Snapshot on Sustainability: More from our USGBC-LA Summer Interns

This is third in the series hearing from USGBC-LA interns about their impressions of green buildings. Amalia Solis, Jesse Vasquez, Ignacio Galeana and Walter R. Giron share their reflections after vising the Ace Hotel and Theater:


Amalia on historical context: When you look at a structure, it’s like looking at a time capsule. You see the vision of the architect, the talent of the builders, and the impressions left by each renovation. Founded in 1927, Ace was one of the tallest buildings in Los Angeles for its time and a landmark of the downtown skyline. In 1990, renamed the Los Angeles University Cathedral, it soon became home to a new type of gathering. In 2014, it was reopened after significant renovation, inspired by Pickford’s original decorative Spanish Gothic-style sculptures and paintings. Today, this gathering place expands its audience from celebrities of the 1930s to worshipers of the 1990s to today’s tourists. The original landmark tower still attracts people from afar, but now they visit a swim pool, bar, and garden.

Ignacio’s thoughts on material reuse: My thoughts walking in? I expected to see a building completely stripped of its identity and refaced to meet demand. Instead, its owners made a point to preserve most of its 1920’s glory. This renovation focused on creating a clean building free of air contaminants. Most of the grand theater remains untouched – its seats were refitted and reupholstered, keeping the original framing. The artwork and themes from its original inception remain. Overall, the renovators did a great job at preserving a nearly hundred-year building, fitted to accommodate today’s climate. Lesson learned here is that restoring this building is much more efficient than demolishing and constructing a new one.Jesse’s perspective on lighting: After taking the G-PRO Fundamentals class I started looking at space differently. When I visited the Ace Hotel, I was struck by how the rooms were lit. They have large windows that welcome in natural light, lowering the need to use electricity in many rooms during the day. In the rooftop bar, they repurposed stage lights – an awesome way to not only reuse materials but to lend the hotel character that evokes the hotel’s past.

Walter on food waste: Based on my observations and information gathered, the Ace Hotel is always looking for ways to become environmentally friendly. For example, it was brought to our attention that food waste is converted into organic fertilizer for local farms and mulch. Turning waste into a needed commodity decreases what goes into our landfills and reduces unnecessary use of raw materials. Visiting the location helped me associate what sustainability looks like in our daily lives and what companies can do to protect our environment.

These students took G-PRO Fundamentals as a framework for learning about sustainability concepts. The concepts learned through G-PRO provided these students with a new lens from which to see potential in the world around them. Have you taken G-PRO? If not, I hope you will consider this or any of USGBC-LA’s classes on green buildings and sustainability concepts. Register here.

Please join the conversation by commenting below and support USGBC-LA’s internship program here (include in the comment section where you would like your donation directed).

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