In anticipation of next month's convention of the American Institute of Architects, TPR posed the following question to some of the region's leading architects, landscape architects and designers: "What aspects of L.A.'s built environment should members of the AIA pay attention to, appreciate, and learn from when they visit the June AIA national conference?" The responses testify to L.A.'s rich architectural heritage and the diversity of not only its built environment, but also, more importantly, the dazzling array of people who inhabit it.
"Architects should pay attention to the rich architectural heritage of innovation and creativity that makes Los Angeles a center for original thinking. Residential projects like the Frank Lloyd Wright textile block homes, Schindler and Neutra as well as the Case Study Houses and especially the work of John Lautner. Appreciate and learn from the multitude of projects in Venice from architects like Gehry, Isozaki, Morpohosis and Coop Himelbleau, to name a few."
David Randall Hertz
AIA, LEED AP
"We are constantly challenged by the paradox between public and private realms, and how policies affect public spaces, planning, and transportation. We appreciate the diversity of the enclaves, the strength and autonomy of the ethnic neighborhoods, and the variety of urban density in the contrasting ecologies of Los Angeles. We continue to learn from the visual energy which reflects the identity and imagination of Los Angeles' entrepreneurial culture."
Craig Hodgetts, FAIA
Hsin-Ming Fung, AIA
Hodgetts + Fung
Design and Architecture
"Often people from outside of Los Angeles do not realize that there is a vibrant ethnically diverse Downtown community. One of my favorite things to do is to visit a great little pocket park named Biddy Mason Park behind the Bradbury Building that is wedged between the Broadway Spring Center Parking Garage and the Bradbury Building. Walk through the Bradbury Building from the park, cross the street to Grand Central Market for lunch (some of the best fresh soft tacos in LA!). Proceed thru the market, up Angels Flight to Bunker Hill to MOCA and the Disney Concert Hall. It is a total of only four blocks and passed thru several cultures and over one hundred years of great LA architecture."
Lawrence Scarpa, AIA
PUGH + SCARPA
"The last time that the AIA convention was in Los Angeles was 1994. The economy was slowly improving after a devastating recession. In 2006, the Southern California economy is robust, even a little scary when considering home prices. Los Angeles was once the target of criticism; no culture, a dying downtown, too much traffic, smog, and a sprawling metropolitan area.
"The L.A. metropolitan area has matured greatly with cleaner air, a revitalized downtown, mass transit, great cultural centers, and great architecture. It is the hub of a trendy, multi-cultural society that is working hard to reinvent the city and to improve the quality of life for all Southern Californians. The results are evident. Those attending the convention will have the opportunity to identify significant accomplishments and visit a variety of great architectural masterpieces, all new since 1994."
Betsey Olenick Dougherty, FAIA
"They should pay attention to the real Los Angeles-the everyday Los Angeles-not just the architecture of the stars, designed by or built for, and the neighborhoods of the rich and famous. They need to appreciate neighborhoods that express the diversity of Los Angeles, like Leimert Park, Boyle Heights, and Huntington Park. They can learn from cities like Santa Monica who understand that cities are for the care and culture of people, not the movement of cars."
Deborah Murphy, Associate AIA
Deborah Murphy Urban Design + Planning
"The aspects of the built environment that non-knowers of Los Angeles should pay attention to is the consistent lack of consistent substance. Get ready for miles of stucco! Grab your binoculars and seek out [by the way rent a car - especially a convertible] those gems that have undoubtedly shaped the history of modern architecture around the world. They are here, but it takes perseverance to find those Neutras, the Ellwoods, the Koenigs, and other gems. Yes, it is true that within the last decade or so Los Angeles has spawned a few monuments by Pritzker Prize winners - but that a city of substantive architecture does not make - and, by the way, those are easy to find!"
Come celebrate at the birthplace of the City of Los Angeles - Olvera Street Plaza - where AIA/LA will bring almost 200 years of city development back to is original starting point, the old pueblo where it all began. LA was born on that spot and has developed into one of the world's architectural capitals, turning a fusion of races, cultures, traditions, and industries into the "LA Style," a way of life that is alive and moving 24/7.
AIA/LA Convention Invite
Welcome to LA, Los Angeles, the Angels
(in every other TV show or movie).
Universal and particular genius loci.
for ...Better or Worse,
of things to come.
this Universe of
Urban conditions, of
THIS CITY OF ANGELS.
Michael B. Lehrer, FAIA