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Monthly Archives: March 2018

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

IMG 7940

by Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting



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

IMG 7875

By Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting


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.