Los Angeles gets first chief design officer

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has appointed Christopher Hawthorne as the city’s first chief design officer to improve the  city’s  quality of civic architecture and urban design.

In this role within Garcetti’s Office of Economic Development, Hawthorne will collaborate with city departments and public agencies to promote welcoming, economical and ambitious architecture and urban design, according to a statement issued by the mayor office. In addition, Hawthorne will work to foster a broad civic conversation about architecture and urban design across the city, the statement said.

“We are investing billions in new infrastructure and public spaces that will transform how Angelenos and people from around the world experience our city,” Garcetti said in a statement. “Anyone who’s familiar with Christopher’s work knows that his creative eye, and his understanding of urban design are unparalleled. I am proud to welcome him to my administration in this important new role.”

Hawthorne comes to City Hall from the Los Angeles Times, where he has served as the architecture critic since 2004, writing extensively about public space and civic architecture in Southern California and around the world.

“Los Angeles has an incredible opportunity to reshape and reanimate our public realm in the years to come,” Hawthorne stated. “I’m thrilled that Mayor Garcetti has underscored the importance of civic architecture and urban design by creating this new role, and even more thrilled that he has asked me to fill it.”

Hawthorne is expected to begin work next month.

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