Page 1

featuring featuring projects projects and and essays essays by by

Doug Jackson Wes Jones Marc Neveu Aryan Crawford Omar Steven Purvis Randolph Ruiz Mohamed Sharif SCI-Arc + Caltech and and with with a a foreword foreword by by

Sanford K wint er

_soupergreen_cover_FINAL_with flaps.indd 1

2/20/17 2:19 PM

Actar Publishers New York


Souped Up Green Architecture edited by

Doug Jackson with projects and essays by

Doug Jackson Wes Jones Marc Neveu Aryan Crawford Omar Steven Purvis Randolph Ruiz Mohamed Sharif SCI-Arc + Caltech and with a foreword by

Sanford Kwinter

Foreword: Charismatic Fauna


Introduction: SOUPERgreen!


Sanford Kwinter

Doug Jackson

The Answer Concerning Technology Wes Jones





(Compact Hyper-Insulated Prototype) SCI-Arc + Caltech (Dynamic Augmented Living Environment) SCI-Arc + Caltech

48 58



Eat Me



(Los Angeles ELOV-based Transit Oriented Development) Wes Jones (Aquaponic House) Steven Purvis (Sustainable Technology Experimental Agricultural Dwelling) Randolph Ruiz

Souper Useless 114 Marc Neveu


Wind House

Aryan Crawford Omar

Uneasy Green 136 Doug Jackson


Wild Thing


The Elementals

Kind of Just Like Heaven 192 Mohamed Sharif

Author Information, 196 Image Credits, and Project Credits

Doug Jackson Doug Jackson

Foreword: Charismatic Fauna Sanford Kwinter

There is an old adage within the (particularly pre-digital) graphic design world that refers to the conundrum of integrating poor quality or insipid images into an effective display: “when in doubt, blow it up.” If an image is unworkably deficient at one scale, enlarging it does not simply mask the defect but eradicates it entirely by activating a wholly different set of values that emerge only at the amplified scale. In sum it is no longer the same image, its semantics no longer derive from the “mise en scène” of the common act playing out literally within its frame, but are generated now from the rhythms, lines, colors, and the incidents of transition and movement that it now brings to the foreground. It is not that the base or first order meaning is no longer present, but rather that its meaning is invoked now rather than flatly displayed, set into vibration in its full ostranenie (defamiliarization) effects, a thing at once familiar and yet inalienably startling and new. In the expansion process an element of abstraction and unprecedentedness is released, as meaning and use become open, referrable to new and unforseen conjugations and domains. The act of amplification is often a poesis, a magical operation that transforms and hints at alternative logics and life forms. Amplification is hence close to a radical carnivalesque, seen nowhere more humorously or effectively than in Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel, a work whose profound social impact had everything to do with its free and exaggerated deployment of human bodily functions and drives, the very thing so deeply stifled today in nearly all modern technological approaches to nature. Almost all hypertrophy in our semantic tradition has its roots in an affirmation of growth and change, in the processes of organic life—in a word, in the affirmation of metabolism. Among the shortcomings of our times, no less dismal than our failure collectively to acknowledge the catastrophes impending within our natural environment, are the cultural and intellectual bankrutptcy and the pinched accounting practices with which our creative disciplines have to date mustered to address them. Speculation has always been the spearhead of the architecture enterprise, the motor


that both drives its innovative arm and its claim to a front row seat in history, but in the face of the current challenges it has incomprehensibly ceded place to the humdrum reflexes of the engineers. The critique of this depressing state of affairs has to date been dominated by largely out of touch architectural formalists for whom any attempt to found practice in extra-architectural problems and ideas— particularly scientific, social and philosophical ones—is met with parochial indignation or contempt. Hence the “eco-technocrats” on one side and the insular formalists on the other are the voices we hear, but they are not the ones that carry conviction or sway. The task today is to think and work outside this narrow cubicle of commonplaces, to break free of their sterile routines at any cost, to incorporate a dose of extremism into one’s practice in good measure and as necessary so that the problems we face today become visible in new ways, placed in relation to what is not yet known rather than in relation to what is most obvious, convenient, tired, and false. We will not reckon or calculate our way out of our current predicaments—this has never been the case and it will be no different now. We can however imagine our way out— move ourselves by means of affective allegiances into a new place from which new conditions, rather than simply and simplistically new solutions, will emerge. Propositions of ecological philosophy, ecological thought, and ecological practice will not live and die according to a balance sheet (even if these latter were not almost always shills) but according to history, in proportion to how fully they enter into the commerce and habitus of human affairs, and in so doing how culture alters and re-invents them. The works collected here all seek to foreground the metabolic functions of architecture—at once those inherent to it throughout its history but more particularly those that must be engaged today in the most vigorous ways in order to realign our entire cognitive approach to the art of building—oriented less to the world of things as to the universe of modulated processes. These are transformers in every sense of the term. What is proposed

is not far from a “style” and in this it leverages both risk and considerable ambition. The hyperbolic lyricism it celebrates is put at the service of a larger and almost ribald seriousness, approximating in physical form the expressive and rhetorical heights of the three-century long traditon of Melodrama, the use of exaggerated figurations to appeal to the flesh and the emotions. Nature paradoxically is allowed to reappear here—in flagrant representation through machinic languages—as a problem of passionate processes and movements and no longer as a docile force subject to the petty conceits of calculation. Indeed there is a phrase in the conservationist world that differentiates between wildlife that typically attract interest and attention and those that for no other reason than their lesser capacity to combust energy and transform their physical, psychic, and affective environments, attract less. They are referred to as charismatic megafauna (tigers, elephants, eagles, and whales, for example) and their sheer magnetic appeal has been a decisive force for engaging human interest in the broader, more subtle recoveries and trasformations of despoiled habitats. These species, without any doubt, were also once principal predators of humans themselves, which no doubt makes them objects of almost genetic or ancestral curiosity since there is already a place of innate interest in them hardwired within us. In the same way, the predatory machinery of our cultural and technical worlds can be redeployed as charismatic entities, precisely because they are dangerous and possess formidable appetites. But by dramatizing their power and integrating them into our urban and psychic ecologies, we apprehend our world as the integrated weave it is, a massive digesting and transforming apparatus whose fate is partly ours to invent.


Introduction: SOUPERgreen! Doug Jackson

It is now beyond question that the global environmental crisis is the singular issue that will define the work of architects in the 21st century, if not beyond—an era that has been recently, and ominously, characterized as the Anthropocene.1 This term, proposed to signify the geological epoch defined by humanity’s radical transformation of the planet, is also a long-overdue acknowledgement that the environment is inseparably conflated with the world constructed by humanity. It is not only a recognition that the scope of human activity has finally achieved the capacity to fundamentally alter the geophysical processes of the planet, but also a realization that the environment itself has always been a human construction rather than an a priori condition. With etymological roots in the acts of surrounding and enclosing, the environment is both a space and a representation: it situates humans within a version of the world, and thereby defines the manner in which that world is understood, experienced, and engaged.2 The overwhelming tendency to misunderstand the environment as if it were the actual world—unmediated by any cultural or perceptual framework and instead able to be directly experienced, measured, and manipulated—constitutes a form naïve realism that erroneously privileges a human conception of the world, and places humanity at the center of that world.

1. In 2009 the International Geological Congress (IGA) appointed a special advisory group of 35 scientists, known as the Working Group on the Anthropocene (WGA), to make a recommendation as to whether human activity had sufficiently impacted the planet to warrant the declaration of a new geological epoch to succeed the Holocene. After completing its work, the WGA recommended at a meeting of the IGA on August 29, 2016 that the Anthropocene should indeed be declared as the new epoch. Its beginning would likely be linked to the deposits within the Earth’s crust of radioactive elements from nuclear bomb tests in the middle of the 20th century. See Damian Carrington, “The Anthropocene Epoch: Scientists Declare Dawn of Human-Influenced Age,” The Guardian (August 29, 2016). 2. Having as its root the Old French environ (“that which surrounds”), the term “environment” connotes an image of a centered human subject distinct from its surrounding context. Its usage, therefore, implicitly reinforces the dualistic and anthropocentric mode of thought that has directly contributed to humanity’s degradation of the environment. Even the term “ecology” is not without its etymological and connotative problems. Its stem, “eco,” derives from the Greek oikos (“house”). “Ecology” thus implies the study of an external structure occupied by a human subject.


This anthropocentric space known as the environment is actually dependent on a number of problematic assumptions about the real world that, in turn, partially describe its difference from it. These include the assumption that the world is a context separate from and in service to humanity as a material and energy resource, that it is isomorphic with the world known through scientific observation, that it is fundamentally homeostatic rather than entropic, and that human activity can be moderated through technology in order to preserve this homeostatic condition. Consequently, there are many aspects of the actual world that fall outside of this anthropocentric framework—either because they exist at spatial and temporal scales which escape human perception, or because they are obscured or

3. Philosopher Timothy Morton has termed these inscrutable entities and forces hyperobjects. See Timothy Morton, Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology After the End of the World (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013). 4. From this anthropocentric perspective, the environmental crisis is routinely, and erroneously, considered to be a planetary crisis. However, as Mark Wigley has observed, like all crises the environmental crisis is really a spatial one: for the most part it is not actually the planet itself that is in jeopardy, but rather the anthropocentric environmental space that has been constructed by humanity. Therefore, as a fundamentally spatial problem, it is also an architectural one. Wigley contends that “Crises always appear as the failure of a spatial system, a failure of architecture.” See Mark Wigley, “Space in Crisis.” In Crisis: Urban China Bootlegged by C-lab for Volume (New York: Columbia University, 2009): accessed October 1, 2016, html.

5. For a more extensive discussion of this, see Neil Evernden, The Social Creation of Nature (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992). 6. Penelope Dean has offered an extended indictment of this disciplinary condition. See Penelope Dean, “‘Never Mind All That Environmental Rubbish, Get On With Your Architecture,’” Architectural Design 79:3 (May/June 2009), 24-29.

distorted by the framework of the environment as it is currently understood.3 Global warming, sea level rise, and ozone depletion are examples of these. When these conditions disturb the apparently stable anthropocentric space known as the environment, they threaten its viability and place it in a state of crisis.4 In addition, when they are instigated or otherwise affected by human activity, their fundamental inscrutability also makes the degree of their underlying human causality difficult to recognize. While technology is humanity’s primary instrument for engaging the environment, it is not simply a means to an end, but rather is also the means by which the environment is perceived and represented in accordance with those ends. Not surprisingly, therefore, the environmental crisis has been narrowly framed as a problem to be solved only through the application of scientific and technical expertise, the supposed efficacy of which is evaluated through measurable performance criteria. This has resulted in an overwhelming tendency to view the world as a mere collection of resources to be quantified and technologically sustained for human use, rather than a dynamic and emergent milieu within which humanity’s habits and behaviors must be continually negotiated.5 In addition, it leaves unexamined these habits and behaviors—as well as the fundamental perceptual frameworks that underlie them—and instead relies on technology as a Deus ex machina to hopefully preserve humanity’s unsustainable tendencies through an apparent mitigation of their negative effects. Although these technological, perceptual, and cultural dimensions of the environment mirror the broad spectrum across which the architectural discipline has historically engaged society, it has for the most part ignored the opportunity to address the significant cultural and perceptual aspects of the environmental crisis, and has elected instead to simply match society’s narrow techno-functionalist perspective.6 This severe reduction in architecture’s scope is evident in the vast number of works that assert their supposed ecological value based solely on resource efficiency—achieved through the uncritical application of “green” technologies and materials, and measured and verified through LEED evaluation and

certification. In this regard, the environmental crisis can also be understood as a disciplinary one. Other Performances of Technology Insofar as architecture is more than simply a functionalist enterprise, however, it has other means by which to engage the issue of the environment and humanity’s relationship to it. Of all of the disciplines and expertise being brought to bear on the ecological crisis, architecture is the only one that has the ability to produce truly transformative spaces and experiences that have the potential to change the way that individuals think, feel, and act. Given the environment’s fundamental basis as a constructed space, architecture’s unique spatial expertise could therefore be directed at the design of alternative environmental spaces and scenarios—ones that might revise humanity’s understanding of the environment and sponsor new forms of engagement with it. The manner in which the architectural discipline views environmental technologies and their potential application is crucial in this regard. Since technology stands between humanity and the world, both as an instrument of action as well as perception, it can perform in either capacity. Within the context of architecture, therefore, it need not function only as an agent of environmental control, but could instead be the means by which architectural space might afford new environmental perceptions and experiences. In adopting such an approach, architecture would finally escape the unfavorably narrow evaluation of its environmentally sensitive works from the standpoint of their quantitative performance, wherein such works are assessed only according to their ability to satisfy certain measurable criteria. Instead, the performance of these works would be more qualitative in nature—as in the performance of an actor. As such, they would be designed to bring to life new versions of reality, and would thus be judged according to their ability to elicit within the public a deep appreciation of and sympathy for the versions of reality they are staging. Accordingly, qualities such as legibility, drama, and theatricality would become far more important criteria than the mundane metrics of functionality by which these works might otherwise be evaluated. In this shift from quantitative to


c a





transverse section looking north

These mechanical and electrical systems are monitored and regulated by a smart home system that is also capable of processing feedback from the exterior environment as well as the occupants. Prediction and planning data, obtained in real time from various internet weather forecasting sites, is processed by a planning algorithm, which calculates the most effective use of the house’s available energy. Meanwhile, CHIP features a user-interface for this smart system that employs a wireless tablet device running customized apps that 26

allow it to act as a “universal remote” for controlling and monitoring the home’s various devices and systems— including assessing the real-time energy draw of the house. This tablet interface is complemented by a gestural interface that employs an Xbox 360 Kinect motion sensor system running a customized software package, which allows the occupants to control the devices inside the house using natural gestures such as pointing and waving. This ability to consciously interact with the house, as well as to monitor the

a. b. c. d. e. f.




vinyl coated exterior insulating skin g. photovoltaic panels h. cantilevered HVAC unit i. ramp j. deck k. removable cabinets and l. soft furniture storage m.

overhead cabinets bed platform dressing area mezzanine kitchen dining area living room



b a


longitudinal section looking east

house’s continual interaction with the environment, makes CHIP’s performance not simply quantitative and abstract—but rather a daily performance of environmentally conscious living.


exterior view from southwest


interactive smart home mobile app


exterior view from southwest, modules joined

The architecture of Southern California has exemplified the advantages of its benign yet adventurous environment. From the spread-eaved bungalows garlanded with sleeping decks, to the post-war Case Study homes with their walls of glass and economical post-and-beam construction, the buildings of Southern California have matched available technology and environmental bounty with grace and efficiency. Until recently, that is. The once private frontier is now overoccupied with the suburban McMansion—replete with 32

exterior detail of sliding canopy

its supersized cost as well as its material and spatial excessiveness. Today’s homebuyers have shifted their focus from delight to investment, and space is counted rather than appreciated. Within this context, DALE, the Dynamic Augmented Living Environment, is a small-footprint dwelling prototype that attempts to reclaim the spirit of Southern California by embracing its sublime climate and active lifestyle while still “living large.” Using the

sun’s unlimited supply of energy along with the latest generation of solar technology, DALE is a house that shape shifts to amplify its occupants’ living needs. It looks beyond “sustainability” toward thrivability— making it a dwelling that can be actively enjoyed. At a minimal 600 sq. ft., DALE expands: it is comprised of two movable, prefabricated modules that, at the push of a button, open up to allow the outdoors to become integrated into the house—creating an in-between yard and tripling its inhabitable square footage. 33



exterior view from southeast, modules separated

exterior view from southwest, modules joined

below: below left:

exterior view from southwest, modules separated exterior detail of sliding canopy and hammock


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

sliding canopy timber framing structural steel frame landscape deck rails stem walls photovoltaic panel horizontal louver screen solar thermal collector hammock mechanical access deck sports equipment rack exploded assembly diagram


13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24.

laundry/bathroom storage closet oven/range and dining table kitchen master bed entertainment office and furniture storage guest bed lawn wood decking water sand

left: far left:

detail view of wood decking and grass landscape surfaces detail view of sand and water landscape surfaces

In addition to its moving components, DALE incorporates features that further invoke Southern California’s sublime climate, outdoor culture, and progressive outlook. Its exterior landscape apron is comprised of natural elements (grass, sand, wood, and water), allowing the occupants to enjoy a sampling of California’s diverse geographies. In addition, a pair of programmed interchangeable racks cantilevered from each module near ground level provide the infrastructure necessary to further capitalize on California’s

environment. These racks include a solar thermal collector, a sports equipment rack, and a hammock. An additional feature is the character of DALE’s exterior envelope, which is an exterior gauge vinyl skin that is wrapped and pulled taut around the faces of the modules. This all-in-one building envelope functions as a continuous waterproof membrane, and thereby eliminates the need for typical exterior sheathing and finish materials. 41

The Answer Concerning Technology Wes Jones

While many might date philosophy’s concern with modern technology to Marx’s technological determinism from the middle of the nineteenth century, it is known today in a form that was established by Martin Heidegger in a lecture titled “The Question Concerning Technology,” which he delivered to the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in 1953. Attending this lecture were several notable figures from the world he was Questioning, including Werner Heisenberg. In this lecture Heidegger redirects Marx’s concerns about technology from its larger societal ramifications to its effect on the individual’s experience. Specifically, “The Question Concerning Technology” sounds an alarm about the extreme ontological danger technology poses for humanity. By this Heidegger does not mean that technology presents a threat to existence, as the atomic sword of Damocles would have suggested to any casual observer at the time. Nor was he concerned about any particular machines or effects they produce that might lead to physical harm. “The threat to man does not come in the first instance from the potentially lethal machines and apparatus of technology.” Instead he is concerned with its effect on the human soul.1

1. In order to avoid getting bogged down in the caviling that marks Heidegger studies, this précis of his position is simplified (though the “spirit” of his critique has been preserved, of course). Consider it a misreading or interpretation to be judged on its own merits rather than by faithfulness to the arcane and voluminous Heideggeriana. He would probably approve. 2. Though it is not his explicit intent, he is describing this particular awareness of Being in a way that makes it more or less synonymous with consciousness. Thus Heidegger is saying that technology renders humans less conscious. 3. To borrow the Kantian metaphor for the conditions of perceptual experience (forms of intuition and principles of understanding).


Since Being and Time he had been calling humanity “Dasein,” literally “being-there” for Being, as a “witness of Being” and more poetically the “clearing” where Being is “lighted” or “unconcealed” or “revealed.” In “The Question Concerning Technology” he details how technology compromises the human ability to fulfill this role. Since he considers this “witnessing” or awareness to be the essence of the human, technology’s obstruction becomes ontologically damaging.2 While he is thinking of this issue at a deeper ontological level than Langdon Winner’s discussion of technological “somnambulism,” he is describing a similar loss of consciousness. If technology is commonly understood as the pair of glasses that makes human vision of the world— experience—deeper or clearer,3 Heidegger believes the vision technology provides is not “clear” at all, if by “clear” it is meant “transparent to the unadorned actuality.” And these glasses in fact blur the awareness of this truth, distorting whatever may be “witnessed,” and closing off all possibilities other than those

4. Heidegger answers the obvious epistemological question of how that blurriness itself can even be suspected (how an uncolored view of the world might be possible) by comparing it to the earlier—original—vision of the ancient Greeks, evident in the changing meaning of certain words like “truth.” 5. Martin Heidegger, Basic Writings, rev. ed. (New York: HarperCollins, Inc., 1993), 311-341, with the translation altered slightly from the version in Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, trans. William Lovitt (New York: Harper & Row, 1977). The German text appears in Martin Heidegger, Vortrage und Aufsatze (Pfullingen: Gunther Neske Verlag, 1954) 13-44, and in the same publisher’s “Opuscula” series under the title Die Technik und die Kehre (1962), 5-36. 6. Being’s autonomy is not compromised by this necessity, though. The act of witnessing is neither performed at a remove nor granted any privileged determinative status. This raises the epistemological conundrum that makes enframing both horrifying—as fated, or “destined” in his terms—but also gives the predicted “saving power” a chance to appear.

7. Martin Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art,” in Basic Writings, 1st Harper Perennial Modern Thought Edition., ed. David Farrell Krell (New York: HarperCollins, 2008), 143-212. 8. Walt Disney, in “Our Friend the Atom.”

they “see.” The technological lens preconditions the experience to be understood within the “framework” of the utilitarian. But this vision cannot be improved by doffing the glasses. The glasses are by now the very way the world presents itself. Heidegger considers Being to be autonomous, and self-disclosive, and so this seemingly blurred vision is what is disclosed. This also means the vision cannot be improved by cleaning the lenses or fixing the prescription—improving the technology—since this particular blurriness is a condition of the perception in the first place. Ontology becomes fundamentally congruent with epistemology, and for Heidegger technology is fundamentally epistemological—before it is utilitarian. Which means that “improvement” is meaningless because it would be measured by terms that have been rendered obsolete by the very technology they intend to judge.4 Heidegger sees modern technology as preconceiving or “enframing” whatever it encounters—nature, humans, everything—as meaningful only within a set view of utilitarian possibility (determined by the particular technology), and “standing in reserve” to be fit into a situation it is intended to facilitate or serve. Through its pair of glasses everything looks colored, to a hammer everything looks like a nail; to technology everything looks useful. In this way technology is emphatically in the world—embedded, connected, absorbed, engaged—but that world is itself understood as entirely a product of that technology.5 This marks a change from the view of western metaphysics initiated by Descartes that pitted the subject human against an alien world of objects, with technology “out there,” amongst them. Instead, Heidegger sees a vast interconnected web of relationships tying subjects to objects and giving meaning to both without granting a privileged viewpoint to the conscious subject from which the world of objects may be regarded with detachment. The glasses connect, mediate, they do not separate. In this way technology is indispensable to the humans’ role as Dasein, as the witnesses needed by the Being that animates it all.6

Such a happy view of technology is anticipated in Heidegger’s earliest work. In Being and Time, for example, he treats technology as a matter of fact embodiment of the extended world of familiar and satisfying experience, providing “ready to hand” objects that reinforce the subject’s sense of himself and the way things are. His famous discussion of the hammer shows no animus towards the simple tool and what it represents of the technological world. In his subsequent essay “The Origin of the Work of Art,” he identifies an “equipmental” being that is more closely aligned with the ancient Greek notion of techné, as a “way of revealing.” In this essay he discusses Van Gogh’s painting, Peasant Shoes, to illustrate his sense of equipment’s “essence” as much more than the mere satisfaction of its apparent purpose, in this case the protection of the peasant’s feet from harm or wear: “the more simply and essentially the shoes are engrossed in their essence, the more directly and engagingly do all beings attain a greater degree of being along with them.”7 It was still possible to see his work during the interwar years as a hopeful reaction to the anomalous excesses of a brutal technology, but the experience of WWII put to rest any such excuses or escapism. The shadows of the bomb and concentration camps reached all the way to his Black Forest retreat, and Heidegger’s thinking took a decisively darker and more mystical turn. The inhuman scope and unearthly efficiency technology had demonstrated during the war could not be reversed or contained. Technology had quite literally become the star, upsetting the simple idyll of equipmental being. Its pervasiveness was insidious, overwhelming the hoary connection to techné. The genie was out of the bottle.8 Heidegger realized that the hammer is now calling the shots, as a power tool, and the peasants’ shoes are produced in a factory driven by the hydroelectric plant that had replaced the picturesque water wheel of his earlier essays. It was at this point that he asked “the question concerning technology,” and set the tone for postwar intellectual activity concerning this subject, that continues to this day in serious academic circles. But the story need not end here. While the genie cannot be put back, and none of these changes




introducing the elov the "electric low-occupancy vehicle" of california's future


7 2





For the last 20 years, 75% of all commute trips in California are single occupancy vehicles. (Caltrans Strategic Plan, 2008)

7 In the last 20 years,

The average number of occupants per vehicle in LA is the same as it was 25 years ago: 1.2. UCLA Institute for Transportation Studies


Southern California has the 10th largest economy in the world, containing 54% of california's jobs. On the other hand, the state has less road capacity than all but 2 of the 65 largest U.S. regions. (Bruegman)

SCAG* expects over six million more people in the region by 2035. With every major freeway built to its right-of-way, build more freeways...Southern California has reached its limit on freeway expansions. (Gunnar Hand, "Protest: HOV and Bothered," The Architect's Newspaper, 10/29/08)

In 2001, traffic congestion cost Americans $70 billion in lost time and fuel consumption. (Robert Bruegman, The Compact History of Sprawl)

9 Between 2005 and 2006,

average travel time to work in the region declined very slightly from 28.9 minutes to 28.4 minutes, though it continued to be higher than the state (27 minutes) and national (25 minutes) averages. (SCAG* State of the Region 2007)

An estimated 3.2 million people drive to and from work alone in a car, truck or van per day in Los Angeles County. (2005-2007 American Community Survey)

10 The median income of the SOV

the average “vehicle miles traveled” (vmt) has doubled, and the population rose 44%; however, arterial and local-lane capacity has only increased 20%.

driver is over $34,000 per year and 75% already have 2-3 cars in their household. In other words, they earn enough to afford an ELOV and a family car. (2005-2007 American Community Survey)

In 2005, a traveler in Los Angeles/Orange Counties during the peak period spent 50% more time than if traveling at free-flow speed. (SCAG* State of the Region 2007)


while there may not be any room left in the city for more lanes (or money for burying them), there is still a lot of easily accessible, unused space within the single-occupancy-vehicles (SOV) that fill the lanes already there, causing the congestion.

By making the cars smaller (true single-occupancy -vehicles) that space could be redistributed back to the roads to ease congestion, increase capacity, or it could be donated to other uses for profit or public benefit.


the elov is only half the length of a hummer, and less than a foot longer than a smart car...

but more importantly, the elov is only half as wide as a smart car









traffic congestion is a matter of volume...not the numbers of vehicles but their size. the elov reduces the volume of traffic literally by servng the same number of occupants in only one quarter the space.





no infrastructural changes would be necessary, but to take full advantage, additional striping to split lanes would be extremely beneficial. this would begin with the number one lane and work its way outward as increasing numbers of drivers converted.

Like most American cities, traffic congestion and smog are serious—even emblematic—issues in Los Angeles. Not surprisingly, over the last decade the city and state have invested billions in a new mass-transit system to address this problem. But, of course, it remains underutilized because the way the city is laid out a car is required at either end of any mass-transit trip in order for anyone to actually get to their final destination. Such Mass-ive transit therefore makes no sense in Los Angeles. However, there is a better way: solve the 60

the slow lanes would remain "full size" to accommodate all OF those family cars in a reverse hov lane logic. the final state would bring flyover exits and entrances so the elovs could avoid the lumbering suvs in the right lanes.

problem at the level of the car by designing a vehicle expressly as a single-occupancy vehicle. Unlike the smart car, it would be half the width, rather than half the length, allowing for double the number of lanes on the freeway and parking spaces on the street, thereby solving the congestion problem with the investment of a little paint rather than billions of dollars in infrastructure. This narrow vehicle—the ELOV (Electric LowOccupancy Vehicle)—would be lightweight, all-electric, and cheap.

standard 9x18 parking space

the elov parks at 90 in a standard parallel parking space because it can shrink its length by taking advantage of the vertical dimension, the elov fits into less space than a smart car 8 feet long

street parking can also be made more efficient; like the smart car, the elov can park at 90 in conventional parallel parking spaces.

because of its light weight and micromotor efficiency, the elov can be charged overnight using home outlets, so no station infrastructure IS required.

dad, can i take the car?


congestion is not only a problem on the freeways: the storage of vehicles takes up more than 30% of the real estate downtown. these parking lots and garages create vast holes in the urban fabric.

even multi-family dwellings will incur no more infrastructural cost than the addition of charging outlets at the garage.

as a specialty (low occupancy) vehicle, the elov does not necessarily have to replace the family car for the benefits to be felt. all families can still keep their existing multi-occupant vehicles, but they are no longer forced to use them for every trip. at the same time, the elov has enough room for two occupants and a few bags of groceries, or one occupant and much more storage.

the diminutive size of the elov allows much of the space wasted on vehicular storage to be recovered for more active urban uses.

the real estate value of this recovered space alone would more than pay for the development of the elov and the restriping of the roads

space available for human use instead of car storage


In the absence of any available driveway or service lane, this system is designed to catch and release the house’s assortment of ELOVs at freeway speeds. With precision timing, the Energy Absorption System platform-gondola swings down to meet the ELOV, traveling still at full speed, catching the ELOV and swinging it up out of traffic. The energy of the rapidly decelerating ELOV is transferred to the house via a flywheel and stored for future use. The system operates in reverse in order to launch the vehicles into traffic, using the stored energy 72

captured during the retrieval in order to accelerate the ELOV to freeway speed. All of this attempts to broaden the idea of green to include a more general engagement with the environment, including the personal and interior environments. In addition, the highly expressive nature of these green technologies transform the typically banal nature of transportation infrastructure into a public spectacle that serves as a continuous reminder of active green living.

aerial view


exterior view from northwest



A. B. C. D.


Ground Elemental Water Elemental Wind Elemental Sun Elemental

The Elementals are a series of four unique eco-tourism cabins that have been proposed for sites throughout California that are associated with intense natural resource usage, and which have been designed to create experiences of the environment that counteract the prevailing logics and assumptions that frame the rhetoric of “sustainability.” These perceptions—the majority of which are based upon anthropocentric, resource-centered perceptions of the environment— are characterized by a hierarchical division between

humanity and the larger planetary ecology that is enabled by technology’s role as an intermediary instrument of human control over the environment. Given its critique of technology’s use in this regard, The Elementals takes its name from the mythological elemental beings associated with the pre-technological alchemical tradition. Each cabin is therefore identified with one of these entities as an analogy to the particular resource it addresses: industrial agriculture (earth),

hydroelectric energy (water), wind energy (air), and solar energy (fire). Each of the Elementals is designed to experientially implicate the individual as an active consumer of the natural environment, and also to critique this exploitative relationship by creating unique environments for viewing the landscape in which acts of consumption or control are foregrounded, problematized, and contested. This is accomplished in the case of each of the Elementals 165

section, elevated


1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

fiberglass shell frosted glazing viewing oculus viewing oculus shield bathroom pod

6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

entry ramp linkage support arms hydraulic actuator grey water supply water pump and pressure sensor


Edited by

Doug Jackson With projects and essays by

Doug Jackson Wes Jones Marc Neveu Aryan Crawford Omar Steven Purvis Randolph Ruiz Mohamed Sharif SCI-Arc + Caltech Foreword by

Sanford Kwinter Published by

Actar Publishers, New York, 2017 Graphic Design

Doug Jackson Printing

Prodigitalk Distribution Worldwide

Actar D, Inc.

New York: Actar Distribution Inc. 355 Lexington Ave., 8th Floor New York, NY 10017 T +1 212 966 2207 Barcelona: Roca i Batlle 2 08023 Barcelona Š of the edition, Actar Publishers, New York, 2017 Š of the text and images, their authors All Rights Reserved ISBN 978-1-940291-53-6 PCN 2015934501 Printed and bound in Europe

This book and its contents have been partially supported by: The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts Cal Poly San Luis Obispo College of Architecture and Environmental Design California College of the Arts The Southern California Institute of Architecture

featuring featuring projects projects and and essays essays by by

Doug Jackson Wes Jones Marc Neveu Aryan Crawford Omar Steven Purvis Randolph Ruiz Mohamed Sharif SCI-Arc + Caltech and and with with a a foreword foreword by by

Sanford K wint er

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2/20/17 2:19 PM

SOUPERgreen! souped up green architecture  

SOUPERgreen! features projects and essays that offer a long overdue critique of the current approach to “green” architecture and, in turn, d...

SOUPERgreen! souped up green architecture  

SOUPERgreen! features projects and essays that offer a long overdue critique of the current approach to “green” architecture and, in turn, d...