Shade for Kids
826LA is a non-profit that operates the Echo Park Time Travel Mart. They also provide after school tutoring and writing workshops for kids 6-18 years of age. Executive Director Joel Arquillos wanted to make use of the outdoor space behind the store as additional classroom space. However, by the time the kids got there in the afternoon, the sun was beating down on the patio.
Art As Solution
To find a creative solution, Arquillos reached out to Oliver Hess and Jenna Diddier at Materials & Applications (M&A). Hess describes M&A as "a sort of design build laboratory. We have a large volunteer staff that has grown around these sorts of projects and so when one comes along it is usually just a matter of announcing we are going to work on it to get a room full of smart and technically savvy people" to come up with a design. "We want the final product to look like a piece of art, perform like a well engineered structure."
Site Specific Design
The final design includes student writing etched into Tyvek, a white material that looks like paper. Hess thought this would be the perfect material to shade the young writers. Phrases taken from student writers were etched into the material. There is a play of light passing thru the words projecting them onto other parts of the canopy. Sound adds a soothing element. If you walk past on a windy day, you'll notice a gentle, fluttering sound reminiscent of boat sails.
We will have a follow up article on the design process.