A+D Museum collaborates with Garcetti on city’s sustainable design initiative

The Downtown Los Angeles skyline is weaning away from its art deco training wheels to eventually stand fully on its modernist design legs.


“I just don’t like how there’s a one-way street and so many people in this area,” said a lost man trying to get to the same event as me.

“I’m from L.A., but the Arts District wasn’t like this,” he added.

Now, the same developers of Third Street Promenade are constructing a 130,000-square-foot retail complex. Arts District is no longer the bare warehouse district for artists that it used to be. In fact, the entire L.A. area has gone through self-improvement, so it could entertain the influx of starry-eyed transplants.

Angelenos have neither San Francisco’s Transamerica Building nor New York City’s AT&T Long Lines Building. However, the DTLA skyline is weaning away from its art deco training wheels to eventually stand fully on its modernist design legs.

The Architecture and Design Museum celebrated the maturation process of DTLA, as well as the non-profit’s 15th anniversary at a gala on Saturday, Jan. 14 in Arts District.IMG_7318
The evening, called “Celebrate DTLA,” was dedicated to the importance of space to discuss structure, as well as to raise funds through auctioned items, which included: a Rick Gooding postcard starting at $250, a Pie Hole $50 gift certificate starting at the same price and a Jeff Durkin-made film starting at $4,000.

A formal announcement was made to introduce A+D as the official host of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s initiative for sustainable design.IMG_7374

“We’re enjoying a community discussion on building change to change codes to support progressive design in the city of L.A., so those codes won’t get in the way of safe and sound high-performance, high energy and exuberant design,” said Archinect podcaster Amelia Taylor-Hochberg.

Miniature chicken and waffles, tacos and coned appetizers were served, as well as cocktails in ode to local structures: “The Bradbury,” “The Pershing” and “The DWP.”

Architects Stephen Kanner and Bernard Zimmerman first opened A+D Museum at the Bradbury Building on Broadway before its permalance location in Museum Row from 2006 to 2015. The museum has previously partnered with Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA), Craft and Folk Art Museum, among other local organizations. The previous years’ galas revolved around themes ranging from “Shelter” to “The Journey.”

Other similar nonprofits, which have been successful in increasing awareness and preservation of structures in the city, include the L.A. Conservancy, which was founded in 1978.

After reading through the book “Never Built in L.A.,” I can never unsee the hypothetical city created from the visions of Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra and Pierre Koenig.

Much of historical L.A. is maximalist and gaudy. Ace Hotel DTLA is Spanish gothic revival, facing the art deco Eastern Columbia Building. The Westin Bonaventure Hotel, known for its postmodern shape and revolving restaurant bar, has proven photogenic in films from “This Is Spinal Tap” to “Interstellar.”

Soon, the skyline will be remarkable–regardless of the Santa Monica Mountains in plain sight. The U.S. Bank Tower, the tallest building, will be trumped by a 1,100-foot-tall Wilshire Grand hotel and office starting this year. Michael Maltzan, the architect who designed One Santa Fe, Inner-City Arts and New Carver Apartments, will be constructing the “Ribbon of Light” bridge for the Sixth Street Viaduct by 2019.