Bicycle Rack

Background

1996, Louis Molina and Sci/Arc. Broadway at 3rd.
Ten bicycle racks, funded by the Community Redevelopment Agency's Downtown Cultural Trust Fund, were installed in downtown in 1995 and 1996 as part of "The Bike Stops Here" project. (One placed at the Los Angeles Times Building was subsequently damaged and removed.) Graduate and undergraduate students designed and fabricated these racks in a course at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). Supported by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, this project was developed as a way of encouraging bicycle riding in downtown by providing security at important public places.

Molina installed his bike rack at a dynamic and historic point near the property line on the sidewalk along Broadway dividing the Grand Central Market from the Million Dollar Theater. Two intersecting arches, capped by a pair of pig heads cast in steel from a head purchased at the Grand Central Market,(1) are embellished with cast fruit. The representation of foods sold in the market transforms the functional bike rack into a symbolic placemaker(2) marking the site's importance, introducing the market and its surroundings, and capturing the heterogeneous culture of the city.(3)

Footnotes:

1 "Art That Lets Them Stop Spinning Their Wheels," by Connie Koenenn, Los Angeles Times, December 5, 1995, Sec. E, p. 1.

2 Memorandum from Lesley Elwood, Arts Program, Community Redevelopment Agency, to Michelle Mowrey, LADOT, Victoria Liptak, SCI-ARC, re: Completion of Project, June 12, 1996.

3 Artist's statement, no date.



The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, January 2000.

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