From the next major earthquake in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley, a field of rubbish will emerge: overturned transmission frames, distorted steel members, split freeway columns, freestanding chimneys, detached plywood roof panels, landslide blocks, fallen troughs, and debris slides; each having an intrinsic tactility, dimensionality, proportion, scale, texture, and rear-facing nostalgia.
Iñaki Ábalos writes of castoffs: “Against luxury, bourgeois comfort . . . there arises an idea of space based on the decontextualization and proliferation of trivial objects that, once re-contextualized, acquire an aesthetic meaning . . . a creative parasitism of the production/consumption cycle.” This thesis takes rubbish as its medium, that which emerges not from newness and novelty, but rather from longstanding duration. Just as the log cabin comes from the trees of the forest, the leftover dwelling is conceived of using the rubbish of the earthquake.
Traditionally, the individual spaces of the dwelling are bound to a fixed, positive notion of function and duration of use. In this hypothetical condition, the latent spatial value of the as-found artifact is activated through tactile design operations such as abutments to traditional construction methods, unexpected surface finishes, flexible custom furniture, scalar mismatches, and casting procedures. The tectonic measures necessary to juxtapose the residual, de-signified castoffs of the earthquake with quotidian design methods may render visible enigmatic and unforeseen ways of living.