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L.A. architecture at center (and in centerfolds) of new issue of PIN-UP magazine

November 29, 2010 |  6:00 am

Pinupwithborder It often seems patronizing when New York magazine editors create special L.A. issues, as though the city is really worth exploring only once a year. Namely, in the winter.

But Felix Burrichter gets a lot of things right in the new L.A.-themed fall/winter issue of PIN-UP, the pulpy magazine that treats architecture as yet another fetish. And he gets a lot of voices into the issue, thanks for starters to a series that asks architects to talk about the neighborhoods they know best.

Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues of Ball Nogues Studio pick favorite downtown sites, ranging from Night Gallery to what they call "Bong Row." Sylvia Lavin talks about Venice standouts such as "the commemorative duck plaque" at the Venice canals and the former Eames studio. Frank Escher and Ravi GuneWardena enthuse over Silver Lake's plumeria and the Corita Art Center.

Deeper in the issue are feature interviews:

Burrichter talks to Greg Lynn about sailing with Frank Gehry, designing boats for clients in Abu Dhabi and how L.A. is "turning into New York." Brooke Hodge talks to Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee in a three-column interview format that at first glance looks gratuitous but actually captures the spirit of a three-way conversation, if not the architects' full marriage-partnership dynamic. And Thom Mayne talks about his new Culver City offices, which he plans to make "a real L.A. scene: a garden, full-grown trees, swings, a fireplace, a bocce-ball court."

These Q&A's feel unedited -- they could in all cases be shorter if the magazine really wants to live up to its tag line, "the magazine for architectural entertainment."  So could the eight-page photo spread on Jeffrey Deitch's new Los Feliz home, which oddly proclaims that "the house is a reflection of the man himself: cool, not too revealing, a little mysterious, but welcoming to everybody." (Odd in that Deitch is renting the house and has done remarkably little to change it.)

But Burrichter says the house figures into the issue indirectly as well. An  architect by training who now works as an editor and writer in New York, Burrichter planned the issue in L.A. this year when he was a resident at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture here, living in Schindler's Mackey apartments. When the residency ended in September, he and his designer needed a place to stay and work. He says Deitch generously let them camp out at his pool house for a few weeks to put the magazine together.

What could be more L.A. than that?

-- Jori Finkel


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