Kaplan: Pro and Con

Re: Sam Hall Kaplan’s March 16 column:

The stated purpose of the Los Angeles Prize is to commemorate exemplary achievements in the pursuit of ideas in architecture. It is an international competition, open not only in the architectural profession, but science, engineering, and related artistic and technological disciplines, all of which contribute to what will eventually affect the state of the art of architecture.

As to our chosen inaugural theme, “Visions of Architecture in the Year 2010,” what’s wrong in trying to see--or foresee--what architects will have to work with in the not-so-distant future? We’re already into some of the most important changes in the where, how--and even how long--we live.

What’s wrong with planning ahead, which is what architects/planners are trained to do, so as to be in the forefront of architecture in space, under the sea or yes, even here on earth? Does that make architects, and in particular, Los Angeles architects, “spaced out?” Does that make them “irrelevant?”


To the contrary, it indicates a sincere concern for the human environment, a desire for knowledge and the technological breakthroughs to achieve that environment. And such visions have a wonderful way of becoming reality sooner than we think.

That doesn’t mean that we’re not paying attention to now. Every current design competition pays attention to tradition and to now, and rewards owners and contractors of award-winning projects. Perhaps our next theme will address special issues in that regard. And maybe--just maybe--tradition and your “golden age” and now has to pay some attention to the future.

As to the jury, the names published were only a partial list; we have invitations out to persons of note in many fields and hopes of acceptances very shortly. (Whom, in your infinite wisdom, would you suggest?)



Los Angeles

Axon is president of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects.