Wednesday, November 10, 2021

On The Schedule: November, 2021

This month I'll be talking at Helms Design Center with two very lively thinkers about the built environment, Liam Young and Li Wen. Please join me.

Thursday, November 4 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm    

Planet City - a Radical Solution to Climate Destruction, with Liam Young

Forget carbon taxes and global commitments to use renewables. Climate change demands bigger solutions, like moving all ten billion people on earth to one giant city, leaving the rest of the world to return to the wild, free from human predation. 

That’s the vision laid out by Liam Young, architect-filmmaker-futurist, in his new film and book, Planet City, showcasing a future world in which flora, fauna and humankind coexist in the Anthropocene, divided between an uber-megalopolis and a “new national park of the world.” 

I'll talk with Young, who teaches world building at SCI-Arc, about his visionary thought experiment, and the questions it poses about the environment and our place in it. Our chat coincides with COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference taking place in Glasgow, at which policymakers will discuss real world solutions to the havoc we are creating. 

Young will be joined on the stage by Benjamin Bratton, founder of the design research program The Terraforming, a "comprehensive project to fundamentally transform Earth's cities, technologies, and ecosystems to ensure that the planet will be capable of supporting Earth-like life." He is Professor of Visual Arts at UC San Diego, and a contributor to the Planet City book.

He will also discuss the otherworldly production design for the film. Its radical costuming was developed in collaboration with Ane Crabtree, the costume designer for The Handmaid’s Tale and a collection of artists including Aneesa Shami, member of Textile Arts LA.

A meet and greet with Young and Bratton will follow the talk. Click here for details. 

Planet City was commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria for the NGV Triennial. Catch his TEDMonterey Talk about the film, here


Thursday, November 18 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm    

Learning from Li Wen after a Career in City-building

When I arrived in Los Angeles in mid-1991 one of the first people I met was Li Wen, architect, demon tennis player and fantastically lively conversationalist with endlessly interesting insights about the built world and life and culture in general. We became fast friends. 

At the time he was on the brink of opening his own boutique design firm with Andrew Liang. He later made the decision to join the corporate firm Gensler, where he became design director and Principal.

Time has moved on and now Wen has taken retirement, which I am sure does not mean he will sit still. But his years at Gensler coincide with a time of great change in Los Angeles, especially in downtown where the design firm's L.A. office is located. Undoubtedly, Li has played a significant role in that. So what can he impart to fellow designers and those interested in city-making, as he moves to his next phase in life?

On Thursday, November 18, I will sit down with Li to reflect on his architectural journey -- and his personal journey, from the hills of Santa Barbara to the Hollywood Hills, via China, Yale, New York, London, and Paris. 

Topics we will address include the urban environment as Los Angeles goes through big changes, his role as mentor and nurturer of a new generation of architectural talent, and what might be in his future.

Li will also share details of a design project he is still involved with: the master plan for the future of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The event is co-hosted by Helms Design Center and AIA/LA will open with a reception. While there, check out 2x8, AIA/LA's exhibition of student work currently on display at the Helms Design Center.

Click here for information. 



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