The Platform

Watts House Project

Funding Received: 2011
Los Angeles, CA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
December 14, 2011

This month, we caught up with architect John Umbanhowar, who is collaborating with WHP in reimagining and renovating The Platform. John is a principal at hughesumbanhowar architects and has been entrusted with several historically significant Los Angeles buildings during his career, such as the renovation of Neutra's Troxell House and EastWest Recording Studios (in collaboration with Philippe Starck). He has also been internationally recognized for his design of award-winning furniture and mass-produced design.

Notwithstanding his diverse background and comprehensive experience in renovating renowned structures, John is still in awe of the opportunity to work on The Platform, a building that’s almost 100 years old. According to John, “this project is the oldest set of buildings [he’s] ever worked on.”

Regarding the design for the project, John said that he’s “had a lot of time to reflect on the concept and feels very strongly that [he’s] created the right solution for the organization, the neighborhood and the modest nature of the building.”

When we asked John about what it’s like to be involved with a highly collaborative organization like WHP, he replied that it’s rare to “become so involved in some aspects [he] never sees, like fundraising and organizational goals.” Furthermore, says John, “this project is different than any other project in terms of the collaboration and community participation.” We’re glad to hear it, John, and so happy to have you part of our design team.

While John, the rest of the design team and project managers have worked hard this month on completing the final construction plans for The Platform, the site has remained in operation and is still our base for community meetings, seminars, and day-to-day administration. We even found some time to host a resident-organized Halloween party that was a great success. Watts residents and their children gathered at the site to showcase their ghoulishly imaginative costumes

Stay tuned to learn more about all the steps involved in the preplanning process from the perspective of an artist-driven redevelopment organization.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user auntylaurie