FROM Ken Bernstein
Remembering John Portman, architect of Bonaventure Hotel John Portman, the architect and developer of gleaming hotels and office buildings that defined the future back in the 1960s and 70s, died this past Friday at age 93. Angelenos will best know him as the architect of the iconic Westin Bonaventure Hotel, completed in 1976. The hotel was part of the wholesale redevelopment of Bunker Hill, and its design -- four cylinders of shiny brown glass and flying see-through elevators -- was in the spirit of the car-based planning of the area with elevated pedways and entrances via underground parking structures. Initially heralded for helping revitalize downtowns, Portman’s buildings came to be criticized by a new generation of planners for their lack of connection to the streets around them. But the futurism of the Bonaventure Hotel made it a constant source of inspiration for movie-makers. DnA talks to the LA Conservancy’s Cindy Olnick, who grew up in Georgia and recalls the thrill of his Peachtree Center district. Ken Bernstein, manager of the City of LA’s Office of Historic Resources and Principal City Planner, reflects on the Bonaventure’s impact on his appreciation of Los Angeles architecture. Craig Hodgetts, architect and keen student of futurism, talks about how Portman channeled the popular science and culture of the time -- and why he had to become a developer to create his visionary buildings.
Governor Brown Signs Off on High Speed Rail at Union Station At Union Station today in downtown Los Angeles, Governor Brown signed the bill authorizing construction for the nation's first high speed rail to link LA and San Francisco. The bill barely passed the state senate, and the project faces years of delay from lawsuits, not to mention a lack of money to build more than the first 100 miles. Metro has plans to make Union Station a hub for high speed rail and other transit systems, but its plans go well beyond Union Station itself. Two architectural firms have been hired to draw plans for 38 acres around the building.
Does Creative Architecture Inspire Creativity? Central Los Angeles High School #9 (High School for the Visual and Performing Arts) Interior view Instant Landmark If you've driven anywhere near downtown Los Angeles, you've certainly spotted Central Los Angeles Area New High School #9 , also known as the School of Visual and Performing Arts, reaching over the 101 freeway. Austrian architects at Coop Himmelblau designed the school, which opened to students this month. Frances speaks to Rex Patton, executive director of the school, as well as some students about some of its unique features. Two writers for the Los Angeles Times give background on the school's troubled path to completion. Mitchell Landsberg describes the exorbitant and controversial costs required to finish the building, which he contrasts to a new charter school in South L.A. renting space in a church, as he covered in a recent article . And architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne joins the conversation as well, after giving the school a "pass/fail" grade in a recent review . Architect Wolf Prix chimes in to explain the dramatic design and why it's important for the city. The school is located at 405 N. Grand near the Bunker Hill neighborhood and although it is not open to the public, the school plans to begin inviting small groups in for tours. The Real (M)ad Men Filmmaker Doug Pray is best known for turning his camera on subcultures like he did in Surfwise and Hype. But his new film, Art & Copy , focuses on a very mainstream world, the advertising industry. Legends of advertising like Dan Wieden, Hal Riney, George Lois, Mary Wells and local ad agency Chiat Day's Lee Clow are among the creatives profiled. Art & Copy is screening in several theaters in the Los Angeles area as well as in Orange County, check the site's screening calendar for more information. A Citywide Survey Ken Bernstein is the leader of architectural preservationist team sponsored by the Getty Foundation and the Office of Historic Resources at the Department of City Planning that hopes to record each of the 880,000 properties in the 466 square mile city of Los Angeles. He talks to Frances about exactly how they plan to do this, and how long he thinks it might take. A three-part film that launched the initiative recently won a local Emmy award (the first segment is above, the rest are viewable here ). You can learn more about the process, and see the group's findings at Survey LA .
Revisiting showrunner Steven Bochco on his memoir Steven Bochco, the writer-producer behind record-breaking Emmy winners Hill Street Blues, LA Law and NYPD Blue, fought battles with everyone from out-of-control actors to network censors in his long career. He isn’t afraid to tell those tales in his memoir, Truth Is a Total Defense. This week we revisit the conversation where he shared some of his favorite stories with us.
Terrorism in London: Lessons for the US This weekend’s terrorist attack in London left seven people dead and almost 50 injured. London police fatally shot the attackers, and ISIS claimed responsibility.
George Saunders: Lincoln in the Bardo (Part I) Lincoln in the Bardo dramatizes a grieving President Lincoln as he visits the grave of his beloved son Willie, who died at age eleven. In the novel, the buried dead believe they're not dead -- "they're sick and refer to their coffins as "sick boxes."