This is Probably the Coolest Class I’ve Ever Taken

A long title, I know… but it’s true. This semester, I am in a class called EA174: Building Los Angeles. It’s an environmental analysis class that is taught jointly by Mudd and Pomona. This is part of the reason why it’s so great – because it fulfills one of my HSA concentration requirements as well as a Mudd HSA requirement. (For some context, Mudders must take at least 4 humanities classes in one of several approved subjects for our humanities concentration. In addition, we must take a specific number of humanities classes offered at Mudd. This class counts towards both of those, which is a plus.)

The class covers urban development, sustainability, and infrastructure. We have readings each week, and we visit sites around LA to learn about their histories and current development. Each student is supposed to give a site report about one of the sites that we visit; I just gave mine last week on the Broadway Theater District. At the end of the semester, we will participate in group projects to redesign a space on campus using the information we’ve learned throughout the course.

The class is technically supposed to meet on Fridays at the Hive (a creative space at Pomona that has classes, events, and art supplies). I say ‘technically’ because most weeks, we go on Saturday day trips. The first week, we visited the San Antonio Dam, the Chino Basin Water Conservation, and the Prado Basin. These places were close enough that we just rode a bus to our sites. But, the past two weeks, we have taken the Metrolink into Union Station to visit the Walt Disney Opera House, the Caltrans District 7 Headquarters, the Grand Central Market, the Broadway Theater District, the Los Angeles public library, and several more sites. These trips take the whole day, so we don’t have our Friday meetings when we go on day trips.

Students are listening to somebody give a presentation at the Hive. There are colorful umbrellas hanging from the ceiling, and people are sitting in groups at tables

Not a picture of my class, but this is inside of the Hive; there are lots of cool spaces and areas to do creative things [Source]

One thing that I love about this class is that it has forced me to explore LA! It is sometimes hard to get outside of the Mudd Bubble, but this class has proven to me that I can take the time to go do fun things for the day. I have also gotten to know some pretty cool people from the other schools (mostly Pomona), because we get the chance to hang out all day together. The other great thing about this class is its Professors. The class is taught by Prof. Char Miller from Pomona and Prof. Jeff Groves from Mudd. They are both incredibly knowledgeable on the course material, and they really are our tour guides for the day.

I’ve been pretty bad with taking pictures throughout the course, but I did get a couple of pictures from the LA Public Library last week. The other pictures are not mine, but just show some of the cool architecture that we have gotten to see.

The exterior of the Roxie theater is an art deco style. Lots of people are walking around, and the first floor units have turned into local merchant booths

The Roxie theater in the Broadway Theater District [Source]

This space has a mosaic tile ceiling and a globe chandelier. Large windows provide lots of natural light

Another area inside of the LA public library with a beautiful ceiling

The inside of the LA Public Library has colorful chandeliers

The inside of the LA Public Library’s main atrium

The exterior of the Walt Disney Opera House is shiny and silver. The building has interesting block shapes with curves and sharp corners

The Walt Disney Opera House exterior [Source]

Grand Central Market is packed with people; lots of colorful signs hang from the ceiling for each food booth

Grand Central Market – we got to eat lunch here, it was delicious [Source]

I have gotten familiar with LA geography over the past ~3 years here, so it was nice to finally learn some more about its history. I have already learned so much in this class, and it’s not even over yet. I highly recommend this class in general, and especially for those who are interested in urban development, LA history, and the built environment.