It begs the question: in doing so, have all of those who live at work or work from home inadvertently violated some type of zoning law? Because a commercial zone is now inside of a residential zone. If people have been continuously performing C1 or C2 actions within R1 spaces for almost twelve months, could it be time for the City of Los Angeles to reassess how we edit the ways in which these zoning laws are written? What if this new lifestyle is an opportunity towards the diversification of zones, allowing for the overlapping or mixing of multiple functions?
The lines between professionalism versus personal relationships are blurred the very moment we work from home and/or live at work. The Zoom calls now encroach the personal boundaries of professional colleagues because their personal lives are in the backdrop. In an otherwise entirely professional environment, the office space is the physical embodiment of the impersonal context. However, the very idea of "Mom and Pop Shops" defies this conventional notion of corporate professionalism. It is the opposite of an impersonal business, to a point we attach familial titles to the people we shop from. Mom and Pop shops thrive on these blurred lines, so that the special bonds formed between the people who exchange economically build up something more than just the transaction of monetary values - they build the character of a community. Our new reality has expanded the ways in which we can think about programmatic diversity at an urban scale.
Our project, Mom and Pop's Variety Pack, is a corner housing block with a variety store/diner and a social club around five adjoining outdoor nooks. These nooks are spaces where people can dine out, play, interact, work, and deepen their social and economic connections with each other. As a super social bubble, this tight-knit community is enhanced by the architecture, as people can perform office, retail, light industrial, or institutional functions within and between the exterior gaps. The variety of shapes and sizes of units also imply a variety of tenant-types with different backgrounds and income levels to form neighborly and personal bonds. The namesake variety store/diner can be operated as an extension of the adjacent residential units, where a kitchen becomes the connective tissue between the two spaces. The shop extends its commercial activities onto outdoor surfaces, shared by the residential units doubling as offices. This strategy encourages the inhabitants to interact like a medley of rainbow candies.
Our competition entry is also a letter to the mayor: please help us make Los Angeles a more diverse place by reviewing and editing the presently monolithic zoning laws. Los Angeles, a first-rate global city, has long outlived its former urban fabric and should no longer be zoned as such. There is a direct correlation to the diversity of human actions to the diversity of economic, social, and cultural groups. The more opportunities people are given to interact and exchange with one another, the more we can collectively advance our society.