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Architectural Guru Decides Style

October 16, 1988

I was interested, although not surprised, to read Frank Gehry's remarks in "Outside Architects Joining in the Debate Over L.A. Style" (by Leon Whiteson, Sept. 26). By denigrating its residents as being unsophisticated, and his fellow architects, who don't understand the L.A. "style," he continues to patronize the unenlightened from his lofty perch as our local architectural guru who knows what's best for us.

Ironically, Gehry himself indicated recently he's had second thoughts about his design for his famous Santa Monica residence. The "unsophisticated" public was way ahead of him; they didn't like it when he built it. But The Times raved about it, and anyone voicing criticism at the time was woefully ignorant. Now Gehry has decided it was just a stage he was going through. Unfortunately, second thoughts don't bring back the nice old house he "remodeled," because it's been gutted on the inside and surrounded on the outside by chain-link fence and corrugated metal. (Talking of Gehry experiments, how about that huge, dirty, chain-link screen over the parking garage at Santa Monica Place--many people's first view of the mall when approaching from the south? Is this the high standard of architecture Gehry thinks L.A. deserves?)

Los Angeles residents are just as qualified to have opinions about what is appropriate for their city as those with degrees in architecture.

HELEN AUERBACH

Santa Monica

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