Search results for "Aaron Betsky"

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New Fuksas

Studio Fuksas reworks Los Angeles's Beverly Center

The 886,000-square-foot Beverly Center first opened in 1982, in true Los Angeles fashion, on the site of a former children’s amusement park and next door to an active oil drilling site. Critic Aaron Betsky, appraising the structure ten years later in the Los Angeles Times, consecrated the blob-shaped mega-mall as “the Acropolis of shopping, dedicated to our national religion, consumption.” A new luxury-oriented $500 million overhaul by Studio Fuksas has only made that description more apt.

The eight-story edifice has undergone a midlife facelift that includes the addition of an undulating aluminum mesh facade over the building’s five above-grade parking levels. The expanded metal veil billows around the hulking mass, disappearing to mark three monumental entrances and a pair of glass-wrapped escalator bays.

The mall itself is laid out along the building’s top three floors, where a new 25,000-square-foot skylight and other reconfigured vertical openings bring crisp, white sunlight into its gleaming halls.

8500 Beverly Boulevard Los Angeles 310-854-0070 Designer: Studio Fuksas
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Did You Hear?

The best gossip from 15 years of The Architect’s Newspaper
To celebrate our 15th anniversary, we looked back through the archives for our favorite moments since we started. We found stories that aged well (and some that didn’t), as well as a wide range of interviews, editorials, and other articles that we feel contributed to the broader conversation. We also took a closer look at the most memorable tributes to those we lost, and heard from editors past and present about their time here. The Architect’s Newspaper has run an Eavesdrop column in its print edition that collects gossip from across the architecture community. It has served as a playful way to keep track of thoughts, feelings, and actions that have run in design's undercurrents. 2005 Architects in tight jeans "Zaha Hadid did it for Vitra. Winka Dubbeldam posed for Panasonic. But soon, it's one of the boys who's modeling for a Levi's advertisement. We went on the lookout when we heard about the company's casting call for male architects, between the ages of 18 and 45, for a New York ad shoot. Candidates has to be 'Real-looking men with good bodies, handsome, interesting, rugged.' (Notice that 'wears chunky black eyewear' was NOT listed.)" 2006 Sex and the icky "When this dirty old man isn't grossing out female co-workers by discussing the goings-on in their nether regions, we're told he can be found inducting new office interns—those poor interns!—with visits to a nudie bar." 2009 Pearls before SCI-Arc "Few talking heads can dent an architectural ego like critic, curator, and professor Jeff Kipnis, who moderated a chat at SCI-Arc on July 29 with Eric Owen Moss and Thom Mayne about Moss’ new installation at the school. Among Kipnis’ gems, he praised Moss’ garrulousness with the bon mot that he got paid by the hour for such events, and marveled at Moss and Mayne’s ability to argue with themselves—not among themselves, mind you, but each with his own self!" 2010 Eavesdrop: Knock Knock "This tidbit just in from the 12th International Architecture Biennale now underway in Venice. Approaching the entrance of the main exhibition hall in the Arsenale on opening day, Aaron Betsky, the director of the 11th architecture biennale, was refused admittance because he had no ticket. Betsky’s protests were met with an implacable shrug indicating, What have you done for us lately?" Check out a selection of our best interviews here and a fuller timeline of our articles here.
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Frank Lloyd…Wrong?

Frank Lloyd Wright's David and Gladys Wright House back on the market
It looked like Frank Lloyd Wright’s spiraling David and Gladys House in Phoenix, Arizona, had been saved from the wrecking ball back in June of last year, but a deal to donate the building to the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture has reportedly fallen through. Now the house is back on the market for $13 million, over $10 million more than when it first went up for sale in 2012. After being purchased in 2012 by homebuilder and architecture aficionado Zach Rawling, it appeared that the house, built in 1952, would be restored and put to good use. Rawling donated the building to the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin for use as a learning center and in-situ design studio, which kicked off during the 2017-2018 academic year. Although the school was able to produce videos with several well-known architects at the house and successfully complete the scheduled studios there, funding concerns seem to have scuttled the partnership. In a joint statement released in June of this year, Rawling and the school's dean Aaron Betsky announced that due to conflicting funding obligations and an uncertain timetable, the school and house would part ways.
The relationship between the School and the House is formally manifested in the David Wright House Collaborative Fund, a supporting organization of the Arizona Community Foundation. The principal focus of the David Wright House Collaborative Fund was to develop a vehicle to raise the $7-million endowment on which the pledge of the House for the benefit of the School was conditioned. Over the past year, we have learned that the fundraising timetables of both parties do not lend themselves to a joint campaign.
The original terms of the donation, which required that the school raise $7 million by 2020, proved difficult. Additionally, Phoenix residents reportedly weren’t thrilled over the potential conversion of the house into an educational facility and were worried about the traffic and noise the transformation would bring. Interested in buying a progenitor to the Guggenheim? You can put down your $12.9-million bids here. AN will follow up on this story when updates become available.
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Design Architects

Architecture abounds at Design Miami 2017

The 14th edition of Design Miami will take place in Miami Beach from December 6-10, 2017, with a series of gallery highlights, auxiliary events, and design curios that will highlight architectural elements and lesser-known pieces from designers both old and new. Highlights include a solo show of furniture designed by Swiss architect Albert Frey for his own Palm Springs home, completed in 1949; a dining table by Chinese architect Ma Yansong of MAD, part of his MAD Martian collection, and an immersive “Isolation Sphere” by French architect Maurice-Claude Vidili from 1971.

New York’s Patrick Parrish Gallery has collaborated with MIT’s Self Assembly Lab to present a series of experimental robotic fabrication displays, including a 3-D calligraphy process that makes objects in a gel suspension. Salon 94 will show a monumental 11.5-foot-tall concrete bench titled Core by London-based designer Philippe Malouin. Clothing brand COS brings their successful Milan bubble installation to Miami this year, this time titled “New Spring Miami.”

The annual Panerai Design Miami/ Visionary Award goes to Mwabwindo School, a collaborative educational project in Zambia by Joseph Mizzi’s 14+ Foundation. The project is designed by Selldorf Architects and will feature original artwork by Rashid Johnson and newly-commissioned furniture by Christ & Gantenbein.

Other talks that are part of Design Miami include  about queer space with Rafael de Cardenas and Aaron Betsky, and “Spatializing Blackness,” with USC architecture dean Milton S.F. Curry, architect Sir David Adjaye, artist/designer Amanda Williams, artist Hank Willis Thomas, and Watts House Project cofounder Edgar Arceneaux.

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Bent Into Shape

How Ball-Nogues Studio crafted this sculptural steel pavilion for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
The Max Factor Building—built in 1974 by A.C. Martin & Associates as an extension to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles—has never really been well-loved. The forlorn hospital complex is made up of a trio of institutional towers placed atop a pair of parking structures that are arranged around what should be a courtyard but is actually a five-lane boulevard that delves underneath the main tower. In a 1992 review of complex for The Los Angeles Times, critic Aaron Betsky described the black glass and limestone-clad structures as an example of “purposeful blandness” and labeled the hospital an “anti-urban bunker of bad form.” Flash forward to 2017: The towers remain unchanged in their appearance but stand renewed along the podium terraces that flank either side of Gracie Allen Drive, where AHBE Landscape Architects and Ball-Nogues Studio (BNS) recently completed work on new healing gardens and a pavilion, respectively. According to Calvin Abe, principal at AHBE Landscape Architects, the terraces had been a forgotten public space at the hospital for many years, a fact Abe hoped his interventions could shift by reorienting the way patients and visitors arrived at Cedars, as they made their way from the parking structure to the hospital proper. Benjamin Ball, principal at BNS, explained that the neglected terrace “had not been given much consideration as public place for the hospital” when originally designed, a fact worsened by its sensitive location sandwiched between air intake grilles and operating rooms. The arrangement meant that any construction activity would have to be undertaken rather silently and without generating much dust. To boot, the site’s existing structural arrangement meant that improvements would need to be vigorously studied in order to guarantee that new loads were being resolved without disrupting the podium’s original structural grid. As a result, the project team came to consider the site as more of a performative skin than a static structure. The surface-level project tries to heal the “epidermis of the complex,” as Abe explains, referring to the outermost public region of the hospital, by “grafting a piece of living, breathing landscape above the existing parking decks.” To achieve this goal, the firm re-designed the two terrace areas as a series of multi-functional outdoor garden rooms—what they call “portable gardens” due to the fact that the structural requirements forbade permanent installation of these new planters. Even so, Abe was able to soften the edges of the terraces with wide swaths of tall grasses, wooden boardwalks and benches, and ancillary, succulent-rich beds framed in three eights inch thick stainless steel sheets. Along the north arm of the terrace, sinuous benches made from kiln-dried Brazilian hardwood pop in and out of their surroundings, sometimes nestled into supple berms, at other times sitting proudly under the sun above the boardwalk. The planted areas are mirrored in a more minimal and integrated fashion across the way, where the edges of the wide, wavy beds seamlessly transition from stainless steel border to wooden bench and back again. The north arm of the terrace is organized as a tripartite band of terraces, with a large wooden boardwalk sandwiched between the grassy precipice and succulent bed. At the center of the run, the path bulges out to make room for BNS’s pavilion, a looming husk crafted by humans and CNC machines out of woven networks of stainless steel tubes. Ball explained that his team wanted to contrast the prototypical architecture of the medical towers with a sculptural pavilion that could stand out on the improved terrace. To counter the geometric, stone-clad exposures of the towers, BNS designed a multi-lobed shade structure that would be inspired by self-supported concrete shell structures but be constructed out of CNC-shaped steel tubing. “We tried to develop a language that could only be achieved using this type of machine-shaped caged shell,” Ball explained. Ball described the pavilion as having “no hierarchy in terms of structure,” a quality that would instead be lended by the pavilion’s billowing forms, which themselves were finessed by the quotidien requirements of the structure’s lateral loads. The billowing form wraps over the walkway on one side and frames a smooth, J-shaped bench underneath a parallel and transversal lobe. When seen from the boardwalk, the structures appear squat and wide, a quality that disappears entirely when the pavilion is viewed from the opposite edge, where the shells rise proud of the boardwalk and slip past one another. BNS, working with local fabricator Hensel Phelps, worked to meld into reality a form that not only faithfully represented the computer-generated mass—Rhino and Maya were used, among other programs—but that also reflected what the CNC machines could ultimately produce. Ball explained that the design and fabrication teams had to work iteratively to establish limitations for the structure, adding that  the back-and-forth process ultimately “outlined the aesthetics of the project—It created the rule book, not the other way around.” The structure was eventually fabricated off site, assembled in its entirety prior to installation, and finally craned into place. Ultimately, the structure came within a two centimeter tolerance of the digital model, due in equal measure to the digital tools and the highly skilled craftwork of the fabricators. Ball explained finally: “To get a project like this to look polished and highly crafted, you need hand skills.”
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David and Gladys Wright House

Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture gifted a new Wright-designed home in Phoenix
The David and Gladys Wright House in Phoenix, Arizona, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (whose 150th would-be birthday was last week), has been donated to the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. The house led a charmed life up until recently. Designed in 1952 by Wright for his son David, the 2,500-square-foot, mostly concrete house had come into the ownership of developers who wanted to bulldoze it and replace it with more profitable housing. News of this intention saw preservationists spring into action, but the standard procedures were scuppered as in Arizona, where private property laws hold strong, landmarking only saves a building for three years. On October 12, 2012, Michael Kimmelman of the New York Times explained the other, costlier method of saving the house: "The other prong of attack is to find some preservation-minded angel with deep pockets who will buy it from the developer. Preferably today." Cue Zach Rawlings. A custom homebuilding entrepreneur, Rawlings fell in love with architecture after exploring it across the country with his mother. As a young boy, he even caught a glimpse of the David and Gladys Wright house when he peered over the wall. Little did he know he would later save it. During his research, Rawlings came across architects John Lautner and Wallace Cunningham, both graduates of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin, in Wisconsin. Cunningham went on to work with Rawlings. "The first chance I got to call and hire architects while building homes, I called Wallace Cunningham," the developer said. Then one evening over dinner, Cunningham informed Rawlings about an Act of Demolition permit that had been filed for the David and Gladys Wright home. "I finished the dinner, got on the phone with my mom and told her I was flying to Phoenix in the morning,” said Rawlings, reacting to the news. "I asked her to please call the broker of the home and schedule a tour as soon as possible." Twenty-four hours after Cunningham and Rawlings had sat down, Frank Lloyd Wright's work had been saved from the wrecking ball. After that dramatic episode, Rawlings went on to meet Aaron Betsky, dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin in 2015. Over more food (this time lunch), Rawlings became inspired by Betsky's ambitions for the school, and the pair discussed the possibility of faculty members living there. Now the house will be donated to a fund under the Arizona Community Foundation for the sole benefit of the School.

"It’s transformative for the school and a fantastic opportunity," Betsky told The Architect's Newspaper. "One of the things that sets our school apart is living and working in Frank Lloyd Wright's built works—this addition only enhances that experience and lets us build on Wright’s legacy."

Betsky also acknowledged that "without doubt," some work has to be done on the house before educational programming can start there. A structural analysis has been carried out, though repairs to cantilevers and fixing leaks and touching up areas of corrosion also need to take place. Phoenix-based architect Victor Sidy is working on the building, as is landscape architect Chris Winters.

Arizonan architect Eddie Jones, principal at Jones Studio, will be teaching at the design studio specifically launched for the David and Gladys House. The studio will begin this fall and students will engage in the building and its six-acre site's renovation. (Originally, when Rawlings first purchased the house, it only came with a two-and-a-half–acre lot. Rawlings then bought adjacent lots to try and restore its original acreage.)

"This is all about the house becoming a place that can help students understand the relationship between the landscape and the built environment," remarked Betsky. He estimated that renovation work could take two-three years but admitted this was "optimistic." "We do not want to interrupt the [design] work going on inside," he said. Once restored there will be limited tours, and the house will be open to the public.

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Naming Wrights

Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture will change its name
The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture has announced that it will change its name to the School of Architecture at Taliesin. The change comes as the school has worked to restructure and gain financial independence from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The school’s new visual identity was created by Michael Bierut, a partner at New York–based graphic design firm Pentagram. “Adopting this new name, the School of Architecture at Taliesin, helps us to secure our identity as an experimental, forward-looking architecture program that is deeply rooted in the Taliesin Fellowship,” says Aaron Betsky, dean of the School.  “The process in which we developed our new relationship with the Foundation and our accreditors has been an opportunity to closely examine who we are as a school and how to best position ourselves to advance our mission and create quality educational experiences for our students.” As the school gains its independence from the Foundation, a transition that is expected to be complete in August, the school will also undergo a leadership change. Dean Betsky will become the president of the school, and Chris Lasch, the current director of academic affairs, will take over the role of dean. As the new name would imply, the school will continue to run out of Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona. Both properties are owned by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and play an important role for both the school and the foundation. “We look at Taliesin and Taliesin West as living laboratories that continue to advance Wright’s principles,” said Foundation President & CEO Stuart Graff. “Seeing the next generation of great architects working and living in these settings is as important to their preservation as maintaining the walls that hold them up.” As reported by The Architect's Newspaper, the school recently passed an important milestone towards its continued accreditation. The Higher Learning Commission approved the Change of Control application needed for the school to become independent from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, a requirement of accreditation.
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Parting Ways

Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture will keep accreditation
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has approved the Change of Control application submitted by the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. This approval recognizes the school as an independent entity from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, a condition for the school to maintain is accreditation as an institute of higher learning. With the HLC decision, the school will be able to continue its three-year Master of Architecture program. Along with the graduate program, the school offers additional educational programs, including an 8-week non-degree Immersion Program. The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture was first accredited with the HLC in 1987 as part of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and first became an accredited architecture school in 1996. The school will now begin the transition to an independent entity by August 2017. The initial application to the HLC was submitted in February 2016. While the initial application was denied, the school worked with the HLC to revise the application, which was resubmitted November 30th, 2016. "This is really a cap on a lot of changes that have already happened. This process started more than two years ago, when it became clear that the school needed to become an interdependently accredited organization. This meant we had to raise money, but it also meant that we had to do a lot of reorganization. That was a lot of what HLC was looking at," Aaron Betsky, dean of the school, told The Architect's Newspaper. "One thing I have been working on with the faculty is figuring out how to do this in such a way that we can be the best experimental architecture school in the country. Now that we have the HLC approval, we can move ahead with our plans." Architecture schools in 19 states, including Wisconsin and Arizona (where the Frank Lloyd Wright School is held), are required to hold accreditations from the HLC as well as the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). In 2010, the HLC updated its bylaws to include a provision which required all institutions of higher learning to be financially independent of any other larger institution that does not have education as its primary mission. The school’s accreditation is valid through this year, making it imperative that it proves its independence from the foundation before it expires. The school’s NAAB accreditation is valid through 2023.
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Prairie House Rules

Frank Lloyd Wright School works towards independence from Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

The Scottsdale, Arizona–based Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture is currently working toward achieving independence from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to maintain its accreditation as an institution of higher learning.

Architecture schools are required to be accredited by both the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), usually as part of a larger university, and the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). The HLC is responsible for overseeing overall standards of degree-issuing institutions in 19 states, while NAAB is only concerned with architecture schools. In 2010, the HLC updated its bylaws forcing all institutions of higher learning to be separate from any other larger institution, which does not have education as its primary mission. The Frank Lloyd Wright School is a division of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, meaning the school is not in line with the HLC’s current policies.

In a recent decision by the HLC, the school’s application for “Change of Control, Structure, or Organization,” a requirement for its continued accreditation, was denied. Working closely with the school, the HLC has asked for an updated application by November 30, which will be reviewed at its February board meeting.

“The response from HLC was never a matter of a disagreement with what was previously submitted. In consultation with their staff, we now understand the areas where they would like to see us flesh out our previous submission,” remarked Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation president and CEO Stuart Graff in a statement to the press. Graff and school dean Aaron Betsky have met with the HLC in order to understand the commission’s concerns and recommendations for their upcoming application. Both Betsky and Graff are confident the school is on the path to accreditation as an independent institution.

 

It is important to note that the school has not lost its accreditation, which is good through 2017, but it must prove that it is independent before that accreditation expires. The HLC’s criterion for accreditation dictates that “the governing board of the institution is sufficiently autonomous” and “the institution’s resource base supports its current educational programs.” This separation from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation greatly affects the school’s funding, much of which has come from the Foundation. In 2015 the school successfully raised $2 million dollars in order to become financially independent.

The school has been an accredited institution of higher learning since 1987, and first became accredited as an architecture school in 1996. The school’s NAAB accreditation is good through 2023. The Frank Lloyd Wright School offers a three-year Master of Architecture degree, which students pursue while splitting the year between the school’s Scottsdale, Arizona, and Spring Green, Wisconsin, campuses.

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Taliesin

Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture names Chris Lasch as Director of Academic Affairs
The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture has announced Chris Lasch will be join the faculty as Director of Academic Affairs. In addition to working with Dean Aaron Betsky to support the development of the school's curriculum and educational programs, Lasch will teach design studios and other courses. “We are excited to have Chris join us here at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture,” said Betsky in a press release. “He brings skills, experience, and international reputation that will be of invaluable importance to us as we seek to all learn how to make an architecture that is more sustainable, open, and beautiful." Lasch has been a partner at experimental design studio Aranda\Lasch since its founding in 2003. Their body of work includes buildings, installations, furniture, and objects, and their work is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art. The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture was founded by Frank Lloyd Wright and operates out of Taliesin, his former studio and estate in Spring Green, Wisconsin. The school has another location at Wright's winter home, Taliesin West, in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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Stucco Sublime

Dingbat 2.0 explores the history and future of L.A.'s famous Atomic Age apartments
The Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design’s Dingbat 2.0: The Iconic Los Angeles Apartment as Projection of a Metropolis, published in cooperation with DoppelHouse Press, brings into careful consideration the Dingbat, L.A.’s signature modernist-era multifamily apartment typology.
Dingbats dot the city, offering an affordable, though spartan, landing pad for many new comers. These simple two- to four-story apartment buildings are stucco-clad boxes raised above requisite parking, bedazzled by the atomic-era ares and starbursts that give dingbats their colloquial name.
Edited by Thurman Grant and Joshua G. Stein, Dingbat 2.0 wraps between its bright yellow covers the thousand lines of inquiry launched by the 2010 competition of the same name. Organized like an exhibition monograph, the book is part collection of critical essays, part “field guide” to a quirky and ubiquitous typology, and one more part still, a forum for speculative proposals of new urban housing.
The book successfully leverages the Dingbat as a launchpad for surveying multi-family housing in Los Angeles, picking apart the prickly and multivalent nature of its creation myth and subsequent existence through the lenses of prior appreciation, scholarly interest, and post-war art production. It attempts to ground what could otherwise be a fetishization of Sputnik-era kitsch into a sprawling examination of the economic, social, and technocratic instruments developers, architects, and occupants used to design, build, and enjoy one of L.A.’s most unsung contributions to architectural-historical patrimony. In an essay that could be its own book, Aaron Betsky looks at the typological roots of the Dingbat, claiming it as the modernist offspring of L.A.’s bungalow court apartments whose layouts cloaked multifamily dwelling in the vocabulary of the grand Spanish colonial hacienda. Betsky postulates that the genesis of the Dingbat lies in its qualities as an aspirational architecture, a stopping point between hometowns of the past and the arcadian pastures of the future. Architect Barbara Bestor sites recent interest in the Dingbat as a resumption of the critical rebuttal L.A. artists made to architectural high modernism in the 1960s and 1970s by appropriating local vernacular. Meanwhile, Steven A. Treffers delves into the interior, showing unit plans by prolific Dingbat architect Louis Katzman. By supplying these drawings and a few lengthy quotes by fellow designer Jack Chernoff, Treffers’ essay becomes the most novel work in this collection, finally putting names to a type often described as “generic” and driven by real estate metrics. Treffers locates the Dingbat as a ladder for economic opportunity used by its denizens and the small-time developers who utilized the creation of multi-family dwelling as an investment vehicle, a mutually beneficial road to wealth that has since disappeared.
Though very compelling, too often, the collected essays make obligatory references to past Dingbat observers, Reyner Banham chief among them. The collection could benefit from a round of coordination among the essays to reduce these redundancies. The book’s central matter, the aforementioned “field guide” to Dingbats, will change the way you see L.A. This section again defines the Dingbat, but does so more traditionally: By breaking down the many manifestations of the typology as well as the Dingbat’s prototypical features, like carports, facades, and decorative tchotchkes. Cutesy, catchy names are applied to each variation as well: Buildings that have parking dispersed between the front and back facades are halfbats, those on corner lots with two primary facades are sidebats, those on hillsides are hillbats, and so on. The succeeding exploration of Dingbat-influenced types developed after the Dingbat fell out of fashion is icing on the cake for those looking to this book for an exhaustive, scholarly resource. What’s missing is a work explicitly comparing Dingbat unit types to the plans of other housing types in the region.
A section featuring “micro-modifications,” with photos by Paul Redmond and commentary by Joshua G. Stein, offers a refreshing and intriguing view into everyday residents of these structures. Casual, cheerful photographs and interviews depict, at least among those featured, an appreciation for the type as a simple and almost semiotic dwelling in a diverse city lurching through a simultaneous housing crunch and economic boom.
The book also contains jurors’ critiques of winning entries from the 2010 competition as well as text from several panel discussions held in conjunction with the contest. These seem out of place in what is otherwise a forthright and unfocused (in a good way) analysis of an existing condition. This section would work better as a slimmer and secondary supplement to the more rigorous—and frankly, more interesting—Dingbat histories. Overall, Dingbat 2.0 finds hope in the Dingbat as a rediscovered icon of multi-family dwelling synonymous with Southern California. The relevance of this publication comes as Los Angeles’s place in what is now a global housing crisis comes into sharp relief, and the nature of architectural and civic discourse changes to address this rising concern. Assuming that all Angelenos live (or want to live) in single-family homes is perhaps one of the most persistent urban legends associated with the City of Angels. Dingbat 2.0, in contrast, places density at its forefront, asking us to take a look backward as we begin to consider the future of a more openly multi-family, vertical megalopolis.
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Absent Note

Why are there (almost) no American architects at the 2016 Venice Biennale?
Alejandro Aravena, curator of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale (themed "Reporting from the Front"), claims that this 15th architecture exhibition wants to “offer a new point of view” and is about “listening to those who are able to gain perspective and are in the position to share knowledge and experiences, inventiveness and pertinence with those of us standing on the ground.” Yet except for several young Americans, there are seemingly no “new points of view” from America that address urban issues and contribute to the international debate. The lone U.S. representative is Auburn University’s Rural Studio; it takes nothing away from their profound and important contribution to say it offers little that's new or urban. The largest number of official delegates in Aravena’s Biennale comes from Europe (86), Mexico and South America (22), and rest from global developing countries. The United States has never dominated the biennale—it began as an Italian and European event—but has always had significant representatives (excluding, of course, those in the U.S. Pavilion). Aaron Betsky curated it in 2008 as well. Is Aravena (who has taught at Harvard from 2000-2005) unaware of developments in American architecture? Or does he simply believe the most exciting new ideas are emerging from developing countries? Paralleling the 2015 Art biennale, does he think it's time to focus on work from the southern hemisphere? The President of the Biennale Paolo Barrata, who has a significant presence in the formulation of biennale's direction, claims that the image of this biennale (a woman on a ladder gazing across a desert horizon) is the counterpart to the one chosen for the 2015 art biennale. That biennale—"All the World's Futures"—was curated by Okwui Enwezor. Enwezor wanted to open the event to artists in under-represented developing countries (also largely from the southern hemisphere). Barratta also claims that previous architecture biennales were “characterized by an increasing divergence between architecture and civil society” and the 2016 edition would examine whether there exist “phenomena that show trends that run in the opposite direction.” He promises this biennale seeks "positive images” of change geared toward civil society. It's worrying that the U.S. has so little influence in this global debate. Are American architects providing solutions that emerge only from our unique codes and industrialized materials? Or are the solutions offered so corporate in nature that they cannot have applications outside the developed world? A partial answer to this question might be hinted at in the 2016 U.S. pavilion; we will be reporting on that tomorrow.