About

Portrait of Frances Anderton by THEO JEMISON
Portrait of Frances Anderton by Theo Jemison.

Frances Anderton is the Executive Producer and Host of DnA: Design and Architecture, a weekly radio show and blog exploring what matters in our designed world, broadcast on KCRW and kcrw.com/dna.

For many years she produced KCRW’s award-winning national and local current affairs shows, To The Point, and Which Way, LA?, hosted by Warren Olney.

Ms. Anderton is also a curator, public speaker and writer on architecture and design.

She curated Sink Or Swim: Designing For a Sea Change, an exhibition of photographs of resilient architecture in a time of rising seas. The critically-received show was on display December 2014 — May 2015 at the Annenberg Space for Photography and then at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.

She has served as LA correspondent for Dwell and the New York Times. Her books include Grand Illusion: A Story of Ambition, and its Limits, on LA’s Bunker Hill, based on a studio she co-taught with Frank Gehry and partners at USC School of Architecture, and You Are Here, about the architecture of Jon Jerde.

Since 2013 she has co-produced DIEM, a daylong culture forum for the West Hollywood Design District. In 2010 she curated the architecture section of the California Design Biennial, Action/Reaction, at the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

She has received many awards for her work, including the International Interior Design Association’s 2015 Leadership Award of Excellence, the Museum of California Design’s 2013 Henry Award for Outstanding Contributions to California Design and USC School of Architecture’s Architectural Guild Esther McCoy 2010 Award for her work in educating the public about architecture and urbanism. In 2009 she was made an honorary member of the AIA/LA.

Ms. Anderton has been featured on TV and documentary films, including KCET’s, “Global LA” about John Parkinson’s work in LA, to coincide with the 2012 Olympics, and  KCET’s “Departures” series, about architecture in Venice, CA. She was featured in the documentary films Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman, and A Necessary Ruin: The Story of Buckminster Fuller and the Union Tank Car Dome.

She has also produced radio documentaries for KCRW, including An Icon Is Born, about the making of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, winner of Golden Mike and LA Press awards; and United States of Los Angeles, a yearlong series of radio documentaries that won the L.A. County’s John Anson Ford Award for Outstanding Contributions to Human Relations.

She has hosted many public events relating to architecture and design (for institutions including the American Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Vancouver Museum of Art, Savannah College of Art and Design; Dell at the Consumer Electronics Show, University of Minnesota Design Institute, Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities; Hammer Museum, Art Center College of Art and Design.)

She has held advisory roles with several publications and institutions, including Architects Newspaper, L.A. Forum, LA Design Festival, Urban Land Institute, the Julius Shulman Institute, and GOOD Magazine. She has served on the boards of the A+D Museum and the LA Center for Architecture & Urban Design.

Raised in Bath, an historic spa town in England, she spent a gap year in Florence, Italy, rehabilitating a casa colonica. She then studied architecture at University College London (Bartlett School), and subsequently traveled to Jaipur, India, to study the haveli courtyard house for a Royal Society of Town Planning paper. She beame associate editor of London-based Architectural Review, which gave her a life-changing assignment: to produce a special issue (Dec. 1987) on new architecture in Los Angeles.

Having fallen in love with Los Angeles, she moved there in 1991, to become editor-in-chief of L.A. Architect.

After the Rodney King riots, she heard Which Way, LA? and determined to work on that show. She brought her love of design and architecture to KCRW, with DnA, and believes her background in politics and current affairs gives her a unique vantage point on architecture and design.