Development and Design for
Part of an ongoing developers’ conference series on cities of transformation:
Sponsored by the global architecture firm Woods Bagot in association with the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), and building closely on the work of the critic Christopher Hawthorne and other observers, LA 3.0 will be framed around the proposition that, since the end of the 20th century, the Los Angeles metropolitan area has entered a distinct new chapter in its evolution.
Propelling the shift is a remarkable expansion of the region’s transit system—the largest and most ambitious undertaken by any American city in three-quarters of a century, and one reinforced by changing live/work preferences (especially among the city’s younger population) and by recent, tech-enabled modes of shared transportation. Underway for more than a decade but now gaining momentum by the year, these underlying changes are helping
give rise to a distinctively 21st century urban landscape—increasingly visible across the city, from Hollywood to Inglewood to Downtown LA, from Culver City to the Arts District to the Sunset Strip: a “hybrid” model of growth in which a new world of densified, mixed-use, mid or high-rise, pedestrian-friendly developments and districts is being superimposed over the familiar context of private houses, shopping malls, automobiles and freeways, which Los Angeles itself pioneered more than half a century ago.
No longer limited to individual projects, these new development patterns—harnessed to the formative transportation changes beneath them—have reached critical mass, and are now beginning to change the essential identity of the urban place which, more than any other, set the template for the late 20th century global metropolis.
As the transformation of Los Angeles continues, accelerated further by new public and private initiatives—including those for the Los Angeles River, Union Station, LAX, and the 2028 Olympics—the moment could not be more opportune or timely for an expansive and informed conversation about the city’s physical redevelopment, encompassing both current trends and directions as well as proposals, concepts, and visions for the years to come.
To capture the complexity of a vast city in the process of rebuilding, the conversation will be designed to span multiple disciplines and sectors, encompassing transportation and city planning, real-estate development, public works, urban design, and, not least, architecture. It will move fluidly in scale, from the vast underlying “girders” of the region’s infrastructure to the smaller-scaled “fabric”
of individual districts, complexes, and buildings. It will explore both the underlying forces behind the changes—market demand, demographic shifts, technological innovation, urban attitudes, policy and land-use decisions—and the constructed landscape that has arisen in response.
And, while surveying the exciting and promising array of opportunities—for public and private development, for urban architecture, for the vitality of the city itself—the conversation will remain alert to growing concerns arising from the attempt to reconcile large-scale development with the city’s traditional low-rise identity—specifically the need to balance fundamental and perhaps intrinsic tensions among competing demands of growth, affordability, issues of gentrification, and the preservation of neighborhood character.
LA 3.0: Development & Design for the New Los Angeles will be structured around two major panels, unfolding across the morning.
The Girders: Transportation, Infrastructure, & Citywide Initiatives
The first, The Girders: Transportation, Infrastructure, & Citywide Initiatives will explore the major transformative initiatives and changes reshaping the city and region, from transit-oriented development corridors emerging along new and existing Metro lines, to the redevelopment of LAX (and its proposed transit linkages) to the transformation of Union Station into a regional transportation hub. The panel will discuss several formative areas of development and change, including Downtown Los Angeles and the Arts District, and explore the proposed citywide reimagining for the Los Angeles River and the 2028 Olympics. The panel’s focus will be on the interplay of development and the fast-changing transportation landscape, including today’s transit systems, recent (but already transformative) ride-sharing technologies, and the potential impact of advances from autonomous mobility to visionary concepts for high-speed tube systems.
The Fabric: Districts, Developments, Buildings
The second, The Fabric: Districts, Developments, Buildings will extend that conversation by exploring how the city’s larger transformations is playing out at the scale of specific development and architecture projects. Panelists will discuss how developers and architects are interpreting—and creatively shaping their projects to—the new opportunities and demands of a densifying, increasingly transit-oriented city, and how those projects, in turn, are driving a larger rethinking about the city’s zoning, land-use, off-street parking requirements, pedestrian and bicycle orientation, etc. The panel will also look at the ways in which the larger urban tensions between the desire for growth and affordability, on the one hand, and issues of gentrification, social equity, and the preservation of existing neighborhood character, on the other, are being addressed in both design and the development process.
Together, the two panel discussions—along with shorter, individual presentations that round out the day’s program—will seek to reflect a moment of transformation whose significance is difficult to overstate. At stake is not only the future of Los Angeles itself—the nation’s second largest city, a global entertainment capital, and a place that has captured the imagination of people around the world—but, in many ways, that of an entire urban culture that, for the sake of a sustainable future, eagerly seeks ways to transcend dependence on the automobile and the sprawling, low-density development it engenders. As was abundantly true in the postwar era, the lessons of Los Angeles—and the directions it is so dramatically pioneering at the start of the 21st century—may hold the key not only to the city's own destiny, but much of the modern world.
James Sanders, AIA
James Sanders, AIA, is an internationally recognized architect, author, and filmmaker, whose work has garnered him a Guggenheim Fellowship and Emmy Award, among other honors. His landmark study on the city and film, Celluloid Skyline, was hailed by Jane Jacobs as a “marvelous—miraculous—book,” and in 2007 became a multimedia exhibition in Grand Central Terminal, sponsored by TCM. With Ric Burns, Mr. Sanders conceived and wrote the acclaimed eight-part PBS series, New York: A Documentary Film and its bestselling companion volume, New York: An Illustrated History, for which they are currently producing a ninth episode, The Future of Cities.
As principal of James Sanders + Associates, a design and research studio, he has developed architectural, interpretive, and placemaking projects for a wide range of clients, including The Howard Hughes Corporation, New York University, General Growth Properties, André Balazs Properties, Ian Schrager Company, and the Pershing Square Property Association. Mr. Sanders is affiliated with Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, co-founded the Architectural League’s Young Architects Forum, sits on the Board of Directors of the Skyscraper Museum, and in 2006 was elected a Guggenheim Fellow. His essays have appeared in The New Yorker, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Reuters, Vanity Fair, and the Harvard Architecture Review. Since 2017 he has served as consulting Design Council Chair for Woods Bagot.
Dr. christian derix
Dr Christian Derix is a principal of Woods Bagot and the Global Leader of SUPERSPACE, the design research agency of Woods Bagot. SUPERSPACE designs human-centric spatial environments simulating user-experiences employing data analysis, cognitive science and artificial intelligence. SUPERSPACE has been a pioneer in computational urban planning since 2004 when Derix set up the first international computational design group at Aedas in London. The work of the group for urban computing has won the 2010 President’s Medal commendation of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for Research in Practice for its Open Framework for Spatial Simulation. In 2007, the first full digital chain for masterplanning was developed, called Smart Solutions for Spatial Planning.
Derix holds a PhD from Technical University Vienna and has been researching and teaching at various European universities, recently completing visiting professorships at Technical University Munich, Germany and University of Sheffield, United Kingdom. In 2004 he set up the R&D group for Aedas architect in London and moved to Woods Bagot in 2014.
Woods Bagot Global Studio continually expands and challenges the expectations of multi-disciplinary architectural practice in a shifting, fast-moving digital era. Its portfolio is worldwide in scope, diverse in scale and discipline, and encompasses some of the highest-profile projects currently under way in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East—including major projects for Apple, Google, Lendlease, Brookfield, Plenary and other transformational clients. The firm’s work is defined by its clarity of narrative and by the extensive use of state-of-the-art analytics as a platform for design. Its sixteen studios, located in major cities around the globe, consistently imbue the firm’s work with a rigorous vocabulary that references urban and regional context, ecological and social sustainability, and innovation. Above all, Woods Bagot prioritizes human experience and delivers engaging, future-oriented projects for its clients.
Located in downtown Los Angeles, SCI-Arc is a center of innovation and one of the nation’s few independent architecture schools. SCI-Arc was founded in 1972 in Santa Monica by a group of faculty and students who wanted to approach architecture from a more experimental perspective than traditional schools offered. SCI-Arc teaches architects to engage, speculate, and innovate, to take the lead in reimagining the limits of architecture. Its students and faculty critically examine the rich possibilities of the built environment. From design and materials to culture and experience, SCI-Arc asks questions regarding new theoretical constructs and designed realities to constitute possible futures. It contributes an imaginative, rigorous, and forward- thinking approach to help shape the future of the architectural profession.
Metropolis magazine is the indispensable source for architecture and design at all scales. The New York-based publication has delivered stories that link design to evolving issues and trends, from big data to sustainability, since 1981. Its audience—in print, online and at our events—looks to Metropolis for its critical views, storytelling, and inquisitive outlook that will help chart the future of the designed environment.
Coffee and Registration
Nik Karalis, CEO Woods Bagot
James Sanders, AIA
mapping conflicting densities
Christian Derix, Ph.D
11:25 am -12:25 pm
12:25 am -12:30 pm
Conclusion of Conference