Strange Beauty: Making Sense of L.A. architecture from the 1980s and 1990s


The city’s Office of Historic Resources has compiled a database of cultural and architectural resources, known as Survey L.A.

Location: Museum of Contemporary Art’s Ahmanson Auditorium

This important effort runs through the year 1980, leaving open the question of how to catalogue and protect the rich variety of architecture produced between 1980 and 2000 by such figures as Frank Gehry, Charles Moore, Franklin Israel and the pair of Hank Koning and Julie Eizenberg, to name just a few. The Mayor’s Office has begun an effort to map and analyze these more recent landmarks, many of which were difficult to appreciate even when they were new because they sought to challenge traditional notions of beauty or architectural context.

Exploring this body of work at MOCA’s Grand Avenue flagship — itself a classic of 1980s Los Angeles architecture designed by Arata Isozaki — will be panelists including architects Thom Mayne, Craig Hodgetts, Ming Fung, Eric Owen Moss and Jeffrey Inaba and (via Skype) critic and historian Charles Jencks, whose 1993 book Heteropolis remains one of the best studies of the L.A. architecture of this period. Introducing the panel will be Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and MOCA Director Klaus Biesenbach.