous temporalities reflected in its
social spaces, architecture, and everyday life. These diverse and
compressed spatio-temporalities are negotiated on a daily basis at the
spatial and social level. This rhythmic embrace results in a highly
productive tension that is evident in the multiplicity of urban forms and
architectures. Through this process, the built environment and its
architectural forms are steadily growing in a manner that reflects an
innovative and improvisational attitude.

Organization as Adulteration
The second spatial, charged field is that of organization. The organization
of space within East LA can be characterized as the existence of extreme
adulteration. Adulteration means to corrupt, debase, or make impure by the
addition of a foreign or inferior substance or element. An effect of
adulteration is a stretching out, a creation of more out of less. An
example of this can be seen at the East LA art center, Self-Help Graphics
and Art, where adulteration is used in two ways: first, the structure is
functionally stretched out to include part of the parking lot, which
transforms into a metal working space, playground and art viewing forum;
secondly, the surface skin of the building has been thickened by the
application of decorative recycled pottery shards to create a saturated
texture. These strategies adulterate both the space and materials. The
adulteration of materials results here in its opposite, a densification of
surface texture.

A common practice in East LA is also the adulteration of domestic
spaces.[16] Unlike the pristine presentation of homes on the west side, in
East LA it is acceptable to quickly add on a room if a relative or two
comes to stay, a daughter gets pregnant, or the work moves to the home and
a shop is needed. This creates a haphazard look to the organization of many
homes, with various sized rooms extending one after the other towards the
back, the sides, or above. The "chaining" of rooms resembles the "chaining"
of clauses in sentences, the organizational structure that most obviously
marks the distinctive quality of informal spoken language.

While these chains of rooms are generally built with four walls and a roof,
functionally speaking, they are joined by the invisible rooms made up of
the yards, specifically the front yard. This adulterous practice provides
an extra room for the residents of the house for work, play, and the
pursuit of beauty. The gardens are often given tremendous attention on the
Eastside, both for growing flowers and food. The front yards also
frequently become the most social room of the house, where residents pass
time and neighbors stop by to chat. It is not uncommon to see this practice
coupled with a business enterprise, such as selling clothes, domestic
items, or food. These products are most often arranged in elaborate
displays for the best visual effect; fences become dense surfaces covered
with carefully aligned rows of blouses, baby clothes, or colorful brooms.
Walkways become lined with tables full of tamales, champurado (a hot drink
of chocolate and masa), and carefully cut fruit. These pseudo rooms are
rapidly changeable in both appearance and function, transforming by the day
or hour.

Elements as Dense Surface[17]
In East Los Angeles, the element of surface reigns supreme. From interiors
to exteriors, surfaces are continuously decorated, coated, narrated,
labeled, overlapped, and stuck upon, creating special effects.[18] The
effects are frequently temporary as they change with the fashion, as is the
case with low riders, or with the next turn in the conversation, as is the
case with graffiti. On buildings, walls become dense surfaces thick with
texture, color, and bold graphics. The concept of density relates to the
degree of compactness. An affect of densification is the saturation of
detail. The treatment of surfaces on buildings echoes most closely the
common practice in East LA of creating the popular low riders. In this
context one can see the densification of materials brought about through
the layering of paint resulting in a saturation of the surface design and
color. The language of translation occurs here in a most material sense,
where surfaces include recycled, reborn materials, translated for new uses
and effects.

In a similar vein, Robin Evans analyzes the rich portrayal of interior
surfaces in the drawing techniques of houses and villages of late
eighteenth century England in his essay, "The Developed Surface"[19]. By
flattening the four walls in the drawing, an opportunity was provided to
saturate interior surfaces with ornament. Later, this addition to the
drawings was manifest in the interior spaces of built structures. Evan
states that the developed surfaces counterbalanced the hierarchy of
spaces imposed by the plan, in that the intended use for each distinct
space began to be signaled by the type of wall décor instead of by the
relative position of each room within a building. This use of excessive
ornamentation in the developed surfaces of the past has some similarity
to the surface treatments of buildings in East LA today. Beyond their
joint use of opulent decoration and "wall-to-wall" patterning to provide
the dominant spatial effect, the surface treatments in both contexts also
signal the type of social interaction appropriate for each space. While
in eighteenth century England the surfaces indicated whether a room was
for leisure, work, or entertaining, for example, in contemporary East LA,
the dense surfaces that combine art with sign, and pictorial image with
text, also give clues for behavior, such as whether interactions should
be commercial, religious, social, domestic, or allow for some

Within the Spanglish framework, a relationship between architecture and
Chicano cultural production is founded on the principals of popular culture
development itself, a fast and fluid process of cultural practice where
original forms are born of emergent organic and dynamic systems of
borrowing, inventing, integrating, and excluding. Within this framework,
there is no preciousness or monumentality attached to cultural form, and
anything can be adored, altered, shunned, and reused at the whim of
individual and popular opinion. A goal of this analysis then is to provide
a window for viewing current changes within architecture, as well as to
create an entry way for Chicano cultural production and aesthetic
sensibilities to interact with architectural design in an equal, highly
interactive manner with the potential to affect both cultural arenas in
fundamental ways.

As can be seen from the above examples, the pervasive Chicano sensibility
in East LA is extreme adaptability within an aggressive and rapidly
changing environment. It includes a strategic disinvestment in the notion
of permanence; a perspective that has led to a greater investment in acts
and aesthetic forms which are short lived, spectacular, and fantastic – low
riders, piñatas, and Day of the Dead altars. It requires an attunement to,
and participation in, the rhythms of improvisation, which has led
inhabitants to discard static beliefs that have become unnecessary cultural
and social baggage. Because of East LA's state of on-going change, a rigid
belief system or adherence to traditional conventions could impede a
person's ability to interact fully with the city, and as such, impede their
ability to claim rights to it, an act necessary for survival. This act of
"claiming", of establishing a personal niche, routine, or network within
the existing ebb and flow of the city, is a very dynamic process of
appropriation and adaptation, whereby all available resources are utilized
for personal and communal gain.

Like the myriad of systems in East LA, systems that change their behavior
in response to their environment are called complex adaptive systems (CAS).
The adaptive change that occurs is often relevant to achieving a goal or
objective. Adaptive behavior tends to be associated with individual plants,
animal, human beings, or social groups. However, relatively simple systems
can also be adaptive. In general terms, adaptive learning occurs when a
pattern of behavior within the system changes as a result of an interaction
with the environment. Adaptability through retaining information processes,
and restructuring patterns is not passive. On the contrary it is proactive
and dynamic, and always charged with the potential for transformation in a
fundamental/structural level.

Emergent Behavior in East Los Angeles

There is a recent tendency in architectural theory to apply the concept of
emergent processes of biology to analysis and development of architecture
and urbanism. This focuses particularly on the material and organizational
properties of natural organisms and their morphological and structural
qualities and effects. It is through the properties of behavior (how things
perform and function), and DNA scripting (order formation) that biology
translates into architecture. Particularly complex adaptive systems and the
phenomena of bottom-up emergence have begun to open up a new territory of
architecture. Through examining the nature of East LA's residents' acts of
claiming the city, we can see that this model fits well as a framework for
describing this urban process.

Steven Johnson discusses in his book, Emergence, that a city's residents
can form a type of collective intelligence through use of emergent behavior
– simple random acts of contact, communication, and adjustment. Because of
many factors, including East LA's status as a non-incorporated county zone,
"top down" controls (and social and economic benefits) in East LA are not
as readily present at the street level as they are in other sections of the
city (e.g., West LA). This factor creates a condition in which individuals
need to take their own initiative to develop effective economic and
residential structures and systems to survive. This individual, and at
times collective, structural initiative is a type of emergent behavior – a
type of information processing, storing, and reacting that has become a
driving force in the development of East LA. This dispersed agency is
enabling the aesthetic sensibilities and spatial strategies in East LA to
begin to permeate sensibilities and strategies throughout the region.
Together these organic systems of adaptation, improvisation, and emergence
denote a type of coherent urban "noise" or "chatter", that has begun
defining the urban imprint of future L.A. The Spanglish Turn and its Barrio
Emergent dimension can be used for transforming this informal heavy
accented data into innovative frameworks and patterns, to offer an
alternative openness towards the development of experimental forms and
processes in architectural and urban design practices.

Contrary to the above mentioned schemata for integrating Chicano spatial
practices into architecture, the traditional relationship between
architecture and other cultural forms has been one where architecture has
generally appropriated these forms on a superficial level, and resisted
alteration to any core design sensibilities. This dynamic is readily
evident in the architectural trend associated with Robert Venturi's 1977
book, Learning from Las Vegas,[20], initially received as a radical and
innovative analysis of the American post-war commercial urban context, but
which, in the final analysis did little more than "become a new road to old
Rome."[21] In fact, little within architecture changed as a result of the
attempted incorporation of popular culture sensibilities into the
discipline. The question is begged then as to what would occur in
architecture if different dynamic relationships could be established
between architecture and other cultural forms, where the possibilities for
'switching' into various alternative positions is available and desirable.
And in particular, what would be the aesthetic and spatial outcomes of
these 'switching' dynamics.

While this process of analysis remains in its beginning stages, it is clear
that the discipline of architecture can benefit from broadening its
processes to include Chicano aesthetic sensibilities and emergent
behavioral systems with its ever present goal to achieve contemporary
relevance. As the process of Latinization will only continue to get
stronger in the years to come, the aesthetic and spatial ramifications of
this transformation of the contemporary city are enormous and exciting. And
as the sensibilities of this "Spanglish Turn" become more fully elaborated,
it seems clear that they will provide a picture of elaborate, malleable,
and performative aesthetics that can provide a fresh take on old design
approaches. Additionally, the conceptualization of these spatial attributes
as charged fields within the built environment, manifest as situatedness,
organization, and elements, can provide architects with the potential to
utilize these translated sensibilities for architectural design, and
further agents of change within the city's contemporary landscape.


Evans, Robert, Translations form Drawing to Building and Other Essays.
Architectural Association, London. 1997
Garcia Canclini, Nestor. Hybrid Culture: Strategies for Entering and
Leaving Modernity. University of Minnesota Press, Ann Harbor. 2005
Gruzinsky, Serge, The Mestizo Mind: The Intellectual Dynamics of
Colonization and Globalization. Routledge, New York. 2002
Jameson, Fredric, Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism.
Verso, N.Y.. 1991
Johnson, Steve, Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and
Software. Scribner, New York. 2002
Leclerc, G., Villa, R., Dear, M.. Urban Latino Culture: La Visa latina in
L.A. Sage Publications, Inc. Thousand Oaks, CA. 1999
Lefebvre, Henri. The Production of Space. Wiley-Blackwell, New York. 1992
Schleppegrell, Mary J., The Language of Schooling: A Functional Linguistic
Perspective, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., New Jersey. 2004
Soja, Edward. Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical
Social Theory.
Sontag, Susan. Against Interpretation: An Other Essays. Picador, N.Y.. 2001
Stevans, Ilan. Spanglish: The Making of a new Language. Harper Perennial,
N.Y.. 2004
Tschumi, Bernard, Event Cities 3: Concept vs. Context vs. Content. The MIT
Press, Cambridge, MA. 2006
Venturi, R., Scott-Brown, D., Izenour, S.. Learning From Las Vegas. The MIT
Press, Cambrideg, MA. 1977
[1] For the purpose of this analysis I am using the encompassing concept of
social space developed by Henri Lefebvre in his seminal work, The
Production of Space.
[2] Leclerc, G, Villa, R., Dear, M., Urban Latino Culture: La Vida Latina
in L.A. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc. 1999
[3] Interview in Wire Magazine, issue, 2003
[4] The Spatial Turn is a theoretical concept of postmodernity and can be
indebted to two major works on space, society and culture: Postmodern
Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory (1989) by
Edward Soja and Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism
(1991) by Fredric Jameson. Their implications on diverse spatial
disciplines, including architecture and urbanism, has been significant.
[5] Ibid., Benjamin.
[6] Spanglish. 1: a simple "code switching", moving from one language to
another (You got a nasty mancha on your camiseta); adaptation of an English
word into a Spanish form (Quiero parquear el coche); translation of an
English expression into Spanish using English syntax (Te llamo para atras,
for, I'll call you back); and straight phonetic translation (children's
cold remedy Vick's VaporRub becomes bibaporu). Definition taken from:
Stavans, Ilan. Spanglish; The Making of a New Language. New York:
HarperCollins Publishers, 2003
[7] Here aesthetic sensibility refers to the 'common sense' ability to
appreciate and respond to complex emotional or aesthetic influences. For my
particular purpose of analyzing Mexican and Chicano expressive culture in
contemporary Los Angeles, I will 'borrow and translate' Susan Sontag's idea
of sensibility as related to the notion of Camp, where it relates to the
'taste of a period'. In Mexican and Chicano culture it is important to
understand the argument of sensibility as a mode of experiencing and
knowing within its temporary framework. Cultural Hybridity is defined by
Nestor Garcia Canclini as the cultural processes generated by new mass
media technologies, the re-arrangement of the public and private in
contemporary society, and the deterritorialization of symbolic goods. These
processes generate intense and fluid interactivities between high and low,
and the traditional and contemporary cultural forms.
[8] Baroque. 1: of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a style
of artistic expression prevalent esp. in the 17h century that is marked
generally by use of complex forms, bold ornamentation, and the
juxtaposition of contrasting elements often conveying a sense of drama,
movement, and tension 2: characterized by grotesqueness, extravagance,
complexity, or flamboyance 3: irregularly shaped (of a pearl).
Definition from Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed.
[9] Schleppegrell, Mary J., The Language of Schooling: A Functional
Linguistic Perspective. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 2004
[10] Somol, Robert. "Pass it on…", in Log 3: Observations on Architecture
and the Contemporary City, New York, Anyone Corporation, Fall 2004
[11] Tschumi, Bernanrd. Event-Cities 3: Concept vs. Context vs. Content.
The MIT Press, 2004
[12] "Low n' Slow" is a Chicano cultural concept for public display that
implies an intense sense of style for posturing on which stillness,
firmness, or calculated slowness are the primary mechanisms to grab
attention. It refers to an act intended to be seen but also within the
framework of social and spatial subtle defiance.
[13] The idea of the charged field relates to the concept of the "field
condition" put forth by Stan Allen in his article, "Object to Field"[14],
whereby "internal regulations of the parts are decisive; [but] overall
shape and extent are highly fluid."
[15] Gruzinsky, Serge, The Mestizo Mind: The Intellectual Dynamics of
Colonization and Globalization. New York: Routledge, 2002
[16] Originally the term transculturation was defined by the Cuban
interdisciplinary scholar, Fernando Ortiz (1881-1969) in his influential
book, Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar (1940). It describes the
phenomenon of merging and converging cultures. In simple terms, it
reflects the natural tendency of different cultures or peoples to resolve
conflicts over time, rather than exacerbating them. In the modern context,
both conflicts and resolutions are amplified by communication and
transportation technologies.
[17] Ibid., Leclerc et al.
[18]With the development of new imaging technologies there has been a
renewed interest on the concept of Surface in architecture and urbanism,
both, as a material condition of space and as an analytical mode of formal
speculative design. My interpretation of Surface in relation to the
cultural landscape of East Los Angeles relates to Stan Allen's idea of
landscape surfaces and conditions as dynamic ecologies in which the
performative characteristics of landscape are direct outcomes of its
[19] Lavin, Sylvia. "The Temporary Contemporary", in Perspecta 34. 2002:
[20] Evans, Robert, "The Developed Surface", in Translations from Drawing
to Building and Other Essays, London, Architectural Association. 1997
[21] Venturi, R., Scott Brown, D., Izenour, S., Learning From Las Vegas.
Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 1977
[22] Lavin, Sylvia, "A Contemporary Cocktail", in Crib Sheets: Notes on the
Contemporary Architectural Conversation, eds. Sylvia Lavin and Helen Furjan
with Penelope Dean. New York: The Monacelli Press. 2005
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