"Hidden Jewel: White Pearl in Downtown Los Angeles"

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Set into the monumental skyline of downtown Los Angeles in a notoriously run-down area of low-rise buildings, wholesale warehouses and seedy hotels, there glistens a beautiful white pearl: the Inner-City Arts campus designed by Californian-based architect Michael Maltzan.

It is not just a building, but rather a small campus that houses art-instruction facilities for kids, created with the express wish of a group of philanthropists who wanted to show that architecture isn't just a matter of building workaday spaces, but it can also stimulate creativity and draw people closer to art. The ICA brings a sense of surprise. It also kindles enthusiastic belief in architectures’ power to make a difference: situated on a one-acre lot on the edge of downtown Los Angeles' Skid Row, its large white volume has folded back corners and protuberances that make passers-by curious, encouraging them to stop, look more closely, go inside, and with a surprising sense of discovery, wander between its building canyons as far as the planted central courtyard. Michael Maltzan's design is an oasis for learning, a creature with a beating heart, a light of hope in a run-down part of the city.

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