Public Art – Is it supposed to be functional?

Los Angeles St Bridge

That’s a cool-looking awning for the bridge.

What a waste of money, you should at least be able to lock your bike to it.

But it’s on a bridge.

Public art should be functional.


Heading to the train station, he just wants to be out of the afternoon sun. Already uncomfortable after a long shift standing in front of a hot grill, he just wants to be sitting in the air conditioned train.

The clock tower at Union Station is a welcoming sight as he reaches the bridge. Framed by the towering palm trees and surrounded by gardens, it is a modern urban oasis. Inside, the dark wood paneling and the cathedral ceilings harkening back to mid-century when everyone took the train.


Union Station

The dull roar of the cars passing underneath and the smell of exhaust just make the heat sweltering off the six lanes of pavement even more unpleasant. A reminder that money brings comfort… to some.

The textured panels are reminiscent of something he can’t quite remember. He’s seen this shape before too. It’s almost as if he’s walking into the mouth of a creature. As he comes out the other side, he notices for the first time the building. It is the Chinese American Museum.


That’s it! A Chinese dragon. The bridge awning is a Chinese dragon.

He continues walking, reminded that Los Angeles Plaza Park is a confluence of the history of the City of Angels from the original Mexican settlers to Chinese immigrants to the modern day. He really should bring the kids down to La Plaza Museum, they’d really enjoy that.


I think it’s interesting to look at. And it’ll provide a bit of shade in the afternoon. Seems functional to me.