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Intimate Perspective on Legacy: Frank Escher and Ravi GuneWardena, Saturday, January 30, 2021

Intimate Perspective on Legacy
Frank Escher and Ravi GuneWardena, Escher GuneWardena Architecture
Saturday, January 30, 2021, 5:00 pm PST on Zoom

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This conversation will be structured around a visual presentation by Escher and GuneWardena featuring their architectural restoration and conservation efforts beginning with the family home of Paul R. Williams, as well as the architecture of A. Quincy Jones, and Gregory Ain. The conversation will explore the impact and legacy of Williams on Mid-Century architecture and social justice efforts in Los Angeles. Hosted by Janna Ireland and Frederick Janka, Executive Director of the Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation, on the occasion of the Ojai Institute exhibition project Janna Ireland: Looking In, Looking Out.

Closed captioning will be available for this program.

The extraordinary range of projects of Escher GuneWardena Architecture – small, conceptually rigorous projects; ecologically and socially innovative urban design proposals; and work in the fields of contemporary art and architectural history – reflects the broad cultural interests of the firm’s principals, Frank Escher and Ravi GuneWardena. They frequently collaborate with internationally known contemporary artists, thinkers, consultants, and cultural institutions such as the MAK Center, The Eames Foundation, and The Getty Conservation Institute.

Escher GuneWardena address issues of sustainability, affordability, the relationship between form and construction, seeking to establish simple formal manifestations of the complexities of each project. New residential projects include the Jamie Residence, the Sola/Wright Residence, and the House with Five Corners. Work on historic structures includes restoration of John Lautner’s Chemosphere as well as of his personal residence, Phase 1 restoration work at the Eames House, restoration of Paul R. Williams’s personal residence, restoration of Gregory Ain’s Greene Residence, and an extensive restoration of A. Quincy Jones’s historic Pilot House.

Their work was recognized in the 2003 National Design Triennial, and in OPEN HOUSE: Intelligent Living by Design (2007, Vitra and Art Center, Pasadena).

Escher GuneWardena was a finalist in creating master plans for Linc.LA (2011), a Cleantech Manufacturing development in the Cleantech Corridor of Los Angeles. Currently, the firm is in the design phase for two master plan projects, the Woodland Nature Center, a Buddhist monastery campus and cultural center in the San Gabriel Mountains; and St. Michael’s Campus, a Franciscan monastery and agricultural community in Riverside, California.

The firm’s interest in contemporary art has led to various art related projects and collaborations with artists: Blum & Poe gallery in Los Angeles; numerous installations for Sharon Lockhart, Mike Kelley, Olafur Eliasson, and Stephen Prina. Major exhibitions designed by Escher GuneWardena are the 55th Carnegie International (CMOA, Pittsburgh), Mike Kelly: Eternity is a Long Time (Hanger Bicocca, Milano); Between Earth and Heaven: the Architecture of John Lautner (Hammer Museum; co-curated by Frank Escher and Nicholas Olsberg); “Little Review” Sharon Lockhart’s installation in the Polish Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale; and The Jeweled Isle: Art from Sri Lanka at LACMA (2018-2019).

Frank Escher, trained at the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH, Zürich), is the editor of the monograph “John Lautner, Architect,” was the administrator for the John Lautner Archive (1995-2007), and serves on the boards of the John Lautner Foundation, the Julius Shulman Institute, and the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design. He is also an advisor to the Neutra Institute. Ravi GuneWardena, originally from Sri Lanka, studied architecture at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and art history in Florence, Italy, and served on the Hollywood Public Art Advisory Panel for the CRA/LA. He is currently the director of the Los Angeles branch of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana. Escher and GuneWardena have been visiting professors at Cal Poly Pomona, University of Southern California (Escher), and Walsh Distinguished Visiting Professors at University of Oregon. They were recently visiting professors at the Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL, Lausanne) for the 2016-2017 academic year.

In June of 2017, Clocks and Clouds, a monograph of the firm’s work, was released by Birkhäuser in conjunction with their retrospective exhibition at the Art, Design, and Architecture Museum at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in summer 2017.