Carlos Diniz: Visualizing a New Los Angeles/ Architectural Renderings of Carlos Diniz, 1962-1992


Visualizing a New Los Angeles: Architectural Renderings of Carlos Diniz, 1962-1992

The exhibition explores the representation of Los Angeles during some of its most expansive years though the architectural rendering of perhaps the greatest delineator of his time -- Carlos Diniz. Organized by historian Nicholas Olsberg, the exhibition documents how Diniz was envisioned large- scale projects throughout Southern California that progressively transformed the scale, the texture and the character of the postindustrial city of Los Angeles and its suburbs. In so doing Diniz helped establish the design language, the metropolitan aspirations and urban sensibility of a new, vastly extended, more self-conscious and more monumental city.  The exhibition is both the first opportunity to celebrate the visual accomplishments of Carlos Diniz and perhaps the first to look at the role of architectural renderings – from Century City to Disney Hall -- in suggesting how to reshape patterns of life, culture and movement in southern California.

Carlos Diniz (1928-2001) was arguably the last of the twentieth century’s great architectural delineators to work in the tradition of the hand-drawn building perspective. Diniz was commissioned by architects and planners to portray sometimes quite rudimentary schemes as they might appear in final form. Faithful to the architect’s design framework, Diniz was nonetheless charged with imagining these naked concepts in movement, color, and light in order to communicate the potential of these preliminary schemes to investors, to planning and review agencies, and to the general public though highly articulated publicity efforts.  Diniz’s drawings trace – and frequently in fact propose -- how many of the developments were to function; how they would be visually articulated and characterized; how their densities, siting and choreography were perceived; and how their social uses and patterns of occupancy were conceived. Focusing on the birds-eye view, and on spaces, vistas and movement between structures, the drawings trace – as no single architectural office archive could -- essential and surprisingly volatile patterns of development in Southern California. 

The exhibition focuses not so much on the final promotional panels and prints that Diniz produced but on the magnificently fluid and intricate, pen and ink hand-drawn architectural artworks that generated them. These drawings are a representational lever conceived and created for their ability to open the material dreams of a possible built fabric. The last step in the progress of a visual language created in the Renaissance to conceive and present the potential of buildings to be, Diniz’s approach is now all but obsolete in the face of new drafting software and digital animation technologies.