TURF, Territory, & Terrain: Materials & Applications uses mini-golf to explore Los Angeles

TURF, Territory, & Terrain: Materials & Applications uses mini-golf to explore Los Angeles

An upcoming pop-up exhibit at Materials & Applications (M&A), an outdoor experimental space dedicated to architecture and landscape research in Los Angeles, probes the meanings of urban territory and terrain. The project, appropriately named TURF, invited architects, designers, and artists to use the architectural landscape of the mini-golf course as a vessel for exploring the contemporary L.A. condition.

The golf course is both plentiful and contentious in Los Angeles: the site of the water-guzzling golf course has been subject to drought-shaming and angry hashtags; the mini-golf course, on the other hand, has become what M&A calls a “playful trope of the city of Los Angeles.”

The term “turf”, frequently associated with golf, also connotes territoriality. “When you think golf, you think country club; you think exclusivity,” curator Courtney Coffman told AN. Coffman and co-curator Jia Gu thought the idea of turf would be an interesting point of departure. “We like that it was kind of a loaded term to work with,” Coffman said.

The nine winning submissions, which will be constructed for temporary installation, created fantastical mini obstacles exploring themes ranging from drought to traffic to topography, featuring tongue-in-cheek names such as “Pie in the Sky” and “Putt-to-Fit.”

Although the project focuses on Los Angeles specifically, not all submissions were by locals, resulting in a wide array of ideas and representations of the city. “We were really happy about the range…We like seeing the different voices overlap,” said Coffman.

According to Coffman, the awarded entries showed potential for people to really engage, pushing beyond a linear interpretation of the mini-golf course. In choosing the nine submissions, she looked at how successful the proposals were in translating a big idea at the scale of something small. “This is not just for the sake of something fun,” said Coffman, “It has to be a little deeper.”

Although the exact dates for TURF are to be determined, the exhibition will run for three weeks this spring, according to M&A. Programming leading up to the exhibit includes panel discussions featuring outside voices, such as experts on mini-golf architecture, in an effort to “open it up to fields that architects don’t know a ton about.”

Ultimately, the goal of M&A is to allow visitors to look at architecture and design dialogue through a different lens. “We want to continue the discussion for up and coming designers and artists who are using architecture as a medium,” said Coffman, “We want people to look at the built environment in a new way even in the every day Los Angeles.”

The winning teams include:
—club LA Andrea Kamilaris, Brian Koehler, Drew Stanley
—Putt-to-Fit Knowhow Shop (Justin Rice + Kagan Taylor)
—Terrains TAG-LA (Angel Gonzalez and Trenman Yau)
—Driving DE(rang)ED La Fabrica (Kami Hadidian, Luis Ixta, Kristine Edinchikyan, Oscar Corletto)
—The Electric Palm Tree Turbine House Ordinary Architecture (Elly Ward and Charles Holland)
—SiNK Kyle May, Architect (Kyle May with Maria Moersen and Julia van den Hout)
—Practice Mat Besler & Sons (Erin Besler and Ian H. Besler)
—Pie in the Sky Heyday Partnership (Patrick Fromm, Devyn Miska, Cristiano Teixeira, Kevin Wronske)
—Artificial Turf G!LL!S (Matthew Gillis)

Honorable Mentions include:
—Swirl Ariel Padilla Grimaldo
—Authority Figures Kyle Miller
—On Par David Eskenazi & Mark Acciari
—Elbows Kristy Balliet with Sam Fudala
—Dude, Where’s My LA Heron-Mazy Studio (John Maruszczak)
—Gilded Sphere on Sticks Endemic (Clark Thenhaus)