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PRESIDENT'S LETTER

 

This past March, 350 preservationists attended the Preserving the Recent Past 3 (PRP3) conference in Los Angeles to share the latest strategies for identifying, protecting, and conserving significant structures and sites from the post-World War II era. The two days of conference sessions ranged from historic trends and themes related to recent past buildings, sites, and landscapes, to significant postwar-era sites of underserved communities.

SAH/SCC was asked to reprise its 2012 tour of Conjunctive Points at the Hayden Tract in Culver City. Originally the vision of SAH/SCC Vice President, Jay Platt, the event explored the history of this light-industrial area and the transformative vision of socially conscious developers Frederick and Laurie Samitaur Smith. From the mid-1980s through the present, they have collaborated with noted architect Eric Owen Moss, FAIA, to effect progressive social action through redevelopment, art, architecture, and economic revitalization. During the course of 30 years, the Smiths acquired various properties within Culver City’s Hayden Tract and engaged Moss in an iterative exercise in planning. The result is a district of architecturally experimental buildings, which has become a desirable location for creative industries, artists, and media companies.

For PRP3, Jay delivered an expanded lecture on the history and the context of the Hayden Tract. Afterward, tour-goers traveled via Metro Expo Line from USC to Culver City, where the group was met by project architect Dolan Daggett for an extensive walking tour of the projects. From visionary early buildings, such as Stealth (2001), to recent additions likeVespertine(2016), the tour showcased the evolution of the work of Eric Owen Moss Architects.

After three miles of exploration on foot, the tour ended at the office of the architect, where the group was treated to a viewing of the model for the upcoming (W)rapper building—an engineering wonder. The new tower, with floor plates of 15,000 square feet each, will be supported on a structure of curvilinear, concrete-filled, one-by-five-foot steel tube ribbons. The ribbon system will be located external to the floors, so the floor plates are entirely open and flexible. The ribbons are designed to be resolved at the base of the tower as a series of intersecting hyperbolic support walls that geometrically join ribbons on one elevation with ribbons on the opposite side.

The half-day tour was offered twice during the conference, and attendees included more than 50 architects, historians, and preservationists from around the country. The Hayden Tract tour showcased architecture and revealed a potential historic district unique to Los Angeles—reigniting the need to consider resources that do not yet meet the 50-year threshold for historic significance.

Thank you to Jay and SAH/SCC Treasurer, John Berley, for leading these tours. If you missed the 2012 tour and/or the PRP3 version, we have updated our walking tour brochure to include the more recent projects (available for purchase at www.sahscc.org)

 
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