The City of West Hollywood has selected Ric Abramson, a West Hollywood-based architect who has long been active on city-related boards and commissions, to lead its new Urban Design and Architecture Studio.
The Urban Design & Architecture Studio is a new division within the city’s Community Services Department. the Studio will be overseeing the Design Review process and looking closely at the future design aspects of the City’s public streets and spaces. He also will be responsible for helping develop and implement an urban design strategy aimed at improving architecture, infrastructure, and the relationship of private developments to public spaces in West Hollywood.
Abramson has lived in West Hollywood since 1989, In 2003 he launched his architecture firm, WorkPlays, and has designed many residential, multi-family and mixed-use projects throughout the city. In an interview with Nate Berg for West Hollywood Magazine in 2016, Abramson said that he sees two forces at work in the city: one that wants new growth and more density, and another that wants the city to maintain its modest population and neighborhood scale. Abramson said that he sees room in the middle. He also stressed the importance of keeping in mind the neighborhood in which a new project is proposed.
“Unfortunately, the way that we zone cities, they’re generally citywide standards,” Abramson said. “I’m much more interested in what makes sense not at a citywide level, but at the neighborhood scale.”
Abramson holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Cal Poly S.L.O. and a Master’s degree in Architecture from UCLA. A Fulbright scholar to Italy, his studies also included a stint at the American Academy in Rome. In addition to his private architectural practice of over three decades, he has taught history and theory courses and architecture and urban design studios for over 18 years at SCI-Arc and the USC School of Architecture.
Over the years Abramson has served on the General Plan Advisory Committee, the Green Building Committee, the Environmental Task Force, the Sustainable City Committee, the Public Facilities Commission and the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation Board – on top of running WorkPlays, his West Hollywood-based architecture firm. He recently completed a three-year term representing the California region on the American Institute of Architects’ National Strategic Council in Washington DC.
Abramson is known as a strong advocate for affordable housing, sustainable design, and innovative infill development. He recently completed new Design Guidelines intended to promote greater access to more affordable home ownership in underserved communities throughout L.A. County. For the past two years, he has chaired AIA California’s Housing Congress, which has explored new design-based approaches to addressing the state’s housing crisis.
Abramson initiated two state bills signed into law by Governor Brown. Most recently, AIA Los Angeles honored him as the first recipient of its Citizen Architect Award for his policy and legislative efforts, leadership, advocacy, and civic engagement. He also has worked closely with national, state, city and county officials and staff on environmental, sustainability, green building, economic development, and housing initiatives.
Abramson will begin his new position on Monday.
Sounds like a great hire; impressive resume and exceptional project portfolio.
West Hollywood needs someone of his caliber to help navigate the City’s architectural vision moving forward. Someone to listen to residents concerns as well as well as developers.
LOL. Hi guy. I predict he’ll do whatever makes the city money.
Congratulations Ric. You are the absolute perfect person to hold this position. I appreciate the amazing and thoughtful perspective that Ric will bring to this position. He is a thrill to watch work and has a mind for City development like no other.
Congrats again Ric and I know you will be amazing at this.
Congratulations, Ric! I’m looking forward to seeing how you develop this program in our little city. We need something like this. Wishing you much success!
How much is he being paid?–total compensation –salary and benefits.
You’re the guy who asks all the inappropriate questions at a dinner party…..How much do you make? What do you pay for rent? How much did the divorce cost you?
You can sit with me at the kids & undesirables table. I forgot to ask the same question.
Hardly inappropriate outside of weho, considering it is the salary and cost to our city.
Is his job necessary and could that salary be used to better our city & lives in other ways. Safety? Traffic? LOW INCOME HOUSING Units the city hems and haws about but does nothing but complain.
Very Trumpian attitude expressed about your very proper question.
This is great news for the City! I’ve had the opportunity to work with Ric over the years on green building standards and both statewide and local housing policy matters – he is well respected, very smart, architecturally talented, creative, very likeable AND understands the policy and political challenges involved with creating good public policy (that may have nothing to do with his trained field of expertise). Congrats Ric!
Too many cooks spoil the pot
And design by committee WILL RESULT IN LESS DESIRABLE OUTCOMES.
Now a deep diving Architectural person. We have so little land in our tiny city.
No offense, but it’s like paying Wolfgang Puck to prepare school lunches when there is no budget and meal plans are done as usual by school districts.
Too much education & experience poured into an already dysfunctional planning committee may not be a better thing.
Great news! Ric is talented and dedicated to this community. An inspired choice.