This thesis: “a social playhouse” demonstrates how spaces can become vibrantly active areas that enact a plurality of idiosyncratic performances in the form of a playscape. As play and cultural play are some of the primary means by which individuals and groups exploit the virtuality of our society, this space reframes its notion of acceptable performances by enabling spatial play within a landscape of suggestive programs. The project is guest in the heart of Los Angeles, were the intersectionality of identities offers a setting for a liberated playscape. A space of many interpretations, creative interventions, and user performances to embrace our unusual characters doing non-normative things in a social playhouse.
Olvera street is the core of the thesis project, a central hub playscape. Olvera Street is the oldest part of Downtown Los Angeles often referred to as “the birthplace of LA.” Although it does sit on Gabrieleno/Tongva Nation land which were the orginal settlers. It is now a Mexican cultural marketplace standing as LAs cultural center and heart. The merced theather and Pico house also sit in the site. The Theather was the first building in Los Angeles constructed for the theatre arts and is currently one of the oldest surviving structures in the city. the building offered a safe gathering place to LGBTQ individuals through its hosting of masked balls. At these costumed balls, LGBTQ individuals were able to socialize with one another under the safety of their concealed identities. The Pico House was built by Pío Pico, last governor of California under Mexican rule. This was the first three story building and the first grand hotel in Los Angeles. Remnants of program gathered from the existing site and context, offer a mere suggestion of what the space can be used for and rather an open interpretation of what it can be used for.
explains the potential performances one space can offer, throughout the day catering to the plurality of identities that come across the space. From a morning snooze or coffee chat, to a charcuterie board golden hour dinner, to a all out night time rager; the space can allow for identity development and interaction. It allows societal norms to be interrogated, transgressed, or redefine and, in so doing, creates a space that extends this opportunity to others. Spatial play permits us to embrace our unusual characters doing non-normative things in a social playground.