Team: Jesse Hammer + Benjamin Gourley
Critic: Gabriel Fries-Briggs
This Fire Station adopts a flattened hierarchy in the movement and maintenance of objects and bodies, taking on play and performance within a public program situated in the city of Los Angeles. Most significantly, the organization depends not on discrete volumes (or rooms) as a primary motivator, but adjacent clusters of essentially planar fragments dispersed within a vast, semi-conditioned shell to orient program.
Flatness: In order to clarify the flattened hierarchy, were thinking of flatness in two ways: through fragments and a linear organization.
Linear organization lends itself to non-hierarchical reading:
Boardwalk urbanism defines flatness as a social typology.One of the dominant moves on the site is the insertion of a second street as an apparatus bay on the West length of the site. This doubles the public road, bringing the sidewalk with it and making the station more accessible as a public arena. (b. 1.) What begins to play out is a sidedness:
Duality of East and West elevations develops to produce a corridor of privacy hugging the public facade-as-monolith.
On the other side, public safety as performance pushes activities to the edge, a loose enclosure where the maintenance of bodies, facilities, and vehicles bears public witness.
Ref: Playground/Fitness at Santa Monica Beach Playground (1934) > Venice Muscle Beach (1987). This public program was a product of the WPA - installation of weightlifting for public use. We're developing the culture of play and performance developed alongside this narrative of Los Angeles which relied on strength and exhibitionism.
At a macro scale, we’ve established a gradient across the site plan: moving from a cluster of
As a parti, they read as figures (“plus sign” or “quartered circle” or “L-shape”). In section (or in actuality, elevation) it’s a dense conglomerate of material cues, storage voids, ductwork, etc. The difference between these scales is particular to the degree of specificity required by the fire station, which lends itself to an autonomous performance of a proliferation of objects and systems (compiled as an adhoc boardwalk urbanism)