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Old Pasadena Walking Tour

April 27 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm PDT


Come explore Old Pasadena! We’ll be walking the city’s urban landscape starting at Memorial Park, stopping at several notable landmarks along the way, and ending at the semi-annual Jackalope Indie Artisan Fair in Central Park.

Founded 150 years ago in 1874, Old Pasadena has a rich architectural history, and has implemented various urban improvement strategies at each era of its development. We’ll discuss both the successes and the challenges of these different planning approaches, and take a closer look at several historic buildings that have undergone or are undergoing extensive seismic retrofits and accessibility upgrades.

1. Participants and presenters will explore the built environment of Old Pasadena, including its rich architectural history and several historic buildings that have undergone or are undergoing extensive seismic retrofits and accessibility upgrades.

2. Presenters will identify the key architectural, landscape, and urban design features that make Old Pasadena unique and tied to each era of development and refinement throughout the last 150 years.

3. Presenters and participants will discuss both the successes and the challenges of different urban settings, and various planning approaches, spanning from the walkable area between Memorial Park and Central Park.

4. At the end of the tour, participants will be able to review and compare the history and urban landscape of Old Pasadena against the urban fabric of the larger Los Angeles area.

  • Meet at Levitt Pavilion in Memorial Park
  • And wear comfortable walking shoes!

Parking & Transit:

AIA|LA encourages everyone to walk, bike, or ride METRO.

Street or structured parking is available near Memorial Park.



Chair of the AIA|LA Urban Design Committee:

Jonathan Rieke, AIA – Project Leader, West of West & Chair, AIA|LA Urban Design Committee

Jonathan is a Project Leader at West of West, with experience ranging from residential interiors to large-scale ground-up development projects. He is a registered architect in California, Michigan, and Ohio and has previously worked as a designer for several award-winning firms including The Los Angeles Design Group, Bjarke Ingels Group, and Morphosis Architects. Jonathan has held academic positions at the University of Southern California, The Ohio State University, and Kent State University where he was the Schidlowski Emerging Faculty Fellow. Jonathan received his Master of Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, where he was awarded the James Templeton Kelley Prize for best graduate thesis, and his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from The Ohio State University.




Vice-Chair of the AIA|LA Urban Design Committee:

Kelly Nicholas, AIA, LEED AP BD+C – Associate, ZGF ARCHITECTS LLP

Kelly is a licensed architect practicing at ZGF Architects in Downtown Los Angeles. A graduate of Rice University, she has over 15 years of experience in the design and construction industry, working on a variety of project types while practicing at firms in Singapore, Texas, New York, and California. Having spent most of her adult life living in downtowns of major cities, her passion for urban density, adaptive reuse, public transit, and walkability makes her an enthusiastic advocate of the Urban Design Committee and its initiatives.






The AIA|LA Urban Design Committee Mission Statement

Does anyone care about urban space today? Whatever happened to visionary urban design? Where is the model for Los Angeles? Is there a model for Los Angeles? Isn’t it the architect’s job to design the city? Can we envision and support non-commercialized collective spaces? Can we be radically optimistic about the future without seeming naive? Doesn’t the term “Urban Design” sound banal, academic, and indeterminate? Why is that? Can we change that? Is there political viability for large-scale ambitious planning initiatives? How can infrastructural investment alter and improve the way the city functions? What is the new mayor going to do about homelessness and how can we, as architects, help? Not to say anything about the policy, regulations, and red tape that govern land use, planning, and development, but if we had to say something about it where would we even start? What about the history of redlining, discriminatory lending practices, and segregation that has produced our present urban patterns? Can architects help foster an agenda of spatial equity in the city? Can small-scale interventions be more effective than large-scale propositions in making a more liveable city? How can return on investment be measured, other than in dollars and cents? Mass Timber sounds great, but what’s the story behind the sustainability argument? How can we develop the city more sustainably? Remember all that fuss about the LA River, what’s going on there? Same question, but about the Olympics? How much impact can an individual building have in the life of a city? What are the best practices for designing housing today? How can architects best respond to the current State of Emergency? Can we, as a profession, be more proactive in proposing solutions that we want to see implemented?

The Urban Design Committee believes that we can, and should. Our mission for 2023 is about asking questions, fostering discussions, proposing solutions, and illustrating visions for the future of Los Angeles.


April 27
10:00 am - 12:00 pm PDT
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Levitt Pavilion Pasadena
85 E Holly St
Pasadena, CA 91103 United States
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AIA|LA Urban Design Committee