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12.29.2011
2011 in Review> West Coast Editors' Picks
A chronology of top stories from the pages of The Architect's Newspaper.
Morphosis and SWA's landscaped rooftop for Giant Interactive Group.
Iwan Baan

While things are still very tough on the West coast, the situation is slowly getting better. We can see some progress by looking at our favorite stories of the year. From museums to stadiums to "earthitecture," there are some very exciting, innovative things being planned and finishing up. We can't wait to see what happens next.

DILLER SCOFIDIO + RENFRO
 
 

01.06.2011

BROAD MUSEUM HITS THE STREETS

Diller Scofidio + Renfro's sculptural design seen as major draw for downtown Los Angeles: In fittingly dramatic fashion, philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad today unveiled designs for their long-awaited, $130 million museum on Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles. The project, designed by New York architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is both boisterous and restrained, and has the capacity to help transform a street that has long attempted, and largely failed, to be a vibrant cultural hub for the city. It will be home to the Broads' collection of over 2,000 contemporary artworks, as well as to the offices of the Broad Foundation.

Bruce Damonte
 
 

02.01.2011

CRIT> DOLBY REGENERATION MEDICINE BUILDING

An unpromising site brings out the best in architect Rafael Vinoly: Attention, San Francisco: A spaceship has landed in your backyard. The shiny silver form of Rafael Viñoly’s Ray and Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building is a stunning discovery lurking at the back of the University of California, San Francisco. The most exciting local building to be erected since the California Academy of Sciences and the De Young went up in Golden Gate Park, this structure is at once sharp and lithe, rational and poetic, industrial and organic—an appropriately futuristic home for the cutting edge of research, and the most adventurous work from the architect in some time.

IWAN BAAN
 
 

02.04.2011

FEATURE> BUDDING RELATIONSHIP

The merger of landscape and architecture is creating fertile new approaches to building: In case you didn’t notice, the architecture world is embracing all things green with an enthusiasm not seen since the 1970s. But this time around, the movement has expanded far beyond the grass-roots level to a broader merging of architecture and landscape. This soil-meets-steel trend, precipitated largely by our limited space resources, by the crossover in design fields, and by our desire to return to our roots, has forced architects and landscape architects to collaborate more closely, and occasionally, even to reverse roles.

COURTESY SLO
 
 

02.07.2011

BACK TO SCHOOL IN LOS ANGELES

LAUSD Wakes Up; Commissions Innovative Prefab Prototypes For Future Building: Better late than never. After completing a multi-billion dollar school building program that produced what even some of its administrators admit was fairly conservative architecture, the LA Unified School District decided to abruptly reverse course when devising prototypes for both new schools and replacements of its thousands of temporary classrooms. The district, under the leadership of an ambitious new facilities director, even went back to the drawing board after its initial short list to find more compelling proposals.

Benjamin Benschneider Photography
 
 

07.09.2011

FEATURE> ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES

The kids may be out of the classroom for the summer, but school design is definitely in session: In Seattle, a rainy day isn’t typically cause for celebration. But for kids at the Bertschi School, a private elementary school completed in February in Seattle’s North Capitol Hill neighborhood, it is. In their new science classroom, a glass-covered channel in the floor is a “river” that conveys water from the roof into an underground cistern. “We hear them say, ‘I wish it was raining today, so I can see the river working,’” said Stacy Smedley of San Francisco’s KMD Architects. The 1,400-square-foot standalone classroom was designed as a Living Building, a relatively new concept that requires net-zero-energy use and net-zero-water use, as well as the elimination of chemicals such as formaldehyde and PVC. And the curriculum—the kids are charting their energy usage for a formal year-end audit—truly turns the building into a teaching tool.

Courtesy Catellus / METRO
 
 

07.14.2011

DOWNTOWN DREAMS

Los Angeles METRO kicks off ambitious plans for Union Station: After buying LA’s Union Station in April, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO) has wasted no time putting the site to use. Wednesday’s Union Station Master Plan Industry Review event kicked off the process of soliciting planning proposals for a redevelopment of the 42 acres of land it owns around the station, instantly making the site one of the most important development zones in Southern California.

Courtesy METRO
 
 

08.18.2011

FEATURE> HOME ON THE RAILS

From Metro to BART, California agencies are actively collaborating with developers. Sam Lubell investigates transit-oriented design: Yes, we admit it: the car is still king in California. But from LA to San Francisco an impressive list of new transit projects are beginning to change this. LA, known as the archetypal freeway city, has built or is planning more than ten new rail lines and extensions—largely spurred by 2008 ballot measure R, a sales tax hike providing billions to transit projects. In the Bay Area, recently-completed initiatives like San Francisco’s Third Street Light Rail and the San Francisco Airport extension, as well as future extensions into Silicon Valley and the East Bay, are helping connect a sprawling collection of cities. Meanwhile, California has become a test ground for High Speed Rail, with the stage set for lines running the entire length of the state in coming years.

COURTESY GENSLER
 
 

08.29.2011

THE GREAT STADIUM SHUFFLE

Cities and architects across California jockey for major football projects: Are you ready for some football? California sure is. Despite their beleaguered economic conditions, cities across the Golden State are now angling to get in on what has become one of the greatest stadium scrambles in its history. Los Angeles, City of Industry, San Diego, Santa Clara, San Francisco, and Oakland are all vying to build new facilities in the hopes of luring either the Chargers, the 49ers, the Raiders, or another team altogether.

Courtesy Ray Kappe
 
 

10.05.2011

Q+A> RAY KAPPE, MAN OF THE HOUSE

Acclaimed California architects shares his thoughts on architecture: AN West Coast editor Sam Lubell sits down with Ray Kappe, one of the most acclaimed architects in Southern California. Kappe was Founding Chairman of Architecture at Cal Poly Pomona and Founding Director of SCI-Arc. Now at 84, he opens up about the problems with prefabs, SCI-Arc’s issues, and his attitudes about architecture and recognition.

Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
 
 

11.04.2011

ZAHA TAKES FLIGHT

San Diego Planning Commission okays Hadid's La Jolla House: Despite strident appeals from some neighbors, it looks like Zaha Hadid is coming to San Diego. The city’s planning commission on October 20 approved a request to have Hadid and San Diego firm Public demolish an existing house on 8490 Whale Watch Way in La Jolla and replace it with a 12,700 square foot residence with four bedrooms, six bathrooms, and an indoor pool.

 

The Editors