Apocalypse Soon: When Los Angeles' Water Runs Out and Imagined Disaster Becomes Reality

Open Access
Engel, Robyn Haley
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Architecture
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Christine Lee Gorby, Thesis Supervisor
  • Scott W Wing, Honors Advisor
  • architecture
  • apocalypse
  • identity
  • reinvention
  • reality
  • representation
  • ambiguity
  • water treatment
  • public stage
  • cemetery
A reinvention of identity for Los Angeles is imminent as two established paradigms historically essential for Angeleno identity irrevocably change. Both the decline of corporate Hollywood and the evaporation of water as a typical commodity will change Los Angeles. This exploration seeks to create an architectural typology as an embodiment of this emerging identity. It can be the role of architecture to expand into an adaptive and enlightening role and create an architecture inherently and elegantly ‘of Los Angeles.’ At this intersection of reality and fantasy, a new identity emerges. The water dilemma will not be solved by pure technology or engineering - a technical fix is not enough. A paradigm shift in the public consciousness is required for lasting change. Los Angeles already exists in an apocalyptic context, resultant of the cataclysmic status of the environment as well as the ambiguity that exists between reality and fiction ingrained by Hollywood. By confronting the current trajectory of Los Angeles, this exploration serves as a signal to action, an exclamation of fact, and a warning. A harsh dystopia is assured unless the collective consciousness is transformed.