N AT U R E + M A C H I N E
N AT U R E + M A C H I N E TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S
T EA M PAG E
V E R N ON PAG E
R EA DI NGS
MAPP I NG
T HE V E R N ON A RG UME N T
URBAN DES IG N F RA MEWO R K
V E R N O N, C A
NATURE + MACHINE Manifesto
As society moves into the impending future of scarce resources, the demand to design urban metabolic systems will increase. Relationships between contrasting entities will no longer function solely but rather as symbiotic organisms. Cities will grow as these organisms adapt to their surroundings. Thus creating a relationship between nature and urban environments.
A R M A N D O S I LVA When first presented with the task to design within the context of Vernon, California, the first assumption made was there is nothing you can do here. With a motto “strictly industrial” for a landscape architecture student those words mean no vegetation. Now with a growing field and expanding mind sets, Vernon opened the door for new passions and systems of resiliency that don’t necessarily have to revolve around the all too common garden state of mind. Urban Design is a field that is not too familiar in our vocabulary but is highly on the rise for how architects of all nature see cities develop within their context. The Landscape Architecture 402 studio sponsored by SWA
My passion for industrial sites has developed over the
Laguna Beach is the perfect symbiosis between visionary
past couple years. With projects like Gas Works Park in
urban design and landscape architecture. SWA has led
Seattle Washington and Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord
many studio discussions and reviews that have broadened
in Germany, the site of industrial complexes turned into
the mindsets of our young student body. This studio has
community spaces has become attractive for myself.
introduced me into methods of design where systems can
The skeletal system of how buildings and landscapes has
develop to prolong the life expectancy of a given project,
always amazed me, now with the perfect opportunity
as well how to approach a design that relates to the sites
in Vernon, I along with my group mates can begin to
context. For Vernon, the approach is completely different
incorporate our passions and see how nature and machine
than anything I have ever taken on. The question of who
can become one system that works for all humanity.
to design for was the most confusing. With a population of 100 residents Vernon lacks community and for a good reason, Vernon is not a residential type of city. As a group of four we came to terms that this project was more about how a city can develop for the future and keep its “strictly industrial” nature. We do not aim at brining in people or creating a tourist attraction but rather developing an urban fabric that can function at all levels of industry. How can Vernon function as a symbiotic industrial city? This is the question we explored along with making this system move Vernon into becoming a healthy city and a machine that could ultimately better the environment.
D E N I S E M U N OZ
E A R N E S T L IT T L E
J I M M Y TA Vernon being a city solely industrial, it becomes a major factor to Americaâ€™s production. The city has potentially grown for its industry and stays that way. As a result, it becomes a challenge to design for a city with a different approach in consumerism. The importance of Americaâ€™s consumerism plays a big role in Vernonâ€™s conversion of leftover products to a cities treasure of goods, Vernon is an important role to the county of Los Angeles and to other cities supplied by Vernon. The interest of goods behind factories must be understood by the interdependence of this system. Vernon helps clean and remove unwanted materials and recycle goods for a better living of urban America. With that being said, Vernon must be understood at the level of production and consumption. With visionary intentions within the sponsored studio by SWA, Vernon serves a potential in developing the future of urban consumption. We must understand the goods we consume and the metabolism of our city. Our consumption is the big factor taken into consideration for design. Designing for this urban fabric of industry, Vernon has a woven mat scheme of related industries. The goods we developed within Vernon are mechanical within the motive of production. What if we see the resiliency of the systems around us? As landscape designers, we see the systems and networks within the habitat humans have created over time. The urban fabric is understood that we can no longer see development from the ground up, but rather the reconfiguration of our systems and infrastructure. As a team, we seek the model of adaptable ecosystems. Our vision of developing new landscapes does not exist, as we must adapt to our future and urban fabric. The mechanical environment and the resilient ecosystems seek connections between the developments of the future. I seek the nature and resilience within systems. The nature behind humankind is clear; we are part of the ecosystem. I prolong to find a calling for that connection between man and nature. While growing up, I was exposed to the world of aquatic animals and insects with fascination. Between the biological roots and graphic representation in landscape architecture, I embrace the world technology it has to offer. With my respect for manmade systems and nature, fascinate myself over projects like Oystertecture by Kate Orff. In addition, I see potential in biomimicry and systems that are created within landscape architecture or architecture. I seek the nature and technologies to create systems for our communities.
VERNON N AT U R E + M A C H I N E Vernon nestled between downtown Los Angeles and the
Alcoa, glass Owens, can-making American Can and
ports of Long beach made it the ideal city to become the
automobile. Even though industry takes up most of the
central hub for industry in the Sothern California region.
square footage of the city there is a small amount of
With an area of 5.1 sq mi, the city of Vernon is home to
public space, due to the lack of public space within the
46,000 workers and 100 residences making this an industry
city limits, Vernon helps fund parks for the adjacent
orientated community. What started out as a “Sports Town”
communities as an attempt to justify its industrial
in 1907 has emerged into a highly product and distribution
dominance. Even though they give to the adjacent
based city, and this is highly due to its location and context.
cities, Vernon has recently been forced to comply with
8 miles north of the city sits Downtown Los Angeles and
a higher number of residents to qualify for its city
20 miles south are the ports in Long beach, intersecting
the eastern portion of the city is the Los Angeles River
As a result of its high industry, Vernon’s yearly revenue
and freeways that surround the city include the 5,710 and
is an estimated $250,000,000 and it’s mainly due to its
60fwy. This context gives the businesses the opportunity
city owned utilities. With so much revenue coming in
to efficiently distribute their products and makes exchange
and out of the city, it has also faced legal discrepancies
with other companies easier due to being located in or
within its city which further emphasizes its focus on
near the city. Because of the benefits that come with the
currency and stresses the importance its industrial
location, the value per square foot has risen through the
stance. Vernon strives to keep its status as a city of
years making Vernon a more desired place to be when it
industry and there are many workers and businesses
comes to businesses.
that benefit from having a place like Vernon.
Looking at Vernon as the industrial hub that it is, there is a certain atmosphere that is generated as one enters the city that moves you through its circulation as fast as possible. The transportation infrastructure is designed for trucks and rail road’s, not for people, making it highly efficient for distribution to and from the industries that lay within the city. Some of the main industries include food service manufacturing, metalworking, and manufacture of glass and plastic equipment. Vernon is globally connected through the distribution of these good and it is said that “In Los Angeles, everything that you touch has gone through Vernon”-Marisa Olguin. The current building typologies consist of tilt up warehouses; these buildings are found throughout the industries. These building types have a lifespan of around 100years; most of the main industries that are reaching the latter part of their life cycle include: steel U.S. Steel and Bethlehem Steel, aluminum
c u ln e t
i nt ART & CARTOGRAPHY IN THE 20TH CENTURY DENIS COSGROVE
at si w r a l i n fo r m u
i tio a
Maps, Mapping, Modernity:
r mt i o n a on n
c o n v er er r e fe s
a t n c en fi no rfmo r m o
n t i o at i o n
l innafl oi r m a a nf n io
*CARTOGRAPHY: the science or practice of drawing maps.
Mapping is conerncerned with the process and selection of specific documentation of a siteâ€™s performance and spatial representation.
c u ln e t
w ra l
n io tion a
rm ce e n s i n fi nofor m at
c o n v er er r e fe s
t i om atni o n r tio
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OBJECTIVE REPRESENTATION DECISIONEMPHASIS
Urban mapping is a pictoral art practice that documents another performative art, the urban derive.
GRAPHIC IN TEGRITY & MAPPING COMPLEXITY READINGS FROM THE EXPOSED CITY NADIA AMAROSO
KEVIN LYNCHE Mapping the image of a city Elements of cognitive mapping: path | edge | district | node | landmark Language of symbols
RICHARD SAUL WURMAN Information architect Organization of data & category Mapping is thoughtful organization of geographic information using visual strategies to understand urban compexity.
EDWARD TUFTE Visual integrity = Graphic truth Mapping is designed representation of interesting data Selective clarity + data selection
DRAWINGS: THE MAPLAN DSCAPES
RICHARD SAUL WURMAN Informational graphics Urban mapping and data Logistic mapping and emphasized importance Precise representation of data on maps Spatially mapping data in two dimensions
READINGS FROM THE EXPOSED CITY NADIA AMAROSO
EDWARD TUFTE One dimensional data mapping Field of information graphics Data and mapping Concise mapping and information
Data driven timeline
Joseph R. Passonneau and Richard Saul Wurman, Urban Atlas: 20 American Cities
NADIA AMOROSO Data appropriate mapping representation Third dimensional spatial mapping Mapping through geo-spatial referencing
The Map - art
McHarg’s site-analysis mapping concept endures today because it showed the potentialities to convey site information in layered categories and color coding. Nadia Amoroso
The works of JAMES CORNER NADIA AMOROSO
40 20 10 0
“Survey landscape accrued” Taking measures across the American Landscape.
IAN MCHARG 1 Dimmensional Mapping Natural + Social Aspects of site
- soil structure
- sun and shade areas
- areas of sensitivity
McHargian mapping. Lacks poetic flare to the modern eye. Potentials to convey site information.
JAMES CORNER 2 Dimmensional Mapping Visual Architecture 50
-selected + translated + organized + shaped
Maps make visible what is otherwise invisible.
Maps cannot depict everything. Metaphorical. Symbolic. 50
- scale + mathematical projections
- artistic interpretations + cultural aspects
Logic + Creativity.
Hidden Potentials. Ideas.
The piece as a whole is informative and attractive; more than that. it is rich with information for the viewer to decipherinformation that may entice the viewer to learn more about the site and about its recurrent phenomena.
â€œBurningsâ€? Taking measures across the American Landscape.
THE AGENCY OF MAPPING: SPECULATION, CRITIQUE & INVENTION JAMES CORNER
MAPPING Dynamic Experimenting with reality Constructs the unconscious Measures performance Past, Present and Future Commercial
4 Thematic ways to practice Mapping Drifts Spatial Experiences Disrupting any form that may be interpreted as capitalist power increase public conscious and systematic everyday life
Layering Superimposing various independent layers to produce heterogeneous and thickened surface
Richard Long: 7 day circle of ground
TRACING Literal Alleged Competence Redundancies
Rhizomes Connections of any point No beginning nor end, no hierarchy and accentual
Game board Notions of Performance Shared working and competing surfaces to work
together and play out different scenarios
MAPPING TRANSPORTATION CON TEXT DISTRIBUTION SYN THESIZED MAP
transportation The city of Vernon is dependent on its network of
Due to Vernonâ€™s focus as an industrial city,
transportation systems to thrive as an industrial
there lies opportunity to integrate alternative
city. The current transportation system relies
modes of transportation into the city in areas
on the links that connect Vernonâ€™s distributive
where we can identify existing constraints
system to the neighboring communities and
essentially, the rest of the world. At the local
transportive systems. Areas with higher traffic
level, Vernonâ€™s transportation infrastructure
density (arterial streets) pose issues related to
primarily serves trucks and trains, giving
congestion, noise, smells, and emissions. Areas
secondary priority to cars and other forms of
where railroad crossings intersect with street
public transportation. The distribution of these
flow also cause heavier traffic conditions and
multiple forms of transportation are dependent
are considered unsafe for pedestrian use.
on the capacity of these streets to determine
santa fe ave
east 30th st
long beach ave
the flows and density of traffic within the city.
TY PES & FLOWS circulation plan
64’-104’ rial street
freeway rail road spur lines arterial streets
P U B L IC T R A N S P O R TAT I O N
collector streets local streets bike lane
In areas where transportation conditions minimize the efficiency of the city, we can identify opportunities to improve the quality and efficiency of these transit systems. At locations where we can identify voids, there is opportunity to occupy these infrastructure with multifunctional modes of transportation therefore no longer limiting the user interface within the city. As we take a look at neighboring communities within Vernon’s context, we can identify areas that could serve as potential linkages from Vernon to its neighboring communities.
downtown los angeles
south los angeles
east los angeles commerce 1 1
west south Alameda Corridor
to port of long beach + los angeles
Context Vernonâ€™s contextual transportation networks are unlike any other city. Two major railroad systems, the Union Pacific and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, run right through the city of Vernon in a complex rail network that weaves in and out of buildings and narrow corridors. Many of these railroads are abandoned and some remain in use. The Alameda Corridor runs right adjacent to Vernon and connects Vernon to the Los Angeles and Long Beach Ports. The rail system theoretically connects Vernon in a global scale of transportation. Further on, the 710 Highway runs right alongside Vernon, connecting directly southbound to the Long Beach port. On a public scale, Vernonâ€™s public transit is run by the LAMTA bus transit. This is the main source of public transportation in Vernon. The other major source is the blue line metro station that lies two blocks west of Vernonâ€™s city limits. The bike lane ends in Vernon along the Los Angeles River. The bike lane continues north starting above Elysian Park. In conclusion the transportation system in Vernon is related highly to industrial usage. This fortunately connects Vernon contextually to many adjacent cities. However this network is highly under utilized. Opportunity can be found in the rail system and the Los Angeles River to move pedestrians, products and goods in high efficiency as well create a relationship between both the Los Angeles River and Vernon.
contextual cities vernon,ca neighborhoods
bike routes metro (rail + bus)
abandoned railyards 1. hobart yard
CONNECTION TO PORTS
D I ST R I B U T I O N With the development of industry, we must understand where the goods come from to create the products we consume. As a result, Vernon is understood that goods are transported into the city through different scales, consisting of city scale, regional scale, and international scale. Vernon plays an important role in gather resources such as petroleum oils, animal by-products, and agricultural goods as well. With these resources, Vernon recycles goods and most easily obtainable resources for output to the city. The process behind developing these products for distribution becomes a matter of what are we shipping out to the cities and countries. Vernon is the heart of distribution and the soul of distributing the goods we need, such as soap, detergent, fuel, fertilizer, and many more. These behind distribution goes beyond the production, but the necessity of these goods, which then fuels America as we see today. Something small such as where our soap comes from is vital to the metabolism of Vernon and the linkage between the city to many scales. As we look at the types of goods produced within the boundaries of Vernon, it is a neighboring production site, which we can identify where our distribution comes from and the types of goods. Distribution is the input and output of our city; however, available goods currently in Vernon will change in the later future. The type of resources we seek such as petroleum oils, agriculture products, and recycled meats to create a city will soon change, thus seeing the potential in accommodating the alternate form of goods for Vernon impacting the greater network.
40’ 35’ 30’ 25’ 20’ 15’ 10’ 5’
Sy nthesize Understanding the way Vernon works understands the layers in which the city is composed of and its relationship to its context. Understanding the systems and how they work together is important due to scale in which Vernon works; most cities do not have the influence that is evident in this city. By gathering the data that relates to transportation, context and distribution you start to notice the patterns that lay within the parameters of the city. When over-lapping these 3 systems there are certain areas that are concentrated with industrial activities and other areas that are scarcer.
vernon,ca railroads arterial streets collector streets local streets LA river
Most densities are found closer to main streets such as Alameda and Soto just to name a few. These patterns allow the viewer to perceive these concentrations and gaps as potentials for opportunities for design. In this map there is an emphasis on the Los Angeles River and how it connects the city to both Downtown and the Ports. This relationship is vital to the topic of distribution and the means in which goods are distributed which are trucks and trains. The Ports are also what connects Vernon on a global scale which is one of the traits that Vernon has. Meanwhile on a local and regional scale the map is displaying the significance of industry and how it is not only contained within those parameters of the city but trickles out to the neighboring cities as well. This mass of industrialization that is shown in the section, indicates that the city creates a contrast in elevation changes that alters the way one moves and feels when in Vernon. In conclusion, Vernonâ€™s overlapping systems are what make this city unique and understanding them allows for a deeper understanding of how it works and why. The foundation of this city is built upon these systems and at times they can be overlooked because of its contradiction to what people understand a typical city to be which has an emphasis on the residence but that is not the case here in Vernon.
THE VERNON ARGUMENT IN TRODUCTION
Adhering to Vernon’s goal to thrive as an industrial city, our design philosophy approaches Vernon’s industrial footprint and attempts to adapt it to the rising demands of the future. By 2050, Southern California’s population is expected to increase by 62 percent. With increasing demands for goods and manufactured products, the city of Vernon remains an appropriate site for the future of industrial development. Our design approaches Vernon as a stage for industrial, environmental, and typological intervention through industrial symbiosis. Our plan identifies that the current industrial grid that defines Vernon is successful at maintaining its status as a city solely for business. As citywide development begins to increase, urban development and industry will have to phase out their disconnected state of existence and formulate a program for coexistence. Our approach aims to integrate edge conditions between industrial development and its surrounding context. The city of Vernon reveals many opportunities to integrate multiple systems for a more efficient output. Understanding that Vernon is a major hub that operates at multiple scales of connection, the patterns at which transportation, distribution networks, and building footprints exist need to be integrated as a framework for efficiency. The concept for our design framework emerges from the existing conditions of industrial systems and its relationship to infrastructural networks and edge conditions that define the city of Vernon. The edge conditions between industry and the Los Angeles River inspired the exploration of symbiotic relationships between the two, where we saw potential and opportunities that were not being explored. Our strategy for design proposes to release the tension between industry and water infrastructure, in which a new river morphology can exist. The framework for our design analyzes the potential to integrate the Los Angeles River and Vernon’s industries as a working system that focuses on increasing the efficiency and life expectancy of the industrial cycle. We aim to avoid the nostalgic image romanticized by advocates of the Los Angeles River and evoke a futuristic approach to industrial design methodologies. The framework for our design explores defining a new typological system for Vernon’s industries in which a new fabricated model for industry will exist working in conjunction with the Los Angeles River and transportation networks. Identifying that Vernon currently services a large number of businesses, there is projected need for businesses to develop and increase. Our design proposes to consolidate industry by integrating and organizing each type where they can exist as an alternative system of production and consumption of each other’s waste products and other resources. Industrial occupation along the Los Angele River will provide the city with a source of power as well as an alternative connection to the Port of Long Beach. Our design philosophy engages the resilience of Vernon’s future and the connections between all the systems that define the mechanism of Vernon as a working city.
CO N T E XT UA L S I T UAT I O N Vernon’s location is an ideal region
The framework for design is influenced
for an industrial city as it remains in
by Vernon’s unique disposition and regard
close proximity to major freeways
for their industrial properties as they
and railways that connect to the port
outline the streets and create an edge
and essentially links to the rest of
boundary for the city. The contextual
the world. From above, Vernon’s city
relationship between Vernon and the Los
limit is outlined by the concrete paved
Angeles River currently functions idle
infrastructure that defines Vernon’s
of one another. Our framework draws
grid. The building characteristics are
from the idea of the resources that can
defined by large-scale rectangular
be allocated from the L.A. River and
structures that house the working
become of service to Vernon’s industry.
properties of the city. These tilt
Acknowledging that there are two separate
up warehouses offer opportunities
networks of infrastructure (industry and
to reconfigure the forms that are
the Los Angeles River), opportunity exists
necessary for industry to thrive.
to integrate the two separate systems
Our framework identifies strategies
into one. These circumstances draw upon
towards approaching the future of
a unique identity for our urban design
Vernon and its relationship to its
framework and a proposed typology for the
context and neighboring infrastructure.
city’s industry to work in conjunction with one another as a distributive system.
URBAN DESIGN FRAMEWORK
Our urban design framework aims to consolidate industry into an integrated industrial symbiotic process that reorganizes the existing fabric into an organization of parts that posits a systematic process of distribution, consumption, and waste reduction between related industries. Identifying the existing conditions, our framework was inspired by the potential to occupy underutilized infrastructural systems like the Los Angeles River and identify soft spot areas where other strategies for design may be applied. Transportation infrastructure and alternative network systems are also programmed and integrated into the design framework to facilitate the new industrial typologies along the river and their connectivity to the region. Industrial Typology Development The development of industrial typology existing within and along the river aims to ratify the resources made available from the Los Angeles River. Our strategies for typological development of industrial businesses aim to reorganize larger industrial groupings that share responsibilities between resource distribution, allocation, and consumption of waste products. The forms of the industrial typologies resonate from natural river processes and their ability to pool, ripple, step, and run. Each typology will perform towards the needs of the industries, dependent on their necessity for water or energy. Our urban design framework approaches the Los Angeles River with the intention of challenging it as a nostalgic amenity. Rather, it focuses on adapting industry and infrastructure to repurpose it for the resilience of industriesâ€™ future.
IN TRODUCTION D I AG R A MS P HAS I N G 35
CO N T E XT UA L D I AG R A MS The Los Angeles River cuts right through Vernon. This massive piece of infrastructure is underutilized and serves no purpose other than storm run off during wet seasons. There is a great deal of opportunity in this area within Vernon and outside of Vernon.
CO N T E XT UA L D I AG R A MS Soft Spots and rail spurs are open spaces of land that are often not utilized in Vernon. Rail spurs are found all throughout Vernon and weave in and out of buildings in a very complex system. Soft spots are not too common in Vernon but there are several vacant properties that are not being utilized.
T ilt up Warehouses
L i fe e x p e c t a n cy a l low s fo r c h a n g e
O ccupy underutilized space
Industry moves to Los Angeles River Utilizes water in river to help with production
Soft Spots + Railroads
adjacency to river allows for run off to collect during flood season
Sy s t e m s c a n d e v e l o p f o r p ow e r a n d c le a n s i n g
T ilt up Warehouses
Re co n f i g u r a t i o n to a l low fo r maximum efficiency
D etached Sy stems V ernon +VERNON Los A ngeles R iver LA RIVER
This relationship can be e x p lo i te d i n o r d e r to co n s o l i d a te i n d u s t r y a r o u n d a s o u r ce of e n e rg y a n d t r a n s p o r t a t i o n
P R O P OSA L F abric + T echni q ue = R e formulation A n ew s y m b i o t i c s y s te m w i l l b e c r e a t e d by t h e m e r g i n g o f L o s A n g l e s R i v e r a n d Ve r n o n . T h i s s y s te m w i l l r e s u lt i n a m o r e ef f i c i e n t u s e of i n d u s t r y by b r i n g i n i n d u s t r y t o a p o w e r s o u r ce a s w e l l a s a g lo b a l co n n e c to r .
VERNON EDGE CONDITIONS LA RIVER
new overlay zones
80% INDUSTRY-20% MIX-USE(RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL)
50% INDUSTRY-50% MIX-USE(RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL)
20% INDUSTRY-80% MIX-USE(RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL)
B U I L D I N G T Y P O LO GY
P R O P OS E D N E TWO R K P L A N S
new P R O P OS E D L AY E R S
I-710 CORRIDOR PLAN CA HIGH-SPEED RAIL
E XI ST I N G CO N D I T I O N S
NEW RIVER MORPHOLOGY
CO N T E XT UA L I N F L U E N C E S
e’ c e
north 0’ 500’ 1000’
S EC T I O N S
P E R S P EC T IV E S
T HE N EC ESS I TY OF V E R N ON The city of Vernon has stood its ground as an industrial city for over a century. The city provides over 50,000 jobs and houses an estimated 1,800 businesses. The current economic contribution of Vernon to the city of Los Angeles provides over $310 million annually from the cityâ€™s taxes. The future of Vernon functioning as a working system in conjunction with the Los Angles River provides a framework for the resilience of industries and economic development for Los Angeles. The project Nature + Machine identifies the conditions at which Vernon can impact its industries and administer environmental contributions to help alleviate impacts towards waste development.