Search results for "los angeles"

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Brainstorming

Mr. Brainwash will convert a Richard Meier-designed building into a Beverly Hills art museum
Only three months after the announcement the Paley Center for Media would be departing the Richard Meier-designed home in Beverly Hills it has occupied since 1996, a new tenant has already been confirmed. Thierry Guetta (aka Mr. Brainwash), a French street artist who gained notoriety following the release of the 2010 mockumentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, has signed a lease to temporarily transform the 26,500-square-foot space into a museum of his own after scoping out an exhibition space for over a year. “The building, which almost fell into my lap, is my Cinderella slipper," Guetta told the Art Newspaper. "It fits perfectly." Since moving to Los Angeles, Guetta has already taken over several properties throughout the city to produce and store his artwork. The latest lease, however, reflects an initiative to exhibit that work to a public audience. The artist has also stated that the building will also be used for presenting group shows, some of which may be themed with loans from local institutions in conjunction with pieces from his own collection. The building’s facilities lend themselves to other museum functions as well, including a 150-seat theater for which the artist is planning public and private talks and screenings. “I want to show different sides of myself," he added. "All I have kept inside for so many years. Imagine a pressure cooker, about to explode. That’s me!” The former Museum of Television & Radio was originally purchased in 2018 for $80 million by the luxury brand LVMH, which plans to eventually demolish the three-story structure and build a hotel on the site. Guetta will receive the keys in March, and is planning to present his first exhibition in the space this Spring. Pairing the glassy building’s location on a heavily trafficked corner with the artist’s notoriety and connection to Banksy, one can expect that the exhibition space will receive a lot of attention during its run.
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WHO SEES THE ART?

Barbara Kruger installs politically charged murals across Los Angeles
Spearheading the second Frieze Los Angeles, a major art fair held at Paramount Pictures Studios from February 13-16, local conceptual artist Barbara Kruger unveiled Untitled (Questions)public art project made up of 20 large-scale murals throughout the city of Los Angeles. The bright green murals have not only made their way to the facades of significant buildings, such as NeueHouse Hollywood, Union Station, and Banc of California Stadium, but, with the support of the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Bureau, have also taken over many of the city’s light pole banners, digital billboards, and other spaces typically designated for traditional forms of advertisement. Organized by Bettina Korek, the executive director of Frieze Los Angeles, the project directly asks unsuspecting passersby deceptively complex questions, such as ‘WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?,’ ‘WHO BUYS THE CON?,’ and ‘WHAT'S HOT? WHAT'S NOT?,’ in a highly legible Futura Bold Oblique typeface. “We are extremely honored to have collaborated with Barbara on the Frieze Week campaign,” Korek explained in a press statement. “This project trusts that in an age of distraction, people still pay attention. It’s quintessential how her choice of words balances directness and ambiguity, how they invite a viewer to read into what is being asked as well as what isn’t.” The project is, on one hand, a reflection of the artist's anti-capitalist political views (rendered in green and white in a nod to American currency), and on the other hand an appropriation of billboard aesthetics in an attempt to provoke residents of the city, most of whom will not be attending Frieze Los Angeles, to question the status quo on their daily commutes. Though Kruger has produced word-based murals in public space for over 30 years, this latest project is her farthest-reaching installation. The piece is complemented by Untitled (Questions)a 191-foot long mural installed on the southern facade of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) prior to the 2018 midterm elections. While the MOCA piece will be uninstalled on November 30 of this year (following the 2020 presidential election), the project commissioned by Frieze does not have a set end date, and will likely be uninstalled in stages.
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Next stop, Hitsville

Detroit’s Motown Museum teases expansion in new flyover video
Detroit’s Motown Museum has reached out by releasing a flyover video that gives the first good look at its $50 million expansion in hopes that we’ll (eventually) be there. And although there ain’t nothing like the real thing, the teaser video showcases the under-construction museum in its full glory. “It’s such a thrill for us to give the world this fresh visual of what our expanded campus will look like when construction is completed,” Robin Terry, chairwoman and CEO of the Motown Museum, told Detroit News. “The dynamic format for this aerial ‘flyover’ video means you can experience the project in a way that even the most detailed plans and renderings cannot—bringing the expansion to life in a way that makes you feel like you’re there. This preview also illustrates how the museum will offer unique programming, a collaborative space for the community to gather and one-of-a-kind experiences that no other institution can match.” As previously reported, the museum expansion, which broke ground in September of last year, was designed by the late Phil Freelon of Perkins and Will. Most notably, the North Carolina-based Freelon led the design team behind the National Museum of African American History and Culture as well as other museums dedicated to civil rights and the black experience. For the Motown Museum expansion, Freelon collaborated with Detroit’s Hamilton Anderson Associates. “Motown introduced a brilliant collection of voices and stories across racial, generational, and cultural lines,” said Zena Howard, a managing director at Perkins and Will, in a statement to the Detroit Free Press. “The expansion of the Motown Museum will carry these voices even further.” When complete, the museum, which is currently located in the original Motown home offices/studios on West Grand Boulevard, will feature an additional 50,000 square feet of interactive exhibition space, performance venues, recording studios, community gathering areas, retail space, and more. The first phase will mostly involve renovating and connecting the existing museum buildings, and is the first of four. The sprawling new museum complex will be connected to Hitsville U.S.A., the name of Motown Records’ historic hit-producing compound. In effect, the expansion will create a sprawling cultural campus in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood. Currently, three of the seven original Motown-affiliated residential homes lining West Grand Boulevard make up the present-day museum. Motown mogul Berry Gordy purchased the first Hitsville home in 1959. In 1972, Gordy moved the label’s headquarters from Detroit to Los Angeles. Esther Gordy Edwards, sister of Berry Gordon and former senior vice president of Motown Records, established the Motown Museum at the Hitsville site in 1985. It remains one of southeast Michigan’s top tourist attractions. As reported by the Detroit Free Press, the Motown Museum announced it had surpassed the halfway mark of its $50 million expansion fundraising campaign on the same day it premiered the new flyover teaser.
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BRINGING BACK WALKING

Downtown Los Angeles’s Broadway Street may soon go car-free
Los Angeles City Council Member Jose Huizar first began his Bringing Back Broadway initiative in 2008, which has gradually revitalized several of the early 20th-century movie palaces and long-underused commercial buildings along Broadway Street in Downtown Los Angeles. Now that many of those buildings are occupied with retail spaces, hotels, concert venues, and restaurants, Huizar recently introduced a motion looking into the feasibility of making the entire 1.5-mile stretch a pedestrian-only zone. “A car-free Broadway,” Huizar explained in a Twitter thread, “would bring a measurable increase in pedestrian traffic to the many new retail stores and theaters in the corridor.” By prioritizing pedestrian, bike, and bus traffic, Huizar argued in an attached statement, the economic development triggered by the original Bringing Back Broadway initiative would increase while reducing the number of car-related deaths in the area. He has also argued that the project is particularly feasible in light of the ongoing LA Streetcar project, a separate initiative that will provide an above-ground public transportation option that would intersect with preexisting transit systems, and which has already received approximately $1 billion in funding.
Huizar ended the statement with an analysis of all of the elements the redesign must consider, beginning with “accessibility options related to parking, residential and commercial loading/unloading, ADA, fire and safety, and private events.” The motion would also include the further preservation of the historic buildings along Broadway, and would continue to fill empty storefronts with public amenities. While Huizar's L.A. Streetcar project garnered the approval of over 73 percent of Downtown residents when it was first proposed, it is unclear as of yet how the motion to ban cars from Broadway will be publicly received. Car culture famously built Los Angeles, and there are virtually no other permanent examples of a similar move in any other part of the city. The closest precedent is CicLAvia, a nonprofit event that temporarily closes major thoroughfares to motor vehicles throughout the city to make them accessible to foot and bike traffic, which has received increased popularity since it was first inaugurated in 2010. The proposal follows last October’s announcement that San Francisco’s Market Street would be going car-free, and it is predicted that several other cities across the country may follow suit in their historic centers.
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SLASH-AND-BURN

Lucio Fontana show recreates artist’s lesser-known spatial installations
Students of art history may be familiar with Lucio Fontana, the Argentine-Italian conceptual painter, sculptor, and founder of the Spatialism movement. Fontana gained international acclaim in the mid-1950s with his slash series, for which he cut into the canvas surfaces of monochrome paintings to provoke a sense of depth unachievable with paint alone. Though the canvases came to dominate his outward canon, Fontana was, however, also exhibiting immersive artworks around the world as early as 1949—nearly two decades before artists James Turrell and Yayoi Kusama first developed their first atmospheric experiments in the late 1960s. A recently-opened exhibition at Hauser & Wirth’s Los Angeles outpost recreated nine of Fontana’s lesser-known Ambianti spaziali (Spatial Environments) across three of its main galleries. Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero in collaboration with the Fondazione Lucio Fontana, Walking the Space: Spatial Environments, 1948-1968 is the first comprehensive presentation in the U.S. of the late Italian master’s three-dimensional work that, in the words of the artist, seek to ‘open up space, create a new dimension, tie in the cosmos, as it endlessly expands beyond the confining plane of the picture.’ Arranged chronologically, visitors begin the exhibition by pulling apart heavy curtains to enter Ambiente spaziale a luce nera [Spatial Environment in Black Light] (1949), a pitch-black room illuminated only by a few black lights pointed at a fluorescent papier-mâché sculpture hung from the ceiling by fishing wire. The piece recalls the sculptures of Frank Stella and Aaron Curry—but while those are often affixed to the walls or centers of well-lit gallery spaces, Ambiente spaziale a luce nera adds the illusion of weightlessness, a characteristic Fontana sought in artwork as a nod to the Space Age in which he was practicing. The installations following Ambiente spaziale become more interactive, the material palettes increasingly vary, and the spatial layouts of the work becomes increasingly labyrinthine. A gallery attendant warns visitors before entering Utopie [Utopia] (1964) that the carpeted undulating floor makes navigation difficult, and they should be prepared to duck when the floor reaches three feet beneath the ceiling. The following installations challenge—and, over time—heighten spatial awareness through a series of tactile illusions set in motion by focused lighting and ambiguous arrangements. Ambiente spaziale in Documenta 4, a Kassel [Spatial Environment at Documenta 4, in Kassel] (1968), the last installation Fontana created before his death later that year, is, by contrast with his earlier spatial works, an installation so bright that it produces no shadows. Visitors put on booties to enter the all-white space one at a time and arrive at a subtle yet unmistakable laceration in the wall’s plaster, reminiscent of those found in Fontana’s famous slashed canvases. It is fitting that, at the exit point of his very last installation, a slash emerges that seems to condense all of the artist’s creative energy into a single work. “When I sit before and contemplate one of my slashes,” Fontana once wrote, “I suddenly feel a great relaxation of the spirit, I feel myself to be a man freed from the slavery of matter, a man belonging to the vastness of the present and the future.” Walking the Space: Spatial Environments, 1948-1968 opened on February 13 and will be on display through April 12. Hauser & Wirth will present two more exhibitions on the work of Lucio Fontana in the near future; one in New York in Spring 2021, and another in Hong Kong in the fall of the same year.
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Using it as a LEVER

LEVER Architecture’s Thomas Robinson discusses the impact California could have on the timber industry

We are witnessing a revolution in how we build with engineered timber in the United States.

In January 2019, the International Code Council (ICC) approved changes that would allow high-rise wood buildings in the 2021 International Building Code (IBC). Oregon and Washington were early adopters of these code changes, and Denver, Colorado, recently followed suit. Other states and municipalities are expected to adopt the 2021 IBC timber provisions early, but it is anyone’s guess what California will do. Will the state decide to adopt now, or will it wait till the code becomes part of the new issuance of the 2021 IBC? This is an important question not just for California, and by extension the City of Los Angeles, but also for the future of mass timber in the U.S. and beyond. California standards and codes transform markets, and a mass timber movement in the U.S. without the state that is also the world’s fifth-largest economy is not going to move the needle fast enough. The opportunity to scale a low-carbon, renewable supply chain to address catastrophic climate change is closing quickly, and it is time for California to step up and demonstrate the progressiveness and leadership that have been key to its prosperity.

What does early adoption mean in practice? Today, an architect in Oregon or Washington who follows the provisions of the new IBC can stamp drawings to build a timber building up to 270 feet in height as of right. This is a significant change. Just over four years ago, my firm’s design for a wood high-rise called Framework was selected as one of two winners of the first U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition. At that time, there was no code path in the U.S. for wood buildings over 75 feet. To receive a permit, our team of designers and engineers worked with the State of Oregon on a performance-based design process. Partly funded by the competition prize, this process included 40 tests on full-scale timber building assemblies to demonstrate their fire, seismic, structural, and acoustic performance relative to high-rise life-safety requirements. It was a fascinating, exhausting, and exhilarating experience, and we are proud that this work and research impacted the timber code changes. Thanks to the new code provisions, it is unlikely that another design team will ever have to go through this process in quite the same way again.

Early adoption of the timber code provisions isn’t just about tall buildings, though—it is a critical opportunity to encourage wider investment and innovation in sustainable mass timber development of all scales. Why should California (or any place else) care about mass timber construction? Building with engineered timber products addresses our most pressing global challenges. It has the potential to decrease carbon emissions relative to construction, spur rural economic development, encourage forest practices that prevent fires, and increase the speed at which we can deliver projects, including much-needed affordable housing. The promise of a major market like California supporting mass timber construction will be an incentive for manufacturers to invest in a more advanced supply chain, back new research, and encourage more sustainable forest management. California’s early advocacy of renewables and electric vehicles moved the market (see Tesla), and I believe it could have a similar impact on the development of mass timber.

We are currently in the permit process for one of the first multistory office buildings in Los Angeles with a cross-laminated timber (CLT) floor system. The building is essentially a hybrid, with CLT floors and steel columns and beams. It meets the current code and does not use the provisions of the 2021 IBC because the highest occupied floor is not over 75 feet. That said, it is still a 125,000-square-foot building—not a small undertaking. We have been working closely with Los Angeles authorities and our engineer to clarify and explain how the CLT performs structurally in the project and how it fits within the current code. We have made incremental steps that will allow for subsequent projects to better navigate permitting this type of building, as well as open up options for multiple CLT suppliers to serve the Los Angeles market. I believe these small steps are significant, but I know that my team could have gone further faster if California had already adopted the new timber provisions. Building officials in California are justifiably cautious. The optics of approving tall wood construction as the state faces devastating wildfires is difficult. However, moving in this direction creates a market that will advance the sustainable forest management that prevents these fires in the first place. If we are serious about addressing the major environmental issues of our time, we need California to adopt the 2021 IBC now. We are simply running out of time.

Of course, there is more to do. I believe as architects we must rethink design as a wider ecosystem of environmental and regional economic choices. Where our materials come from and how they are produced should drive and inspire our designs. This is not a limitation but an invitation to innovate with regional, renewable materials to create more compelling architecture that truly addresses both local and global issues.

Thomas Robinson is the founder and principal of LEVER Architecture.

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Hollywood thrills

Paul R. Williams gets the star treatment in new PBS documentary
The career of Paul Revere Williams was defined by glitz, glam, and a remarkable triumph over adversity that helped pave the way for countless architects to follow. Now, Williams and his work will at long last celebrated in a new feature-length documentary film, Hollywood’s Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story, co-produced by PBS SoCal and released in time for Black History Month. Born in Los Angeles in 1894, Williams blazed previously impassible trails as both the first certified African American architect to practice west of the Mississippi, as well as the first African American architect to be admitted as a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Williams, whose wildly prolific career spanned over 50 years, is perhaps even more famous for his seemingly endless output of buildings across a range of styles and types: Office buildings, churches, schools, hotels, restaurants, public housing projects, municipal buildings, and enough private homes for Hollywood luminaries—Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, Cary Grant, and Tyrone Power among them—to fill Beachwood Canyon. And while Williams is best-known work is predominately located in and around L.A., other notable Williams-designed buildings can be found further afield. They include the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee; the La Concha Motel, now part of the Neon Museum in Las Vegas, and the landmark Hotel Nutibara in Medellín, Colombia. Williams’ collaboration on the Googie-style showstopper at Los Angeles International Airport, the 1961 Theme Building, appears to be directly imported from even further afield… a place called outer space. The Theme Building is not only one of Williams’ most well-known projects but an iconic structure in L.A. for both its location and prominent superstructure. Debuting earlier this month on PBS SoCal, the Courtney B. Vance-narrated documentary, which also includes interviews with Williams’ grandchildren, friends, and architectural historians, can now be viewed on PBS channels nationwide and streamed online here.
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Design Grouping

The LADG builds practice in parts
The following interview was conducted as part of “Building Practice,” a professional elective course at Syracuse University School of Architecture taught by Molly Hunker and Kyle Miller, and now an AN interview series. On September 3, 2019, Ella Arne and Eliza Williamson, students at Syracuse University, interviewed Benjamin Freyinger and Andrew Holder of the Los Angeles-based The LADG. The following interview was edited by Kyle Miller and AN and was lightly condensed for clarity. Ella Arne and Eliza Williamson: Thank you for joining us. Our first question is a very simple one; how and when did your practice start? Andrew Holder: We started our practice when we were still students. Ben and I were in graduate school at UCLA from 2002 to 2005, and we began working on our first project together at the end of 2004. If you look at the older projects in our portfolio, you’ll see stores for a ski boot retailer called Surefoot. Surefoot in Vail, Colorado was our first project. I don’t think we intended to form a durable corporate entity at that time, and it wasn’t our intention to be a practice forever. The Surefoot store was our first opportunity and was followed very quickly by a residential remodel in downtown Los Angeles and a loft building across the street from SCI-Arc. But to the original question, “How did it start?”... we were raised on a myth of how architecture firms start. You sit down and write to clarify your position in the world. After that is absolutely clear to yourself and others, you begin to work. Our experience was almost exactly the opposite… the work came first. What is the identity of your practice, and how has it changed over the years? We started our practice during boom years for construction in Los Angeles. It was a good time to be an architect. For the first four years, we were totally consumed with work and executing projects commissioned by various clients. During the financial crisis of 2008 it became clear to us that architecture purely as a service for the market was not enough for us. We decided that we needed another layer of activity or set of incentives to impel what we were doing, because we felt as though the financial crash had removed many market-based incentives. We weren’t making money anymore. The thinness of incentives that we had thought would stick around forever was revealed. We needed new reasons to get out of bed in the morning, which lead us back to the idea that we needed an operating theory of what architecture wants to be in the world. We asked ourselves why we do this on a very personal level, but also how architecture can engage a broader audience. It was in 2009, 2010, and 2011 when we first started thinking through architecture’s relation to audience. In those years, you see the emergence of animal figures and biomorphic forms in our work. These things were essentially the most direct answer that we could imagine to the question of how architecture interfaces with a mass audience. Our answer to that was architecture sheds its status as an object, and it becomes a subject. I know how to participate in a crowd if I’m a living thing. We were doing everything we could think to do to turn architecture into a subject that could participate like other people. We reached a limit with 48 Characters, an installation at the University of Michigan where we were creating plaster versions of balloon animals. We started to realize that if architecture as a subject needs formal complication, then we have to come up with different ideas about how to make habitable space. It’s a very simple initiating problem. And that question essentially initiated a string of investigations up to the present day where we are thinking about assemblies of objects that produce rooms. Who exactly are you referring to when you talk about audience? Who is the audience for your work? We always want to have a couple of different conversations simultaneously. We are hoping that the balloon animal projects are immediately legible with no specialized knowledge in architecture. Stuffed animals have a mode of communication that requires little to no expertise. It just requires enculturation. You have to have been a person on the planet for a while. At the same time, balloon animals have a kind of second discursive tale. They're plugged into issues in architecture that are for sophisticated audiences. That longer tale has to do with the history of complex form and architecture, and the history of the use of digital tools and a long conversation about character. What exactly that term means… it looks like Ben is joining us now. Ben Freyinger: Hello. Sorry, I’m super late from another meeting. We were talking about how your work resonates differently with different audiences. But now that we have both of you here, we can ask how you maintain the identity of your practice considering both of you are in different locations. Ben: Case in point. Andrew: It'll be interesting if we have different answers to this question. Ben, what is that noise? Is that an airplane? I can assure you there is no airplane in Cambridge. Okay, so first, the geographic distance for us is profoundly clarifying. So, to revisit the history of how we started… Ben there's incredible background noise. Please go inside. Ben: I'm on a job site. I'll mute my microphone when I'm not speaking. Andrew: Great, thank you. So, bear in mind we started as students, which means that didn’t yet have formalized understandings of our roles. What we had was a desire to work together. It was when we started living on different coasts that we had conversations about who does what. It was that moment of specialization that also required us to have conversations about the operating theory of the practice. All of a sudden, in order to be efficient in schematic design, we needed to constantly be referring back to ideas we had about how to make space and how to use assemblies of objects loosely fit together to produce things like rooms and interior order. Those were as much theories of architecture and how it should work as they were a series of conversations regarding how to distribute labor between the two coasts, and how to clarify what Andrew does and what Ben does. Ben: I agree. To be blunt about it, having two people with either similar ideas or productively conflicting ideas in the same room is not always productive. There's the personal growth that you need to go through in order to expand in your career and move forward and learn new things that tends to get stunted when there is someone else in the room. Independently, we've discovered that the practice can grow and that there is a need for specialization. But no matter how specialized we each become in our roles, we still wear a lot of the same hats. We still do a lot of the same things. Andrew: Here is an example of how, for instance, something we produce has multiple lives, and becomes useful for the office. When I wrote “Notes on More,” the Log piece about density, I was interested in an academic audience. But I was also writing it as a letter to our office. It was how I was structuring thoughts about design, and was asking, “Can this help give us a common understanding of how to sit down to work?” We're always growing and shrinking, so it means anywhere from two to six people are participating in schematic design. Everyone has to be extraordinarily coordinated in their work output. The essays help hold that together. Can you talk more about the way in which the preference for using everyday objects informs your aesthetic sensibility? Also, how does this approach impact constructability and construction? Andrew: Interesting. We haven't used the word sensibility a lot in our conversations with one another. But maybe we should more often, because we have definite ideas about where we want to end up in terms of how things look. We want a kind of casualness, as though materials could come together in a variety of orientations and we would have simply picked one of those possibilities. We want a sense that our material palette is not elevated and expensive, but is common to the point of being retrievable from a junkyard if funds are limited. We also want for the fits between things to produce an occasion for design. If things fit together too perfectly, design is discouraged. One way that we create opportunities for design is by subjecting our work to physics by frequently positioning things with respect to one another so that all of the energy and intensity is in an interface or point of contact. Ben: We are using materials that are readily available and, in some cases, kind of ugly. And yes, it's in the interface between the materials and how they respond to one another or how they coexist… it’s where the invention is. The reality is that we have contractors that are looking at what we are producing. What they see is complicated or complex. We can break it down very logically, piece by piece, and explain why it isn't. But the reception of it is often “Oh, this is unusual… this is too complex to build.” Andrew: I also want to say that the casualness and looseness is not just for its own sake. Actually, let me go back. I'm totally fine if it's casualness for its own sake. I have no need to justify it further, but maybe we have an additional possibility. One thing that starts to happen as things are loosely arrayed against one another is the production of crenelated edges, which makes it difficult to assign things to the inside or outside. Elements often fall outside of the proper territory of the house or building. This means more engagement in the surrounding context. If you can't figure out where the envelope is, you're always questioning what’s around you. For us, that's good politics. We want to self-consciously style ourselves as part of architecture’s progressive crowd, but we don't see that as being related to exclusion on the basis of privilege—educational, financial, or otherwise. We're trying to resort to things that have a democratic availability and low barriers to intellectual engagement. Given this attitude towards being democratic and inclusive, what kinds of projects do you hope to work on in the future? Andrew: In the very immediate future, we're really interested in the suburbs and we're really interested in the single-family home, which may seem a weird answer to your question. We're trying to think of ways in which the form of the house can open up and start to create shared regions with neighbors. So, imagine many House in Los Angeles I’s next to one another. We'd have to imagine a different way of describing what constitutes yard or private ownership. Ben: We’re looking at the fringe areas of Los Angeles, specifically hillside areas, which encourage invention with regard to what Andrew was saying about the concept of yard or the concept of private ownership. We want to challenge and reconsider these things. Andrew: If you look at the larger context for House in Los Angeles I, you'll see that it's part of a series of suburbs that stretch between downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena. They're all super irregular, hillside lots. House in Los Angeles I looks kind of flat, but it's at the edge of a pretty steep hillside. What that means is that buildable area is tightly circumscribed. You can only put houses in certain spots, which leaves huge portions of the hillside unbuilt but also given up for shared uses. We want to be deliberate about how built form can preserve collective spaces that have already emerged, and start to encourage the emergence of new collective spaces. You spoke earlier of your dissatisfaction with conceptualizing architecture as being subservient to the market. How would you position your practice in relation to the market now? Is the market something you engage with critically? Andrew: What the market asked of us in 2009 did not overlap with how we wanted to spend our time. We wanted personal and intellectual satisfaction that the task given to us by the open market did not demand. We wanted to do more thinking and more drawing and more model building… and we weren't doing a lot of those things. When we talk about a reaction against an exclusively service-based practice, it's not that we were withdrawing from the market or the structure of how business works in Los Angeles. It's that we were trying to construct a viable business model with habits of life and thought and work that we found to be more humane and of interest to us regarding ways we wanted to live our lives. I would love to be a soldier of resistance against late capitalism, but my tools for thinking through that problem are more effective when I examine it at the scale of what I do when I get up in the morning. We’re encouraged that the market is now telling us that it has niches that support our habits. What's been the most fulfilling moment in your professional careers thus far? Andrew: I had a very fulfilling experience on my last site walk at House in Los Angeles I. It's been a while since I've been out there. When I went out, it was just after all of the rain in Los Angeles, but before the landscaping went in, so it was super muddy. My foot got stuck in one of the courtyards. There I was stuck in an idea we'd only been kicking around on paper. Ben: I'm going to play a similar card, but I'll zoom out a bit. For me, it's the physical evidence of the work. I can relate this back to Andrew's comment about how we choose to lead our lives in the office. If there's physical evidence of that work in the world, that is also the litmus test of our success in trying to bring a desire to operate, practice, and live a certain way into the market productively and reconcile those two things. I can look at it, I can touch it, and I can see it. That never gets old.
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Hanks for Sharing

Tom Hanks announces Academy of Motion Pictures will open this December
Tom Hanks, a trustee of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and a co-chair of its campaign, broke long-awaited news about the project while taking the stage during last night's Academy Awards: “We're all very proud of what has been accomplished so far in the landmark that is taking shape on Fairfax and Wilshire, and it is a pleasure to announce that the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will open its doors on December 14th, 2020.” On that date, the museum's first two exhibitions will take in the main gallery spaces of the renovated 1939 May Company Department Store (also known as the Saban Building): Hayao Miyazaki, a retrospective of the famed Japanese filmmaker’s career, and Regeneration: Black Cinema 1900-1970, an archival presentation of black participation in American filmmaking. Programming has not yet been announced for the David Geffen Theatre, a 1,000-seat auditorium set in a Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW)-designed semi-sphere attached to the Saban Building via the Barbara Streisand Bridge. As AN covered last August, the auditorium building is being constructed using an innovative double-layer system that provides soundproofing without compromising expansive views of the surrounding Hollywood hills. Opening dates for the museum have been repeatedly set and re-set since the capital campaign was launched in 2012. The project’s original $250 million budget has ballooned during the course of its several-years-long construction, causing significant delays in installing the finishing touches. A recent pre-opening campaign has helped the museum reach the 95 percent mark of its revised $388 million budget. In that time, founding museum director Kerry Brougher left his position was been replaced by Bill Kramer, a former managing director of development and external relations at the museum that helped raised $250 million for the new building. Though the major structural and aesthetic portions of the project is complete, work on the mechanical and electrical engineering details is being finalized alongside the installation of the museum’s first exhibitions. “The dream of this museum will finally become a reality,” Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in a press statement. “[It will be] a gathering place for filmmakers and movie fans from around the world, where we can share the Oscars legacy and further fulfill the Academy’s mission to connect the world through cinema.” The Academy Museum will become the latest cultural attraction on Los Angeles’s Miracle Mile and will open shortly after the majority of the original building on the adjacent LACMA campus will have been demolished to make way for its groundbreaking redevelopment.
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Counterprogramming

South African studio Counterspace will design the 2020 Serpentine Pavilion
An all-female team from Johannesburg, South Africa, has been selected to design the 2020 Serpentine Pavilion. The 29-years-old architects Sumayya Vally, Sarah de Villiers, and Amina Kaskar of Counterspace are also the youngest designers ever selected to create the annual summer installation in Kensington Gardens, London According to The Guardian, the architects envisioned the pavilion as a series of spaces “inspired by places where people gather across London, particularly migrant and other peripheral communities.” The trio wrote in a statement that “places of memory and care” in parts of the city—from Brixton to Hackney, Whitechapel, Ealing, and more—will come together in a singular shelter within Kensington Gardens. “Where they intersect, they produce spaces to be together,” said Vally, who co-founded the firm in 2015. The pavilion will be comprised of different sections, each representing various existing gathering spaces throughout London. Visitors will be able to see these distinctions through structural breaks, gradient changes, and differences in color and texture, according to the architects. “As an object, experienced through movement,” said Vally, “it has continuity and consistency, but difference and variation are embedded into the essential gesture at every turn.” Counterspaces’ pavilion will be built in waves. The completed sections will be set up in different neighborhoods where they’ll first play host to numerous community events. By the summer, the sections will return to Kensington Gardens and make up the whole structure. Counterspace aims to build the pavilion with earth-friendly materials such as cork and custom K-Briq modules from Kenoteq. Each unfired brick used for the structure will be made with 90 percent recycled construction and demolition waste. Now in its 20th year, the pop-up Serpentine Pavilion has long-been a space for debate and, as The Guardian puts it, selfies. Design teams that have had the recent honor of producing a temporary structure for the Gallery’s site have attempted to capitalize on the Instagram-age. Architects including Sou Fujimoto, Bjarke Ingels, selgascano, and Frida Escobedo have created stand-out spaces that have attracted thousands of visitors from around the world. Last year’s selection, however, left the organization mired in controversy. Pavilion designer Junya Ishigami came under fire for not paying his overworked interns on the project. Soon after the news broke, Yana Peel, head of the Serpentine Galleries, resigned from her post. Bettina Korek, former executive director of Frieze Los Angeles, took over thereafter and, alongside artistic director Hans-Ulrich Obrist, chose Counterspace to design this year’s project. “The idea of working with different communities is very important for us and Counterspace’s proposal does this in a remarkable way,” Obrist said in a statement. “We were totally convinced by the social dimension of their practice. They bring an African perspective, an international perspective, but they are working with locations and communities right here in London and their pavilion design is inspired by that work.”  The 2020 Serpentine Pavilion will go up as part of the institution’s 50th anniversary in London. In a push to produce greener architecture, Serpentine Galleries is now asking its pavilion designers to focus on sustainable construction methods. Additionally, the Gallery’s current events series, the Back to Earth program, explores how architecture can respond to global climate change, promote wellbeing, and rupture social hierarchies. Counterspace's pavilion will be open from June 11 through October 11.
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By Decree

On beauty, value, and justice in federal architecture in America
This past week, a frenzied debate has erupted in response to “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again,” a draft executive order that, if adopted, would effectively mandate “the classical architectural style” for U.S. federal buildings. Assembled by the National Civic Art Society, a little-known organization dedicated to the promotion of classical architecture and design, the order proposes to rewrite the US General Services Administration’s (GSA) “Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture,” a three-point policy document written in 1962 by the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then Special Assistant to the Secretary of Labor, to focus the architectural ambitions of the GSA. Moynihan’s first and third directives aim squarely at design, insisting that federal buildings “reflect the dignity, enterprise, vigor, and stability of the American National Government” and that careful consideration be given to the building site and the layout of adjacent streets, public spaces, and landscape. His second speaks more generally to matters of architectural style:
The development of an official style must be avoided. Design must flow from the architectural profession to the Government. And not vice versa. […] The advice of distinguished architects ought to, as a rule, be sought prior to the award of important design contracts.
The crux of MFBBA’s argument is that Moynihan’s second principle precludes his first. By granting authority on matters of style to architects, it claims, the Guiding Principles supplant the preferences of the American people with “the architectural profession’s reigning orthodoxy.” This, it continues, “implicitly discouraged classical and other designs known for their beauty,” and sanctioned instead modernist, Brutalist, and Deconstructivist buildings which “have little aesthetic appeal,” citing work by Marcel Breuer, Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, Morphosis, and others as examples. In so doing, the order claims, “the Federal government has largely stopped building beautiful buildings that the American people want to look at or work in.” To encourage the design of buildings that inspire “admiration” instead of “public derision,” the order proposes that “in the National Capital [sic] Region and for all Federal courthouses, the classical architectural style shall be the preferred and default style absent special extenuating factors necessitating another style.” While this technically leaves open the possibility of non-traditional design, MFBBA sets an extremely high bar for its approval. Brutalism, Deconstructivism, and their derivatives (specified by extremely problematic, open-ended definitions) are excluded outright. Other non-traditional buildings would be permitted to move forward only with approval from the president, who must first be provided with a detailed explanation of “whether such design is as beautiful… as alternative designs of comparable cost in a traditional architectural style.” The term beauty, or one of its derivatives, appears twelve times in MFBBA’s seven pages. Though it is not included in the document’s list of definitions, it is used throughout to signify those qualities that give pleasure to the senses and the intellect. At its core, then, this debate is about more than just architectural style. It is about publicly funded pleasure. The art critic Dave Hickey similarly locates the essence of beauty in pleasure. In his 2009 essay, “American Beauty,” he finds it primarily in the “pleasant surprises” one encounters in everyday life. Such pleasure, whether derived from monumental architecture, a clear blue sky, or a perfectly executed jump shot, often leads people—Americans in particular—to dialog. “Beautiful!” someone exclaims, moved by an arresting object or experience. Others respond, sometimes in agreement, sometimes in dissent. Chatter ensues, occasionally moving toward the consensus from which societies are built. “American beauty is inextricable from its optimal social consequence,” Hickey writes, “our membership in a happy coalition of citizens who agree on what is beautiful, valuable, and just.” In American society, beauty, value, and justice are determined similarly—through the often-contentious debates we conduct in Congress, in court, in the press, in the marketplace, at school, at home, and out in the street. Given the complexity of these collective conversations (and the difficulty of surprising oneself), we often turn to trained experts—elected representatives, lawyers, cultural critics, brokers, artists, architects, and others—to generate possibilities and look after our interests. Though it often seeks guidance in expert opinion, American society is not based on timeless values, religious doctrine, or ancient edicts. It is based on mutual agreement. With the Declaration of Independence, Americans mutually agreed to their collective right to pursue “pleasant surprises” and other forms of happiness, and to tentatively ascribe power to the government to secure that right. This is where it gets complicated. As Hickey points out, every pleasant surprise is an occasion for change, an opportunity to renegotiate our collective agreement regarding what we hold to be beautiful, valuable, and just. Such activity always threatens the stability of the status quo, which is why authoritarian societies often attempt to neutralize such threats by outlawing idiosyncrasy and mandating familiarity. MFBBA adopts exactly this authoritarian posture, though its authors undoubtedly would point to their populist invocations of “the public” and to their proposal that all GSA architectural competitions convene public panels that exclude design and construction professionals as evidence of their efforts to foster exactly the sort of open debate I am advocating. Such arguments would ring false. With their thumb firmly on the scale from the outset, MFBBA’s authors decide in advance the outcome of public deliberation on federal buildings. Their message is clear: When it comes to the most hallowed spaces of our democracy, the American debate on beauty—and by extension, on value and justice – is settled. The authors of “Make Federal Buildings Beautiful Again” thus work entirely on the side of entrenched authority, and rightly recognize the federal buildings of Breuer, Morphosis, Scogin, Elam, and others as subtly subversive. These works signal that the brilliance of American democracy issues from its accommodation of periodic reinvention, from our collective agreement that what we held to be beautiful, valuable, and just yesterday may not align with what we will hold to be so tomorrow. This is not to say that progressive architecture best represents our union, or that classically derived designs can no longer embody American values. It is merely to recognize, as Daniel Moynihan did, that we would do well to continue to draw on “the finest contemporary American architectural thought” to help us determine the best way forward, and to remember that the “dignity, enterprise, vigor, and stability” of the American government obtains from the right of its citizens to perpetually renegotiate the terms by which we are governed, to reimagine the values we wish to uphold, and to freely pursue the subversive pleasures of beauty. Todd Gannon is the Robert S. Livesey Professor and head of the architecture section at The Ohio State University’s Knowlton School.
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WRIGHT ON THE WEB

Digital archive for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House now online
Six months after the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House was designated the first and only UNESCO World Heritage site in Los Angeles, The City of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) has launched an extensive digital archive for the home spanning from 1918 to the present day. “Now everyone interested in Frank Lloyd Wright may view documents previously available only to scholars,” said Jeffrey Herr, DCA’s Hollyhock House curator, in a press release at launch. “Always stretching technology, Frank Lloyd Wright would be delighted with digital technology and the increased dissemination of his work."
Over 500 drawings, blueprints, and related items of historical documentation are now publicly accessible for the first time, giving the public another method of exploring the home following the debut of its Virtual Accessibility Experience and the self-guided tours available to the public four days a week. The online archive adds a significant amount of history concerning the many renovations, restorations, architectural details, furnishing, and the building additions on the 36-acre property. “The Department of Cultural Affairs is thrilled for the opportunity to make this archive material available to those interested in Aline Barnsdall's vision and Frank Lloyd Wright's work,” said Danielle Brazell, general manager of the DCA, in a press release. “Viewing the collection gives anyone interested in the history of the property a deeper understanding.” While highlights include schematic site maps and perspective renderings from the architect himself, the public archive also contains plenty of minutia for the Wright-obsessed, including an electrical schedule blueprint and plenty of corbel details. The home was completed in 1921 for the art collector and socialite Aline Barnsdall, who gave it up to the city shortly afterward in 1927 under the condition that the California Art Club could use the site as its headquarters through a fifteen-year lease. After the club relocated in 1942, the site was renamed Barnsdall Park and has since hosted several public events and exhibition spaces, including the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG).