PHOTO: Detail of image of Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Hills

Every year the AIA|LA asks Presidential Honorees a series of questions that reveal respondents’ perspectives on architecture and the City of Los Angeles from a personal point of view. Answering on behalf of the Building Team of the Year is HOK’s Ernest Cirangle, FAIA, Design Principal at the firm’s Los Angeles Office. This year the team award was bestowed for collaborative work on for the Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Medical Office. It’s exactly the type of project that Cirangle is interested in: impactful and enhancing lives. But when we asked him about his own life, and where he’d like to spend time if he had four days off in Los Angeles, he gave us a wonderful twist on a classic Los Angeles landmark.

AIA|LA: Favorite place to eat in Los Angeles.
Ernest Cirangle, FAIA: There are so many excellent places to eat in LA. I particularly like eating outdoors to take advantage of our great Southern California weather: breakfast in the courtyard of the Rose Café in Venice, lunch overlooking the Pacific Coast at Geoffrey’s in Malibu, and dinner in an urban park setting surrounded by cityscape towers and the Central Library at Café Pinot in Downtown LA.

(Celebrate HOK, Ernest Cirangle, FAIA, and the Building Team of the Year at the 2018 Design Awards Ceremony + Party. Here’s how.)

Dream Commission. What current site, project, or building in Los Angeles would you reconceive? Why and how?
I’ve had the opportunity throughout my career to work on many different types of projects. The best commissions are the ones that have the most impact on enhancing people’s lives, like helping to bring quality healthcare and a community space to Baldwin Hills with the Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Medical Office and helping to bring a transportation hub to Anaheim with the ARTIC multi-modal station. A new dream commission would be to work on the design of the California High-Speed Rail system to link California’s communities with mixed-use transit stations.

Okay, a commission or project that you’ve done. Tell us a story about it that we don’t already know.
I led the HOK design team on the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center, also known as ARTIC. I heard that some people started referring to it as “the Armadillo” due to the vault-shaped structure and diamond-patterned ETFE enclosure. People have asked me how I feel about that, and I rather like it. This kind of nicknaming tells me that people are responding to the architecture in a personal, emotional way.

If you had four hours off and could spend it anywhere in Los Angeles, where would it be?
A dream LA day—emphasis here on “dream”—would be a personal guided tour of the Cosmos by Neil deGrasse Tyson at the Griffith Observatory. An inspiring conversation at an iconic LA landmark.

Been to the Design Awards before? Tell us about a moment that stands out, whether it’s inspirational, behind-the-scenes, or lighthearted.
AIA|LA always chooses great venues for the annual awards ceremony. A few years ago, the Design Awards were held in Downtown LA at multiple venues along Broadway. It was a movable architectural feast, with the awards presentation in the Million Dollar Theater and meals served at the Grand Central Market. Attendees were also able to explore the Bradbury Building across Broadway. It was a real treat to experience these historic buildings and street life throughout the evening.