The LA Forum’s Summer 2016 newsletter collects stories and experiences about the city from five unique perspectives: an artist, an actor, a geographer, an architect, and an urban critic. The LA Forum spoke to editor Orhan Ayyüce about the new issue and deciphering spatial signals in the city.
I wanted the newsletter to be about very important components of urbanism that are somewhat distanced from specific buildings, master plans, or development projects—and the cults of personalities that bombarded us every day in many publications. It was important to point out that the built environment also exists anonymously. [The newsletter] re-values the city without the elite qualifications of architectural and urban design culture and its mostly elitist community.
If you think an ordinary chain link fence or a typical street with ordinary things qualify as the built environment, then you have just accepted that architecture is everywhere. It has complexities of its own and its own spatial identity. We are not passing judgment if they are good or bad or beautiful or ugly. We are recognizing their presence and looking to understand what signals they emit. So, yes, then, architecture is everywhere it wants to be. It is up to us to see, process, and live it.
These are all spatial ingredients. They make the physical environment and they signal information. These elements and systems contribute to spatial identities of places in the city, where and how we live. They are the aura of cities. Each city has a specific essence beyond the generic systems or infrastructure. For example, I consider the temperature or the sounds of Los Angeles or the social makeup of the city and its neighborhoods part of this essence. I find it everywhere.