American Go E-Journal

Architect Go Fan Donates Use of Restored LA Landmark for Pro Qualifiers

Tuesday November 19, 2013

The architect heading up restoration of the historic Hotel Normandie in Los Angeles has donated use of its function rooms for the upcoming second AGA Pro Qualification Tournament January 2-8 in Los Angeles (more details coming soon; meanwhile check out this Online Qualifier game from last Sunday between Jie Liang and Ryan Li which features lots of fighting spirit and really complicated fighting). The donation is courtesy of Jingbo Lou, a Pasadena architect who is leading the $5 million restoration of the 1926 hotel. The Normandie was designed by Albert Walker and Percy Eisen, whose other buildings include the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills and Downtown LA’s Fine Arts Building. The hotel started life as a modest but dignified residence hotel mostly for men, but also serving as a gathering spot for women’s and civic groups; although the hotel kept its name (hailed on a lit steel sign visible for miles from the roof) over the decades, it gradually went downhill, tile and hardwood floors covered with worn carpets, some windows closed off with drywall, stucco concealing brick and hard times hanging over the clientele. In 2010, it almost turned into a hotel for medical marijuana users. For Lou, who grew up in Beijing and came to the US in the early 90s, the hotel was an opportunity to restore a bit of what LA used to be like, to learn something about US society and to show respect for local culture, custom and history. “I was first introduced to go in college back in China, but stopped playing after I came to America,” Lou tells the E-Journal. “I picked up go again twenty years later, this time was with my five-year-old son, who was born in America. We joined a local club, the YuGo Club, and I also participated in teaching go at the Pasadena Public Library’s youth program. I saw there was much positive influence on American youths from go,” he says. “My passion in architecture and development is to build places for people to live, work and enjoy. Promoting go gives me the opportunity to introduce this rich Asian culture to my American friends.” - Andy Okun

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