A Mixed Review of Central Los Angeles Area High School #9

0601laschool.jpg

Staying with the school theme here for a minute, LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne has put together a lengthy review of the new Central Los Angeles Area High School #9, a fancy, new, expensive ($232 million) arts school that will finally be opening its doors for students come September. Hawthorne details all the ups and downs the project experienced, with lots of juicy conflict, from a rapidly-rising budget to architect battles (some involving Los Angeles architecture mainstay Eli Broad). In the end, Hawthorne seems to find the set of buildings interesting to look at, but questions their function and how much all that back and forth from start to finish jeopardized what could have been an even more remarkable endeavor. Here’s a bit:

With its AC Martin skeleton, its shimmering Himmelblau flesh and its stunning, empty tower, then, the high school is hardly just an example of innovative but expensive name-brand architecture. It is a project haunted by second thoughts and 180-degree turns, a case of conservatism replaced by somewhat misguided daring and finally undercut by several failures of nerve. And nearly every twist in that story line can be read in the architecture itself.