Lautner, Grand Central Market, Brenda Levin, Thom Mayne
The Designer and Client of Year’s 25-Year Award Honoree Respond to the Presidential Honoree Q and A

Can you name a building that’s been more prescient, timeless, and pivotal to multiple generations of Angelenos than Grand Central Market, which is this year’s Presidential Honoree 25 Year Award recipient? To be honest, as I write this lede, I can’t.

This LA icon opened, literally, one-hundred years ago, in 1917.
This year the AIA|LA Board of Directors is recognizing the market's 1984 restoration by Brenda Levin, FAIA, for clients Ira Levin and Adele Yellin, Hon. AIA|LA, with the 25-Year Award. In bestowing the award the board notes the restoration’s iconic architectural design of enduring significance which offers renewed relevance after more than 25 years.
That’s a lot of dates and digits. But the truth is, for Angelenos, the meaning lies much deeper than the numbers. For a century, we have chosen to work in, purchase food at, and, most importantly come together in this extraordinary downtown market.

Celebrate Brenda, Adele, and the Grand Central Market! Click the Link for tickets to Architects' Night Out--the 2017 Design Awards and Apres Party.

As Presidential Honorees, we asked Brenda and Adele to participate in this year’s illuminating and irreverent Presidential Honoree Q&A. What would these two women, who have honored LA’s history, say about our city today? Here now, their answers.


Brenda Levin, FAIA

AIA|LA: Favorite place to eat in Los Angeles.
Brenda Levin, FAIA: Grand Central Market of course!

Dream Commission. What current site in Los Angeles would you reconceive? Why and how?
Any site that doesn’t have a historic building on it!

We have a photo booth at this year’s Design Awards. If you could pick one Angeleno to have your snap taken with, who would it be, and why. 
I would cram in Julia Morgan, my role model with John Lautner, my first employer.

Most influential piece of Los Angeles architecture to you. Include a why, if you’d like.
Griffith Observatory – visible from everywhere including space!

Okay, a commission or project that you’ve done.
What should we know about it, that we don’t.  John Anson Ford Amphitheatre

If you had three hours off—or a full vaca—where would you likely be?
Besides Denver to see my granddaughter - Back to Japan – to see Hiroshi Nakamura’s Community Hall and Forest Chapel, at Lakeside Cemetery Park, outside of Tokyo.

Been to the Design Awards before? Name a moment that stands out, whether behind-the-scenes, hilarious, or inspiring.
The honor of walking across the stage and seeing Paul Danna smiling, about to present me with the LA/AIA Gold medal and then sharing our firms work of 30+ years.


Adele Yellin, Hon. AIA|LA

AIA|LA: Favorite Place to Eat in Los Angeles.
Adele Yellin, Hon. AIA|LA: Grand Central Market

Dream Commission. What current site in Los Angeles would you reconceive? Why and how?
Westwood Village. Make it higher density. Bring in more creative food offerings. Create more foot traffic at night. Make it a walking community which means it must have residential as part of the mix.

Create direct access to the UCLA campus with an underground tunnel from Wilshire. This will make Westwood more user friendly and attractive.

One Angeleno to have snap taken with?
Brenda Levin—for her decades of commitment to restoring the beauty of Los Angeles

Most influential piece of Los Angeles architecture to you. Include a why, if you’d like.
I can’t say one. There are three or four:

The Bradbury Building. Because it’s one of a kind and so iconic.

Disney Hall. Because it expanded our visual senses and it challenged and educated our community about how inventive you can be thru architecture.

The DOT building which Ira worked on with Thom Mayne. It’s a state of the art green building that feels like what it does. It’s about speed and movement.

And in Los Angeles, residential architecture is one of our greatest strengths.

Okay, a commission or project that you’ve done. What should we know about it, that we don’t.
The new Stuart House at UCLA Santa Monica hospital by Marc Appleton. It’s a place for children who’ve been sexually assaulted to get one-stop care: interviews with law enforcement, therapists, and medical team all in one place. The kids and families arrive here feeling traumatized and withdrawn. The building is a welcoming, beautiful environment that makes it a safe space for kids.

If you had three hours off—or a full vaca—where would you likely be?
India. I’d love to go back to Calcutta. I’ve been once. It is visually beautiful and strangely magical at the same time.

Been to the Design Awards before? Name a moment that stands out, whether behind-the-scenes, hilarious, or inspiring.
AIA had an event at GCM several years ago. The way they decorated the market, the lighting and the way it made people feel, inspired me to open the market at night.
Last updated: 25-Oct-2017 12:50 PM
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