This text on urbanism, real estate development and architecture borrows the structure of a screenplay to introduce the reader to the city of Los Angeles. Literally and graphically, this 160-page pamphlet blurs the lines between novel, essay, screenplay and photographic report. The fourth of a series produced by the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, this publication is aimed at an audience of designers, architects, urbanists and anyone interested in the development of Los Angeles.
A system of vignettes borrowed from architectural drawing was developed to reference catalogued-images throughout the story. The vignettes are inserted in the text where the connection between the story and an image is either architectural or metaphorical, emphasizing the ambiguity of the pamphlet’s nature. The screenplay format proved an interesting challenge typographically. While preserving certain stylistic aspects of the cinematographic depiction—new characters are highlighted, sounds are capped, lowercase italic in the dialogue denotes the character’s attitude, etc…—readability and paper economy were considered, resulting in a highly-codified and systematic layout. The book opens with a table of content symbolically describing an architectural mindset where extremely systematic descriptions can lead to unintelligibility. Rather than giving a clear sense of the book structure, it ends up suggesting that a back-and-forth between the text and the images will occur. The report-like organization of images is irregularly interrupted by personal notes by the author.
Ultimately, graphic decisions aimed at maintaining an ambiguity between the literary and architectural aspects of the pamphlet and question the clarifying values of rigid graphic systems.