Playa Vista Fire Station #67/ Los Angeles
The City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department/ Public Art Program; Playa Capital Company—Los Angeles
A public art commission at Fire Station #67 in Playa Vista/ Los Angeles, consisting of a metaphoric entry infrastructure that extends outward toward the community. Inscriptions extend from the entrance lobby, onto the metaphoric entry structure and continue on the sidewalk all the way from the entrance to the curb. These inscriptions—collected during outreach—juxtapose the public and private identities of fire fighters: their daily lives of operations, routines and the dilemmas, fires and disasters that call them into action with their mythologized public images. Fire fighters are also placed within a wider spectrum of workers, finding their place within the local community.
To give form to these conceptual relationships, we designed and installed a cantilevered structure that extends outward, to articulate the three stages of fire station function---preparation>response>action. Sand-blasted onto the wall, inscriptions reference the first stage of preparation---Train, Inspect, Drill, Maintain, etc. Tempered glass panels are mounted on an aluminum substructure that telescopes outward toward the community. Inscriptions reference the second stage of response---Dispatch, Mobilize, Respond, Size-up, etc.---and the third stage of action---Control, Revive, Extinguish, Rescue, etc.
Large-scale inscriptions on the concrete paving reference the dilemmas that prompt action---Earthquake, Fire Alarm, Search & Rescue, Arson, Heart Attack, etc. A parallel column of inscriptions reaching from the curb to the front entry door reference societal job identities, from the most private---Housewife, Psychiatrist, Housekeeper, Minister, Bartender---to the most public---Teacher, Politician, Police Officer, Paramedic, Fire Chief, etc.
The inscribed content of this public artwork was compiled through outreach with fire department personnel at all levels of the hierarchy---from paramedics to fire chief---to represent their collective and individual experiences and perceptions. Its detailing, materiality and fabrication is an organic extension of the architectural language. It is as though the building itself is extending outward to speak to the community, to bridge the gap between public perception and internal routine, the day-to-day realities we all share.
Engineered and constructed of steel, aluminum, and tempered glass.