Moshe Safdie

Moshe Safdie

A weeklong electronic journal.
Feb. 12 1998 3:30 AM

Moshe Safdie

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       The day starts early, with a 6:30 a.m. flight from San Diego to Los Angeles. Before boarding I call the Boston office (9 a.m. Boston time) and learn of a crisis on the Ben-Gurion Airport. I call Tel Aviv (4 p.m. Tel Aviv time). On the flight I go through a batch of faxes with sketches, reports, and queries received last night from Boston and Jerusalem. I fax my responses upon arrival at the Skirball Cultural Center.



       It's beautiful in Los Angeles after days of rain. The Santa Monica hills are lush green and the Skirball Center gleams in the light. The landscape is filling in--the place is becoming the "paradise garden" I often referred to in my presentations.

       The day is a good representation of the many facets of architectural practice: programming, design, technical sessions, construction, even fund raising.

       We meet with Norman Lee and Ernest Fleischman of the Los Angeles Philharmonic to discuss a concert series planned for the new great hall. We meet the acoustic consultants to explore how to make the hall suitable for music, lectures, and banquets. We have a work session with the engineers to discuss the appropriate structure and how to have a silent air-conditioning system. Finally we meet the general contractor to review the cost estimates. As always, they are higher than expected, so we discuss possible savings.

       Uri Herscher, president of Skirball (who, after more than 15 years of collaboration, has become a close personal friend), picks me up at the Bel Air for the day's finale: dinner at Audrey Skirball-Kenis' (Jack Skirball's widow, now married to Charles Kenis) with Peter Haas, Morris Bergreen, and their wives--the major supporters of and donors to the project. It is a kind of celebration. The Skirball Cultural Center and museum, dedicated to the American Jewish life, has been a great public success. This has led to the supporters' decision to fund a major extension. Architecture is credited for contributing to this success, so it's a pleasant evening indeed.

Moshe Safdie is an architect with offices in Boston, Jerusalem, and Toronto, and the author, most recently, of The City After the Automobile (1997).