Once an opulent 1920s beachside estate, Surfridge was demolished under eminent domain in the 1960s as the jet age expanded to its doorstep. Wedged between LAX and the coast, the site exists today as a residual buffer zone fenced off from public access. A self-sown coastal ecology fills the former parcels that remain delineated by the disintegrating suburban street layout. Designated as a butterfly sanctuary and undergoing piecemeal ecological rehabilitation, the official outlook for Surfridge remains off limits and invisible to the grounded public. Indeed, the site remains most visible from airliners on final approach to LAX. The once existing town from then was refered as a “Ghost Town”, as the street lamp post were still lighting up every night, till today. My proposal consists of two elements, a butterfly sanctuary, which will sit on top of the hill of Surfridge, surrounded by the buckwheats, from which the insects get their nectar and a visitors center with a laboratory for specialists who will be able to study the life of butterflies and conditions needed for the evolution of canterpillars. Visitors can come and watch the progress of the studies by following a defined route- a journey they undertake defined by the architetcure. The idea is to slowly start to bring people back to the once exitsing town, which as for now is still fenced of from the public access. The monument will be choreographed and designed in a way to allow the external factors to influence its asthetics to represent a timeline of its existence. This aspect I have mainly explored through the use of film, which allowed me to represent the juxtaposition between the once existing town and the butterflies who live there now. I have represented it at night time, when the existing lamp posts turn on, as a reference to Surfridge and when butterflies go to sleep. Therefore when the butterflies rest, the town comes to life. It becomes a manifesto of once existing and functioning town- a monument for remembrance of Surfridge and “frozen” memory of the story of the butterflies taking over the space.

El Segundo Blue

Butterfly Sanctuary