Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Annie Hall on Architecture

I know many people think actors and celebrities should stick to entertainment rather than opinion, but I do not happen to be one of them.

Which is why I feel fine pointing you to an LATimes opinion piece by Diane Keaton, in which she laments the destruction of Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel and says that demolishing iconic buildings destroys history and wastes resources.

From the piece: "Preservation has always been a hard sell in Los Angeles. But maybe in the years ahead it won't be as hard as it used to be, considering several new facts. No. 1, as my Dad would have said, a building represents an enormous investment of energy -- much bigger than we thought when we were fighting to save the Ambassador. No. 2, we now know that construction of new structures alone consumes 40% of the raw materials that enter our economy every year."

But she also makes an interesting point about architecture and the way we view it:

"I'll never understand why architecture is considered a second cousin to painting and film. We've never been married to our romance with architecture. A building, unlike a canvas or a DVD, is a massive work of art with many diverse uses. We watch movies in buildings. We look at paintings on their walls. We pray in cathedrals."

2 comments:

Planner said...

This reminds me of Bette Midler who became active with parks and urban issues in NYC a few years back.

By the way, love your blog and the issues you discuss!

gatesofmemphis said...

I loved the Ambassador! Everytime I was in Los Angeles I'd make a point of driving by it. It was history -- Academy Awards, stars (e.g., John Barrymore) living in the bungalows, RFK assassination. And they destroyed it.

The dumbest cliche about Los Angeles is that it has no history.

Glad to hear Keaton talk about embodied energy and the wastefulness of destruction. I believe there will be destruction attempts in Memphis in the next few years that will try to use "green" as the wrecking ball.