PLUG-IN LA: REINVENTING PERSONAL MOBILITY | SUPRASTUDIO SUMMER STUDIO 2014
LED BY: GUVENC OZEL
MARTA ANNA NOWAK
DAVID ALAN ROSS
HOW WILL ELECTRIC AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES CHANGE LOS ANGELES?
As the quintessential American city, urban development, economy, environment and structure of Los Angeles has been shaped by the presence of the automobile for decades. The size, motion and technology of the automobile and its required services has had a tremendous influence on the architecture, zoning, layout, infrastructure and consequently the identity of the city and its inhabitants. Recent technological developments addressing contemporary environmental concerns challenges the current physical structure of Los Angeles and will dramatically change its morphology in the next few decades. In conjunction with the planned public transportation improvements, unprecedented in the history of Los Angeles, the leading new technological alternative to fossil fuel based transportation is the electric car. The objective of the studio; Plug-in LA, through careful and thorough consideration of the technological, morphological, environmental and economic qualities and foreseen impact of the electric car, aims to speculate on present and near future scenarios for the proliferation of these vehicles and supporting services meanwhile considering consequent design problems that will impact the architectural and urbanistic identity of Los Angeles. The charging requirements, which are dependent on battery technology and consequently range, became a primary point of entry in analyzing the impact of electric vehicles in the urban environment.
Although the electric car is not a new invention, as the first electric automobile is almost as old as the history of the automobile itself, the current proliferation of the technology is rooted in a number economic, political and social issues as opposed to its lack of feasibility. Even though the electric car poses a number of design issues and will trigger a dramatic transformation in urban environments, a technology growing in parallel and will most likely provoke a more radical transformation in the urban environment is the autonomous vehicle. Through the addition of advanced sensing and artificial intelligence technologies, it is projected that there will be a high volume of autonomous vehicles in large urban environments in the near future. This development will create a transitional moment where fossil based, electric and autonomous vehicles will all exist in the same infrastructural environment for a few decades, and will demand a gradual architectural and urbanistic transition. Plug-in LA Studio aims to speculate on the potential architectural transformations and opportunities such transportation technologies will impose in the near future.