The Trusteeship

Member Spotlight, February 9 ~ Brenda Levin

Revitalizing Los Angeles: Reinvention without Amnesia
How can you best honor the past while taking into account the needs of the future? The Trusteeship got a glimpse into the answer–from an architectural standpoint–in our February 9 Member Spotlight on Brenda Levin entitled Revitalizing Los Angeles: Reinvention without Amnesia. President of Levin and Associates Architects, Brenda’s work has helped shape the historical fabric of Los Angeles.
About 30 members and guests listened intently as Brenda addressed us in the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy. “By definition, historic preservation seeks to transmit our material heritage to future generations,” she shared, “Among the ideas I want to share are the complex, challenging and creative nature of the design decisions we face. Whether a preservation, adaptive reuse or new construction project, we attempt to build on the existing context, whether the context is physical or something less tangible.”
Brenda has been doing exactly that over the past three decades, and through what writer and futurist Alvin Toffler refers to as “the waves of preservation” in Los Angeles. She explained that these waves have coincided with the arc of her work and practice, resulting in projects that dot the Los Angeles basin. Sure enough, her inspiration and skill are evident in some of Southern California’s most cherished landmarks, including the Griffith Observatory, the Bradbury Building and Grand Central Square, to name only a few.  Nostalgic photos and detailed plans of many of these projects enhanced Brenda’s narrative.
The evening’s dinner took place at The Spice Table, one of LA Magazine’s top 10 best new restaurants of 2011. As if the restaurant was taking cues from the night’s conversation, we dined in a beautifully cozy room with high ceilings, brick walls, a wood-burning grill and bamboo birdcages filled with dimly lit bulbs. What a magical end to the evening!

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“When I joined The Trusteeship, I had spent my whole life in government service and nonprofit organizations. The Trusteeship has introduced me to previously unfamiliar worlds (corporate, military, film, international) and the wonderful women who populate them, and in the process helped me better appreciate their work and my own.”

– Ruth