civic plaza - interface


Regarding the feeling of general unease, accompanied by sniper attacks, terrorist and  general criminal threat, the question for what purpose public space can be planned and used gains a crucial significance.

Do we actually enjoy being outdoors in the city? What other purposes besides business or shopping lets us cross main-street, supposed we get there at all? Given there is time and occasion would we actually consider to rest on a bench in a public park, downtown? If we'd do, anxiety and the notion of adventure would certainly mix - alert and watchful we'd sit and wait for it to happen. Maybe it wouldn't happen - and we'd spent idle time -  while a manifest threat or danger would at least have given a certain reason to our presence.

Watchfulness, the sense of being watched, seems one of the main features of our public activities - though we can never be certain who watches and what media exert this control.

Therefore my proposal for the "civic plaza - interface" intends to both fulfill this expectation and to make it a starting point for a reflexive action.

If  LA has no center, because its structure bases on the enlightenment inspired system of an open grid, what other form than a grid can serve as a form to create its artistic metaphor?

If this grid takes the form of a transformable roof it does so for 2 reasons: firstly because it gives shelter and secondly because it allows for openess and interaction.

The roof covers the plaza area save for a border section where cars may be parked. The plaza is completely even and open to view from all sides. Its surface is covered with lawn.

The visitors can roam in every direction, they can wander, sit or lie.

The roof is installed in about 5m hight - it consists of a steel-frame with rectangular insets covered with a photovoltaic layer on top and led-screens underneath. Installed in a frame with universal joints the insets can turn in every direction.

Each crossing of the steel-frame carries a sensor monitoring the beneath movement. Any change in the sensor-information will cause changes in the position of the roof-inlets. Thus the movement of the plaza visitors trigger a co-relative movement of the roof - which - in case there is sunshine - will be acommpanied by a shadowplay on the lawn.

In regard to energy "interface" is self supplying. The energy collected at daytime will suffice to light the led-screens night - to facilitate a 24 hour use of civic plaza.

In regard to what underneath movement creates what pattern on the roof "interface" is an open system. Being programmed once it is re-programmable once more - meaning as an interactive system it can be constantly adjusted to the way the visitors create their inputs. Thus the system might learn not only to accompany individual movements, but also create patterns or changes that react to "duos", "trios" or groups, it might include considerations about stableness or dissipation of gatherings or movements.


Dec. 2nd, 2002