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City Enlists Panel of Architects for an Eyesore Alert

Times Staff Writer

Mayor Tom Bradley, reacting to controversy and concern over the aesthetics of new development, announced the appointment Monday of an advisory panel of architects to review municipal projects and “prevent the construction of eyesores in our city.”

The new panel grew out of a 14-month dispute over the Central Library expansion plan. It is intended to avert such controversies by consulting with project architects and by advising the city’s Cultural Affairs Commission.

For the record:

12:00 a.m. May 19, 1988 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday May 19, 1988 Home Edition Part 1 Page 2 Column 6 Metro Desk 1 inches; 31 words Type of Material: Correction
The name of designer Sharon Landa was misspelled in a story Tuesday mentioning her as one of nine architects and designers appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley to an advisory committee to review municipal projects.

The commission is another appointed body charged by the City Charter with design approval over all construction projects on or over city property. Although its members include no architectural professionals, it has aggressively judged projects, ranging from the library to maintenance yards.

“We build this city building by building,” said Merry Norris, commission chairwoman. “Each building is important . . . to our thrust to improve the quality of life.”

Norris hailed the new panel, which includes private architects and professors of architecture, as “another milestone in . . . the mayor’s leadership in the arts.”

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The Cultural Affairs Commission last month won a battle of wills with Bradley and the City Council when it approved architect Norman Pfeiffer’s redesign of the east wing of the historic Central Library. Fourteen months earlier, the commission had rejected Pfeiffer’s original plan, saying it competed with, rather than complemented, the original building. Officials estimated the construction delay may have cost the city $500,000.

One member, architect Jon Jerde, said the new panel will be especially concerned with urban design--how architecture fits into the larger urban environment--more than isolated works of architecture.

Another panelist, USC School of Architecture Dean Robert Harris, acknowledged that the group itself will be subjected to critical reviews. “There aren’t any guarantees that as a result of our advice, only beautiful things will happen in this city,” Harris said, grinning.

Harris and two other architects--Michael Rotondi, director of Southern California Institute of Architecture, and Richard Weinstein, dean of UCLA’s Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning--were named as permanent members of the new panel.

Six other architects were appointed to one-year terms. They are Jerde, Sharon Lands, Gregory Villanueva, Robert Kennard, Charles Kanner and Robert Uyeda, all of whom head local firms.


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