Los Angeles Plaza Public Market
UCLA | AUD | Instr. Neil Denari

I saw the fog enter the basilica, as I often love to watch it penetrate the Galleria in Milan: it is the unforseen element that modifies and alters, like light and shadow, like stones worn smooth by the feet and hands of generations of men.
-Aldo Rossi

Los Angeles Plaza is the site of the founding of the modern metropolis of Los Angeles, and is surrounded by the scarce remains of some of the only extant 19th century urban fabric in Los Angeles. Though cynically determined by the construction techniques and architectural norms of the nineteenth century, these buildings have all been differently invigorated by the unforeseen programs that have occupied them in the time since, from China towns to taco stands. It is their continuing use, rather than their architectural iconicity that allows them to constitute a valuable part of the city.

A market is a typically a shed program, but a shed does little for the market, and less for the city. In Los Angeles’ weather, even the shed is dispensable. Instead of seeking to architecturalize the program of a market, this project aims at city-scale instrumentality in the locally-established process of abandonment and reinhabitation by proposing a group of durable building-like structures connected by intersecting glass and steel gallerias. The gallerias and columniation suggest movement, but do not control it. It does not seek an optimal solution to any particular activity--in fact, the solution to the function of a market is deliberately suboptimal, in the recognition not only of the multiplicity of market types, but with the idea in mind that optimization also invariably begets obsolescence. Rather, form and space are its priorities.