Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design

8/15/2013

A Los Angeles we never saw

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

A good exhibit leaves visitors with more questions than when they came in. "Never Built: Los Angeles" at the Architecture and Design Museum did that.

The space wasn't overly large, but what the museum lacked in space, it made up with an influx of imagination and inspiration. Everywhere, there were models and drawings that showed me a county that could have been reality had LA more money, more support, stronger political will.

The exhibit made a statement even from the beginning with this two-sided accordion facade.
Unlike many architecture exhibitions, this one felt dynamic. Perhaps it was the floor sticker (picture below) that showed a vintage view of Los Angeles, or a model monorail buzzing around two parts of the museum, or several lit models that fairly called out, "Come hither." 

I had known about the exhibition for a long time, but even I was happily surprised at how much I enjoyed the final outcome. Perhaps it is the allure of "what might have been" that makes the exhibit so appealing. Did you know there was a proposal to build a ski slope in Culver City? Or that downtown Los Angeles could have been one masterplanned, Mayan-inspired urban landscape? Wow, imagine that. 

The exhibition floor was covered in beautiful imagery of an old Los Angeles street map.
Are house lots suspended over the freeway a good idea?
What does it take to build a city of our dreams? The exhibit is a good start to find answers. Here's what I wrote for Wallpaper*.

Stop by A+D to see the exhibit. It runs until October 15.

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