Los Angeles Developer, Trustee Tom Gilmore Makes Transformative Gift to SCI-Arc

SCI-Arc received a first-of-its-kind $1-million planned gift from visionary Los Angeles developer Tom Gilmore. This generous gift will support SCI-Arc’s design and architecture faculty through the creation of the school’s first named chair, the Gilmore City Chair. “This gift represents a major investment in SCI-Arc and will help us support the education of our outstanding student body and position the school for a stronger future,” said Board of Trustees Chairman Jerry Neuman.

In responding to Gilmore’s generosity, Director Eric Owen Moss quoted Machiavelli, “I believe the greatest good to be done is that which one does to one’s own city.” Moss continued, “In Gilmore’s case, he has done the greatest good. Los Angeles is a better city because of his efforts, and now SCI-Arc is a stronger school because of his generosity. We look forward to the creation of the Gilmore City Chair and the permanent focus it will bring to the exploration of cities at SCI-Arc.”

When Gilmore, a trustee since 2001, approached SCI-Arc about including the school in his estate plans, a dialogue about his interests ensued. “Design, architecture and cities have played a defining role in my life,” he said, “and these interests originally led me to SCI-Arc. As I began to consider my gift, I wanted to acknowledge these influences in a meaningful way. The idea of creating a named chair, the Gilmore City Chair, seemed like a natural fit.”

SCI-Arc’s strategic positioning at the center of the changing urban landscape of Los Angeles provides unparalleled opportunities for its students and faculty to challenge the notions of the modern city. Dense city architecture involves an inherent interaction of economic, social, political, ecological and technological forces demanding multi-disciplinary review and collaboration. The Gilmore City Chair at SCI-Arc will be committed to the study of these issues, not only as they apply to the city of Los Angeles, but to cities around the world, which will be examined and reimagined through the creative lens of the SCI-Arc community.

A native New Yorker and architect by training, Gilmore moved to Los Angeles in the early 1990s, a time when the historic core of downtown Los Angeles has been all but abandoned. Within a few years of arriving on the West Coast, Gilmore had begun acquiring and rehabilitating a number of historic buildings. In many people’s minds, Gilmore was the animating force behind adaptive reuse development in downtown Los Angeles—a risk-taker and committed urban guy whose efforts totally revitalized the Old Bank District and served as a model to other developers.