I Am A Firestation
Learning from Venturi and Scott Brown’s ideology of the duck and the decorative shed, my project seeks to celebrate the vernacular forms of fire stations by elevating them on top of a pedestal. The apparatus bay and the supporting activities are compartmentalized into a 50/50 relationship. Deriving from our previous research of 101 firestation floor plans, my strategy is to stitch individual programs into a conglomerate which consists of three different clusters: private, common and public. They all share a common floor slab which houses the mechanical underneath and vertical circulation on two sides. The sequence of the spaces was determined by different circulation routes, which are interwoven between firefighters, firetrucks and general public. My project uses the decorative sheds as formal inspiration and create a hyper shed serving as a fire station.
Who influences you graphically?
Growing up I have always been interested in comics, animation and their storytelling aspect. Graphically, I am more interested in creating drawings and images that tell a story or convey a message that enhances the project rather a mere representation of a finished building. Throughout the years of my education, I was influenced by many instructors that I have encountered such as Jimenez Lai, Andrew Kovacs, Mark Mack etc.
What defined the aesthetic language of the project?
The project was certainly influenced by the work and research by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown and other post modern architects such as Charles Moore and Michael Graves. I was also looking at the works of ArchiteXt, a loose-knit association of young Japanese architects in the 70s, particularly Takefumi Aida, who were interested in investing the systems of sign in the city in a playful and subtle way. My project tries to reflect their spirits through my own trajectory.
What dictated the means through which you chose to frame each view? Was there a general ‘aim’?
The motive behind the view selection was to show how each of these connecting volume accommodate different programs and how, within this jumbo of objects, actual activities of the firefighters are happening. Intense one-point perspective was particularly important for me in this project as it shows the importance of one view to the other and the significance of the subject that it is depicting, in this case the apparatus bay of the fire station. Such cinematographic point of view can also be seen in classic Hollywood movies.
Did you ever think of developing the project into a book as ‘Learning from Las Vegas’? If you could explore the project further what would be your nest steps?
In ‘Learning from Las Vegas’, Venturi and Brown conducted an extensive and comprehensive analysis of architecture as sign and symbol on an urban scale. If I were to explore this project further, I would also like to look further into the city of Los Angeles and other forms of infrastructural institutions beside the fire station.
Recently, I have participated in a travelling studio to Panama City also led by Professor Andrew Kovacs as the 2017 recipient of the Charles Moore Travelling Fellowship. While in Panama, we explored the tower typology in the city as indicator, art and commodity. The studio carried out in such rigor that reflect what Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown had done with their students. The outcomes of the studio are currently exhibiting at UCLA.
Tomas Tran is currently a 3rd year graduate student at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design. His undergraduate degree was in interior design which he studied at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Aside from his studied, his aspiration is to travel the world and experience how architecture and design are practiced and perceived in different cultures and societies. Previously, he has interned and worked for a number of firms in Asia and the US, including Gensler in San Francisco, Kengo Kuma & Associates in Tokyo and Vo Trong Nghia Architects in his hometown, Ho Chi Minh city. Growing up in Vietnam and coming to the US as a teenager, he came to realize the importance of the design discipline and the profound impacts it has in shaping cultures, politics, and social discourses.