L.A. Squared – Los Angeles Times

When is a public square not a public square? When it’s designed and built in Los Angeles, circa 2008. Our city–which has lacked plazas and other open-air gathering spots for so long–is now building them in a number of high-profile locations. Yet none of these spaces is fully civic in the traditional City Beautiful sense. Each one is shaped, controlled or compromised by private, commercial or other interests. Arguably, of course, that makes them right at home in Los Angeles, the most private metropolis ever devised.

Next month, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will unveil the much anticipated first phase of its expansion, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano. He is probably best known for the Pompidou Center in Paris, which opens onto a square that, despite its popularity with mimes, ranks as one of the world’s great public gathering places.

Read more @ L.A. Squared – Los Angeles Times – Christopher Hawthorne