Author : Bianca Gavrila

University : Woodbury School of Architecture

Status : MArch, 2012

Advisors : Barbara Bestor, Bernika Boberska

Title : Oil and Water | An Experiential Museum of Origins For Los Angeles

Museums are inevitable and integral institutions that generate an imaginative world that represents culture- past and present- back to the social. Museums can forge connections between a population and the place and moment in history it occupies. The proposed Oil and Water museum envisions an architecture that moves beyond white box or postmodern spectacle to structure the experience of time and space through hyper-locality. By emphasizing the experience of the ephemeral and the materiality of structure, the museum engages directly with the viewer’s individual visceral and phenomenological experience.
Los Angeles stretches out above extensive oil reserves though the industry that exploits it is now largely hidden and anonymous. The desert landscape has long made the city dependent on non-local water sources for its survival and growth. Without the dual presence of oil and water, the city simply would not exist. Like the unconscious, both liquids are always here, out of sight but not far away, just beneath the surface. Through revealing and framing, the Oil and Water museum produces a new understanding of both the history and lived reality of Los Angeles. The project speculates a hybrid between architecture and landscape – the existing tar pits and the parklands around the LACMA complex, within which to explore oil and water as cultural subjects.