SHANGHAI - LOS ANGELES 2014-15 A Pacific Rim exchange w/ A.UD and CITYLAB
Neil Denari, Professor; Dana Cuff, Professor; Jonathan Crisman, Project Director UCLA Urban Humanities Initiative
HI-RISES AND URBAN CLUSTERS FOR PACIFIC RIM CITIES Pac Rim X aims to be a catalogue of prototype urban typologies primarily focused on high-rise and other vertical organizations. It is born out of the fantasies that LA could be easier to move around in if certain design metrics were considered. Our focus will be on the metric of height, which as a factor always determines width and depth in architectural mass and structural solutions. While we will not be designing transportation systems, the projects are dependent on multi-modal and scalar systems of movement. 

NEW URBAN PROTOTYPES The Pacific Rim Region is a vibrant and dynamic economic and geographic area comprising over 48% of world trade, 58% of world GDP, and approximately 44% of the world’s population. We know about its unprecedented growth at all levels over the last three decades, and now, as economies change, the forces and flows of money, ideas, politics, power, and design need to be reexamined under these new conditions. Los Angeles and Shanghai are two world cities that share the Pacific border and while they are completely different in terms of structure, at least at their morphological core, this studio will investigate formal and programmatic typologies that originate in each culture (low-rise vs. high-rise, etc) and then mutate and cross-reference them to produce strange but hopefully positive effects within each city. For Los Angeles, we will design small footprint prototype high rises and mid rise clusters ranging from 45 to 95 meters tall that include automated parking systems, variable uses (mostly housing / work-live though), and sustain- able technologies.

NOW SHANGHAI / 上海 下海 Films and “thick maps” of Shanghai comprise the “Now Shanghai / 上海 下海 (Nao Hai)” installation by graduate students from architecture, planning and the humanities working in collaboration. Following a year’s course of study about the history, film, literature, architecture, and planning of Shanghai, mixed-discipline teams traveled to the city to explore one of four sites. Their films, shot largely on location, capture complex narratives in genres ranging from the fable to social documentary. Complementing cinematic representations of Shanghai are a series of densely rendered spatial diagrams and maps that give further dimensionality to the urban humanists’ view of Shanghai in the past, the future, and now.

The studio endeavored to design mutant prototypes for that city. They will range from the pragmatic (we can build it tomorrow) to the fantastical (we may never build it, but it would be buildable nevertheless!) We will endeavor to find feedback loops through the DNA of both cities as a way to anticipate a future Pacific Rim culture. The prototypes developed in the Winter Quarter will undergo further customization for the local climate, sub cultures, and lifestyles.
Students: Andrew Akins, Ciro Dimson, Max Irish, Xiaorui Lin, Steven Matti, Chi Corliss Ng, Mark Simpson, Zhuoran Xu