architect / cyclist / husband
It's a pity that Ceci was one of my last interviews in LA. I left his house on the hill feeling like I had crossed paths with the Wizard of Oz, or his cousin at the very least.
In between trips to the oven to check on vegetables he was roasting, I heard tales of New York before I knew it and the why Los Angeles infrastructure is so damned now. Quiet wisdom dripped from his mouth like an overwhelmed gutter and I sat and learned while the sun set on the highest point I've been to in the city.
"True freedom, I don't think it's a realistic expectation for life."
On Los Angeles
"I recently got this commission that has to do with Broadway downtown. Which is more or less like Broadway in New York except here over the years, the theater district there has gone through all these evolutions. Despite that, the shells of most of those theaters have remained.
In the process of doing this project, I've done a lot of research and gotten lost in the history of things. You can see basically all of it out of this window (points out of main window.)
Even compared to a place like New York which had a hundred year head start on L.A., it's pretty amazing when I think about what this city has gotten itself into in the last, less than a hundred and fifty years (laughs.)
I can show you maps of this hill from 1885 and there's nothing on it. You go shoot forward to 1920. And they're still like very little here. And then within 20, 30 years after that you have more or less this(motions toward the window.)
It's interesting to me. This is the country's first example of a super Boomtown. Now I look at a city like Atlanta or D.C. and ask, did you learn anything from L.A.? This place is a zoo in the best and worst ways."
On biking in LA
"It's a great in-between. You know you're able to cover a lot of ground and also able to stop and take it all in, which is really important.
There's a real practical thing in being able to get on a bike and just go anywhere, anytime without it being too much of a struggle."
On car culture
"This place has reached its limit with that [car culture]. I don't know what's going to happen. You see all these cranes out here and there's just not the infrastructure to support that kind of stuff.
It's a no-win situation. All these units are being built, people want to densify. The streets don't have that capacity to hold all those cars."
"We're all living in this complete construct of a society. I don't even mean that in a conspiratorial way. Objectively, it's weighing us down. The capitalist construct seems like it made a lot of sense in the 18th and 19th century but it's run amok. (laughs)
And I think a lot of the tenets, even if they made sense, are clearly focused on the short term. They keep people from being free because the education that you get revolves around how you're going to fit into this system. You can learn some things on your own perogative. But, for the most part, You want to learn something that's going to propel you forward and make you valuable."
"That's a pretty loaded question (laughs). I think those two words (true and freedom) together make this question tough.
There's like the true freedom that in your mind is true enough. And then there's the idea that a true freedom exists that you can experience and that part seems debatable to me.
There's a song that's been on the radio in the last within the last year and this one lyric has stuck with me. "Freedom is free. You can't take that away from." That's sort of true but it's also kind of bullshit.
True freedom, I don't think it's a realistic expectation for life. I think you have to work within the constructs.
Maybe freedom is a scam.
It's all relative right? I can't put myself in the place of someone else who has less freedom than I; there are tons of people in that situation. They may look at me and say, "hey what are you talking about? You have the free dome to do X Y and Z.
On a daily basis, I don't feel this big hulking oppression. I guess what I'm saying is I'm happy. I'm happy getting my freedom in like really small doses. Just the fact that, I could sit in bed and daydream an extra five minutes. That's golden for me, that's that's worth it. That's good stuff (laughs.)"
From New York, NY
Lives in Los Angeles, CA