AIMING HIGH: Finalists for 6th Street Bridge and California’s Designing Women

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Admirers of human ingenuity have found plenty to inspire awe over the last decade in the form of spectacular new bridges around the world. Now LA has the chance to create its own. The shortlisted designs are in for the Replacement 6th Street Viaduct (which has to be demolished, due to “concrete cancer”,  saddening  many who love the existing bridge, especially those, like Councilman Jose Huizar, who grew up in Boyle Heights and traversed it often as child, as he describes on on this DnA).

And what makes the final schemes interesting, beyond the bridge designs themselves,  is the way in which each offers itself as a public destination, for cyclists, walkers, skateboarders, both on the bridge itself and in proposed public park areas, almost 100 feet, below. You can hear more about the bridge designs and the future impact on the LA River, on this DnA.

on DnA, we looked at the abundance of design shows this summer that explored the contribution of women in design and architecture. I also wrote, in this article for Artbound, about the particular challenges facing women architects, 100 years after the birth of California’s pioneering Julia Morgan. One of the shows, still on display, is  MOCAD’s California’s Designing Women: 1896 — 1986, featuring work by California-based women designers dating back to Victorian times (image, right: Ellamarie Woolley’s “Twice Over“, circa 1972)

The designers include women who, in curator Bill Stern’s view, had for too long been perceived simply as the second-tier in a husband-wife partnership, like Evelyn Ackerman and Gertrud Natzler; it includes strong design personalities like Deborah Sussman of Sussman-Prezja (who one might perceive as the top-tier in a husband-wife partnership); and solo operators, including Gere Kavanaugh, who opened her office in the post-war years when many women had gone back into the home, and influential graphic designer April Greiman.

This Sunday, MOCAD will hold its annual award benefit, and recipients this year are some of the show’s designing women: Marilyn Kay Austin, Renee Firestone, Arline Fisch,  April Greiman, Judith Hendler, Gere Kavanaugh, Cher Pendarvis and Deborah Sussman. I’ll have the honor of handing out the awards to these highly influential individuals.

Stern adds that in addition “to meeting and celebrating eight extraordinary women” you will have the opportunity “to participate in our live and silent auctions.  Featured lots include art by Karl Benjamin, acrylic chairs by Charles Hollis Jones, ceramics by Architectural Pottery and Heath Ceramics, acrylic jewelry by Judith Hendler, signed graphics by April Greiman and Deborah Sussman and many autographed books.”

Tickets are still available.