Sunday, June 20, 2010

On Eli Broad

In Eli Broad: L.A.'s peripatetic patron, Christopher Hawthorne writes a scathing critique of Broad's philanthropic endeavours which, despite their indisputable benefits, have fallen short of acknowledging the crucial role of civic space in the urban discourse. "Perhaps cities wind up with the patrons they deserve. Los Angeles has long struggled to find ways to talk coherently about its public self or plan for a collective future," he concludes.

Hawthorne acknowledges L.A.'s unique faith as a promotional, "fabricated" city which "has always made room for strong-willed individuals and their private architectural retreats, and has at crucial moments handed over chunks of the civic realm to those individuals and their visions of what Los Angeles might become."

Broad is not the first, and won't be the last. He is not the worse, either -- just mediocre, like the projects of his firm Kaufman & Broad, which have been so successful at destroying the French countryside, and its way of life. Guess you can take the philanthropist out of the suburban development, but you can't take the suburban developer out of the philanthropist.
UPDATE 06/22/10: Who will follow Eli Broad as L.A.'s architectural patron? [LAT]

UPDATE 06/22/10: How to build a better shortlist [LAT]

No comments: