Building Base (A Forum Project)

The Forum is a place, whether temporal or spatial, for the discussion of ideas and concepts related to architecture and urban design in Los Angeles.  But the Forum is also an (ongoing) process of production.  Our bi-monthly newsletter and pamphlets are extensions of our events and a central component of our activities.
In the long run, we would like to collect a much wider array of information into a “Building Base”: a unified encyclopedia which collects the fragmentary ways in which the abstract social, economic and physical structures of our community are articulated — in a format which will allow makers of architecture in Los Angeles to comprehend what now appears as a vast and formless context and to create critical moments of coherence within that environment.  The “Building Base” project would be both a unified architectural archive and a manual, both a collection of myths and anecdotes and an analytical and critical survey of the emerging architecture of Los Angeles.  In a world of increasingly complex and more manipulable forms of information and communication, it would also allow a larger public to understand and respond in a critical fashion to the representations of their world formed by our architecture.
The “Building Base” will be a computer-based database accessible to both professionals and laymen.  So far, the project is only a mirage.  If you have any interest in this notion, and would be interested in helping to structure the “Building Base”, please contact Aaron Betsky : 213-938-6826 or Christian Hubert: 213-389-6730.
A postscript to the Forum’s Skyscraper symposium held January 19 at City Hall—the reference for speaker Mike Davis’ article is: Mike Davis, “Chinatown, Part II?  The Internationalization of Downtown Los Angeles.”  New Left Review No. 164.
(An excerpt from the article was published in the March 4-10 issue of L.A. Weekly.)

Random Notes

The Let’s Not and Say We Did Dept.:

A master plan sponsored by the CRA calls for the Union Passenger Terminal (1934-39, John and Donald Parkinson, et al), one of the truly wonderful train stations in the world, to become a mega-retail mall as the centerpiece of a multi-modal transit center that will include facilities for trains, buses, and subways – but not in the original station.  7 million square feet of office space will be built behind the station.  A 6000 space parking garage is also slated for the development.

The Kirsten Kiser Gallery has invited a number of architects and students at USC, UCLA, Otis-Parsons, and SCI-Arc to design lifeguard towers.  Among the participants are, not surprisingly, Frank Gehry, Stanley Tigerman, Robert Stern, Michael Graves, and Cesar Pelli.  What is surprising is that the U.S. Department of Beaches and Harbors is actually considering building them.  The schemes will be exhibited at the Gallery from June 25 through July. The winning student design will be on the cover of Main magazine.

“[Undeveloped] land does not have scenic quality.  It is devoid of beauty.  It is ugly, vacant land.”  So says developer C.R. Wojciechowski, whose proposal for a 106-room hotel, 18-hole golf course, 17,000 s.f. commercial center and 224 single-family homes on 257 acres of Topanga Canyon was partially denied by the County Planning Commission.  He is currently suing his opponents for unjustly depriving him of profits from the project.

Original Newsletter:

For a downloadable PDF copy of the original Newsletter with searchable text, click on the direct link below.

Newsletter_March – 1987