American landscape, The Sunset Strip, automotive tourist, Los Angeles, monuments, cultural heritage
More often than not, architecture is in the background, rather than in the foreground. Architecture is a stage set for life, and much of it we only get to look at from the outside. Non-architects do not remember buildings by their plans, sections, and details - instead, people remember buildings by their plans, sections, and details - instead people remember fragments, pieces, and generalized characters. Architecture is compressed in our memory in ways that often differ substantially from reality. The automobile further exacerbates this phenomenon. The automotive tourist experiences the landscape in fleeting glimpses, and buildings are reduced to their most essential elements, figures, signs, colors, and materials in the mind of the tourist. Architecture is flattened, abstracted, disassociated, re-configured, and misremembered.
This phenomenon occurs even with iconic sites. The Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, Los Angeles is an iconic stretch of road made famous by the gangsters, rockers, comedians, and movie stars who frequented its establishments. These people and events transformed the mostly banal and grungy architecture of the strip into an iconic tourist destination with masses of tour buses and rental cars passing by all year long. This banal architecture was a backdrop for many historical moments in pop culture and now stands as monuments to that history.
This thesis will use these banal pop-cultural monuments of the Sunset Strip to represent and foreground the peculiarities of how we experience and remember this background architecture as mediated through the car window. Sunset.zip is a built representation of this memory of a moment, a physical backup file preserving and transmitting this imperfect image of a place in its smallest possible form.
Russell-Benoit, Ethan and Slagle, Wilson, "Sunset.zip: A new proposal in architectural reconstruction" (2019). Architecture Senior Theses. 513.
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