Let There Be Shade

A Shade-less Schoolyard in an LA School, photo by Richard Hartog
A Shade-less Schoolyard in an LA School, photo by Richard Hartog

I love LA, I really do.  I relish its oddities and non-conformity to conventional, older, urban models. But at times the oddities tip over into the bizarre, even dangerous, such as the severe lack of shade in schools and public spaces in a region that bakes under near-equatorial sun. In a way that I hope does not sound too preachy, we explore this topic today: why is sun-kissed LA so lacking in shade? What is the impact on children, on pedestrians? And what role does design — of landscaping and of shade structures — play in providing relief. The guests are great: Jane Houlihan, of Environmental Working Group, who shares the shocking news about how many sunscreens do NOT work; Emily Green, a horticulturalist and environmental activist and reporter; James Rojas, an urban planner with Metro who has carved out his own unique niche working with communities on envisioning local improvements through making interactive models of found objects;  and Lorcan O’Herlihy, gifted architect whose firm, LOHA, was just selected as Firm of the Year by the AIA/LA. His projects include 825 Habitat and 1140 Formosa condos in West Hollywood, and he has designed bus shelters for Santa Monica, based on the movement of the sun.

Plus, rumors have been circulating that Eli Broad has picked a provisional site and architect for his new museum for his Foundation’s art collection. The Broad Foundation states that no final determination has been made, and that they are still considering sites in both downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica. But  the LA Times’ Christopher Hawthorne  reports that Broad appears to be leaning towards downtown, and towards the New York firm of Diller, Scofidio and Renfro from a line-up of six heavy-hitting architects: four Pritzker prize-winners — Rem Koolhaas, SANAA, Herzog and de Meuron, Christian de Portzamparc — and Foreign Office Architects. If Diller, Scofidio and Renfro were to be the choice, it could be interesting for Los Angeles. They have been darlings of the archi-world for many years but captured the public imagination last year with their amazing design, conceived in partnership with James Corner of Field Operations, for the High Line, the must-visit urban intervention in Manhattan that transforms a disused raised rail line into a park. Christopher Hawthorne tells us a bit about the firm and then journalist Coralie Garandeau gives us an intriguing perspective on Eli Broad, from the vantage point of the French, who are used to state-run support of public architecture and a fascinated by the idea of an individual exercising Mitterand-like power of patronage.

And last but not least, the ever entertaining Michael Sylvester, Brand Director for Dwell on Design, offers up some of the highlights at this year’s DOD. And Alissa Walker spreads the news about Dwell on Design and an accompanying event called City Listening in this DnA Blog. Note: For Dwell on Design, DnA listeners receive $15 off the Dwell Exhibition Plus Ticket (50% off the 2-day Weekend Pass) if they purchase tickets before June 23 with the code: DWELL8B For City Listening II, DnA listeners receive 20% off all tickets with the code: dwell

  • http://localecologist.blogspot.com Georgia

    I am interested in the comment that Los Angeles used to have a lot of trees in the public realm. Where can I find out more information about this? Thank you.

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