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Zohar Cabrera

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Biking in the streets of Los Angeles??? I definitely was not expecting that when I heard of CicLAvia. CicLAvia is an event in Los Angeles where main streets are closed from traffic from Union Station to Venice Beach (approx. 15 mi. ea. way) and are open solely for people on bikes, skateboards, scooters, made up vehicles on wheels and for people simply walking or running on their feet. I decided to bike it.

This event took place on Sunday April 23 beginning at 10 am. Some classmates and I decided to group up and participate in this activity together. We had initially decided to take the Metro from Pomona to L.A. station but were not able to get onto the Metro due to it being over packed with people and bikes. I don’t think I had ever seen the Metro so full, there was literally people pushed up against the doors. Our next option was to wait for the next shuttle but we were also risking that shuttle being full as well, so we decided to carpool and drive to L.A. Once we got there we parked next to Union station and rode to the starting point of CicLAvia. There were hundreds of people there and it had not even started. We decided to start biking even though the event had not officially began, we were still able to ride through the empty streets. Being one of the firsts to ride through L.A. we were able to appreciate the emptiness a lot more. Riding through these main streets which are always overflowing with traffic was invigorating. It was a very strange but pleasurable feeling. I was able to enjoy the actual streets of L.A. a lot better and understand them from a different perspective than usual.  I was able to admire the grand buildings which surrounded me and was able to look at them from different angles and views which are limited when driving. Most of us when we think of Downtown L.A. we think of chaotic traffic, but this experience definitely changed my opinion of L.A. and showed me a different side of it. As we drew away from downtown and got closer to the beach, the environment changed. The buildings were smaller, there were houses, schools, stores, gas stations, etc. we were obviously not in the heart of L.A. anymore. This part felt more familiar due to it just being like most ordinary streets which I have ridden my a bike or walked through. It was still slightly different though since there was no traffic. Speaking of traffic, even though there was no vehicle traffic there was plenty of bicycle traffic. We had to stop and vehicle traffic go through every 3 lights or so, so you could definitely see the multitude of people who attended. In total it was approximated to be around 350,000 people who participated. Once we arrive to Venice the flow of traffic slowed down, there was people all over the beach and walking through was not as easy as usual. We rested and ate at the beach for a couple hours to prepare for the ride back. We rode back about 7 miles until we reached the closest metro station which then took us back to Union Station.

This experience was very different and mind changing, not to mention great exercise. I was able to captivate a completely different aspect of Los Angeles which lead me to better understand the significance and impact of traffic. Also, I appreciated a lot more a different form of transportation and how traffic has an influence on not only this chosen transportation, but all types.

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The Getty

Richard Meier was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1934. Meier graduated from Cornell University in 1957 and began practicing in 1963. He was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1984. This same year he was chosen to design the Getty Center located in Los Angeles, California.

The Getty is placed on the Santa Monica Mountains next to the San Diego Freeway. Upon arrival, once visitors park they are taken to the top of the hill in two electric trams. The entire campus surrounds a plaza with the intention of being a gathering point and implements framed views of the city. The Getty is composed of 1.2 million square feet of beige, texturized Italian travertine. Meier’s reason for choosing stone was because of the architectural expression of “permanence, solidity, simplicity, warmth, and craftsmanship.” Natural light is a key feature at the Getty. Exterior glass walls invite sunshine into the buildings and also serve as the lighting in the painting galleries. The inside of the museum consists of sight lines of the interior and exterior spaces allowing for an easy flow of movement in and out of the five galleries. To the west of the Central Garden Houses is the Getty Research Institute building. This circular library filled with books and reading areas wraps around a central courtyard.  This building also offers natural light to the subterranean reading room through the incorporation of a skylight. To the North and East of the Arrival Plaza is the Getty Foundation, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the J. Paul Getty Trust administration offices. This area consists of sunken gardens, glass walls and an open floor plan and more great views of Los Angeles.

Mirror Trail

Smithson, Robert. Mapping Dislocations. 2001. James Cohan Gallery.

Robert Smithson, 1969.

Ithaca Mirror Trail, located in Ithaca, new York reveals different views of the landscape with the simple usage of a mirror placed in an ideal location.

Steenbergen, C.M. & Reh, W.: Werkbrook Architecture en Landschap. Delft. 1999. Drawing: E. Van der Kooij.

© SIME/ESTOCK PHOTO.

Adalberto Libera, 1942.

Casa Malaparte located on Punta Masullo on the Isle of Capri, Italy, softens its rough environment through its sleek, modern design.

Querkraft Architects, 2001.

TWI forecourt located in front of the Vienna Italy Twin Tower office centers, is a public space which suits the individuals desire to rest in a modernized fashion.

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Defining somethings especially for a designer is impossible. Designers do not define things with a single interpretation, but rather are ambiguous with design. Ambiguous means to have multiple meanings and/or interpretations. By defining something we are limiting ourselves to one concrete idea and do not allow for other approaches. The Stuart Art Collection at UC San Diego is considered ambiguous. The majority of the art pieces found throughout the campus have an ambiguous representation. My favorite piece was ‘Fallen Star’. This piece is essentially a house placed overhanging the top of a building, as if it was placed like this by mistake. Seven floors up, you enter the front garden of the house and see all of San Diego in the background. The garden is covered with colorful flowers and well trimmed greenery. From the outside many positive and happy things come to life. It reminds you of your childhood toys (at least for girls), it reminds you of childhood movies that were full of bright colors and picturesque scenery. Regardless of what it reminds you of, due to its ambiguity it will most likely be a happy memory. Once inside the house it is a different experience. Even just standing at the door looking inside, you immediately feel thrown off. You feel dizzy and unbalanced, I literally stumbled as I entered the house. Everything inside looks straight  but you definitely do not feel straight on your feet. Once you get past being thrown off balance, you begin to feel different. Not physically but rather emotionally. The interior decoration has an old appearance, as if it has been untouched for years. The art pieces and photographs provoked sadness for me and even though there were many people inside the house looking at it, it still felt very empty and cold. I believe these feelings of unbalance both physically and emotionally are part of this piece and were the actual intent. After being inside for about 3 minutes I wanted to get out. I definitely did not feel the same leaving the house than I did when I first saw it. My feelings went from excitement and curiosity to confusion and almost loneliness even thought I was still not able to define what made me feel that way.

As we arrived to UC San Diego for the tour of the campus’s Stuart Collection Art pieces, we were given a pamphlet regarding all the pieces. The main cover page of the pamphlet was of a blue picturesque house with a very colorful garden. Reading through the pamphlet, the one which captured my attention the most was of course the blue picturesque house . The piece is called ‘Fallen Star’. It is essentially a house placed overhanging the top of a building, as if it was placed like this by mistake. Seven floors up, you enter the front garden of the house and see all of San Diego in the background. The garden is covered with colorful flowers and well trimmed greenery. Once in front of the house you can tell it’s placed on an angle rather than straight. From the outside you see its tilted position but you do not think much of it. Once inside the house however it is completely different. Even just standing at the door looking inside, you immediately feel thrown off. You feel dizzy and unbalanced, I literally stumbled as I entered the house. Everything inside looks straight  but you definitely do not feel straight on your feet. Once you get past being thrown off balance, you begin to feel different. Not physically but rather emotionally. The interior decoration has an old appearance, as if it has been untouched for years. The art pieces and photographs provoked sadness for me and even though there were many people inside the house looking at it, it still felt very empty and cold. I believe these feelings of unbalance both physically and emotionally are part of this piece and were the actual intent. After being inside for about 3 minutes I wanted to get out. I definitely did not feel the same leaving the house than I did when I first saw it. My feelings went from excitement and curiosity to confusion and almost loneliness. The piece however is a beautiful one and has a very ambiguous interpretation.