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Silver Lining: Planners Are the New Starchitects

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Connective tissue alert! The demise of starchitects and their starchitecture buildings has been predicted for some time, but LA Times critic Christopher Hawthorne sees a silver lining in the loss of our Nouvels. He writes: "The prolonged slowdown may offer a prime moment to focus on those parts of the city that have never received enough attention: its connective tissue, in particular." In other words, after all those years of big idea buildings, ie, the Getty Center, Caltrans HQ, the economic downturn may actually serve to highlight our public, shared spaces, ie, our sidewalks, park benches and bike paths. Such a movement would shift the power away from traffic engineers and developers (like Related Cos., who has called the most "important shots" on that new downtown park, according Hawthorne), and hand it back to the city and planners. We just hope those planners are attractive enough to appear on the covers of glossy magazines. [Pocket park transformation: Angels Knoll's Plaza, perhaps a connective tissue project. It has only taken something like 27 years to build.]
· Architecture can focus on L.A.'s shared spaces [LA Times]