RAC Design Build: Looking at the Present and Future of Elysian Valley


The NELA River Collaborative project builds upon the growing momentum of efforts already underway to transform the Los Angeles River into a "riverfront district" and to create a focal point of community revitalization. For more information visit www.mylariver.org



Elysian Valley is a small neighborhood nestled in between the Los Angeles River and Elysian Park. Its unique mix of residential and industrial activity creates a rich and fluid complexity, with long time businesses and residents interacting with new arrivals made up of art galleries, studios and L.A. River enthusiasts.

Rick Cortez is a business owner who is engaged and motivated by this complexity. He is the founder and principal architect of RAC Design Build Studio. Founded 1989, the Studio is a full range architectural design studio and custom fabrication shop that specializes in both residential and commercial architectural design, and construction.

For this interview, Youth Voices student producers from The L.A. River School spoke with Rick about his history and appreciation for Elysian Valley, and his role in the evolving nature of the neighborhood and the L.A. River.

Behind-the-scenes look at the student producers' experience in creating this video can be found here.

Below are some of the photos taken by the student producers during our visit:

The interior of RAC Design Build Studio

RAC project board

Residential model

Work table covered with parts for possible light fixtures

Finished light fixture

Finished lamp on display

RAC lounge

Rick Cortez answers students' questions during tour of Studio

RAC workshop

Workshop looks out to Coolidge Ave. in Elysian Valley

RAC Patio leads out to the L.A. River bike/walking path

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