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Recap: A+D Museum Preview Party at Union Station

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Last Thursday, June 20th, the Architecture + Design Museum hosted a preview party for upcoming exhibition Never Built: Los Angeles, and ArtNerdLA was on the scene. The party, held at the historic Harvey House at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, filled to the far walls that deliciously antique building.

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Guests ate, drank, and examined miniature models of some of Los Angeles’ would-have-been structures. We were lucky enough to chat with the builder of one of the models — seventeen year old Tommy Musca, who interpreted plans for a never-built Frank Lloyd Wright skyscraper cathedral and who carried out the design using sleek black and white Legos. The intrepid high schooler built a table-top miniature-of-a-miniature for the preview party — the actual scale model, built with 70,000 Lego pieces to create an 11 foot tall model, is a task that Musca will carry out over the next few weeks in preparation for the opening of Never Built on July 28th. Not surprisingly, he plans to study architecture in university after he graduates in 2014.

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We also got to speak with Sam Lubell, one of the two curators of Never Built. Lubell is the West Coast Editor of The Architect’s Newspaper and News Editor of Architectural Record, as well as a writer and photographer for several news and architectural news publications. Never Built is his first major curatorial project. The exhibition was born from a series of conversations between Lubell and Greg Goldin, a resident curator at the A+D Museum. They mused that great cities are usually manifested from the ambition of great city planners, architects, and designers, building upon one another’s ideas to create a unified mass of land and culture. “Then there is Los Angeles, always the exception,” says Lubell. In a city with a spotlight perpetually focused upon it for its wealth of innovative ideas across myriad disciplines (not to mention its  host of award-winning architects), public output in its urban organization is largely disjointed; it’s a hodgepodge of styles and ideas and destinations that don’t quite compliment each other. Nothing says Los Angeles like walking along the fringe of the city past a run-down post-war stock building to a refurbished Brooklyn-style walk-up building complete with ground floor pizza parlor, which might happen to be faced by an ornately stone carved cathedral and catacornered by THE MOST FUTURISTIC Caltrans building in the history of EVER (built by LA resident and Pritzker Prize winning architect Thom Mayne, BTW!). You might never even see this sight if you don’t get in your car and drive way out of the way from wherever you are now, though — our city isn’t that easy to navigate.

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Curator Sam Lubell chatting with ArtNerdLA correspondent

Never Built: Los Angeles opens July 27th at the Architecture + Design Museum, located at 6032 Wilshire Blvd. (across the street from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art). This exhibition of drawings, renderings, models, plans, and proposals map out an image of a city that could have been, and of one that is still evolving. Some ideas presented may not have ended up being the most beneficial overall ideas for the city in any case — but many are still relevant, and with luck, will inspire Los Angeles’ next generation of innovators to think BIG and to weave a more unified design of the metropolis. In curator Sam Lubell’s words: “This is less an exhibition than a way of seeing the future of Los Angeles.”

Images courtesy of ArtNerdLA except for final image (courtesy of the Architecture + Design Museum).
This exhibition is part of the Pacific Standard Time initiative.

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