Take Two

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

The future of Southern California architecture: Is it selfie-ready?

by Leo Duran | Take Two

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The Broad opens to the public for the first time on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015. KPCC's The Frame received an exclusive tour inside the museum on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Los Angeles is one of the most picturesque cities in the world, with stunning beach views and iconic landmarks like the Hollywood sign.

But nowadays, there's another way to measure how beautiful a new building or vista is – how does it look on Instagram?

A new sculpture in Grand Park, for example, features breathtaking bronze angel wings that Curbed L.A. described as "selfie-ready."

It turns out, social media is having a real effect on the way architects and artists think about their craft as they design the next Broad Museum or Getty Center.

"There are moments in our buildings that people are really gravitating towards," says architect Alice Kimm with John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects. "The Instagram age and social media is bringing new life to cities through pictures that didn't really exist for outsiders before."

The honeycombed veil of the Broad Museum, for instance, has become a favorite background for people to selfie themselves up against.

Kimm says designers now consider how a building's placement or designated photo-op "stations" affect the way it looks on social media and, by extension, to the world.

"We are subconsciously thinking about how spaces can be reduced down to the scale of the person," she says.

The new Roberts Pavilion at Claremont McKenna College is one project by Kimm's firm, and the exterior was created with design in mind. Because it's so huge, however, it's hard for people to capture on film in a selfie.

The exterior of the Roberts Pavilion at Claremont McKenna College, which officially opens in a few months.
The exterior of the Roberts Pavilion at Claremont McKenna College, which officially opens in a few months. John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects

Inside, however, is a graphic, textured wall that's smaller and allows both the design and people's faces to be clearly seen on camera – and Kimm thinks it will be more social media-friendly.

"It might well become the identifier for the building," she says, "more so than the objectified exterior which you can't capture in a selfie or photo of a person or group up close. "

A wall inside the Roberts Pavilion at Claremont McKenna College
A wall inside the Roberts Pavilion at Claremont McKenna College Claremont McKenna College

As Los Angeles builds ambitious buildings and public works projects, how it looks to the world will be defined by selfie-ready architecture.

"The city is less abstract, now, because we can get to know a city through the millions of images online that don't necessarily have to do with landmarks," says Kimm.

What are your favorite buildings in SoCal to post about? Tweet us @TakeTwo!

Here are some of our own favorites.

 

Where in SoCal was this photo taken? Photo by KPCC's @kristenrae.

A photo posted by KPCC (@kpcc) on

 

Floating organ parts. #onassignment

A photo posted by Maya Sugarman (@mayasugarman) on

 

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