30 years ago Los Angeles’ downtown was given up for dead. It turns out its demise was greatly exaggerated, as evidenced in the explosive growth in recent years. But still, downtown LA is an unconventional urban heart, where the business and cultural district sits atop a lonely hill looking down on residents in the flatlands (the reverse of most hilly cities); where families tend not to put down roots; where the affluent live cheek-by-jowl with the homeless; where a football stadium that won’t have space for tailgate parties might be built; and where “a river runs through it,” out of sight and mind of most people.

On Tuesday, A+D Museum will host a discussion about what’s going on in architecture and urban design in downtown Los Angeles, from The Broad and Grand Park on Grand Avenue to plans for an “urban” NFL Stadium, redevelopment of Union Station and a Replacement 6th Bridge.

Will The Broad make Bunker Hill the public destination it has struggled to become? Does the new Grand Park attract pedestrians and connect the hilltop cultural district to lively Little Tokyo and the Arts District? Is the NFL persuaded yet by the idea of an “urban” football stadium? What will the Replacement 6th Street Bridge do for the industrial district and Boyle Heights? What will make downtown a place where families stay?

DnA‘s Frances Anderton and Sam Lubell of The Architect’s Newspaper will discuss all this with four people with deep experience in downtown: architects Michael Maltzan (6th Street Bridge, Inner City Arts, Carver Apartments) and Bob Hale (Civic Park, Mark Taper Forum, landscaping at LA Live); and the development community’s Ayahlushim Getachew, of Thomas Properties (City National Plaza, Library Square, the Gas Company Tower) and formerly the CRA/LA, and Carol Schatz, president of the Central City Association.

The impetus for the panel is the publication of “Grand Illusion: A Story of Ambition, And Its limits, On LA’s Bunker Hill,” the product of a research-based design studio taught last year at USC Architecture School by Frank Gehry and partners, architect Aaron Neubert and Frances Anderton.

Grand Illusion is first in the “Cezi” series of publications created by USC Architecture School’s Dean Qingyun Ma, who will give the closing remarks at the panel Tuesday. The panel starts with a reception at 6pm and the panel will start around 6:45.

 

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