SCI-Arc Arts District Anchor Project

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

Funding Received: 2012
Los Angeles, CA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
March 5, 2013

The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) was awarded a major grant from ArtPlace to design and build two new arts venues and to help plan arts programming for a third venue. All three venues are in various stages of being planned and built for the Los Angeles Arts District neighborhood. They are: (1) the Hispanic Steps, an indoor amphitheater designed by Hodgetts+Fung, (2) the Outdoor Pavilion, which will be the largest public arts venue in the Arts District when complete and designed by Marcelo Spina and Georgina Huljich of P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S, and (3) a multi-purpose 99-seat theater in One Santa Fe, a mixed-use, transit oriented development designed by Michael Maltzan.

This month, ArtPlace followed up with SCI-Arc Director of Academic Affairs, Hsinming Fung to ask her about her experience at the ArtPlace Creative Placemaking Summit.

ARTPLACE: Where does this movement go next?  

Ming Fung: The next step for creative placemaking is to embrace organizations outside of the arts and to incorporate creative placemaking strategies into wider civic initiatives. As a design organization, it was exciting to be immersed with other arts organizations at the summit. For this movement to be truly successful, the concept of placemaking needs to extend beyond the arts community and to be fully integrated into the planning, design and management of urban spaces. Shaping cities, communities, and neighborhoods will be accomplished when creative placemaking is a true interdisciplinary field that considers architecture, engineering, aesthetics, functionality, accessibility, and nature.

ARTPLACE: What ideas did you gain or lessons did you learn that you plan to apply to your initiative?  

Fung: That we are stronger when we work together, the concept of collaboration and the importance of arts organizations of all disciplines coming together as a defining component of creative placemaking was really inspiring. SCI-Arc must continue to invest in its existing civic partnerships and foster new community collaborations.

ARTPLACE: What did you share about your initiative that was surprising to you or to other participants?

Fung: SCI-Arc’s initiative to build community arts venues is distinct from a majority of the projects taking place, which were focused on arts programming. In addition, SCI-Arc was one of the few organizations at the summit representing architecture and design, which will build venues for those arts programs to take place. Architecture and design has always celebrated other forms of art. The Hollywood Bowl is the perfect example. As a popular outdoor venue for the performing arts, the shell of the Hollywood Bowl is an iconic Los Angeles landmark. Here the role of the architect is to design a venue that will be accessible, and a stage that will be acoustically effective and visually stunning. As a result, the architect offers a significant contribution to creative placemaking by helping to shape buildings and landmarks that are unique to individual cities. [Ed Note: Hodgetts+Fung redesigned the shell at the Hollywood Bowl in 2004, providing a much needed improvement to the venue’s acoustics.]

ARTPLACE: What new opportunities for your initiative did you identify from conversations with other creative placemakers?

Fung: There is an opportunity for more architecture and design organizations to engage in the creative placemaking movement. I think that we as participants took away the idea that there is a possibility for more collaboration among all different types of organizations and that architecture and design will play an active role in creating a sense of place. Functional, beautifully designed spaces have the power to make communities more livable.