Underground [M2]

Instructors: Mira Henry and Matthew Au

The studio will design two facades and a below level nightclub for an existing retail store along the western edge of the Leimert Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. The store, Crenshaw Discount Store, occupies the shell of Victor Gruen’s first built project in Los Angeles, Grayson’s Women’s Fine Apparel (1941). Next door is Paul R. Williams designed One United Bank (1962), a significant institution responsible for home loan lending to Black and Brown families in response to the racist era of redlining. While rarely discussed, these buildings tell a story of the shifting demographics of the neighborhood over the past 80 years. Across the street from the site is the current construction to the transit oriented Crenshaw Corridor of retail and residential developments that will undoubtedly give shape to the next 80 years. The design of the two outward facing facades of the Crenshaw Discount Store, and the construction of a basement nightclub are set against the tension between the past and the future. The studio will privilege material attentiveness and specificity. Moving in layers from the interior outwards, we will consider how the exterior of a building develops presence in its environment.

Students will work through a variety of formats, including short form writing, photography, video, model making, and rendering. These formats, each specific to a given assignment, coalesce as multiple perspectives in the studio final. 

The studio will meet twice weekly with an equal balance between group conversation and individual critique.

Student Background Information: All students are welcome. We will use the tools typical of architecture design studio course work as well as introduce some more novel means and methods. Students are expected to work through sketch physical modelling (using sticks, paper, and flexible foam, or comparable),  and digital modeling and rendering (using Rhino, CLO, Vray, and Photoshop). Technical guidance as needed will be provided. Additionally, the studio will use the building detail as a point of ideation for the design work produced. This will not require advanced technical knowledge of wall sections, but rather an imagination towards the way things are put together.

GSD students may view additional information on option studios:
Option Studio Presentations
Schedule for Zoom Q&A sessions