Photo: Neon returns to Havana (Vern Evans, Havana Light Tour)
FROM THIS EPISODE
During Fidel Castro's decades-long control of Cuba, development in Havana was largely stalled, leaving a historic city intact but in disrepair. Rosa Lowinger talks about its astounding architectural legacy, the famed Arts Schools, the Russian footprint, and the challenges ahead for preservation as construction of hotels and tourist businesses booms.
Another legacy of Castro is the absence of billboards and commercial signs in the urban fabric of Havana. The only signage tended to be political posters. Al Nodal, founder of the LUMENS Project, is behind an effort to restore Havana's commercial neon signs and revive the Havana of the post-war years -- when the city was America's playground.
When engineers in the late 1930s conceived the idea of encasing a 51-mile sprawling waterway in concrete it made sense -- two massive storms had just caused highly destructive and deadly floods. But when the poet Lewis MacAdams and friends gathered at the river in the mid-1980s, that engineering feat had come to represent an ugly barrier and repudiation of nature.
For 30 years, MacAdams has led the chorus for re-imagining our concrete flood control channel through the nonprofit he co-founded, Friends of the Los Angeles River. Its work helped bring about approval of a $1.6-billion federal project to restore natural habitat and expand access along an 11-mile section of riverbed north of downtown. But success has also brought conflict over competing interests and design and development goals at the river. DnA talks to MacAdams and FOLAR's new Executive Director, Marissa Christiansen, about what's next for the LA River.
The LA River's best friend: Lewis MacAdams
Lewis MacAdams: Poetic Politics on the Los Angeles River
Lewis MacAdams steps down
Frances Anderton and Christopher Hawthorne discuss the LA River on Archinect's Next Up: LA River podcast
Lewis Macadams and the Dark Bob
More From Design and Architecture
Lucas Museum lifts off in Expo Park Construction broke ground today on the new Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. The museum is located in LA’s Exposition Park, and will house the art collection of "Star Wars" creator George Lucas. It’s a big arrival for the neighborhood, and it comes in the form of what looks like a giant silver spaceship -- with gardens.
Bridges and Walls: Invisible Walls There are walls that impact the communities they contain, but are naked to the eye. On today’s “Bridges and Walls” episode we explore three examples of invisible walls: the boundaries that mark gang territories; zoning codes that divide communities; and the West LA eruv, a ritualistic fence that allows Orthodox Jews to perform certain tasks on Shabbat, the traditional day of rest.
Dying mall Westside Pavilion to have new life as offices It’s happening all over the US -- a phenomenon known as dead mall syndrome. A mix of overbuilding of malls in recent decades coupled with dramatic changes in retail habits has caused the demise of many malls. Some however are getting a new lease of life, as something else. And that’s what’s happening to the Westside Pavilion on Pico at Overland in West LA.
Bridges and Walls: LA River, part 2 The Los Angeles River in downtown is getting new bridges and parks. But with the greening of the river may come “green gentrification.” DnA tours a disused railyard that will be turned into a park, hears about dreams for changes in the Lower LA River and talks to architect Frank Gehry and other stakeholders about LA County’s updated masterplan for the entire 51 miles of flood channel.