ARCH 793AB: Cultural Practice

Instructor: Andy Ku

Endurance of Architecture 

In an increasingly globalized world, is there a way to preserve regional characteristics within architecture and urban environments? The accelerating trend of globalization often blurs the boundaries between nations, involving every region in its competition. Even regions that have developed unique cultures, previously isolated from external influences, are now forcibly drawn into this competition, resulting in the erasure of their cities’ distinctive identities, swallowed by the wave of urban homogenization. The disappearance of uniqueness and the standardization of everything may indeed seem very convenient and rational. Within this sense of despair, is there a way to find hope?

This project aims to explore this question, focusing on Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. Situated on the West Coast of the United States, this area has nurtured its own culture for over half a century, characterized by its unique immigrant composition. Like many other cities, it faces significant pressure for redevelopment. This town possesses one of the few pedestrian cultures in LA and its location overlooking downtown evokes a certain verticality.