Researcher ORCID Identifier
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant sits at the edge of Los Angeles County as an almost unknowable infrastructure. Unlike the city block, the grocery store, or one’s own home, this integral part of the urban landscape asks not to be experienced by its users, only the employees who work there every day. This place, which I’d hesitate to call a place, amalgamates preconceptions about infrastructure, sewage, purity, danger, modern architecture, and the role of the state.
In this thesis I conduct a site analysis of Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant in three parts, or moments based loosely on Henri Lefebvre’s conceptual triad: perceived space, conceived space, and representational space. Though Lefebvre’s analysis of space has inspired this thesis, as opposed to a more social scientific interpretation of the triad, this thesis conducts an aesthetic analysis of the plant. In moment one, the analysis will include some work by social scientists and theorists to probe the meaning behind our modern sewage infrastructures before we see that meaning applied to the plant itself. Moment two applies these theories and meanings to an institutional history of the plant and modern digital conceptions of the plant. Moment three then combines history and theory in a ground truthing of the plant based on Jan Gehl’s Cities for People, followed by a comparison to Brightwater Wastewater Treatment Plant in King County, Washington. Through these site analyses, I ground theories of infrastructural aesthetic and hazardous waste in the site of Hyperion.
Looking toward a future of climate action and hazardous waste, I argue that the change we need is the abolition of large-scale sewage systems and dangerous concentrations of sludge, but the first step towards this abolition is to open these public infrastructures to conservations based on our lived experience of them. From there we can reach a public critical consciousness which might allow us to move towards reimagining the urban form.
Stone, William R., "Optical Hygiene and Modernity: A Site Analysis of Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant Using Lefebvre’s Triad" (2021). Pomona Senior Theses. 257.