Best Pracitces

By Ian Besler

Edited by Jonathan Crisman


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Deterent studs 1.1, 1.2

  1. 1.1 “This artifact is a design object, the purpose of which is to punctuate architectural photographs. It has some utility as a bench, but is usually placed in isolation.”
  2. 1.2 “The fake-Italian look — that’s definitely the number one thing people hate.”

House 1.3

  1. 1.3 “Like the photograph in general, these houses bespeak a desire for projection beyond the limits of the familiar and known, perhaps even transcendence. Yet at the same time, they remind us just how thoroughly conflicted this impulse has always been, for we could just as easily read them as figures of containment and domestication. Echoing the borders of the print, these houses remind us as well to what extent photographic meaning is in fact a function of framing, excluding in- formation, cutting the world off at the edges. In this way, they fold the limitless landscape in on itself, grinding it down”

Brick camouflage 1.4

  1. 1.4 “By its very abstraction, the grid conveyed one of the basic laws of knowledge—the separation of the perceptual screen from that of the ‘real’ world. Given all of this, it is not surprising that the grid—as an emblem of the infrastructure of vision—should become an increasingly insistent and visible feature of neo–impressionist painting […]”

Religious ephemera

Extruded brick bits 1.5

  1. 1.5 “As with other cites that have this new imagery, it looks stunning from the air but looks blocky when you get down low.”

My Company Name Here

Me and Immigration

Clever disguise

Extrusion by SketchUp

Helpful labeling

Attention to detail
(caution tape symmetry)

Trim plate overkill

Building accessories




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Palm tree 2.1

  1. 2.1 “Southern California is man-made, a gigantic improvisation. Virtually everything in the region has been imported: plants, flowers, shrubs, trees, people, water, electrical energy, and, to some extent, even the soils. [...] Even the weeds of the region are not native.”

(confused face) 2.2

  1. 2.2 “[...] I felt like a journeyman in a century gone by, so out of place that I should not have been surprised if a band of street urchins had come skipping after me or one of Middleton’s householders had stepped out upon his threshold to tell me to be on my way. After all, every foot traveller incurs the suspicion of the locals, especially nowadays, and particularly if he does not fit the image of a local rambler.”

Head-splitting feels

Face handles 2.3

  1. 2.3 “Though some home-decorating magazines have experimented with human beings as photo props — ‘hired models in real homes’ in the European editions of Elle Décor, and household servants in uniform in House & Garden (‘we needed a figure for scale,’ explained H&G’s editor) — the more common practice is to omit the humans and focus on the furniture, plants, and dogs.”


Adverse side effects 2.4

  1. 2.4 “But the choice between the blue and the red pill is not really a choice between illusion and reality. Of course, Matrix is a machine for fictions, but these are fictions which already structure our reality. If you take away from our reality the symbolic fictions that regulate it, you lose reality itself. I want a third pill. So what is the third pill? Definitely not some kind of transcendental pill, which enables a fake fast food religious experience, but a pill that would enable me to perceive not the reality behind the illusion, but the reality in illusion itself. If something gets too traumatic, too violent, even too filled-in with enjoyment, it shatters the coordinates of our reality. We have to fictionalize it.”

Irony 2.5


Easy/Fast 2.6

  1. 2.6 “The paradoxes of this problem of the proliferation of images are most clearly articulated in pop art, which has taken its place within the abstract space of mass culture and the mass spectacle at the same time that it has usurped the space of public sculpture. The Oldenburgs that dot the urban landscapes of Chicago and Philadelphia are the legendary giants, the topographical mascots, of those cities. They are relatives of other forms of the architecture-of-the-above, particularly the billboard and the neon sign, those forms which are all façade. And they are representations of mechanical reproduction arrested into authenticity by being ‘original objects.’”

Uncanny valley




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Letter-L antennae mount

Obstructed view

Handrail vistas

Grid/egress compromise 3.1

  1. 3.1 “The streets in my city are a fraction of a larger grid, anchored to one in Los Angeles. That grid was laid out in . […] The Los Angeles grid is a copy of one carried from Mexico City to an anonymous stretch of river bank by Colonel Felipe de Neve, governor of California. […] The grid the Spanish colonel carried to the nonexistent Los Angeles in originally came from a book in the Archive of the Indies in Seville. The book prescribed the exact orientation of the streets, the houses, and the public places for all the colonial settlements in the Spanish Americas. […] That grid came from God.”


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ADA accessible sewer


Downspout shortcut



Scaled shutter

Roof tile cut

Major leagues

Eaves punch-through




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Transparent drywall

Funeral pall 5.1

  1. 5.1 The word tarp is an abbreviation of tarpaulin, a word which is a compound of tar and pall – a piece of pall covered with tar to make it water resistant, which was used on ship decks – an important symbolic object in the second act of Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin (), which is draped over the revolting crew members as they are ordered to be executed. A pall is a cloth used to cover coffins or tombs, also a cloud of fog or smoke. Today, the polyethylene blue tarp and black trash bag are typically used as functional signifiers of malfunction, of unfitness for use, indicating that the object wrapped, whether a gas pump or a toilet, is “out of order” or in need of repair, much like the crew of the Potempkin, who are (of course) ultimately vindicated.

Aspirational vinyl 5.2

  1. 5.2 “This generally intellectual character of the panoramic vision is further attested by the following phenomenon, which Hugh and Michelet had moreover made into the mainspring of their bird’s-eye views: to perceive Paris from above is infallibly to imagine a history; from the top of the Tower, the mind finds itself dreaming of the mutation of the landscape which it has before its eyes; through the astonishment of space, it plunges into the mystery of time, lets itself be affected by a kind of spontaneous an- amnesis: it is duration itself which becomes panoramic”

Shrinkwrap shroud

Amateur hour

River meander access 5.3

  1. 5.3 “In the course of Time, these Extensive maps were found somehow wanting, and so the College of Cartographers evolved a Map of the Empire that was of the same Scale as the Empire and that coincided with it point for point.”

Bush shrink-wrap

Garbage bag
and blue tape
modesty veil

Holiday decorations 5.4

  1. 5.4 “The goal is to look more like the artificial ideal projected by her family’s mannequins. ‘Beauty is perfection, to try to perfect yourself more and more every day,’ Ms. [Daniela] Mieles said. ‘That’s how people see it here.’”

Shrinkwrap 5.5

  1. 5.5 “Los Angeles is hard to get right. Maybe because traditional public space has been largely occupied by the quasi-private space of moving vehicles. It’s elusive; Just beyond the reach of an image. It’s not a city that spread outward from a center as motorized transportation supplanted walking, but a series of villages that grew together, linked from the beginning by railways and then motor roads. The villages became neighborhoods and their boundaries blurred, but they remain separate provinces, joined together, primarily, by mutual hostility, and a mutual disdain for the city’s historic center. Maybe that’s why the movies turned their back on their city of origin, almost from the beginning. They claimed to come from Hollywood, not from Los Angeles.”

Simulated forest


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Vinyl siding 6.1, 6.2

  1. 6.1 “Thus, perspective, which until now served as a model of visual automation, becomes the drawback that needs to be overcome. Perspective, this first step towards the rationalization of sight (Ivins) has eventually become a limit to its total rationalization – the development of computer vision.”
  2. 6.2 “The vOICe can never successfully translate the visual experience of looking at his wife’s face or watching the sun set over the snow-covered mountains outside Banff. But, he added, ‘vinyl siding makes a very nice sound, actually, like music almost. So there’s a beauty in that.’”

Pitch symmetry 6.3

  1. 6.3 “[…] I created these drawings over a 20-year period because 1) I wanted to, in some way, capture all the details of these television families, and 2) I figured if I could geographically, architecturally and chronologically record these imaginary houses and their inhabitants, then I would become part of these television families and they would become part of me.”

Botanical alarm

Rendering 6.4

  1. 6.4 See: Oscar Ruiz, “Houses, Mexico,” National Geographic, May 8, 2013. Web. December 26, 2013.


Safety stripe seams

Abrupt transitions


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Suture 7.1

  1. 7.1 The XV10 series Toyota Camry, marketed from the early- to mid-1990s, is so ubiquitious on Los Angeles roadways (along with its sibling, the Toyota Corolla) as to be almost completely invisible – like a piece of street furniture, a fire hydrant, or a trash can. Which is an impressive distinction for a consumer object.

Gable louver antenna access

Cone & chain 7.2

  1. 7.2 “The writing of miniaturization does not want to call attention to itself or to its author; rather, it continually refers to the physical world. It resists the interiority of reflexive language in order to interiorize an outside; it is the closest thing we have to a three-dimensional language, for it continually points outside itself, creating a shell-like, or enclosed, exteriority. ‘Correctness of design’ and ‘accuracy of representation’ are devices of distance, of ‘proper perspective,’ the perspective of the bourgeois subject.”

Dormer smear 7.3

  1. 7.3 “City” by Rimbaud: “I am an ephemeral and not too discontented citizen of a metropolis considered modern because all known taste has been evaded in the furnishings and the exterior of the houses as well as in the layout of the city. Here you would fail to detect the least trace of any monument of superstition. Morals and language are reduced to their simplest expression, at last!”




Clipping mask


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Archive 8.1

  1. 8.1 The storage yard of Sign Resource, whose company mission includes: “... a commitment to delighting the customer.”

Perspective shift

Poke-through 8.2

  1. 8.2 “It’s a new kind of physical information architecture: windowless boxes, often with distinct design features, such as an appliqué of surface graphics, or a functional brutalism, surrounded by cooling systems. A build that is a machine tended by a small staff of technicians and security guards”

Shutter and stone veneer conflict

Carpet fill

Vent fit

Cozy conduit box fit

Handrail moves


Cage fit

Grass seams 8.3

  1. 8.3 “To [Geoff] Thran, his replica Rose Bowl is an annual art project, an ode to the game he loves. He likes to do it all himself, starting with the right fonts, then tracing the logos themselves by flashing them against his garage wall. […] ‘I just kind of get my stuff at OSH,’ says Thran, 45. […] It’s a beautiful thing really, a little quirky, a tad obsessive, ridiculously inventive.”

Anti-homeless corridor 8.4

  1. 8.4 “After work at city hall, I walk home on straight, flat sidewalks. Their lines converge ahead of me into a confusion of trees and lawns. […] The sidewalk is four feet wide. The street is forty feet wide. The strip of lawn between the street and the sidewalk is seven feet. The setback from curb to house is twenty feet. […] This pattern—of asphalt, grass, concrete, grass—is as regular as any thought of God’s.”

Trompe l’fire marshal


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Display models 9.1

  1. 9.1 “Well, a model… You know, like, a model… If you understand model as being, like, your life insurance plan is a model. Or, the weather forecast is a model. That’s the model I’m doing. I’m doing a model, which is kind of simplifying what we know about the world onto one focused point. It is not necessarily to do with the scale; making it smaller, making it handable, or something like that. At least not in that kind of work. So, it’s not a model in terms of, you know: ‘So we have a one-to-fifty-percent model,’ or something like that. But it’s a model because it doesn’t work as a real player in the real world […]. But it is a proposition as a model, so to say.”

Perennials 9.2

  1. 9.2 “By relinking photographic inquiry to scientific devices that exceed human vision, Demand acknowledges his interest in the logistics of perception in an age when what is perceived is increasingly mediated by technology.”

Flourishes 9.3

  1. 9.3 See: An Te Liu, Cloud,

Weird fungus 9.4

  1. 9.4 “A family in Pomona says that their house is being consumed by fungus and their insurance company has denied their claim to repair it. Chris and Crystal Zettell discovered a strange substance in their home that was turning the wood to mush, KTLA reports. Chris described the fungus as an ‘an orange pancake-batter-looking ooze.’ The couple tried to scrape the ooze away in December, but it soon returned. Crystal told KTLA that the couple had ten people come and check the ooze out, but no one seems to know what it was. Finally, the Zettells did their own research and determined it is something called ‘Merulipora incrassata,’ a wood-eating fungus known as ‘The House Eating Fungus.’”

New alley 9.5

  1. 9.5 “The Situationist International dreams of liberation, fantasy, and free play disappear. […] And yet, these ideas didn’t disappear entirely, but after a few years began to surface again in a strange new form. The city of desire the Situationist International had imagined, now reappeared inside the shopping mall. Malls began experimenting with fantasy elements, impossible juxtapo- sitions, popular festivals. It was almost as if, somehow, inexplicably, mall designers had come across Chtcheglov’s Formulary for a New Urbanism and read it carefully, even memorizing key passages. However, since they lacked any idea of its critical meaning, they took his exhortations literally and actu- ally began constructing the metaphorical city that Chtcheglov had dreamed–up. […] They built castles and cathedrals. Understand- ing that just the commodities themselves were not enough anymore, they introduced play. […] Iceskating rinks, cafes, theaters with twenty different films. […] Carnival rides, cafes. […] Porpoise shows, and even, astonishingly, the beach. Certain passages Chtcheglov wrote must have stuck in the minds of certain mall designers. They began to recreate the fragmentary vision he sought in the magical locales of fairy tales and sur- realist writings. Endless walls, little, forgotten bars, mammoth caverns, casino mirrors. […] In fact, the West Edmonton Mall comes amazingly close to capturing Chtcheglov’s suggestion that the city could be envisaged in the form of an arbitrary assemblage of castles, grottos, lakes, etcetera, with its fractured mirrors and rocky lagoon inhabited by plastic fish, real submarines, and […] a replica of Columbus’s ship, the Santa Maria.”

Doric gate 9.6

  1. 9.6 “Although Ruscha uses the adjectives ‘hideous’ and ‘passé’ to describe the buildings, he clearly recognized the potential cultural value of including them in a widely distributed book.”

Corinthian rentals 9.7

  1. 9.7 “In the final analysis, our entire work is based on nothing but ideas, ideas which change over the years and which time and again cause one to tear down what one had thought to be finished, and begin again from scratch. I would more than likely never have started building the Temple if I had had any notion of how my work would get out of hand, and of the demands it would make on me as it became ever more complex. After all, if the Temple is to create the impression of being true to life, I have to make every one of the tiny coffers on the ceilings, every one of the hundreds of columns, and every single one of the many thousands of diminutive stone blocks by hand, and paint them as well. Now, as the edges of my field of vision are beginning to darken, I sometimes wonder if I will ever finish the Temple and whether all I have done so far has not been a wretched waste of time.”


Marble ATMs

A/C clouds 9.8

  1. 9.8 “Their’s was an imagination that went for the humdrum and the routine. And within that routine, little flurries of activity that gave the game its soul. Behind that landscape, there was a fierce desire to get it right.”

Showing off 9.9

  1. 9.9 “Note the downspouts.”


  1. 9.10

Works Cited

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  1. 1.1

    William H. Whyte. Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. Direct Cinema, Ltd. 1988. Web. (13:28-13:42). []
  2. 1.2

    Daveed Kapoor in David Zahniser and Roger Vincent, “Geoffrey Palmer seen as both downtown L.A. trailblazer, steamroller,” Los Angeles Times, December 8, 2014. Web. May 19, 2017. [ palmer-empire-20141209-story.html]
  3. 1.3

    Jan Tumlir. “John Divola — The Social Degree Zero.” Isolated Houses. By John Divola. Tucson: Nazraeli Press. 2000. Print.
  4. 1.4

    Rosalind Krauss. “Grids.” October. 9. Summer (1979): 50–64. JSTOR. Web. 18 Sep. 2013.
  5. 1.5

    Mellen, Mickey. “New York City gets fresh 3D Imagery.” Google Earth Blog. 15 Apr. 2013. Web. 04 Feb. 2014.

  6. 2.1

  7. 2.2

  8. 2.3

  9. 2.4

  10. 2.5

  11. 2.6

  12. 3.1

  13. 5.1

  14. 5.2

  15. 5.3

  16. 5.4

  17. 5.5

  18. 6.1

  19. 6.2

  20. 6.3

  21. 6.4

  22. 7.1

  23. 7.2

  24. 7.3

  25. 8.1

  26. 8.2

  27. 8.3

  28. 8.4

  29. 9.1

  30. 9.2

    Marcoci, Roxana. “Paper Moon” Thomas Demand. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2005. 23. Print.
  31. 9.3

    An Te Liu, Cloud, 2008 []
  32. 9.4

    Rylah, Juliet Bennett. “A Family’s Home Is Rapidly Being Eaten By Fungus.” LAist. 16 Jun. 2015. Web. 16 Jun. 2015. []
  33. 9.5

    Crawford, Margaret. “Margaret Crawford The Situationist In Relation To Consumer Society.” SCI-Arc Media Archive. Southern California Institute of Architecture. 16 Feb. 1994. Web. 14 Oct. 2013. (39:11 – 41:35). []
  34. 9.6

    Heckert, Virginia. Ed Ruscha and Some Los Angeles Apartments. Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2013. 31. Print.
  35. 9.7

    Sebald, W.G. The Rings of Saturn. Trans. Mi- chael Hulse. New York: New Directions, 1999: 245. Print.
  36. 9.8

    Gorin, Jean-Pierre. Routine Pleasures. Channel Four Films, 1986. Film. (00:36:50).
  37. 9.9

    Tigerman, Stanley. “Stanley Tigerman Chicago Architecture,” SCI-Arc Media Archive. Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). 03 Mar. 1977. (0:27:37) []
  38. 9.10

    See: “Un hecho incalificable.” Centro de Estudios Borjanos: Noticias y Actividades. Institución Fernando el Católico. 07 Aug. 2012. []