Friday, May 19, 2006

end of the week architecture stuff

went to the mackey reception last week - not much to report there. its a beautiful renovation, esp the use of schindler's original paint colors for the built-ins. skipped the speeched on the roof and opted for champagne in the garden instead. no regrets there.

last night attended lacma's LA Parks and Wrecks lecture. Leaving aside the fact that is was poorly choreographed - I had hoped for a discussion but we got a series of presentations instead - the speakers were actually quite good. Marty Kaplan did a great job of presenting not just the impetus behind the Grand Intervention campaign, but also many of the submissions. The ones by children (many residents of Skid Row) were both the most heartbreaking and the coolest - one wanted a bridge over a shark pool, while another thought they should build a jail. While the official deadline for submissions is long past, johanna says the lear center is still willing to accept new ones for their web site.
Mario Ybarra, Jr. had a somewhat rambling presentation on his work for lacma's exhibition Consider This on "forgotten" public spaces that are co-opted for use as park land and canvases for creative expression - specifically Belmont Park.

Mark Rios presented some of his firms landscape architecture projects. I've been now to many many lectures by architects and urban theorists (because I'm a masochist). There have only been a few that have struck me as considered, thoughtful, articulate and intelligent while eschewing the super-sized ego of so many starchitects. Mark Rios is one of the them (Doug Suisman is the other that comes to mind). what do they have in common? they dont just design buildings - they also design landscapes and concern themselves with context, history and culture. and while I have a few problems with Rios' schematic on the factors that create homogenous design, I love his approach and his presentation. Its always exciting to see the process behind the program, and Rios offered us a glimpse into that. He's interested in ecology, in culture, in ethnographic research. (actually, now that I think about it, koolhaas not only has an interest in these issues as well, he's formalized it within his practice and productized it with books). whatever, rios rocked.

by the time lynne dwyer presented, the lecture was close to two hours, so my attention was sapped. something something, arroyo seco, something something. where's the wine?

q&a was cut short because of time, but it seemed like many of the questions came from activists looking to raise awareness on the fate of the south central farm. and after 2 hours of presentations on unbuilt parks like the $50 million Grand Ave park, its easy to sympathize with a group of people struggling to raise the funds to save public land that is already productive, and provides a service in a community that disproportionately suffers from illnesses such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes, stemming from a lack of healthy food. and when they asked their question - in short "what about us?" they were met with blank stares from panel. the only one who actually attempted to answer them was rios. um, did I mention rios rocks?

anyway, this weekend I have my once monthly docent duty so I'll be at the schindler house on sunday from 11-2:30 for tours.

lastly, the schindler house is coordinating some of the AIA tours for the convention next month. they're looking for volunteers for guided tours (you dont need to be an architecture expert at all - simply an enthusiast). contact them for details.

P.S. my scientology post now has the distinction of the most comments on curbed LA. who knew scientology would be such a lightning rod? hehe.


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