AWA+D’s The Rise: A Recap

Held Sunday, May 31st at the LA Convention Center during Dwell on Design, we’re proud to report that “The Rise”, this year’s signature event for AWA+D, was a tremendous success. The event took a myriad of support and involvement, not just from AWA+D members and guests, but our event sponsors and panel of star-studded speakers. We wanted to offer our most sincere thanks for all of those who participated, and share a few highlights of the day.Moderated by KCRW’s DNA host Frances Anderton, the event kicked off with a one-on-one discussion between Frances and Senior Associate of Michael Maltzen Architects, Gee-Ghid Tse. Sharing projects such as One Santa Fe and the master plan for the Piggyback Yards on the southeastern edge of Downtown, the introduction to these exciting projects also began to reveal the issues facing Downtown’s ongoing renaissance.Frances continued by engaging the event’s panel which consisted of Peter Zellner, Principal and Design Lead of AECOM; Nicholas Maricich, City Planner with LA’s Department of City Planning Policy Division; Hal Bastian, known as the “Mayor” of Downtown; and Tarrah Beebe, a longtime resident and architect with Killefer Flammang Architects participating in projects transforming Downtown’s urban, social and cultural landscape.

The conversation covered a lot of territory…from Downtown’s past as a horizontal landscape to a newer, more vertical one; the lack of true usable, community-oriented public space; the social issues of ghetto-ism and homeless; how dogs were the catalyst that built the Downtown community in the early days; and how our collective thinking about cars needs to evolve to support livable urban growth. Such great insights were shared and worthwhile topics were unearthed it was hard to put a stop to the dialogue!As they called time on our panel discussion we moved the party upstairs to a private reception room. Guests and members mingled with the panelists, enjoyed food and drinks, and when done, spent the afternoon exploring the Dwell on Design convention floor.

As mentioned, The Rise event was held on the main stage of Dwell on Design, the nation’s largest modern design show. Part of our cooperative agreement with Dwell was to also provide volunteers for the “Architect is In” sessions held Saturday and Sunday during the show. We were thrilled to offer this service and hope to partner with Dwell in the future to bring opportunities like this to the public.So as we reflect on this year’s successes and begin (already) to prepare for our future events, we’d like to thank all of those involved in AWA+D. Perhaps our Director of Programs, Jill Hensiek, said it best when she circulated this poem shortly after the event: THE RISE is all over now!It's done--it's through!And what a great success it was,Mostly because of each of you. You waded through the email chains,With tireless mouse clicking--Your fingers must be tired now,From all that keyboard ticking. Our subject proved to be engaging,Igniting interest from the crowd.All the planning so well worth it,and we should all be proud. Not everything was perfect,But man we sure got close.We added 30 new membersand to me, that means the most. So thank you constant volunteersOf our dear AWA plus D,Your contributions are so valuedAnd really mean so much to me. So please stick around to help next year,We will need you all around,To help us find the right venue:Since now we all want to move downtown.