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TURF: A Mini-Golf Project

  • 1627 1/2 Park Ave Los Angeles, CA, 90026 United States (map)

TURF: A Mini-Golf Project explores the meaning of terrain and territory in Los Angeles through the architecture of mini-golf. The mini-golf course becomes a playful trope of the city of Los Angeles, articulated through artificial terrains, winding territories and fantastical architecture. Launched as an open call in 2015, TURF asked architects, designers and artists to design a single architectural obstacle that investigates a contemporary Los Angeles condition — including topics such as drought and lawns, parking and traffic, nature and neighborhoods, housing typologies and identity — in the form of the miniature and the absurd. Materials & Applications (M&A) presents nine architectural obstacles that explore topics relevant to Los Angeles today, including topography and territory, greenscapes and waterscapes, housing and traffic, and the ground beneath our feet. Both pleasure and obstacle are par for the course. 

Download the Course Map & Exhibition Guide here.


Selected Projects: 

club LA  Andrea Kamilaris, Brian Koehler, Drew Stanley
Putt-to-Fit  Knowhow Shop
Terrains TAG-LA
Gilded Sphere on Sticks Endemic
The Electric Palm Tree Turbine House  Ordinary Architecture 
SiNK  Kyle May 
Practice Mat  Besler & Sons 
Pie in the Sky  Heyday Partnership
Artificial Turf  G!LL!S  

Honorable Mentions:
Authority Figures Kyle Miller
On Par David Eskenazi & Mark Acciari
Elbows Kristy Balliet with Sam Fudala
Dude, Where’s My LA Heron-Mazy Studio


About the Course
Topography provides the greatest obstacle in TAG-LA’s Terrains, as mountain ranges, desert plateaus, sandy beaches and sink holes demarcate the city. Likewise, players try to navigate the ruptures and collisions of our region’s fault lines in the undulating surface of Andrea Kamilaris, Brian Koehler, and Drew Stanley’s Club LA. The sensual, reflective surface in G!LL!S Artificial Turf inverts the typical golf landscape by bringing the blue sky to the ground, the ceiling to the floor, and the grass to the underside. An advocate for open ground as a social and public medium, Endemic’s Gilded Sphere on Sticks considers temporality through material and the inherent weathering process.

A playful commentary on LA’s most urgent social and infrastructural issues, Pie in the Sky by Heyday presents a small slice of the American dream in the form of a floating lawn, hinting at the inaccessibility of land ownership in Los Angeles and the precarious nature of our greenscape. Palm trees and wind turbines collide in Ordinary Architecture’s proposal for a residential tower, The Electric Palm Tree Turbine House, which addresses issues of densification, verticality, renewable technology, and LA’s history of iconic architecture.

Re-considering the ground beneath our feet as sites of fluidity and flexibility, Kyle May’s SiNK appears an easy play at first, but the seemingly stable asphalt rolls and swells as players step onto the mat. Concealed beneath the asphalt is a subterranean waterscape, a reminder of our own critical reliance on Los Angeles underground aquifers. In Practice MatBesler & Sons tests both artificial turf and intellectual territory with their simulated golf putting practice mat, whose design casually borrows from 1960’s and 1970’s U.S. patents. Their project is easily stored away in a carrying case and can be packed, unpacked, rearranged, and re-sited. Putt-To-Fit by Knowhow Shop extends the material studies of Charles and Ray Eames from furniture to landscape, tailoring a strip of lawn into a rolling hill using a single sheet of molded plywood articulated with darts and stitches.

Press Coverage: LA Weekly, Architect's Newspaper, LAist, KCRW DnA


M&A Team: Jia Gu and Courtney Coffman with Hillary Bretcko, Jess Castillo, Karen Choi, Chase Galis, Maria Kobalyan and Esmi Rennick. Delicious graphics by Jamie Barron

Special Thanks: Special thanks to our main supporter Hillcrest Company for their generous donation of space and resources. Hillcrest develops design-driven residential, commercial, and hospitality properties for vibrant, creative, and culturally diverse urban neighborhoods. TURF: A Mini-Golf Project is supported by a grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council.

Earlier Event: March 15
Putt Putting The Neighbourhood
Later Event: June 18
TURF Launch Party