Boarders Without Borders

Ian Leung, B.Arch '23

ARCH 302B: Architectural Design III

Gallery: Oakwood Community Center

Instructor: Melissa Shin

Boarders Beyond Borders is a community centre in Venice, California, ¼ mile from Venice Beach. On ground level, it is an organic community-engaging architectural skatepark and public space. Above it houses an elevated community center. This proposal explores the architectural tension between the organic nature of the skatepark and the rigid steel column and beam system. These juxtaposing systems generate a series of relationships through the erasure and definition of various borders and datum line conditions. In plan, boundaries are blurred, allowing greater integration with the surrounding neighborhood. In elevation and section, strict datum lines define each program throughout. In the 1950s, skateboarding was pioneered here in Venice, California. Skateboarding is perceived with bemusement by many, yet Venice has always begged to differ. Over decades, skateboarding has created an unorthodox understanding of urban spaces. Boarders Beyond Borders aims to turn skateboarding from a marginalized, leftover part of the urban fabric into a community-driven, social playground. Temporary displaced housing is further provided as a realistic makeshift response to social frictions in Venice, one that attempts to alleviate potential homelessness in such skatepark facilities. The elevated 30’ x 30’ steel column and beam grid system juxtaposes the organized chaos of the architectural skatepark, also enabling visual connectivity within the community, serving as an extension of cultural engagement and exploration from the street. Programmatically, the community center is divided into three nodes that pinwheels outwards. Its facade system consists of various channeled glass with different opacities and transparencies based on its sun-shade direction, harmonizing interior conditions throughout. This proposal combines two juxtaposing systems, one that brings together clashing cultures and potent urban conditions, one that draws participation from different segments of the populace.