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When I was 17, I was fixated on being the coolest hot-rodder around in my 1932 Ford roadster. I would drive along Sunset Boulevard looking for the beach. Being from Belmont Shore, I was moving through L.A. with not much but my sense of discovery to guide me. Later I was hired to head a team of architects and artists to design the 1984 L.A. Olympics—to transform 1,000 square miles of the endless city into a festive public realm. I like to think those hot rod adventures were the catalyst.