SUPRASTUDIO investigates architecture’s experimental deployment at the city scale, the building and its fabrication. A team of faculty and visitors offer critical studies and technical seminars related to the studio project. Advanced students from across the globe undertake projects with internationally recognized faculty in collaboration with expert consultants, visitors, and client leaders from industry, government and the civic community. The year’s focused, four-studio sequence, anchored by emerging design technologies and current theory, takes a fresh look at architecture in the contemporary post urban condition. There is no better site than Los Angeles to use as a springboard into the provocative opportunities confronting the next generation of architects.
SUPRASTUDIO, MEGAVOIDS, will focus on the ways in which the horizontal landscape of the Los Angeles region is problematized by the cause and effect relationships between outward expansion and the attendant difficulties in overcoming great distances. In order to structure or even to simply contend with the scales implied by large, undeveloped areas of a city/region that now stretches more than 75 miles (San Bernardino to the Pacific Ocean), various new modes of navigation must be developed to physically and psychologically address issues of smart growth for North American cities. Indeed, if super compact cities such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Paris represent various paradigms of infrastructural efficiency, (saturated public transport networks) with their related forms of public life (streets, cafes, pedestrian oriented modes of interaction), then Los Angeles’ (e.g. North America) car culture has offered an altogether different world of circulatory systems and human interaction, liberating, but ecologically stressful. The unique position of the studio, however, will assert that with dedicated research, new pragmatics and further, new aesthetics will emerge from the work. Our modus operandi will be speculative design, not the representation of known problems.
MEGAVOIDS is catalyzed by ongoing research being produced at Toyota’s National sales and marketing headquarters in Torrance. Led by Chris Hostetter, one of the most forward thinking people in sustainable automobile design, the Toyota concept department has investigated the designs of micro cars, micro cars with specially designed compartments for bicycles and segways, and their new dimensional implications in the infrastructural environment. These innovative proposals are part of Toyota’s “Last Mile Problem”, a program that attempts to orchestrate incrementally smaller scales / modes of transportation across larger networks that still rely on conventionally scaled systems of freeways, boulevards, etc. Working directly with this team of experts as both client and collaborator the studio will rethink issues of density, autonomy, fluidity, fractalization, building typology and organization (including detailed analysis of façade performance and structural economies) as they pertain to architectural urbanism.
The MEGAVOIDS team will include two other highly regarded international organizations. The Los Angeles division of Buro Happold, and EDAW, a sub-division of the global infrastructure firm AECOM provide teaching and consultation within our coordinated curriculum.
SCALE AND INTEGRATION
The studio will be carried out over 38 weeks with the design studios at the heart of the sequence. We will begin with two scales at once: the regional superblock scale of the city and the detail of the small car itself. Students will each produce digital models of the Toyota concept cars (from 2D information provided by Toyota), segways, bicycles, etc. Through analysis of site and scale, along with patterns of movement systems through the area, the course will begin to develop designs for a variety of land use functions, from housing, parking systems, leisure zones, office zones, etc. Specific and detailed in their execution, these designs will be produced in teams that will focus on discrete areas of research.