Page C1.1 . 08 January 2003                     
ArchitectureWeek - Culture Department
NEWS   |   DESIGN   |   BUILDING   |   DESIGN TOOLS   |   ENVIRONMENT   |   CULTURE
< Prev Page Next Page >
 
CULTURE
 
  •  
  • Levin and Los Angeles
     
  •  
  • Costs of "Dumb Growth"

      [an error occurred while processing this directive]
    AND MORE
      Current Contents
      Blog Center
      Download Center
      New Products
      Products Guide
      Classic Home
      Architecture Forum
      Architects Directory
      Topics Library
      Complete Archive
      Web Directory
      About ArchWeek
      Search
      Subscribe & Contribute
      Free Newsletters
       

     
    QUIZ

    [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Levin and Los Angeles

    by Joseph Giovannini

    In the early 1980s, Brenda Levin was one of the chief engineers of a collective epiphany that the city of the perennial future had a past. Fresh from Harvard's Graduate School of Design, she was the right architect in the right spot at the right moment to restore a succession of historic buildings in Los Angeles.

    This helped usher in a civic awareness that the city, which had sprawled its way into suburban amnesia, had an inventory of buildings of national interest in its historic center. Los Angeles was so geared towards a chromed mirage leading out of the city that it forgot the pedestrian streetscape and Red Line thoroughfares of its downtown and inner neighborhoods. Citizens had lost the sense that Los Angeles had been both urban and urbane. They had lost any notion of the city's depth of time.

    In the early 1980s, no less than City Hall was trying to sell the ground out from under one of its major historic monuments, the Los Angeles Public Library, designed by Bertram Goodhue, to pocket the change and build the pancake library that is a cart-pushing librarian's dream.

    Reversing a Destructive Trend

    There was a void of cultural leadership about how to handle the city's built patrimony. Who can forget, then, the revelation of the Oviatt Building, only feet south of Pershing Square, when Levin restored that eclectic splendor, with all its art deco Rene Lalique glass, and helped convert the paneled haberdashery downstairs into the elegant Rex restaurant.   >>>

     
    This article is excerpted from Brenda Levin: Selected and Current Works by Joseph Giovannini, Frances Anderton, Richard Koshalek, Morris Newman, and Leon Whiteson, with permission of the publisher, The Images Publishing Group Pty. Ltd.

    Discuss this article in the Architecture Forum...

    Continue...

    ArchWeek Image

    Lobby of the Oviatt Building in Los Angeles, restored by Brenda Levin in 1983. The open-air ceiling was designed by the architect and artist Jane Marquis.
    Photo: Bruce Boehner

    ArchWeek Image

    Historic view of the Oviatt Building.
    Photo: Courtesy Brenda Levin

     

    Click on thumbnail images
    to view full-size pictures.

     
    < Prev Page Next Page > Send this to a friend       Subscribe       Contribute       Advertise       Privacy       Comments
    AW   |   GREAT BUILDINGS   |   DISCUSSION   |   SCRAPBOOK   |   BOOKS   |   FREE 3D   |   SEARCH
      ArchitectureWeek.com © 2003 Artifice, Inc. - All Rights Reserved