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Aerial Tokyo at at night
Tokyo in sakura season; continued imperative connection to natur
Tokyo's urban hyper-density
Tokyo undergroound flood relief and investment in national infrastructure
Paris street life
Paris and the quality of infrastructure, ubiquitous pedestrian life

JUST ENOUGH

FOR THE CITY

There is a nearly universal late-liberal conviction in California, the nation, and increasingly, the world: 

 

That the system of exchange we are tied to - mega-monoplies in combination with obsessively self-and-family-interested consumers - is the reluctant best of all possible economic worlds.

And there are certainly voices in Los Angeles who argue that the very idea of a cohesive, continuous, well-nurtured physical "city" in the region is already structurally absurd, (whether those structural absurdities are literally on-the-ground, or, even more rigidly, in the mind.)

Indeed, unavoidably, it's the economic world stage we walked in on, and any responsible person has to be conscious of its obligations and daily existential priorities, to the best of one's abilities.  (Who would not be homeless, otherwise?)

But the legacy of other places and other times - say, the ubiquitous and nurtured infrastructure of Tokyo today; or the same of Paris since the 3rd Republic - offer exemplars where the interests of estate and family are made grander by a nearly universal commitment to create a dynamic, industrious city that is a continuously webbed physical experience, from footstep to footstep.  To create; and to be active, co-equal citizens of....

If an architect practicing in Southern California thinks that this increasingly rare commitment is a good thing - and I do - there is no other choice but to work for it.

Architecture is, for me, an impassioned act of citizenship taken on behalf of both the client and the city.  In collaboration with enlightened clients, the work of design creates an imperative struggle to re-introduce ideas of conviviality, sanctuary, and beauty into the public realm and its institutions.

This struggle is strategic, generating universal questions that find project-specific and highly practical responses.  While solving the requisite problems of client program and budget, how can we also:

  • Heal / Restore / Invent / Enrich / Sustain / Connect -  the shared environment, both within and beyond a project's borders?

 

  • Provide durable environmental experiences of public participation, pleasure, and delight - 'alchemically' - with a minimum of means?

  • Plan for sustainable, ultra-robust densities and expand intimate, daily connection with sheltering nature at the same time?

All three of these questions have been, and will continue to be instrumental in my work.

The creation of great cities and great public institutions combines ambitious public acts with incremental private ones.  In this context, every architectural move is an important one that either frustrates or facilitates a richer civic future.

The flaneur in Paris