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Letters: The problem with 'Never Built'

August 07, 2013
  • This glass-enclosed terminal at LAX -- with a world map etched onto a central column -- was proposed in 1952. This rendering is from the "Never Built Los Angeles" companion book.
This glass-enclosed terminal at LAX -- with a world map etched onto a central… (Metropolis Books )

Re "Dream projects," Aug. 3

That so many grand architectural plans never materialized in Los Angeles over the last several decades cannot be explained as simply as The Times' Christopher Hawthorne and the "Never Built Los Angeles" curators suggest: that our real estate developers lack vision and our politicians lack will.

The problem is also that our architects view their clients as patrons rather than partners. The long-term building that Hawthorne advocates will not take place until we, those who build the city — architects, planners, developers, politicians and citizens — learn to treat the process as more than a zero-sum-game.

If we stop competing for singular visions and instead collaborate to develop mutually beneficial ones via an understanding of the goals and perspectives of others involved in the city-building process, Los Angeles as built will be just as novel, innovative and compelling as Los Angeles unbuilt.

Liz Falletta

Los Angeles

The writer, a registered architect, is an assistant professor at the USC Price School of Public Policy.

If the "Never Built" exhibit had been put on 15 years ago, it's likely that Frank Gehry's design for Walt Disney Concert Hall would have been prominently featured.

At that time the location on Grand Avenue housed only a parking structure for jurors; the construction of the controversial symphony hall on top of the garage seemed unlikely.

Residents of L.A. today should be grateful to those who resurrected the project and saw it through to completion 10 years ago. The Disney Concert Hall has become one of the architectural symbols of our city.

Tom O'Connor

Los Angeles

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