From Ice Cube to Baldwin Hills, to the Designer of the Beverly Hills Hotel
A View of Los Angeles by 2017 Presidential Honoree, SoCalNOMA


There are things you should know about Ice Cube. A restaurant in Baldwin Hills that you should hit. A mall in Black Los Angeles that needs to be reconceived….

We ask the same questions because we want different answers--that’s the beauty of the annual AIA|LA Presidential Honoree Q&A responded to by each year’s recipients.

And here are those of this year’s Community Contribution winner, SoCalNOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects Southern California Chapter), an organization that seeks new answers from the profession. Namely, increased and representative representation of African American designers and architects.

(Thanks to SoCalNOMA member Roland Wiley, AIA – Principal, Business Development, RAW International, for the answers.)

AIA|LA: Favorite place to eat in Los Angeles
Roland Wiley, AIA, on behalf of SoCalNOMA: Post and Beam at the Baldwin Hills Mall - This restaurant has become a favorite spot for all of Black Los Angeles, and is now attracting people from all over the city who appreciate fine cuisine in a warm and friendly environment.

[Honor SoCalNOMA’s contributions to our profession. Pick up tickets to the 10.30.17 AIA|LA Design Awards Here]

Post and Beam represents one of the very few quality restaurants in the View Park/Baldwin Hills community. Owned and managed by renowned restaurateur Brad Johnson, this restaurant has become a community meeting place for the retirees of the neighborhood during the afternoon and the happy hour meeting place for the up and coming working class of the neighborhood.

So Cal NOMA has hosted Christmas parties and small meetings at this cozy spot, which was beautifully transformed from a former Golden Bird Chicken restaurant.

Dream Commission
So Cal NOMA would love to reconceive the Crenshaw/Baldwin Hills Mall, located in the heart of Black Los Angeles. The current design of this massive shopping center is very automobile oriented and offers minimal integration into the community or pedestrian access.

Though the Mall has undergone several renovations and improvements over the past 20 years, it will require a total makeover to transform the mall into it's true potential. A current master plan envisioned by RAW International is a very positive step in the right direction. The plan features a Hotel and Conference Center, a major pedestrian entrance at Crenshaw and Stocker, and over 800 hous?ing units.

Photo Booth Opportunity
So Cal NOMA would like to take a snap shot with iconic rapper/actor/entrepreneur Ice Cube (O'Shea Jackson). Ice Cube represents the level of growth and success that we would like to encourage our young people to aspire to.

As one of the founders of the iconic gangsta rap group "NWA", Ice Cube chose to use that controversial music genre as a launching pad for a diverse and inspirational career. He went on to acting, then producing and directing. His recent movies like "Barber Shop" have featured uplifting themes which promote unity and self determination. Ice Cube took architecture classes at a community college prior to making it big in Hollywood. He was recently featured in a video celebrating the Eames House.

Most Influential Piece of Los Angeles Architecture
Paul R. Williams was the most influential Los Angeles architect from So Cal NOMA's perspec?tive. He designed so many iconic homes for the rich and famous of Los Angeles, it would be hard to agree upon which project in particular. The Beverly Hills Hotel is probably the most influential symbolically. Just driving by the exclusive property and realizing that an African American architect played a large role in it's current design is a tremendous inspiration.

A Commission/Project that AIA should know about
About every 1O years, So Cal NOMA organizes and sponsors the So Cal NOMA Awards Program to recognize the remarkable achievements of Architects of Color. With the exception of Paul R. Williams, the work African American Architects goes pretty much unrecognized by our professional organizations and publications. The NOMA Design Awards serve to honor the work of our unsung heroes and recognize the support of individuals who have advocated for the suc?cess of African American Architects. It has been over 10 years since the last So Cal NOMA Awards Program, so there should be one coming soon.

Where would So Cal NOMA like to be for a full vacation?
So Cal NOMA would like to sponsor our National Conference in Cairo Egypt. We would take the opportunity to expose our members to the mighty contributions and architectural achievements of our ancestors including the majestic Temples and the awesome pyramids.
Last updated: 21-Oct-2017 11:25 AM
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