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moore ruble yudell: evolution

volume one, number three / spring 2010

We are pleased to present our third issue of evolution, a seasonal journal. This issue highlights our ongoing commitment to working in the public realm.

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emerging: you have to pay for the public life

posting: a clipboard of recent and forthcoming engagements of the firm and its individuals


You Have To Pay For The Public Life

With this issue we pay homage to Charles Moore's seminal 1965 article "You have to pay for the public life" (You Have to Pay for the Public Life: Selected Essays of Charles W. Moore, MIT Press). Charles was prescient in observing the pressures and paradoxes of shaping and creating places for community, places which nurture our public life. He bemoaned "the elements of the public realm which have vanished in the featureless private floating world".

From city to state, country to continent, our communities are at a critical juncture where the speed of globalization and the evolution of electronic communication work to challenge our assumptions about the very definition of community.

From left to right:
Charles at a community workshop, a student workshop at UC Berkeley, a community workshop for a new town in Germany.

Polarized positions are common in architecture and politics. Some advocate a complete embrace of the transformations of the techno-global community. While an emerging movement for"slow architecture" looks to nurture local culture, history and craft. Political schisms widen over the role of government support in the "public square".

How can we engage creatively as architects and citizens?

First we would suggest that the dualities of public-private, global-local, fast and technological versus slow and crafted, should not be understood as either or propositions. Rather, they are modes of understanding and exploring the range of forces and opportunities at work in our evolving environments.

The more we can observe and understand the forces on our culture, place and time, the more likely we are to participate in creative and constructive ways.

In our work in the public realm we have found several principals which have helped to support vibrant public life:

encourage public-private dialogue and alliances

engage communities as stakeholders from early planning through habitation

look for and leverage synergies; in space, program, financing

respect place, culture and craft

test and support the best emerging technologies

cross fertilize from the best ideas and precedents across the world



For many years our clearest opportunities to work in the public realm were in Europe. In Germany we had opportunities to design new mixed-use communities which provided affordable housing and accessible schools, public transit, shopping and culture. We learned how public-private partnerships could mobilize vast resources to create large but livable communities on aggressive schedules.  

In Sweden we learned how these social concerns could be joined to an unprecedented environmental agenda to transform an industrial waterfront into a ground-breaking contemporary community. Cutting-edge technology was married to sensitively scaled housing, creating a new model of urban living.

Tango Housing in Malmö, Sweden continues to be a pioneering sustainable community.


During the same period, primarily on the west coast, we were able to explore and advance the opportunities for community based participatory planning. We learned that the continuous involvement of complex communities would only add richness to the life of places which we were shaping.

In San Jose, trilingual workshops (English, Vietnamese, Spanish) were essential to designing the Horace Mann K-6 School to be a vibrant focus of community life and a contributor to the revitalization of the central city.

Horace Mann School was programmed to serve as a catalyst for community revitalization.


We have sought new opportunities to bring these experiences and lessons to bear closer to home.

The Santa Monica Public Library was conceived as a new "green" Living Room for the city and has exceeded aspirations for both community life and sustainability. The building was carefully programmed to expand the Library's role in the community, providing a venue for diverse cultural offerings including: exhibitions, lectures, and conferences.

Santa Monica Public Library has become a new living room for the city.

A recently approved project for the non-profit Community Corporation of Santa Monica will provide 100% affordable housing on Pico Boulevard, just blocks from our office. This mixed-use urban project creates lively courtyard housing above active retail and community uses. Community workshops and outreach, as well as collaboration with the City, were essential to responding to potential concerns, ensuring that the scale and articulation of the building will form a respectful neighbor. Ultimately we expect this to be a place which contributes to the life of its residents, neighbors and the city.

2802 Pico
New housing for the Community Corporation creates an affordable oasis while respecting neighborhood context.

We continue to bring together the best, implementable ideas from our experiences throughout the world. Each project and community provides lessons about placemaking, technology, implementation and the evolving nature of public life.

Architecture can both nurture a greater sense of community and support citizens' stewardship of their communities and neighborhoods.

We are encouraged by the energy of the young architects in our firm. There is a renewed awareness of social and environmental stewardship that bodes well for our greater society. As we move forward, we continuously recommit to working in the public realm, seeking new ways to engage, to partner, to innovate and to nurture community.

Paying for "the public life" will always require a financial commitment, but equally a dedication to intense public involvement, creative strategic planning and long term partnerships.

posting celebrating
Fresno_TOBY 2010 Regional TOBY Award

The Robert E. Coyle US Courthouse is the 2010 Pacific Southwest Regional winner of The Office Building of the Year (TOBY) in the government category. This award, given by the Building Owner's and Manager's Association (BOMA), recognizes excellence in building management, operational efficiency, and community impact.

Lower Sproul Student Community Center, UC Berkeley

The new Student Community Center, a student based initiative mixing adaptive reuse and new construction, celebrates the legacy and history of the site while modernizing its infrastructure into a flexible armature to better accommodate the evolving needs of future generations of students.

St Edwards Natural Sciences Center, Phase II, St. Edward's University

The University completed its fund-raising campaign and has authorized Moore Ruble Yudell to continue our work designing the second phase of the new science center: including departmental space for Computer Science, Mathematics, faculty offices, classrooms, a lecture hall, as well as outdoor space supporting campus activities.

Santa Clarita New Santa Clarita Courthouse, Los Angeles County

Moore Ruble Yudell was selected by the Judicial Council—Administrative Office of the Courts to design a new state courthouse in Los Angeles County. Opportunities for the courthouse include creating a place that enhances civic life and community pride while addressing issues of sustainability, access and security, and future flexibility.

Amber Bay Amber Bay Resort Development, Dalian, China

Located on a spectacular coastal site in northeast China, this luxury residential resort project for the Dalian Parkland Real Estate Development Company Ltd, is closely connected to the surrounding geography, optimizing breezes and views for residents.  Construction began in May 2010 and unit sales will start in October..

GSA GSA Design-Build Industry Roundtable, Washinton D.C.

April 2010
Jeanne Chen, AIA and Buzz Yudell, FAIA participated in a GSA Industry Roundtable to discuss the challenges and opportunities of Design-Build and hybrid Design/ Excellence/Design-Build processes to meet schedules required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

MobiusLA Urban Campus Strategies: Bridging Academic and Civic Communities, AIA Mobius LA

June 26, 2010, 11am - 12:30pm
James Mary O'Connor, AIA. and Mario Violich, AIA, ASLA presented four case studies illustrating new strategies for creating urban campus “places” that are programmatically innovative and unique to their regions.

2x8 2x8: Verge at Dwell on Design / Mobius LA

June 25-27, 2010.
Moore Ruble Yudell was proud to sponsor 2x8: Verge, showcasing exemplary student work from architecture and design institutions throughout California. Associates Clay Holden, AIA and Carissa Shrock, AIA chair the AIA/LA's Academic Outreach Committee, organizer of the exhibition.

SCUP Integrated Leadership for a New Reality, SCUP Conference

July 10 - 14, 2010
Moore Ruble Yudell will host an exhibit booth at the Society for College and University Planning's 45th Annual International Conference and Idea Marketplace in Minneapolis, featuring campus projects at multiple scales, from master planning to buildings. 

Glenn Murcutt Glenn Murcutt International Architecture Master Class 2010

July 11 - 25, 2010
Associate Simone Barth, Dipl.Ing.Arch, LEED AP, will participate in the Glenn Murcutt International Architecture Master Class and Reunion, held in Riversdale, Australia by The Architecture Foundation Australia, a not-for-profit cultural association.

The Power of Collaboration
LA: Power, USC Architectural Guild

July 22 - 23, 2010
Buzz Yudell, FAIA will be presenting as part of USC's Executive Education program. The session will focus on the power of collaboration, from analysis and concept through design and implementation.

Moore Ruble Yudell Website