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Temple, Unpacked

wHY subtly transforms historic Masonic Temple to house Marciano Art Foundation

Rather than donating artworks to large, existing institutions, it is becoming more and more common for wealthy art collectors to create their own museums for displaying their extensive collections.

In Los Angeles, we have the Getty Museum; the Broad Museum; the Hammer Museum; and the Norton Simon Museum, for example. This arrangement allows the collector to assure that the works he or she acquired will be displayed in a manner that they control and won’t get lost within a much larger institution.

In New York, Ronald S. Lauder opened the Neue Galerie, and of course, in 1959 further up Fifth Avenue, the Guggenheim family opened their museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Sometimes these museums are very successful and draw visitors for years after their initial opening.

Adding to the trend, the Maurice & Paul Marciano Art Foundation (MAF) recently opened in Los Angeles to display some of the 1,500 art objects that the brothers have collected. The Marciano brothers made their fortune by creating and marketing Guess Jeans. For the last seven years, they’ve been working closely with MAF Deputy Director Jamie G. Manné to acquire a very diverse and often innovative collection. It was always their intent to create their own museum and four years ago the artist Alex Israel noticed that the large Scottish Rite Masonic Temple on Wilshire Boulevard was for sale. He told his friend—Manné—who also thought it had great potential. Manné told Maurice and he decided to buy it for $8 million.

The Masonic Temple was designed by artist and architect Millard Sheets. It opened in 1961 to serve the growing population of the Masons of California, a fraternal order whose mission was to “foster personal growth and improve the lives of others.” The Masons had noble goals but maintained a very private organization, which is reflected in the Millard Sheets design. It is a large and imposing 110,000-square-foot travertine structure on Wilshire Boulevard with essentially no windows; in other words, a big white box.

Three years ago the Marciano’s retained architect Kulapat Yantrasast and his New York and Los Angeles–based firm wHY to convert this white elephant into a museum that would engage the community, welcome the public, and display a wide range of art objects in a variety of media. wHY was an informed choice—they have extensive experience designing museums both new and old, including the Grand Rapids Museum in Michigan; the Speed Museum in Louisville, Kentucky; the Pomona College Studio Art Hall in California; and the interiors for the Art Institute of Chicago and Harvard Art Museums.

The design approach within their practice is based on collaboration, both externally and internally. Externally they work with the owner and engage the community to develop their design approach. Internally they integrate the firm’s four studios, each of which is named for its focus: “buildings,” “objects,” “grounds,” and “ideas.” Yantrasast said, “We intentionally work together from the beginning; architects, landscape architects, planners, and interior designers. We create a group of thought leaders, with the ideas workshop as the glue.” Yantrasast sees himself as the conductor of a group of “the best musicians.”

With MAF the goal was to respect the architecture of Millard Sheets while transforming his very private, enclosed box into a welcoming and engaging environment to experience contemporary art within. For the most part, they have achieved their goals with a few shortcomings.

wHY created a sculpture garden courtyard to welcome visitors who may approach by car from the rear or as pedestrians. This works well. The entry foyer is flanked by a bookstore and lounge, leading to the lobby, where they have saved and restored two beautiful light fixtures and three elegant elevator cabs.

The galleries comprise essentially two levels and a mezzanine to display the very diverse Marciano art collection. On the ground floor wHY converted the former 2,000-seat auditorium into a spacious 13,600-square-foot exhibition hall, with all interior lighting; essentially a vast black box that includes 65 pieces by the L.A.-based artist Jim Shaw. The former stage has been transformed into a dramatic sunken sculpture court, with Adrian Villar Rojas's reinterpretation of Michelangelo’s David lying in repose.

While the mezzanine is also dark and filled with video art, the top floor holds the most dramatic spaces. Yantrasast removed the hung ceiling from this floor to reveal the bold structure that supports the roof, creating a large 12,000-square-foot gallery to display major pieces of the Marciano collection. By stripping away a portion of its rear travertine elevation and replacing it with glass, the gallery is filled with waves of natural north light. This move also offers a pleasant promenade overlooking the city and the famous Hollywood sign. One unfortunate detail is that a beautiful Millard Sheets mosaic mural has been preserved, but a full height wall has been erected only six feet in front of it, making it virtually impossible to truly appreciate Sheets’ artwork.

Yantrasast believes that architects who design art museums are a “matchmaker between the art and the people,” and that the building “must support the art,” he said. It’s a delicate balance creating inviting spaces to exhibit art and making buildings that enhance their environment. In essence, wHY’s architecture becomes a subtle, quiet partner and does not dominate the art. At the MAF, generally wHY has succeeded as a “matchmaker.” They have created flexible, spacious galleries to display the extensive and diverse art. The inaugural exhibition, labeled Unpacking: The Marciano Collection and curated by Philipp Kaiser, formerly with L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art, works well in the newly re-imagined building and includes the work of 44 artists. Maurice Marciano seemed quite pleased with the result. He said, “We’ve been really blessed to give back to the artists’ community, and to share our passion with everybody.” In an ironic turn of events, the MAF has given new life to the Masonic Temple and extended the Masons’ goal to “improve the life of others.”
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Recap

From an urban planning graphic novel to debunking a sustainability myth: AN’s can’t-miss top posts from this week
Missed some of our articles, Tweets, and Facebook posts from the last few days? Don't sweat it—we've gathered the week's must-read stories right here. Enjoy! How green are Apple’s carbon-sequestering trees really? When the Apple's new headquarters is completed later this year, 8,000 trees, transplanted from nurseries around the state of California, will surround the donut-shaped building by Foster + Partners. But how much impact can one tree, or even 8,000 trees, make? The answer: Very limited or null. The untold story of Harlem’s gentrification and growth A new book from the Harvard University Press debunks the idea that the gentrification of Harlem was solely imposed by outside developers and investors.
Why everybody’s mad at Anish Kapoor Did Anish Kapoor cunningly plan this controversy over the world's darkest engineered material as performance art? To spark a debate about artistic freedom? It could also just be old-fashioned feud.
This graphic novel aims to shape Chicago’s next generation of city planners The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s latest venture is an educational graphic novel about urban planning and its challenges. While the book—titled No Small Plans—raises questions that aren’t new, it serves as an introduction for its target audience, namely children in grades six to ten.
Koning Eizenberg combines symbolism and craft for a new chapel in Hollywood It took decades of piecemeal construction—a new day school here, a dank brick chapel there—to build the Temple Israel of Hollywood (TIOH). But it would require 10 years of work by Koning Eizenberg Architecture to transform the 90-year-old Spanish Colonial Revival–style temple into a flexible and social campus for worship.
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Hillside Backdrop

Hollywood's historic John Anson Ford Amphitheatre set to reopen after major renovation
The newly upgraded and renovated John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Los Angeles is making its official debut this weekend following nearly three years of construction. Levin & Associates Architects acted as design architect while Mia Lehrer + Associates (MLA) performed landscape architecture services on the $72.2 million project; both firms are based in L.A. The 1,200-seat outdoor amphitheater complex was originally built in 1931 as a replacement structure for a previous theater that had burned down. The complex—then known as the Pilgrimage Theatre—was built out of masonry to resemble the fabled gates of Jerusalem. The original complex utilized rough, board-formed concrete surfaces throughout, with smoother treatments deployed across the crenelated towers and walls that make up the theater’s stage areas. The completed renovation brings a new two-story, 11,055-square-foot concessions and office structure to the complex that includes a commercial kitchen, new projection booth, control room, and a series of catwalks designed to optimize new stage lighting upgrades. The renovations also carved out 3,500 square feet of “found space” from underneath the stage. The removal of the underlying bedrock allowed the design team to address rampant drainage issues—The stage is embedded into the hillside site, an arrangement that resulted in storm runoff rushing directly into the complex’s basement levels. Levin & Associates also added ADA-compliant artists’ spaces, including accessible restrooms and dressing areas, as well as new telecommunications systems. MLA has reworked the hillside landscape behind the stage to introduce a native “generational landscape” that will age gracefully in place and is designed to be held in place by a series of retaining walls. The landscape architects also added a series of mature tree specimens to the site, including two mature coast live oaks and two strawberry madrone trees. The amphitheater area is wrapped in a modular acoustical metal panel wall assembly that is designed to keep sound from performances inside the complex while deflecting the traffic and noise of the nearby Interstate-101. The entry and approach areas of the complex were also reworked to be ADA-accessible.
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Ark-itecture

Koning Eizenberg combines symbolism and craft for a new chapel in Hollywood

It took decades of piecemeal construction—a new day school here, a dank brick chapel there—to build the Temple Israel of Hollywood (TIOH). But it would require 10 years of work by Koning Eizenberg Architecture to transform the 90-year-old Spanish Colonial Revival–style temple into a flexible and social campus for worship. So far, the project has yielded a collection of generous, sunlit spaces, including a sculptural multiuse chapel.

The chapel is a study in contrasts: A large glass wall populated by staggered, canted window panes fronts a courtyard framed by the masonry-clad temple and a low administrative wing, the glass surfaces of the new chapel sheathed by a folded-aluminum louver system. That steel-supported shade was meticulously designed and fabricated against the restrictive physical tolerances of the aluminum material—its design is partially inspired by the ceremonial tallit cloth. The expanse is interrupted by a wall enclosing the Ark of the chapel, an extra-thick volume that appears to be made of solid sandstone but is actually hollow inside. The sedimentary exterior treatment on the Ark is achieved by hand-applying compositions of different colored sands and tiny pebbles—brought to Los Angeles from congregants’ visits to Jerusalem—over a shotcrete substrate.

Nathan Bishop, principal at KEA and project designer for TIOH, explained that a tight budget forced the architects to develop custom but frugal approaches. “There are no off-the-shelf products,” Bishop explained regarding the chapel’s major components.

Along the inside of the chapel, the Ark itself is interrupted by a large vertical screen made of CNC-milled maple. The Ark screen is decorated by a dense geometric pattern that conceals a space containing a Torah. The chapel interior is topped by a suspended CNC-milled, segmented plywood ceiling. Its crisscrossing and angular profiles sweep from east to west, variable peaks and valleys rising and falling to create a cavernous lid. The segments allow for the ceiling to have two readings: an airy structure from below, and a solid one from afar.

Bishop explained that among the Ark wall, sunshade, and chapel ceiling, the designers aimed to establish an open-ended dialogue between architecture and ritual. The sunshade, for example, can exist as a discrete architectural element reflecting light every which way, while remaining vaguely associated with “something that feels like the frayed end of the tallit,” as Bishop put it.

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Stair Master

Renderings revealed for stepped Stanley Saitowitz–designed tower in Hollywood
San Francisco–based Natoma Architects has revealed renderings for 1360 Vine, a new 21-story stepped tower proposed for downtown Hollywood, California. The 429-unit project—which is being developed by Canadian firm Onni Group—would also bring 60,000 square feet of commercial space and 15 live-work units to the area. The project is slated to include a 677-stall parking garage as well. Development agreements allow for the project to contain either 50,000 square feet of offices and 5,000 square feet of retail or a 55,000-square-foot grocery store. According to an environmental report published by the Department of City Planning, the project will require the demolition of an existing eight-unit multifamily complex and several small scale industrial buildings currently occupying the site; six existing bungalow homes will be preserved and reused either as housing or restaurant spaces. The new construction will encompass a mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, 16 of which will be set aside as deed-restricted affordable housing for very low-income residents. The developer has also agreed to provide 19 affordable units off-site; a location for those units has not been specified. The preserved bungalows will be separated from the new tower by a broad pedestrian paseo line along the tower side by retail uses. The stepped tower—which is U-shaped in plan—will step up rather steeply from the bungalows, revealing a series of terraces as the mass climbs in height. Along other exposures, the black glass-clad tower will feature projecting balconies that overlook the street and a central courtyard. The developer behind the project is also working on a bevy of high profile projects across the city, including a pair of forthcoming towers proposed for lots adjacent to the historic Los Angeles Times complex in Downtown Los Angeles. Onni is planning for a total of 1,125 units and 34,000 square feet of retail in those structures; the new towers would replace the Times Mirror complex designed by William Pereira. 1360 Vine is expected to finish construction in 2021.
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The Sweet Spot

Suchi Reddy designs an art-filled home as lush as its surroundings in Miami Beach

When Suchi Reddy, founder of New York–based Reddymade Design, was tasked with redesigning a 12,000-square-foot home in Miami Beach, Florida, she learned that the job would involve not only designing the space, but also helping the client curate an extensive contemporary art collection. Situated on Sunset Island, the home is affectionately known as the “Sweet Spot,” and Reddy’s vision was a careful balance of architecture, art, and design.

The 1939 waterfront house was built by a Cuban sugar baron in a hybrid style of Caribbean colonial and Hollywood regency. Reddy’s design transformed the estate into a comfortable contemporary home that also showcases the client’s art collection. Each space was carefully designed with that collection in mind, with additional work introduced by Reddy, including pieces by Gerhard Richter, Marina Abramovic, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Erin Shirreff, Kate Shepherd, and Barry X Ball. The architecture plays directly with the art—for example, the curving main staircase winds around a 17-foot-long light installation by artist Pae White, chosen by Reddy precisely for the space.

Throughout the six-bedroom, eight-and-a-half-bath home, each room was treated as a separate design opportunity. “Part of the challenge was that every room is fairly large, and to create intimacy and comfort within a large space can be quite a difficult task,” Reddy said. “I took a sculptural approach to designing the spaces as a response. Each room was conceived as a ‘gallery’ of sorts, with curated objects, furniture, and art.” 

As would be expected of such a project, the detailing of each space is meticulous. From elaborate molding to a variety of floor finishes, every surface is considered. In some cases, Reddy worked with existing elements. “The lounge near the bar had walls with plaster palm trees—not a staple of modern design strategies,” she explained. “I decided to treat them as texture that was filled out by the curtains between them, and change the focus to the center of the room by creating a circular seating area that becomes a focal point, drawing you through the axis of the house.”

A major portion of the design was the choice of furniture. The dining room features a floating glass table designed by Poetic Lab. Another room centers around a thick telescope glass coffee table by KGBL. Colorful textiles play a key role in many of the spaces. In the living room, sculptural furniture is clad in bright African wax-print fabrics, one of Reddy’s own passions. “My Indian heritage gives me a very deep appreciation of textiles and texture,” said Reddy. “And that love informs every space, not with an Indian influence, but with a sensibility for spaces that feel sensual.”

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Tower, Podium, Block

Gensler releases new images of multi-building development in L.A.'s Koreatown
Gensler has released new renderings for a proposed mixed-use development in Los Angeles's Koreatown neighborhood that would extend a spur of dense, urban development northward along Vermont Avenue. The development, currently referred to as the “Vermont Corridor Project,” would bring a slew of new uses—market-rate and affordable apartments, as well as retail and office spaces—to the transit-connected neighborhood. The project is being developed as a public-private partnership between Los Angeles County, who owns the land, and Trammell Crow, the developer, in an effort to remediate currently underutilized lots and relocate Department of Mental Health (DMH) employees to more “architecturally prominent, cost-effective” facilities, according to a preliminary planning document. The project will encompass three sites, one of which is set off from the others by about one block. The two southernmost sites will contain a trio of tower structures—one, the existing DMH headquarters building, will be converted into a 172-unit housing complex while the second and third will be erected as new office and parking facilities for DMH staff. The new 471,000-square-foot office building will rise 13 stories and will include an eight-story, 965-stall parking podium along its lower levels. The office complex will be joined on the site by an 11-story, 768-stall parking tower located just to the east of the main tower. The office complex will contain up to 10,000 square feet of retail spaces along the ground floor, as well as 134 bicycle parking stalls. The structure, according to the new renderings, will be marked along its Vermont Avenue facade by a diagonal grid of parallelogram-shaped window frames, with the podium levels wrapped entirely by the motif. Next door, the repurposed office will feature diagonal exterior bracing, glass-clad facades, and inset balconies. The tower will include retail uses along Vermont Avenue and ground floor units along its backside. The detached parking podium mentioned earlier is being designed in such a way as to allow for the potential future construction of 74 additional units above the highest level, should the city deem the additional homes necessary. The third site, on the other hand, will be developed outright with 72 affordable housing units for senior citizens by Meta Housing Corporation. The complex will be made up of affordable and Special Needs Housing units and will include a 13,200-square-foot community center in lieu of retail spaces. That project is designed as an angular apartment block with push-pull massing and exterior circulation. The project will be located beside an existing stop along the region’s Purple Line, which is currently undergoing a multi-phase extension to the Westwood neighborhood. The Vermont Corridor itself, a north-south artery that runs from the Hollywood Hills to the South Bay, is currently being studied as a potential Bus Rapid Transit route, though some, like Urbanize.LA., have argued that the corridor’s high population density merits light rail infrastructure. The partners behind the project are currently preparing a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in order to receive the necessary approvals. A final construction timeline has not been released.
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GLCO

West of West designs hidden pop-up store in L.A.'s Melrose Place shopping center

Los Angeles– and Portland, Oregon–based architecture firm West of West recently completed work on a 400-square-foot pop-up shop for optical and sunglass retailer Garrett Leight California Optical (GLCO).

The store is located behind Alfred Coffee & Kitchen in the Melrose Place shopping center in West Hollywood, California. The pop-up shop includes birch-wood-clad interior partitions as well as typographic murals by design studio Cool August Moon. Designs also include a specialized display wall made up of white wooden pegs that support shelves and handheld mirrors.

One of the typographic walls is framed by a built-in bench made out of black-painted birch with a pair of tropical indoor potted plants. The bench sits adjacent to a secondary storefront entrance—the primary access point is through the coffee shop. That entrance is highlighted by a sheet of safety glass and is decorated with GLCO’s orange logo. That logo appears again inside the store, cut out of the birch accent wall behind the sales desk. An experimental magazine shelf made up of wooden dowels is located opposite the glasses wall; a lens-tinting machine and a marble-clad point-of-sale kiosk fill out the remainder of the space with raw concrete floors throughout. West of West explained in a statement: “The project was fascinating to us because of its hidden location—the experience of discovering an unexpected space is in contrast to the majority of the work we do.”

The store is open through the end of June.

GLCO at Alfred Melrose Place 8428 Melrose Place, Los Angeles Tel: 917-262-0955 Architect: West of West

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Anthropocene Art

MAK Center hosts exhibit on how materials lose their roots in an age of globalization

The MAK Center in Los Angeles will be showcasing the multi-locational exhibition Wasser by Berlin-based artist Mandla Reuter this spring.

The exhibition’s components will be on view simultaneously at the MAK Center’s Kings Road House and Fitzpatrick-Leland House in Los Angeles, and aboard a container ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean. A large marble block quarried on the island of Thasos, Greece, will move across the sea in the shipping container en route to the Port of Los Angeles. Parallel installations will take place at the two other sites: The Kings Road House will play host to a “sparse” installation meant to complement the block’s journey while the Fitzpatrick-Leland House—where Reuter, currently an artist-in-residence, has collected several other artists and their works—will be acting as a living museum-studio.

In all, Wasser is meant to reflect “on the perpetual movement of sited materials and delocalized resources across the world,” according to a statement. Wasser’s ephemeral, multi-locus nature is also meant as a commentary on globalization and the so-called Anthropocene, “an age where entire continents are no longer geologically shaped by nature but altered exclusively for reasons of trade and politics, until no part of the world remains unaffected by mankind.”

Mandla Reuter: Wasser The MAK Center 835 North Kings Road West Hollywood, California Through June 4, 2017

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Hollywood Ending

The re-configured Columbia Square pays homage to its past and is more pedestrian friendly

Columbia Square articulates a pragmatic vision for the future of Hollywood as a mixed-use, creative capital that pays homage to its past without sacrificing density. The original International Style Columbia Square Studios complex, designed by architect William Lescaze in 1938, was used by the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) as a West Coast base of operations when most Americans received news and entertainment via radio. The then-state-of-the-art studios and soundstages put Hollywood on the map as an entertainment center and were in continuous use until 2007. The development was acquired by Kilroy Realty in 2012, which renovated and expanded the complex with Rios Clementi Hale Studios and House & Robertson serving as architects and with Historic Resources Group as preservation architects.

The complex originally greeted Sunset Boulevard with a roundabout driveway and a collection of storefronts. The studios were located in the five-story Radio building. A series of ancillary structures located behind the driveway and above the retail spaces contained soundstages and offices, respectively. These components—including the operable, historic steel-frame ribbon windows cladding the original buildings—have been restored beautifully. The driveway has been closed off and transformed into a pedestrian plaza, an original grass roundabout updated and replanted with native sedges and artwork.

The Radio building now housesthe Los Angeles outpost of NeueHouse, a private arts-focused cultural club. An existing warehouse was reconstructed and reprogrammed as a 15,000-square-foot office space called Studio BC, while new office and apartment towers rise around a central courtyard toward the rear of the complex. That wooden bow-truss structure was formerly used as a sound stage and has been partially deconstructed—the existing truss is preserved as an architectural relic while the new structure rising around it has been designed with expressed steel truss elements that support a curvilinear roof. The new space features a spacious interior design by Rapt Studios, including an open, glass-clad mezzanine-level conference room.

“We created Studio BC as a memory to the original bowstring truss building,” said Bob Hale, principal of RCH Studios. “We put the required [office and studio] programs in and configured it so it could be used as a commercial space as well.”

A gridded office tower known as the Gower Building rises above and behindStudio BC: The dual-core, 250,000-square-foot structure presents a relatively generic collection of office spaces outfitted with alternating panes of opaque and translucent glass that complement the Radio building’s horizontal ribbon windows. The five-story block rises on a row of circular concrete columns and, toward the northern edge of the site, features terraced sections that have been individually branded by new tenants.

The heart of the campus is the central, multilevel plaza that contains an amphitheater and connects the complex to surrounding streets via a series of pedestrian access points. The plaza also functions as a water-collection system that uses a raised platform to filter water through various vegetated swales and planters. Paved in an abstract geometric pattern, the expanses tie together the site’s requirements—flexible social connectivity spaces, rainwater filtration areas, and a pedestrian-focused connectivity to the surrounding neighborhoods—while utilizing a subdued and comfortable material palette.

Opposite the Gower Building is another blocky structure referred to as the El Centro Building, a 106,000-square-foot single-core structure containing several floors of creative offices designed with higher floor-to-floor heights and exposed ceilings. The El Centro Building also contains a 5,500-square-foot terrace overlooking the plaza that will shine as a social space when fully built out and occupied.

Topping off the complex is the Hollywood Proper Residences, a 21-story faceted tower containing 200 high-end apartments. The tower design includes work by GBD Architects and features interior designs by Kelly Wearstler. The tower’s silhouette is patterned with alternating vertical bands of the same opaque and transparent curtain walls that clad the Gower Building. The housing tower, both in terms of height and program, establishes the project as a step forward in L.A.’s urban identity and signals a hint of things to come, with several other mixed-use high-rise projects due to appear around and behind historic structures nearby.

Hale, noting this trajectory and the countervailing increase in anti-development advocates in recent years, explained, “Hollywood is going to get more dense, but there is a lot of space here, too. To the degree we can make it a more active and interesting urban environment, that’s a benefit. It’s being built along transit, and integrated into the city. If people would let it happen that way, it’s going to.” 

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Old Meets New

New renderings released for L.A.'s massive Crossroads Hollywood project
International firm SOM and L.A.-based Rios Clementi Hale Studios (RCH) have released new renderings depicting the firms’ massive redevelopment of the historic Crossroads of the World complex in Hollywood, California. The 1.43-million-square-foot project, currently pegged to cost between $500 and $600 million to develop, aims to repurpose, update, and expand the Crossroads of the World complex by adding a collection of new programs and several high-rise towers. Crossroads of the World was designated as a City Cultural-Historic Monument and was designed in 1936 by architect Robert V. Derrah as the region’s first outdoor, mixed-use office and shopping complex, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy. The complex, which features a collection of squat, streamline, Spanish-, Moorish-, and French-Revival style structures, will be joined on surrounding blocks by a group of high rise towers and mid-rise podium structures. Overall, the so-called Hollywood Crossroads project aims to add 950 housing units, 94,000 square feet of office space, and 185,000 square feet of commercial uses to the roughly eight acre site. The project features a trio of towers, including a 26-story hotel tower containing 308 rooms, a 30-story tower with 190 condominiums, and a 32-story tower containing 760 units, including the podium levels. The project’s site plan features a diagonal paseo cutting through the site that connects the Crossroads of the World complex with the new housing towers. The paseo is lined with ground floor retail uses overlooked by apartment balconies. The generic-looking, glass-clad housing and hotel towers rise from these integrated lower levels, according to the renderings. Sunset Boulevard, via a collection of new—and controversial—high rise developments, is in the midst of  becoming a new vertical spine running through Los Angeles. The Hollywood area, in particular, is seeing a rush in high-rise construction, as developers scramble to meet an insatiable demand for new housing. These projects, however, have run into problems, as the new density has rankled local residents hesitant to see their neighborhoods change. Projects like Natoma Architects’ Palladium Residences and Frank Gehry’s 8150 Sunset in nearby West Hollywood have drawn the ire of local residents, for example. David Schwartzman, chief executive at Harridge Development Group, however, is unfazed by the potential controversy. The developer behind the project told the Los Angeles Business Journal, “In Hollywood, you always have issues with projects and people complaining, but we’re following the rules.” He added, “We’re not doing a general plan amendment, we’re providing affordable housing. We’ve thought about the needs of the community. At the end of the day, you’re not going to make everybody happy.” The recent completion of RCH’s Columbia Square—another tower-over-historic-complex project developed a few blocks east of the Hollywood—has been met with praise, so perhaps there is hope yet for this project. Harridge aims to complete construction on the project by 2022, though an official construction timeline for the development, has not been released.
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Virtual Arcade

AN's architectural highlights from this year's Tribeca Film Festival, including V.R. experiences
At Tribeca’s “immersive” Virtual Arcade, the virtual reality (VR) film The People’s House offered a tour of the public and private rooms of the White House with tour guides Barack and Michelle Obama. Highlighting artifacts and artworks as the embodiment of the philosophies and policies of their administration (Michelle cites Alma Thomas’s painting Resurrection, 1966, in the Old Family Dining Room), it is a stark reminder of how quickly life has changed. It was comforting to think that The People’s House is a vessel that will continue to change as administrations come and go. The following is a rundown of films and VR installations that use architecture and art that appeared at the recent festival, and that you should look out for. A few referred to the dilemma of finding or keeping housing in New York City. The Boy Downstairs finds Zosia Mamet’s character locating the perfect Brooklyn apartment when she returns to New York from a few years in London; her character is granted approval by the resident bohemian landlady who takes her under her wing, only to find that her ex-boyfriend is in the basement apartment. Will real estate triumph over emotional health? Black Magic for White Boys is an independently produced TV pilot where New York real estate plays a key role: a landlord is frustrated that he cannot raise his tenants’ rent, a magician hatches a devilish plan to save his small theater, and gentrification is causing an older version of New York to fade away. Permission finds woodworker Will (Dan Stevens) fixing up a brownstone for his long-time girlfriend Anna (Rebecca Hall), to whom he can’t quite propose. As they begin to experiment with other people, Will’s handmade furniture and house are no longer creating a home. I LIVED: Brooklyn investigates the borough’s distinct neighborhoods. If you missed Manifesto at the Park Avenue Armory, its segments have been woven into a film featuring Cate Blanchett playing different characters (newscaster, homeless man, puppeteer, punk rocker) who deliver architecture manifestos by Bruno Taut (1920/21), Antonio Sant’Elia (1914), Coop Himmelb(l)au (1980), Robert Venturi (1993), as well artists’ manifestos including Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto, Lars von Trier’s Dogma 95, and others on Dadaism, Surrealism, Minimalism, Pop Art, Situationism, Merz, Spatilaism, and The Blau Rider written by Tristan Tzara, Kazimir Malevich, André Breton, Claes Oldenburg, Yvonne Rainer, Sturtevant, Sol LeWitt, Jim Jarmusch, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, and others. Artist Laurie Simmons stars in her directorial debut, My Art. Although her character has been able to sustain her life as an artist by teaching, she has not broken out, while her students (real life daughter Lena Dunham’s character, for example) and friends have. She accepts the summer loan of a gracious summer house, complete with gardens and pool, and spends the summer making films that recreate Hollywood films. These finally give her both the satisfaction and attention she craves. Scenes take place at the Whitney Museum and Salon 94 Bowery. Shadowman is Richard Hambleton, a street artist who was part of a trio that included Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring in the 1980s whose work appeared all around New York City streets. The other two became art stars, their work came inside to galleries and was widely collected, and both died young (drug overdose and AIDS). Although Hambleton at first attained commercial and critical success—featured in LIFE magazine, and with works displayed at the Venice Biennale—he spun out with homelessness and an addiction to heroin. The film chronicles his rediscovery and a planned comeback, sponsored by Giorgio Armani, with Hambleton still painting his mesmerizing shadow-like figures. Movingly, he says that although he is still alive while his fellow artists are not, he is the waking dead. What a contrast to Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait, which chronicles this confident, gregarious artist and filmmaker from his childhood in Brooklyn and Brownsville, Texas, through his rise as a Neo-Expressionist painter (remember his plate paintings?). Schnabel came to be acknowledged for his extroverted, excessive approach to his work and life (frequently seen in silk pajamas, he lives and works in Montauk, Long Island, and in a 170-foot-tall pink Venetian-styled house in the West Village called Palazzo Chupi) as he moved into filmmaking (Basquiat, 1995, Before Night Falls, 2000, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, 2007). We have access to Schnabel and to friends and colleagues Al Pacino, Mary Boone, Jeff Koons, Bono, and Laurie Anderson. Schnabel is one of many art luminaries who appear in Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World which lifts the curtain on the art world economy, or the glamorous and cutthroat game of genius versus commerce where art is created, exhibited, and sold. Museum directors (Glenn Lowry, Michael Govan), collectors (Michael Ovitz), auctioneers (Simon de Pury, Amy Cappelazzo, Lisa Dennison), gallerists (Iwan Wirth, Andrea Rosen), artists (Rashid Johnson, Marina Abramowitz), and many more, appear. Another crash and burn, but with a comeback, is Zac Posen in House of Z, the name of his fashion house. Son of an artist father, he attended St. Ann’s in Brooklyn with Stella Schnabel, Paz de la Huerta, Claire Danes, and Jemima Kirk, for whom he created outfits. He rose quickly at age 21, then his brand fell out of favor and his challenge was to rebuild his company and his reputation in a tenuous dance between art and commerce. More consistent is Hilda, a short about octogenarian Hilda O’Connell who has been making art since the 1950s. She started in a studio on 10th St. alongside Willem de Kooning, Milton Resnick, and Esteban Vicente, and showed at the Aegis Gallery. She continues to make paintings that use language and alphabets in colorful, gestural work. At Tribeca Immersive, in Apex we see a city withstand a violent windstorm created by a looming sun. The viewer is surrounded by buildings being whipped by the elements. Island of the Colorblind is inspired by Pingelap, a tropical island in Micronesia with an extraordinarily high percentage of achromatopsia (complete colorblindness), a highly hereditary condition. The filmmaker says, “Color is just a word to those who cannot see it. If the colorblind people paint with their mind, how would they color the world, the trees, themselves?” The Island of the Colorblind consists of three kinds of images; ‘normal’ digital black and white photos, infrared images, and photo-paintings. Together they are symbolic attempts to visualize how the colorblind people see the world. A highlight is Hallelujah, which reimagines Leonard Cohen’s song. The experience is centered around a five-part a cappella arrangement sung by one singer with a wide vocal range in-the-round. As you rotate your head to view each rendition, the directional sound moves with you. Hallelujah employs Lytro Immerge, which enables live action VR content to behave as it does in the real world. The opening night film was Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, which profiles the music impresario behind the careers of Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston, Santana, Aretha Franklin, Barry Manilow, Patti Smith, Alicia Keys, Sean “Puffy” Combs, and more. Best Documentary Feature, Cinematography and Editing prizes went to Bobbi Jene, which follows dancer Bobbi Jene Smith’s return to the U.S. after starring for the Israeli dance company Batsheva. Also of note are: Blues Planet: Triptych, which explores music written in response to the Gulf Oil spill and performed by Taj Mahal; Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story is about the screen siren who was also an inventor; actors John Turturro and Bobby Cannavale dialogue on the vital subject of hair in the aptly-named Hair; Letter to the Free is about jazz behind bars; New York is Dead depicts artists who become hitmen to ear money; Nobody’s Watching is about a successful actor in Argentina who can’t get noticed in New York; Tom of Finland is about cult artist Touko Laaksonen who comes to Los Angeles; King of Peking is about a pirate movie company run by a 1990s projectionist in Beijing; When God Sleeps is about exiled Iranian musician Shahin Najafi living under a fatwa after terrorist attacks in Europe; and two films are about war photographers, Hondros and Shooting War. And I was charmed by Auto, which takes on self-driving cars: an Ethiopian immigrant driver with 40 years experience is forced to “drive” one and picks up a couple more accustomed to the service with amusing consequences. The People’s House, project creators Félix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël (Felix & Paul Studios) The Boy Downstairs, directed and written by Sophie Brooks Black Magic for White Boys, director Onur Tukel Permission, director and writer by Brian Crano I LIVED: Brooklyn, project creators Jonathan Nelson and Danielle Andersen Manifsto, director and writer Julian Rosefeldt My Art, director and writer Laurie Simmons Shadowman, director and cinematographer Oren Jacoby Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait, director and writer Pappi Corsicato Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World, director and writer Barry Avrich House of Z, director and writer Sandy Chronopoulos Hilda, director and writer Kiira Benzing Apex, project creator Arjan van Meerten Island of the Colorblind, project creator Sanne De Wilde Hallelujah, project creators Zach Richter, Bobby Halvorson, Eames Kolar, Within, Lytro Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, director Chris Perkel Bobbi Jene, director and writer by Elvira Lind Blues Planet: Triptych, director and writer Wyland Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, director and writer Alexandra Dean Hair, director John Turturro Letter to the Free, director and cinematographer Bradford Young Nobody’s Watching, director and writer Julia Solomonoff Tom of Finland, director Dome Karukoski King of Peking, director and writer Sam Voutas When God Sleeps, director and writer Till Schauder Hondros, director and writer Greg Campbell Shooting War, director Aeyliya Husain Auto, project creator Steven Schardt