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Good design: You just need to look

November 02, 2008

It's always disappointing to read the architectural reviews in The Times because your reviewers don't seem to understand the bigger picture of Los Angeles ["No Time for Fancy Work -- Let's Get Local" by Christopher Hawthorne, Oct. 26].

After the Industrial Revolution, people moved to L.A. because they did not want Chicago, San Francisco or New York. They invented a new city, which is still what we are today. We are just experiencing growing pains. We now cannot have a big backyard for everybody, so L.A. will continue its "quick evolution." But never at one point have we lacked interesting architecture -- it's just not all in one place.

L.A. is not for the weekend visitor. L.A. is for the urban adventurist who likes a riddle. The great thing is when they solve our riddle, they are deeply satisfied. We have it all in this giant scramble; you just need a wider vision.

So when Hawthorne says our great buildings "look good in magazines but dismal from the sidewalk," he sounds like he needs a buffet of buildings around him. Personally, I'll take the exquisite entree over the mediocre buffet. In the end, we are Los Angeles, in all our ugliness and beauty still evolving, still fascinating and confusing, not trying to be anybody but Los Angeles, without apology.

Adam White

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