In this in-depth interview, Frank Escher and Ravi GuneWardena [Principals of Escher GuneWardena Architecture, Los Angeles] discuss several important projects that incorporate their interest and expertise in historic preservation and spaces for contemporary art. Escher GuneWardena’s involvement with Modernism and its preservation begins with Escher’s research as editor of the first monograph on John Lautner in 1994. The partners reflect on their involvement with a number of Lautner’s projects, most notably the Chemosphere and the current restoration of John Lautner’s own house. Other notable projects discussed include the Eames House and studio in Pacific Palisades and the complete restoration of an early Silverlake house designed by Gregory Ain. Collaborations with artists have led to projects for exhibition spaces, such as the galleries of Blum & Poe, which helped to pioneer the development of La Cienega Blvd as a hub for art galleries and studios in Los Angeles.
Also in this conversation, Escher and GuneWardena guide us through two very different, but culturally significant restoration projects. The first is the historic Church of the Epiphany in Lincoln Heights, built in 1888. This building is culturally significant for being the center of Latinx culture and social justice work in the 1960s as the home of the Chicano civil rights newspaper La Raza and the Los Angeles base for Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers Movement. The second project is the restoration of the personal residence of prominent African-American architect Paul R. Williams. Built in 1952 in Lafayette Square, Williams’ own residence is perhaps the most architecturally significant of the many houses he designed.
Crew Credits –
Creator and Executive Producer – Hernán Díaz Alonso
Producers – Marcelyn Gow/Reza Monahan
Segment Producer/Interviewer – Tanita Enderes
Videography – TinDragon Media
Story Producers – Tanita Enderes/Vivian Charlesworth
Editors – TinDragon Media/Reza Monahan
“Smart Tech” by Scott Holmes Music
“November Walk at Night” by Lobo Loco
“Heavy Day” by Jon E Alpha
“Heart Ache” by Broke For Free
Additional Images Provided by Escher GuneWardena
Special thanks to Alana Frey
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