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Nov 15, 2010
Included in the recently opened MoMA show "Small Scale, Big Change" is the Inner-City Arts Building by Michael Maltzan Architecture. Located in central Los Angeles, the building is an open-courtyard arts oasis for kids in a challenging urban environment. It's Character Approved because while it was done on a budget and is understated in its material palette, it is nothing short of the most awesome after-school arts building ever. The arrangement of the white, angular pavilions makes it feel more like the newest arts building at UCLA than a center for underserved schools. It's not only a great design, it serves as a model of what a talented architect can contribute to the design of schools in the US.
Inner-City Arts is remarkable for another reason: It challenges the notion that important design can only be located in expensive public buildings like museums and theaters. This design instead suggests that any public building, from the lowliest school to the loftiest university, should at a minimum have a superb architect at the helm.