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Freelance Writer specializing in Los Angeles and its architecture
Writer for The New York Times
Producer of "Which Way, L.A.?", a current affairs program for public radio
In the lower courtyard of the campus commons at Scripps College in Claremont, California, is a pool with a statue of a young deer in front of a mosaic panel on which are inscribed the words, "A Little Faun Drank Lightly, Sweetly of the Water And Was Gone." These words, which memorialize a former Scripps student, also bring to mind Brenda Levin's architecture. There is a lightness of touch in the way Levin has integrated old and new, color and pattern in the new student commons and in many of her new and renovated buildings.
But there is more to Levin's projects than just sweetness and light, and Levin is certainly no timid faun. On the contrary, her projects are the manifestation of a set of skills unusual among architects: political ability, the art of collaboration, and respect and high expectations for the builder.
resume includes a stint in the office of iconoclastic residential architect
John Lautner, says she learned from him the importance of craftsmanship
and detail. This was reinforced when she undertook the preservation of
a string of historic Los Angeles landmarks that were built at a time when
ornamentation was not a crime. In working on these projects, she admits
that she learned a lot from contractors. These lessons are borne out in
substantial, solidly-crafted new works ranging from a center for homeless
women in downtown Los Angeles to a school in North Hollywood to sensitive
adaptive re-uses of buildings by California architects Gordon Kaufmann
and Myron Hunt at Scripps and Occidental Colleges.
Education | Arts & Culture | Civic & Social | Urban Revitalization
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