Roger Sherman is principal of Roger Sherman Architecture and Urban Design in Culver City and co-director of UCLA’s cityLAB. Before participating in a panel on whether L.A. is mobile enough to be a global city, he talked about trying to kick bad email habits, pho, and his love for The Donut Hole in the Zócalo green room.
It’s your last meal. What do you eat?
Oh my goodness. I’d have a big bowl of pho.
What’s the last habit you tried to kick?
The habit I’m trying to kick is to stop answering all my emails before actually going to work. It’s eroding the amount of time I have to do the kind of real centerpiece of what I enjoy doing. The periphery is eating the middle.
What’s your favorite plant or flower?
The California poppy.
Did you have any pets as a kid?
Yes—a rescue dog.
Where would we find you at 9:00 on a typical Friday night?
It’s the time of the week that we spend together as a family—usually we’ll either have dinner together at home or go out someplace, to one of our two daughters’ favorite local hangouts.
What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
Building a fast food restaurant.
What’s your favorite building in Los Angeles?
The Donut Hole.
What teacher or professor changed your life?
I had a seventh grade social studies teacher at Central School middle school in Glencoe, Illinois, and his name was Mr. Werling. And these were in the days of value clarification—a hip effort to teach ethics. All the kids in class played roles in a town. And so you began to understand what it took to negotiate over making decisions about what was important or what wasn’t. And obviously, past is prologue. I really, really enjoyed that. It was a kind of breakthrough for me, an opportunity to think about something I didn’t previously realize I had a real passion for doing.
Describe yourself in five words or less.
Always seeking another field to play on.
Which of your friends or colleagues tells the best jokes?
Greg Lindsay. He’s a writer in New York.