California Limnolarium (experiments in projective processes)

A limnolarium, for the purposes of this studio, is a place associated with the study, presentation and experience of inland water ecosystems. It is a fictional place, a place for the imaginative and the sensorial—one full of changing atmospheres, and ripe for speculation. In terms of function, it is part ecological; part infrastructural, and part social or civic (in that it plays a public role). The limnolarium is equally set up for the environmental, social, and mental (borrowing from Guattari), and it is as much a place for the urban, the architectural, and the landscape as it is for the physical and the spiritual.

As a design vehicle, the studio will explore the projective potentials of four-dimensional modeling techniques, techniques that emphasize flows and processes, time and change. But we will be less interested in simulation techniques, more interested in the construction and projection of new worlds.

The studio will utilize two sites critical to Los Angeles’ water infrastructure: Owens Lake, a mostly dry lake on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada that was once a public water supply for LA; and a portion of the Los Angeles River northeast of downtown that is currently utilized for flood control and treated sewage effluent. Both are infrastructural landscapes that have been radically altered; are sites of considerable jurisdictional complexity and contention; and have great ecological, infrastructural, and social/cultural/recreational potential. But it is the conditions inherent to these sites—not the places themselves—that are of interest.

The studio is open to architects, landscape architects, and urban designers. We will teach processing and related software, but we will expect a solid proficiency in basic digital modeling and representation techniques. We will also be utilizing the school’s new interactive teaching space in Room 522, as well as its “Oblong Mezzanine” suite of spatial interfaces—all in conjunction with the GSD’s and University’s HILT initiatives. The course will generally meet regularly, with occasional alternative scheduled meetings.

Daniel Ibañez, Assistant Instructor