Shelter: Rethinking How We Live in Los Angeles, on view at the A+D Museum through November 6, challenges architects and designers to create residential solutions that respond to a changing city. Commissioned projects address pressing issues facing the cultural and physical landscape. Co-curated by Sam Lubell and Danielle Rago the exhibition features the new work by Bureau Spectacular, LA Más, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, MAD Architects, PAR, and wHY. The exhibition also highlights recently constructed or in-progress housing solutions a number of L.A. firms. The Forum spoke to the curators about how we live in Los Angeles.
What can we learn about LA housing compared to housing in other cities?
DR: Shelter is a basic human need. We decided to focus the show on this subject on account of the museum’s relocation to its new home in the Arts District, as well as the long lineage of important residential architecture in the city. The Los Angeles single-family home has long been studied and replicated in places outside of the city, but Los Angeles’ needs have shifted. The ideas presented highlight housing that is reflective of a new L.A., one that is more dense, with less buildable land, new transit offerings, growing diversity, ballooning costs, and intense environmental challenges —issues that other cities are also facing.
How does a cities infrastructure influence our housing conditions?
SL: Infrastructure has always been a major driver of housing in cities, from aqueducts to castle walls to freeways. We wanted to focus on housing near two of the most important infrastructure projects in the city now: the redevelopment of the Los Angeles River and the extension of Metro’s Purple Line along Wilshire Boulevard. They’re driving huge changes in development, and represent a city that is changing dramatically from the suburban-style development that it is traditionally known for.
Why pick L.A. architects to look at these parts of the city as opposed to architects and designers outside of the city?
SL: We chose designers that have been investigating issues in L.A. for some time, although some of the firms, like MAD and Bureau Spectacular, are recent transplants. We also wanted a mix of established firms and younger, more experimental ones. Overall we’re very pleased with the mix, and we think we’ve got a great variety of perspectives.