Fred A. Bernstein

  • passages March 18, 2015

    Jon Jerde (1940–2015)

    RAY BRADBURY, the science-fiction writer, lived most of his life in Los Angeles but never learned to drive. No wonder he wrote essays lamenting the lack of a town center. In 1970 Jon Jerde, a Los Angeles architect, read an article in which Bradbury described how a town square in the sprawling city might be organized. Jerde arranged to meet Bradbury over lunch, and the two men became friends. A few years later, Jerde was asked to design a mall in a derelict section of San Diego. Bradbury told Jerde that “one of the joys of travel is being lost in a great city and loving it,” and he recommended

  • passages March 31, 2014

    Madeline Gins (1941–2014)

    “IT’S IMMORAL THAT PEOPLE HAVE TO DIE,” Madeline Gins told me when we met, in 2008. The setting was the “Lifespan Extending Villa,” a sprawling house on Long Island where floors were shaped like sand dunes; where walls were painted forty different colors; where switches and fixtures were set at odd angles and inconvenient heights. It was the latest in a series of buildings that Gins and her partner of fifty years, the Japanese-born artist Arakawa, believed would halt the aging process. “They ought to build hospitals like this,” she said during an interview. (“They should never, ever build