Author : Ara Hovsepyan

University : Woodbury School of Architecture

Status : BArch, 2012

Title : Etiologies of Architecture | Planetary Alarm Gathering and Disaster Tourism

The dried corpse of Owens Lake lies within the paths of popular road trip destinations from Los Angeles (Mammoth Lakes, Death Valley, Yosemite National Forest),establishing its potential as a disaster tourist destination.

The south-western facade of the Owens Valley Hotel is non-aerodynamic, collecting the dust of the arid landscape. The contents of the dust are separated for research and packaging, while being displayed as signage.

As we inhabit the lakebed, dried as a result of water diversion via the Los Angeles Aqueduct, the road diverts to mimic the concrete highway associated with LA. It leads into the parking area of the OV Hotel.

Four room typologies accommodate for invited members partaking in the occasional planetary alarm conference, disaster tourists, electrostatics maintenance staff, and arsenic-eating-bacteria researchers.

Conferences and lectures take place against the partially dust infested southern wall, providing views of the shallow flooding and extreme dryness of the lakebed beyond.

The Owens Valley Hotel contains the elements of the typical Los Angeles motel, altered to suit its context.

The Owens Valley Hotel becomes an icon for the valley (and the lakebed more specifically).  It raises awareness of the dangerous marks that a metropolis like Los Angeles can make beyond itself.

The electrostatic wall panels fold to allow the removal of the dust – soda ash used for packaging and newly discovered arsenic eating bacteria placed within the lower panels of the facade extracted for research.

The algae gardens are sunken paths, placing inhabitants’ bodies within the lakebed with their eye-levels slightly above the algae infested water.  The gardens view the small organisms that have survived within the dying lakebed.