Sunday, June 07, 2009

Bernard Zimmerman, FAIA RIP

Few people loved architecture and Los Angeles as passionately as did Bernard Zimmerman - and none more than he did. I first met him in the successful fight to save John Marshall High School and later during countless AIA functions and events. Below is the memorial notice from the AIA:

Our beloved Bernard Zimmerman, FAIA, peacefully passed away on Thursday, June 4th. His family cordially invites you to be present at Bernard's funeral service. The service will commence on Monday, June 8th at 12 noon at Mount Sinai Hollywood Hills, 5950 Forest Lawn Drive,
Los Angeles, CA.

Following the service, you are invited to a reception to celebrate Bernards legacy at Temple Sinai of Glendale, 1212 N. Pacific Avenue, Glendale, CA. Food will be provided at the reception.

Map and directions here.


Bernard Zimmerman: The Conscience of the Architectural Profession

Bernard Zimmerman, FAIA, Architect, Planner and esteemed Professor of Architectural Design at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Department of Architecture of which he was a founder, passed away on June 4th, after a long illness, at his home in Los Angeles. He was 79.

In honor of his "selfless and relentless love of architecture and design excellence, and the tremendous effect, over many decades, of that passion on the life and culture of Los Angeles, its architects, students and its architecture," the American Institute of Architects/Los Angeles recognized Zimmerman's many contributions by honoring him with a Lifetime Achievement Award, in 1999. By way of introduction, Ray Kappe, FAIA, Founder of the Southern California Institute of Architecture SCI-ARC, stated: "During the last 50 years no architect has been as concerned about the state of architecture in our city as Bernard. No one has been more concerned about the education of our future architects than Bernard. Throughout his lifetime, he has unsparingly donated his time and energy to further and promote the professional status of American architects and architecture, particularly Los Angeles architects and their architecture."

Bernard Zimmerman was a leading practitioner of architecture for over 40 years. He was president of Zimmerman Architects and Planners, and was a partner in the Collaborative for Environmental Design, Pulliam Zimmerman & Matthews, Zimmerman & Robbins Architects and Zimmerman/Stafford Architects. He was previously associated with Richard Neutra Architects, Welton Beckett & Associates, Victor Gruen Associates and Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall. Mr. Zimmerman was involved with a wide range of architectural and city planning projects including: the IBM Pavilion, Osaka, Japan; Citrus restaurant, Los Angeles; Twin Towers, Century City; Bunker Hill, Los Angeles; Old Town Pasadena; Olympic Building, Los Angeles; Sunset and Vine Tower, Hollywood; Case Study House #29, Silverlake; Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles. He made a special contribution in the area of chain stores such as Zeidler & Zeidler Men's Stores and Standard Shoes, by elevating the level of design, architecturally and graphically. His work has been published in national and international design reviews such as "Arts & Architecture", "Architectural Record", "Domus", "L'Arca" and "Progressive Architecture".

Throughout his career, Bernard Zimmerman vigorously expressed his social and design concerns through dialogue with national and international architects and organizations, an active involvement on a local and national level with the American Institute of Architects, and numerous community projects. He created and directed the AIA "Architectural Panel" in the 1950's, the first organization to offer exciting and important public programs in Los Angeles. Through the 1960's, he chaired the AIA Program Committee. The most important program he created was the "Masters of Architecture" lecture series, founded in 1991. It is held annually at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and is a very successful collaboration between LACMA and AIA/LA, to which the public is invited.

In 1999 he conceived the "9 in 99" Conference held at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), featuring outstanding architectural thinkers, sharing "Big Ideas" for Los Angeles.

He was a board member of "Architects, Designers & Planners for Social Responsibility", and founder of "Architecture for Peace". He successfully provided leadership and generated support for countless committee initiatives to benefit threatened Los Angeles landmarks, such as the Angels Flight, the Dodge House, Hazard Park, Marshall High School, the Hollywood Sign, the Schindler Kings Road House and the Watts Towers. The "Citizens Committee to Build the Disney Concert Hall" which he spearheaded provided the incentive for the subsequent successful fund raising campaign.

Exhibitions on the work of Los Angeles architects and designers, conceived and directed by Bernard Zimmerman include: "Roots of California Architecture", "Irving Gill Architect", "Felix Candela Architect & Engineer", "Project Environment USA", "74 + 74: Best in the West", "Los Angeles 12", "L.A. 12+12+2", "L.A. 12+12+12", "Los Angeles: City on the Move", "100 Projects/100 Years" and "101 New Blood". These exhibitions were shown at venues such as the Milan Triennale in Italy, Pacific Design Center and the Yale University School of Art and Architecture Gallery. In the more recent exhibits, working with a younger generation of architects and designers, helping them to organize exhibits of their architecture, he had the amazing ability to inspire and energize them as he had energized his students throughout his years of teaching, which was so important to him.

A graduate of the UC Berkeley School of Architecture, Bernard Zimmerman was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. He completed his Masters in Planning at the University of Southern California (USC). He was a member of the American Planning Association and of USC's Architectural Guild that honored him in 2003 as "a Distinguished Alumnus who has enriched and honored the profession of Architecture". He was recognized by Mayor Tom Bradley for his architectural, planning and exhibit work. He was interviewed on PBS by Maya Angelou on the state of architecture and urban design in 1975, for the series "Humanities Through the Arts". As a founder of the Architecture for Peace, he traveled to Russia on a Peace Mission in 1978 and was subsequently honored with an invitation to the White House for the celebration of the Peace Accord between President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachov. In 1995, he was inducted as one of Pacific Design Center's "Stars of Design". The Los Angeles Institute of Architecture & Design (LAIAD) that opened in 2001 was also co-founded by Bernard Zimmerman. One of the last Zimmerman inspired ideas was to establish the Architecture + Design Museum, located across the street from LACMA.

Bernard Zimmerman was an irreplaceable human being, who has touched so many of our lives. He will be greatly missed, and forever remembered as a passionate advocate for the profession.

The funeral will be held at Mt. Sinai Memorial Park, 5950 Forrest Lawn Drive, in Griffith Park, on Monday, June 8th at 12:00 noon. A memorial is also being planned, to be announced.

Bernard Zimmerman is survived by his sons Eric, Josef and Derek; their wives Adela, Mamie, and Tamara; his daughter, Karla, her husband, Tom; his six grandchildren Katelyn, Kimberly, Kassandra, Thomas, Siren and Elijah; and a host of loving friends.

1 comment:

btlg said...

Mr. Zimmerman,
Rest in peace. I will miss you. You, and your persona made me aware of Los Angeles as a city full full of possibilities.

With respect, Bela Gutman