LA MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
Creative production center
200 Center Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90012
This is a proposal for a 10,000sf dance studio and performance space that deconstructs the traditional black box theater and engages with the movement of the site. Various types of movement surround and overlap near our site in downtown Los Angeles – rivers, roads, cable cars, trains, and pedestrians. During our site visit, I noticed the overlap of an asphalt road and train track – supporting both functions but creating unique spatial requirements in their superposition.
Through the superposition of artistic production and consumption, the design exposes and displays the practice and rehearsal work that goes into the creation of a dance production, elevating it as an additional form of art. The movement of dancers and visitors overlap throughout the building, creating a dynamic space that engages with every portion of the art of dance.
Starting from a program distribution diagram, the various functions were contained within separate boxes – those for dancers in teal, and those for the audience in orange. A folding surface creates simultaneous connections and interruptions in these contained spaces – ruptures in the otherwise closed conditions of a black box theater.
In a study similar to Sol LeWitt’s Incomplete Open Cubes, each program box was defined by three planes, and then connected and interrupted by the folding surface in iterative ways. A series of primary points were identified where these interruptions and overlaps in program and form occur. The folding surface aligns with these primary points, and then breaks away to allow movement between these spaces.
The primary point of intersection occurs between the auditorium and the workshop spaces, where the central stair unfolds.Where the two boxes overlap, the wall of the workshop dissolves into glass, offering views into the rehearsal spaces as the audience makes their way to their seats. Upon arrival, visitors can purchase tickets in the entry hall and visit the café before ascending the stairs that unfold from the auditorium. On the first floor, there is a dressing room, costume storage, training room, locker room, and administration. The second and third floors contain the multi-level auditorium, studios, and workshop spaces. A terrace unfolds from the side of the building to connect these various functions.
The building will be lit from within, allowing the silhouettes of dancers to be seen from outside – along the street, from the balcony, parking lot, and even from the bridge across the river – further adding to the movement of the site. The folds of the surface linearly extend to rupture the ground plane as well – sculpting movement between the pavement, parking, landscape, and street.
The box containing the stage and the audience are connected by a glass plane in the floor. Visitors can gaze up through the glass to view the rehearsal or performance occurring up on stage. Dancers walking between their locker room and the dressing rooms can also see which act is currently going so they know when to go up on stage. Where the folding surface cuts through the floor plates, the floor is pulled away to allow the continuity and span of the surface to be experienced through the gaps.
As the surface moves its way through and around the boxes, the designation between interior and exterior, dancer and audience, are ruptured and combined.