PlaceWorks

I’m joining PlaceWorks as Principal of Urban Design. I’ll be responsible for growing the firm’s urban design practice from the Los Angeles office while also playing a key role in marquee projects throughout California. After 15 years of practicing urban design in the public sector, I’m looking forward to applying the knowledge and experience I’ve gained in Santa Monica, Glendale and Pasadena to a wider range of communities in California.

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Clos Pegase Winery

Simultaneously silly and seriously somber, Michael Graves’ Clos Pegase Winery is one of the few self-conscious works of architecture in Napa Valley. Designed in Graves’ mature postmodern style, the winery freely mixes neo-Palladian, Roman and Tuscan architectural motifs, with a hint of rural barn vernacular forms and resides comfortably within Calistoga’s Mediterranean agricultural landscape of vineyards and oak scrub.

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Beverly Hills Civic Center

The Beverly Hills Civic Center is a wildly ambitious, yet flawed, project that one imagines would never be built in today’s environment of hard-nosed spreadsheets. Betraying Charles Moore’s signature theatricality, it is packed with idiosyncratic and mannerist architectural expressions, and draws more inspiration from Rome’s Baroque period than the more obvious local traditions of Spanish Revival or City Beautiful movements.

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St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church

St Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Pacific Palisades is one of the more prominent projects in Charles Moore’s oeuvre, perhaps more as an illustration of his inclusive and interactive community-based design process than for its architectural form. However, St Matthew’s confidently expresses more architectural ideas and a larger urban presence than its suburban location would suggest.

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Plaza Las Fuentes, Pasadena

Plaza Las Fuentes, located just east of City Hall, is one of the more under-appreciated works of architecture in Pasadena. Its 360-room hotel and adjacent office tower slip into the Civic Center quietly with a comfortable grace. Much of this comfort – which is architectural but also tactile – is derived from a masterful site plan, organized around public courtyards, gardens, fountains, terraces, arcades, and lobbies.

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Next Up at Arroyo Seco

Archinect hosted their 5th Next Up podcasting event at the inaugural Arroyo Seco Weekend festival inside Bureau Spectacular’s “Field House.” Conversations focused on temporary architecture, installations, festival design and planning, and the festival’s host city of Pasadena, CA. Archinect spoke with me about the current state of urban planning as a profession, my experience of working in different parts of LA County and the evolving architectural identity of Pasadena.

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ACE121: Glendale Arts Colony

The Glendale Arts Colony is the result of an RFP for development issued jointly by the City of Glendale and the Glendale YMCA. The program, affordable housing for artists, aligns with the goals of the Maryland Arts and Entertainment District one block away, while the design, by Studio One Eleven, resolves a number of site constraints and brings coherency to the Y campus.

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Central Library Re-Opens!

After a $15 million renovation, the Glendale Central Library re-opened to the public this past Monday, May 1. Originally designed by Welton Becket Associates in 1973, the renovation by Gruen Associates modernizes the Library’s technology infrastructure for the 21st century. The renovation is also part of a multi-phased strategy to redevelop the Central Park, bringing both the Library and Park into a the urban design framework of the Downtown as a whole.

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Santa Monica

I am excited to announce that I will be joining Santa Monica as their new City Urban Designer beginning in April. Santa Monica’s outstanding commitment to urban design is an opportunity too compelling to ignore – I am honored that the City has challenged me to expand this reputation and legacy.

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On Measure S

On Tuesday, March 7, Los Angeles residents will vote on Measure S: a controversial proposal aimed at reforming the planning system by ceasing certain developments until particular changes to the code are made. In the interest of conveying the complexity of Measure S, and exploring its potential implications for a future Los Angeles urbanism, The LA Forum for Architecture and Urban Design interviewed two planning professionals: Alan Loomis, Deputy Director for Urban Design & Mobility at City of Glendale, and Richard Platkin, a former LA City Planner now teaching at USC.

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Urban Design Theory 2017

It’s January in a new year and so it’s back to school. As I have for the past ten years, I will be teaching Urban Design Theory at Woodbury University School of Architecture. Programmed as a “study aboard” course at home, students will document, investigate, analyze and map a district in greater Los Angeles as a means of illustrating their understanding of the themes, issues, trends and urban design theories outlined in the lectures and readings. This year my fourth year students and I will be examining North Hollywood, Downtown Burbank, Downtown Santa Monica in addition to the Arts District and South Park districts of Downtown Los Angeles.

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Deja Vu again at Exposition Park

“‘The erosion of Exposition Park’s public open space continues.’ So wrote urban planner Alan Loomis nearly 15 years ago, in an essay published by the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.” LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne leads off with this quote in his evaluation of the proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. Reading Hawthorne’s essay is a case of deja vu all over again.

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