los angeles parking booths
Too many car parks – always a sign of a troubled mind.
--J.G. Ballard, Super-Cannes
The downtown core of Los Angeles has been transformed
into millions of square feet of parking lots and garages whose void has come
to symbolize the emptyness of downtown. A November 2003 study commissioned
by the city of Los Angeles on downtown parking documented over 100,000 parking
spaces. A typical parking space occupies 375sf ( including space for aisles)
meaning that the parking in downtown has a coverage of approximately 860 acres.
Somewhat by accident the surface parking lot has found itself perfectly suited for other uses, its flexibity makes it easily re-accommodated into a variety of unexpected purposes and industries. On nights and weekends when parking is in less demand the lots will often convert into film sets and staging areas, photo shoots, taco truck parking, private tent parties, temporary community markets, and one-off events all renting the lots out by the hour or by the day, or simply appropriating the space.
Much of the current large development projects being proposed for downtown are slated for sites currently holding surface parking lots. The parking lots is a perfect place holder for developers, it maintains enough income to pay property tax and have some profit, but mostly it puts the site into deep freeze until the real estate market increases enough to sell for a healthy profit. Grand Avenue, LA Live, and numerous condo projects in the works for downtown are being built on parking sites.
The asphalt parking lot, long a familar symbol of los angeles, is slowly disappearing as density takes hold. This photo series documents these lots and the booths who represent the only built infrastructure on these block wide asphalt islands. Minimized to take up as little rentable areas as possible, the booths are ocupied during peak hours by valet staff. The booths are the authority on site, the time keepers, lookouts and landlords protecting its territorial boundaries. The booths are functionally designed as storage rooms, with clocks, tvs and radios and power hookups to connect it back to civilization.