May 26, 2001
Nicolai Ouroussoff's love affair with the works of architect Frank Gehry is misplaced ("A Messiness in Creating Masterworks," May 18). Gehry's abandonment of function in the interest of sensational forms, best described as Tin Can Modern, owes more to the school of architecture that gave us the Brown Derby, Googies, the Tail of the Pup, the Chili Bowl and other now-gone architectural novelties than to the more substantial works of Frank Lloyd Wright, Philip...
July 20, 2002
How can our schools teach children respect for the past if they have none themselves? L.A. Unified's decision to raze the KEHE radio building is another harmful, destructive act by an ignorant bureaucracy--and adds another significant landmark to L.A.'s long obituary of demolished architecture ("Failing a Landmark," July 15, by Nicolai Ouroussoff.) There are many successful Moderne schools in Los Angeles still in use, so why not build a school that complements the existing structure?
December 20, 2003
It has been the breaking forth of water in a desert to read Nicolai Ouroussoff's intelligent discussion of cultural survival via an examination of Baghdad's architecture as a revelatory guide to the history of a place and a people [four-part series, Dec. 14-16]. The Iraqis are not objectified in his study as villains or as victims, but as people who have known a more civilized life in a place rich with millenniums of social history. It is ultimately a hopeful study, for though he recognizes the loss of so much for the Iraqis, from dictatorship to our more recent conquest, he cares for what reflects the spirit of a people, and one can feel that he wishes the Iraqi people well.
April 25, 2004
It was with a strong sense of disbelief that I read Nicolai Ouroussoff's article in the Los Angeles Times unjustifiably disparaging the Grand Avenue revitalization project ("Grand Plans, Flawed Process," April 4). What is there to criticize? Not one revitalization proposal has even been approved yet. Not one groundbreaking ceremony has taken place. Yet Mr. Ouroussoff already has declared the entire project "sterile," "superficial" and "generic." In short, he's doomed it before even one structure has been built.
June 15, 2003
Nicolai Ouroussoff manages to perpetuate a shortcoming in L.A. architecture by praising the newest design for the Los Angeles Unified School District's High School No. 9, now to be the Performing and Visual Arts Academy at 450 Grand Ave. ("The Bold School Try," June 8). One must wonder if the increased cost of the redesign of this public school is justified when the reviewer's comments include semiotic comparisons between the auditorium's fly tower and a famous modernist church campanile in La Tourette, France.
December 24, 2003
Re "Capitalism Tops Democracy in Tower's Design," Dec. 20: Did anyone else wince while reading Nicolai Ouroussoff's commentary on the new World Trade Center design? So much ink for someone so obviously miffed that his own preferences did not prevail. The design looks pretty good to me, and if it didn't, I hardly think I'd blame the fact that real estate concerns played a big part in its selection. Art for art's sake happens in lofts, not in grand-scale commercial architecture. And finding fault with the 1,776-foot height is just plain silly.