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Ambassador Hotel Campus: Is Anyone Surprised This Turned Out Badly?

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Well, everyone probably saw this coming. But is it possible to learn something about the city from the LAUSD's new campus on the site of the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard? Does it mean that Los Angeles is a misguided teenager when it comes to its attempts at preservation and conservation? That's the impression one gets reading the LA Times review of the new LAUSD campus , a project that is not only the most expensive in LAUSD history, but one that suggests the "city has now entered a kind of limbo when it comes to cultural maturity." More from architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne: "LA is neither young enough to energetically (if blithely) embrace the future nor self-aware enough to fully protect its architectural heritage, particularly when that protection requires significant investment from cash-strapped public agencies. What other city would knock down a major cultural landmark — a hotel where half a dozen early Academy Award ceremonies were held, to say nothing of the site's architectural and political significance — but then insist that the school replacing it squeeze into the same shape, so that anybody who remembers what used to be there is confronted not with tangible history but a ghostly shell of the original?" Related: During last week's Columbia Square hearing, complaints arose during the public comment period that the city has a "piecemeal approach" to preservation.
· L.A. Unified's faulty vision for schools on Ambassador site [LA Times]
· Ambassador Hotel Archives [Curbed LA]