Historian kicks off La Jolla architecture lecture series Feb. 24

Keith York
Keith York

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

Keith York will engage La Jollans in assessing their architectural heritage and helping them understand their community’s design future rests with them Thursday as the La Jolla Historical Society kicks off its Contemporary Architects Making History 2011 Lecture Series.

“I’m going to highlight some of the great things — and not so great things (architecturally) — that have happened in La Jolla,” said York, a non-La Jollan who is an architectural historian and board member of the San Diego Architectural Foundation.  “I will open showing some slides, a survey of La Jolla architecture, and hopefully through my subjective opinions, enlist a response from La Jollans and get them to talk openly about the future.”

York’s lecture, at 7 p.m. at Wisteria Cottage, 780 Prospect St., is the first of 10 to be held in the series featuring mostly local architects talking about their work and how it's woven into the community’s rich architectural tapestry.

The architecture lecture series includes a husband-wife team, Taal Safdie and Ricardo Rabines of Safdie Rabines Architects on March 24, as well as longtime La Jolla architect Robert Mosher, a practitioner of the Modern Movement in architecture, speaking June 2.

Noting he’s not an architect but a historian, York will be evaluating the work of others and not his own. Given his outsider’s perspective, York characterized his approach as very much “a people’s view of architecture.”

“The rest of the architects in the series will be talking about sighting, materials and budgets,” he said. “I stand out as the only person in the series that isn’t coming from that perspective.”

York intends to break La Jolla down into regions, like the Muirlands, in discussing its characteristic architecture, evaluating where it’s been and where it’s going.

“I want people to get wrapped up a little bit with the history, talking about stylistic shifts,” he said. “La Jolla started out as a rest stop, an art colony on the way to Tijuana horse racing before it (some perceive) became home to a bunch of capitalists. What I’m trying to bring across is that it (community’s character) has definitely radically changed over a century.”

Tickets are $10 for Historical Society members, $15 for non-members; $75 or $130 for the series. Go to





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