THE PEOPLE OF OUR CITY:  a summer series by Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA


Are you curious to learn more about the individuals who work in city government?  

Over the course of the summer, as a way for our membership of 3200+ architects and designers to further connect with the people that work for public agencies in the Los Angeles region, I am reaching out to a few dozen government employees and asking them each to share their personal thoughts about architecture, design and what Los Angeles means to them as a place.

Over the course of the next several months, we will feature these short profiles to further inspire a dialogue with our design community about the personal contributions we all make to the public realm.

If you'd like to share your thoughts or have suggestions for individuals that you'd like to hear from, please contact me at Will{at}aialosangeles.org
 

ROGER A. JOHNSON
Deputy Executive Director, Los Angeles World Airports
Responsible for LAWA’s Capital Development Program

How long have you worked for the City of Los Angeles:  

Approximately 10-years.

What project are you working on right now that you're most excited about?  

I can’t isolate a single project I would have to say it is a program.  I am very excited about the modernization of Los Angeles International Airport. For far too many years Los Angeles has had to apologize for its airport.  I believe we are finally returning LAX to its rightful position in the world.  Los Angeles is an international city and LAX was the first jet-age airport.  With the completion of the first phase of the New Tom Bradley International Terminal, improvements to the Central Terminal Area, and literally billions of dollars of investments in the other terminals, we are literally rebuilding the future of LAX. Los Angeles will no longer have to apologize for its airport.

Describe some of your favorite features that give Los Angeles a sense of place:  
I have always loved the diversity of Los Angeles.  I am not just talking about ethnic diversity.  I grew up in the San Fernando Valley.  Summers I would hitchhike over Topanga Canyon to go to the beach.  Even as a kid I would marvel at the transition from suburbia, to urban wilderness to the beach, all within a 30-minute car ride.  What is amazing is that 45 years later, that same trip (perhaps not hitchhiking) is still possible. Also, anyone who lives here has to mention the climate.  The outside venues such as the Greek Theater or the Hollywood Bowl, available virtually year-round are unique to Los Angeles.  The ethnic diversity however, does play a big part in giving Los Angeles a sense of place.  The neighborhoods are great.


What's your daily connection to architecture and design like?  

Full immersion.  I am overseeing approximately $2.5 billion worth of vertical construction right now.  These projects range from the definition phase, through design development and full construction.  I am meeting with architects, reviewing drawings, and monitoring construction on a daily basis. All of this work is being done in a highly visible, public space.  

In your opinion, what makes Los Angeles "Los Angeles"?  

This one is easy.  It’s the people.   The environment was here. The mountains, the beaches, the canyons, the valleys, they pre-date people.  What makes LA uniquely LA is contributions that people have made to the environment.  Some good, some not so good, but all unique to Los Angeles.  Every person, from those who were born and grew up here, to transplanted mid-westerners, make unique contributions to the place that is Los Angeles.

It's the year 2113 - describe what you see from the front steps of City Hall:  

No cars!  A personalized rapid transit (prt) system connecting downtown and the rest of the city.  A vibrant, livable streetscape that celebrates the outdoors.  Ground level outdoor cafes and shops integrated into business and residential spaces.  More green space.

In your opinion, who is tomorrow's most interesting Angeleno?  

I have to say Mayor Eric Garcetti.  All eyes in LA are on him right now as he begins the next step of his journey leading the City of Los Angeles.

What's your favorite building/ place in the world?

Can I give you two?  I have a favorite built environment and natural environment.   I think my all-time favorite built environment has to be on the Pont d’lena bridge linking the Eiffel Tower on the Left Bank to the Jardins du Trocadero on the Right Bank of the Seine.  The unique architectural views on the two sides, with the Seine flowing through the middle are replicated nowhere else on earth. Yosemite Valley is my all-time favorite natural environment.
Last updated: 30-Jul-2013 11:25 AM
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