Botio Kuo

Big Dumb Building

Location: Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles
Typology: Mix-used
Instructor: Ramiro Diaz-Granados

A building becomes an urban artifact when the scale of it becomes big enough to be considered urbanism.

The form was found through simple extrusions derived from diagrams of Locomotive II and Peachtree. This simple act – extruding a diagram – rounds the behavior of the form into a certain quality of dumbness. Transformations like extension and bending to enforce the connection between form and dumbness.

The graphics emphasize a certain kind of crudeness of form and unify the building as a single urban artifact. It is, knowingly, the only gold building in the area. By employing a conventional curtain wall and window system as a sort of mask for disguising the varying interior functions and introducing the reflection of big cities’ views on the skin, the big dumb building intends to look like both building-as- city and anonymous international urbanity.

This proposal is not only reproducing a city within the city of Los Angeles, but also creates a new life-style within the specified site. The programs in the big dumb building fulfill people’s daily needs and activities: eating, sleeping, working, working-out, buying, playing, and socializing. The buildings adjacent to the site serve the people’s non-daily needs: postal, medical, law enforcement, etc. A city could not be excited without urban circulation systems, which is the core part of this project. By introducing urban circulation systems like bus station, gondola, plazas, escalators, the functional programs areconnected tightly and make more convenience in the building.

Los Angeles is a great city devoid great urbanism. While the structure and atmosphere of the city is compelling, its urban form remains more an ephemeral promise rather than a concrete fact. To counteract this, Los Angeles requires the willful shaping of the city – imagined large and without trepidation – to bring its form in line with its aspirations.