Advertisement
(Page 2 of 2)

The Sunday Conversation: Steven Ehrlich, architect

The Maybeck Award winner discusses multicultural modernism, the upcoming John M. Roll U.S. Courthouse, the just-opened Contemporary Arts Center at UC Irvine and more.

August 28, 2011|By Irene Lacher, Special to the Los Angeles Times

Which just opened. And one of the main ideas there is that in the heart of the building there are two very large volumes — a theater and an art gallery. And surrounding those two large spaces are artists' studios, support spaces, faculty offices, lobbies, etc. everything on the perimeter of the theater and the gallery are actually naturally ventilated. We're not even air-conditioning them. And that is a LEED Gold building. Our buildings are quite sustainable, and we just completed the residential halls at Pomona College. That's still-pending platinum, but it will be the first platinum residential hall in California.

Are all of your designs sustainable to the extent that they can be, and how long have you been doing that?

I've been doing it forever. I designed an experimental theater in the mid-'70s for Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria. And that theater was built out of mud, and to this day, it's still in operation. It's a building loved by the drama department of the university and they maintain it, but when they stop, it will just melt back into the earth from which it came.

What impact is all this economic turmoil having on the development of important public architecture?

Unfortunately, I see less and less of it happening. The biggest issue right now is governments — federal, state and city — have depleted resources and therefore the construction process is slowing down. I will say, however, when we bounce back — and "we" may be the whole world — I think there is going to be a renewed interest in building buildings that are more sustainable, will be built better and will last longer. And there will be fewer of them.

calendar@latimes.com

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|