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The Spiteful Destruction of a Frank Lloyd Wright Building

Over two months ago, a real estate developer in Whitefish, Montana, demolished the Lockridge Medical Center. This building was the only structure in the state of Montana designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. This demolition also sets a dubious record as being the only Frank Lloyd Wright building destroyed in over 40 years.

The Lockridge Medical Center was designed by Wright in 1958 for three doctors, T. L. Lockridge, John T. Whalen and Bruce C. McIntyre. The construction on the Lockridge Medical Center started in 1961 and was completed in 1963, long after Wright’s death in 1959. It was occupied by the doctors for only a single year. The 5,000 square foot building was a low, single-story horizontally oriented structure. It was built of brick and cast concrete, which featured Frank Lloyd Wright’s typical horizontally-raked mortar joints, with interior and exterior brick.

The developer who purchased the site in 2016, stated that his vision was to demolish the building and construct a 3-story commercial retail space. At the time of the purchase, they were unaware of the historical significance of the building. Once the information became available to the developer, they were unimpressed with the historical value and pressed on with their plans. The goal of the new commercial space was to capitalize on visitor traffic from the nearby Glacier National Park. Activists and historical preservationists quickly engaged with the developer to halt the development plans, and proceeded to raise $1.7 million to purchase the property. At the end of the day, as pressure built from local and national interests, the developer demolished the property in one overnight event.

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The outcry was swift and loud, causing a significant backlash in the architectural community. In the spirit of the recent Oscar-nominated movie “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” a billboard quickly appeared in the town. The billboard attacked the destruction of the historical building and the reprehensible act of the developer. The identity of the person(s) posting the billboard remains unknown. The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and the Montana Preservation Alliance, two groups that actively fought to save the structure, have disavowed any knowledge of the posting.

We admire the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright. We were honored to have worked on the Mat House in Reseda, California, designed by Frank’s son Lloyd Wright and known for its distinctive angular, thatch-like roof. The house was granted historic landmark status in 1996.

From the Showroom Floor

A view from Frog Pad, our newest showroom location in Austin, Texas!

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

Los Angeles City Hall Architecture

Los Angeles Appoints the First Chief Design Officer

The City of Los Angeles and Mayor Eric Garcetti have taken a bold step and appointed the first Chief Design Officer for the city. Because of the scale and pace of development of the city, Mayor Garcetti feels strongly about having a focus on the future while balancing the need for development and the importance of keeping the face of the city inspired. The challenges the city faces are vast; expanding the Metro system, Olympic infrastructure improvements and the desperate need to address the housing and homeless crisis. This is an area where the city has traditionally struggled.

Christopher Hawthorne was the architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times from 2004 to March of this year. Before coming to the LA Times, he was architecture critic for Slate and a frequent contributor to The New York Times. He is the co- author of The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture. Hawthorne grew up in Berkeley and has a bachelor’s degree from Yale. His vision for the new role is to make the city more beautiful, inclusive and efficient.

From the the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Broad Museum, or the beautiful angles of a modernist home next to a striking building outfitted with the minarets of a temple, Los Angeles architecture is unique and inspiring. The wonderful weather and the beautiful people found in Los Angeles have long inspired breathtaking architecture and a great number of dreamers and eccentrics. Frank Gehry and Frank Lloyd Wright were among the visionaries who came to Los Angeles and left their indelible mark on this City of Angels.

In an era of increased public awareness about urbanism, it makes sense that the people driving the discourse should be in a position to change things for the better. Making that happen, however, is incumbent on mayors and other officials. Inviting critics to become part of the city-building process is the first step; listening to them and giving them real authority has to come next.

From the ADG Jobsite

Gorgeous entry doors

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by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

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63842863 Pavement Handicap Symbol And Wheelchair

Are We Losing ADA Protections? And Should We?

Were you aware that there are one in five, or 56 million Americans living with disabilities? Further, of those 38 million, or one in ten, are considered living with severe disabilities such as blindness, deafness or epilepsy. These are sobering numbers and brings to light that the challenges Americans with disabilities face on a daily basis are on a grand scale.

Because of these challenges, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush. The legislation prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life. To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability, which is defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. To architects, the most concerning part of the act is Title III. This concerns physical access to privately owned places offering public accommodation, such as restaurants, retail stores, hotels and other public environments.

This act has created tremendous change for the accessibility of millions of Americans. Most developers, architects and business owners have energetically embraced the letter of the law and the spirit of the act to make life just a bit more reasonable for the disabled. Just like every good action, there seems to be a sinister force that has taken advantage of well-intentioned legislation. This deceptive group of individuals have created a ‘business’ of filing thousands of lawsuits against businesses for alleged noncompliance with Title III and the ADA. These suits have damaged businesses, hamstrung courts with unnecessary actions, and created a shadow on legislation that was created to do what is right and just.

Currently, H.R. 620 just passed the House of Representatives, which promises to remedy and relieve Americans from the burdens of some elements of Title III and the ADA. If it falls on favorable ears in the Senate and on the desk of the President of the United States, these changes would become permanent. This being the case, it could actually create new legal barriers for the disabled and leave them stranded without legal relief.

We must understand the impact the ADA has our our society, and overall it has been a positive force in our society. What needs to change is the cottage industry of fraud surrounding this act and the unscrupulous behavior of less than reputable businesses that refuse to act in a manner that is respectable.

Can we preserve Title III and the ADA, while respecting the rights of millions of disabled Americans? Why did the American Institute of Architects (AIA) not shout loud enough for the public to hear that the rights of 56 million Americans will be impacted?

From the Factory Floor

…a fixture in the making

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By Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

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Doshi Architect Pritzker Prize Historical

Balkrishna Doshi Recognized For A Lifetime of Social Good

“One is all the time looking at financial returns — that is not only what life is. I think wellness is missing.”

Balkrishna Doshi, Architect

Balkrishna Doshi has become the 45th laureate of architecture’s highest honor, the prestigious Pritzker Prize. He is also the first laureate from India. The Pritzker Prize is bestowed upon a living architect or architects whose work clearly demonstrates talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.

Mr. Doshi started his architectural career in 1947 at the Sir JJ School of Architecture in Mumbai. During the 1950’s he contributed to the work on Chandigarh, which was an experimental modernist city 150 miles north of New Delhi. He continued his work on the Mill Owners’ Association Building in 1954 and other projects in the Ahmedabad region, to include the Sarabi House in 1955. In 1956, he founded his practice Vastushilpa, which now has five partners and 60 employees. In the early 1960’s, Dr. Doshi worked on the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, where he was an associate of Louis Kahn for the project. His work has consistently drawn on the grandeur of Indian history and culture, reflecting the essence of local materials, busy city streets and the splendor of Indian shrines and temples. Mr. Doshi has always had a certain vision for his projects. He strongly feels that architecture is not static, but a living organism. Never intended to be iconic structures, his projects were intended to be miniature societies that residents can easily expand over time.

“What is the role of an architect today? Are we going to be a service provider working for a client, or are we going to be useful to the society at large?”

Balkrishna Doshi, Architect

He has been driven by the larger issues of sustainability and social good throughout his career. Mr Doshi feels that today’s architecture is a culture and profession focused strictly on the bottom line of projects. Instead, he feels strongly that architecture should focus on wellness throughout the design. Considerations of living life at your own pace and how we should connect with silence should be incorporated into designs.

The Pritzker jury commented in their citation that housing as shelter is but one aspect of these projects. The entire planning of the community, the scale, the creation of public, semipublic and private spaces are a testament to his understanding of how cities work and the importance of the urban design.

Paulwilliams Architect Historical

Paul Williams Shaped the Face of Los Angeles Architecture

Black History Month is celebrated during February and is the perfect opportunity to recognize the contributions of a historic and groundbreaking black architect who shaped the face of Los Angeles architecture forever.

“Planning is thinking beforehand how something is to be made or done, and mixing imagination with the product – which in a broad sense makes all of us planners. The only difference is that some people get a license to get paid for thinking and the rest of us just contribute our good thoughts to our fellow man.”

Paul Williams, Architect

Paul Williams was a native Angeleno and largely practiced in Southern California. He was the only African-American student in his elementary school and went on to study at the Los Angeles School of Art, the Los Angeles branch of the New York Beaux-Arts Institute of Design. He went on to further his education at the University of Southern California (USC) studying architecture, where he designed several residential buildings while a student there. He became a certified architect in 1921, becoming the first black architect west of the Mississippi. He later became a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1923 and was inducted as their first black fellow. When he began his career, he could not find another black architect to be a role model or mentor.

Williams made his name by being an architect to the stars. His work would come to signify the glamorous and luxurious lifestyle of Southern California. One of the hallmarks in his designs was a luxurious curving staircase, which was the prominent feature in a 1925 Colonial he built in Brentwood for a notable financial services mogul. The new owner remarked that when he first saw the home, it looked so luxurious that he wasn’t sure he could afford the home, but if he could afford the staircase, he would take it with him. Williams’ homes were soon know for their grace, design and elegant proportions. They attracted such clients as Frank Sinatra, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Lon Chaney, Sr., Lucille Ball, Julie London, Tyrone Power, Barbara Stanwyck, Bert Lahr, Charles Correll, Will Hays, Zasu Pitts, and Danny Thomas. In all, he designed over 2300 homes in the Hollywood Hills and the Mid-Wilshire district.

Paul Williams retired in 1973 and passed in January of 1980. In October 2015, a monument and memorial plaza was dedicated to Williams north of the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance building. It features a bas relief of Williams with many of his works.

Custom Lighting From the Factory Floor

Inspired fixture by ADG…just like an Erector set with lights!

Custom Lighting Creative Lighting Adg

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

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Sustainable Architecture Design Sustainability

Sustainable Architecture Can Provide Sustainable Shelter

Our world is changing and challenging us to face new realities never considered before. Climate change, drought, famine and wars are creating a situation where people are without adequate and affordable housing. With a global population of over one billion people, the lack of adequate housing is only going to increase. Experts are now looking to sustainable architecture to provide solutions to this crisis. Structures initially designed using sustainable architecture to provide housing for future inhabitants on Mars for NASA may be the answer.

“Forced displacement from war or persecution is one of humanity’s great challenges in the 21st century. It’s not about to go away any time soon and those who are affected desperately need our help.”

Kathryn Mahoney, Senior Communications Officer for the UN’s Refugee Agency.

Sustainable Architecture Creates Solutions

The late Nader Khalili, architect and founder of Cal-Earth, started his quest for answers in 1974, when he became determined to find housing solutions for people with limited money and no resources. At that time, Khalili discovered that millions of people around the globe were either refugees, homeless or just a few steps away from disaster. He spent five years traveling in the Iranian desert and learned from indigenous communities how they used sustainable architecture to their advantage. His non-profit Cal-Earth now teaches the concept of building SuperAdobes. The method is simple. Put to use the raw elements available, with basic architectural principles and habitable shelter becomes a reality. All that is needed would be soil, water, sand bags, barbed wire and a shovel to complete a structure.

When you are building with natural materials, you are creating solutions through sustainable architecture that addresses the challenges of war, storms and other potential disasters. No matter what the situation people may find themselves in, the skills developed by Cal-Earth using sustainable architecture techniques will allow people to build in any situation. Dastan and Sheefteh Khalili carry on with the groundbreaking work of their father through Cal-Earth. Their vision is that people will be able to build homes that work in harmony with nature and a minimal carbon footprint.

From the Factory Floor

Sketch of new lighting fixture
Custom Lighting Architect Adg
 by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting

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