Steven Ehrlich’s Los Angeles: AIA|LA Gold Medal Recipient answers the 2015 Q&A


Steven Ehrlich, FAIA, on a recent vacation.


Sometimes, given his current institutional stature, we forget. Steven Ehrlich—the FAIA, the 2015 American Institute of Architects Firm Award recipient, this year’s AIA|LA Presidential Honoree Gold Medal recipient—worked in the Peace Corps.

Then we read his answers to this year’s Presidential Honoree questionnaire and, given the breadth of his interests, can’t help but remember that he started out a little differently.

So, below we share Steven’s answers. LA firsts, lasts, and favorites:
icebreakers if you run into him in the buffet line at this year’s Design Awards party.

AIA|LA: What was the first Los Angeles building (and relevant architect) to influence you?

Steven Ehrlich, FAIA: The Watts Towers by Simon Rodilla, which I saw when I first visited Los Angeles in 1976.  For me the towers represented the limitless range of artistic expression and vitality in the city, which attracted me to move here.    

Name a Los Angeles person, place, or thing that inspires you today and tell us why (as briefly or in as great detail as you wish.)

My longtime friend and collaborator Ed Moses is enormously inspiring to me. Over the years I designed two painting studios for him and we collaborated on the Shatto Recreation Center near downtown. At age 89, Ed continues to be incredibly inventive and is doing amazing work. He truly leads the artist’s life, always searching and redesigning his environment, and he paints every day.

Favorite book or website/blog or Instagram feed?

One of my business partners Takashi Yanai (@t_yanai) has a great Instagram feed, posting beautiful photography with a fresh view of the world. I just finished a book written by my client Guy Lawson, “Arms and The Dudes”. It’s an incredible story about three stoners who con the U.S. government into giving them weapons contracts during the Afghanistan War.  

What's the thing you'd most like to change about Los Angeles in the future?  

This is easy: better public transportation. I’d love to see more pedestrian neighborhoods and less dependence on cars.  

What should never change in this city?

Los Angeles should remain an incubator of change, eyes always on the future.

Where is your favorite place to go in LA?               

I travel so much that I love the peacefulness of my courtyard home in Venice.

Join Steven at the 2015 AIA|LA Design Awards Ceremony + Party.  Pick up early bird tickets before the September 26 deadline

Last updated: 16-Sep-2015 04:01 PM
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