Search results for "gensler"

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Mounts Olympia

Trio of high-rise towers announced for Downtown L.A.
Architects Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM), P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S, and developer City Century have unveiled renderings for a trio of high-rise, mixed-use towers in Downtown Los Angeles’s bustling entertainment district. The newly-revealed mega-project is called Olympia and is billed to include 1,367 residential units, 40,000 square feet of retail space, and 115,000 square feet of open space. Those programmatic components will be distributed across a trio of towers rising 43-, 53-, and 65-stories in height that will be positioned over a 3.25-acre site at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Georgia Street. The project will be sandwiched between the L.A. Live sports and entertainment complex and the Gensler-designed Metropolis mega-development, a similar mixed-use project containing luxury housing and shopping amenities. The Olympia project is being designed by SOM and P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S and will feature glass-clad residential floors with over-sized floor plates expressed across the facades of the rectilinear towers. Those floorplates shift in and out at various intervals and contain outdoor amenity spaces at various heights. Stuart Morkun, executive vice president of City Century is quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying, “We’re seeing opportunities in L.A. as the entertainment, media and fashion hub. There is a growing desire by a new generation of professionals who want an urban lifestyle. Downtown can provide that.” The project is one of many luxury, mixed-use, high-rise complexes going up in the immediate area, with the aforementioned Metropolis project, the Harley Ellis Devereaux-designed Circa, and CallisonRTKL-designed Oceanwide Plaza projects being but a few of the developments currently in the works along the blocks immediately surrounding the L.A. Live complex. Developers for the project expect for the entitlement process to play out over the next 18 months with a four-year construction timeline to come afterward. The developer has not announced whether the units will be for sale or rent.
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Crème de la Crème

Our Buildings of the Year and other Best of Design Awards-winning projects
The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it's grown to 26 exciting categories. As in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN Senior Editor Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards.  Scroll below to see this year's winners! Click through to see plenty of images, the honorable mentions, and why the jury picked each project. We'd like to congratulate the winners and hope you can submit your work for consideration next year. (See the rest of our Year in Review 2016 articles here.) 2016 Building of the Year > Midwest: University of Iowa Visual Arts Building by Steven Holl Architects 2016 Building of the Year > East: Grace Farms by SANAA 2016 Building of the Year > Southwest: U.S. Air Force Academy Center for Character and Leadership Development by SOM 2016 Building of the Year > West: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Expansion by Snøhetta 2016 Best of Design Award in Landscape > Private: Modern Vineyard by Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture 2016 Best of Design Award in Architectural Lighting > Outdoor: SteelStacks Campus by L’Observatoire International 2016 Best of Design Award for Young Architects: Steven Christensen Architecture 2016 Best of Design Award in Facade: Vagelos Education Center by DS+R with Gensler 2016 Best of Design Award in Building Renovation: The Strand American Conservatory Theater by SOM 2016 Best of Design Award in Digital Fabrication: XOCO 325 by DDG 2016 Best of Design Award for Student Work: Sensory Pavilion by Dirt Works Studio, University of Kansas 2016 Best of Design Award for Temporary Installation: Rounds by SPORTS 2016 Best of Design Award for Lighting > Indoor: Planned Parenthood Queens by Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design 2016 Best of Design Award for Interior > Residential: Clinton Hill Courtyard House by O'Neill McVoy Architects 2016 Best of Design Award for Landscape > Public: Lower Rainier Vista & Pedestrian Land Bridge by GGN 2016 Best of Design Award for Interior > Retail/Hospitality: In Situ by Aidlin Darling Design 2016 Best of Design Award for Interior > Workplace: Square, Inc. HQ by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson 2016 Best of Design Award for Residential > Multi-Unit: 400 Grove by Fougeron Architecture 2016 Best of Design Award for Residential > Single Unit: Underhill by Bates Masi + Architects 2016 Best of Design Award for Urban Design: Chicago Riverwalk, Phase 2 by Ross Barney Architects and Sasaki Associates 2016 Best of Design Award for Architectural Representation > Digital: Nine Drawings, Seven Models by NEMESTUDIO 2016 Best of Design Award for Architectural Representation > Analog: Welcome to the 5th Facade by Olson Kundig 2016 Best of Design Award for Adaptive Reuse: National Sawdust by Bureau V 2016 Best of Design Award for Adaptive Restoration: The Cotton Gin at The Co-Op District by Antenora 2016 Best of Design Award for Civic Institution: Architecture of Buffalo Bayou Park by Page 2016 Best of Design Award for Unbuilt > In the Drawers: University of Miami Student Housing Master Plan, Phase 1 by CO Architects 2016 Best of Design Award for Unbuilt > On the Boards: The Menokin Project by Machado Silvetti How Synthesis Design + Architecture and Formlabs crafted this year’s Best of Design Awards Grand Prize. (Courtesy Formlabs) How Synthesis Design + Architecture and Formlabs crafted this year’s Best of Design Awards Grand Prize. (Courtesy Formlabs) How Synthesis Design + Architecture and Formlabs crafted this year’s Best of Design Awards Grand Prize    
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Go Big, Go Home

Pei Cobb Freed & Partners breaks ground on renovation and addition to Yamasaki's Century Plaza Hotel in L.A.
New York–based Pei Cobb Freed & Partners broke ground this month on a $2.5 billion development aimed at retrofitting and expanding the Minoru Yamasaki-designed Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles’s Century City business district. The project will convert the existing 16-story, 726-room hotel structure from 1966 into a luxury development with 394 high-end suites and 63 condominium residences. The elliptically-shaped hotel will be revamped by firms Gensler and Marmol Radziner, with the latter firm focusing on the historic restoration components of the project. The hotel has a rich history and was used as a stopover for visiting dignitaries during its heyday, including presidents Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan. The building was also the site of violently-quelled anti-Vietnam war protests in 1967. Pei Cobb Freed & Partners has designed a pair of 46-story, 600-foot tall Reuleaux triangle-shaped glass towers containing 290 luxury condominiums to flank the historic structure. Los Angeles—based architects Harley Ellis Devereaux are acting as Architect of Record for the residences contained within the glass-clad towers. The towers feature masonry-clad plinths at their base and are covered in repetitive, scalloped-edge balconies in deference to the Yamasaki-designed building’s distinctive facade. Rios Clementi Hale Studios (RCH Studios) is providing landscape design for the project; the firm aims to connect the new towers to the existing building via an elaborate series of landscaped shopping terraces. The shopping areas are designed to pull through the hotel’s interior from Avenue of the Stars, the major boulevard bounding the southern edge of the site. RCH Studios has laid the site out symmetrically around the center of the Yamasaki tower with wrap-around walkways and shaded areas connecting a proposed subway stop along the forthcoming Purple Line extension with the terraced areas at the feet of the towers. Plans for the redevelopment scheme were approved in 2013 as developers Next Century Associates—who originally wanted to demolish the 50-year old hotel—and preservationists clashed over the plans. The preservationists eventually won out when the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the hotel to its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for that year, bringing a public spotlight to the project and causing the developers to change course. Construction for the project is expected to finish in 2019.
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Beach Party

L.A.’s Playa Vista is becoming “Silicon Beach” and plays host to top architecture firms

The Playa Vista neighborhood on Los Angeles’s west side is quickly becoming Southern California’s answer to Silicon Valley, as it plays host to a growing contingent of technology-focused companies like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, and WeWork. And as capital, brainpower, and new residents flow into the area, so too have big-name architecture firms with high-minded designs.

The Playa Vista tract was originally owned by airline mogul Howard Hughes, who used the ocean-adjacent expanse as the manufacturing facility and airstrip where he built his famous Hercules (Spruce Goose) airplane. President Bill Clinton designated the 1.3-square-mile area as one of six national pilot projects of the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing in 1998, and the property began its redevelopment as a mixed-use neighborhood in 2002. In the years since, the 460-acre area, partially master-planned by Los Angeles–based Moule & Polyzoides, has seen its population boom to over 10,000 residents. In recent years, the area has gained the moniker “Silicon Beach,” as technology companies originally based in the nearby communities of Venice and Santa Monica have outgrown their initial outposts, expanding the technology industry’s footprint southward.

Last year, Google signed on to lease 319,000 square feet of space in the Hercules Campus, a complex redeveloped by Brenda Levin and Associates and EPT Design for the Ratkovich Company, including the 200- by 700-foot Hercules building in which Spruce Goose was designed. The team restored the building, adding pedestrian-oriented amenities to the complex while also converting the historic structure into a series of soundstages and tech-friendly offices.

Michael Maltzan Architecture, which designed the eight-acre Playa Vista Central Park in 2010 with Office of James Burnett (OJB), is adding a new 425,300 square foot office complex called The Brickyard. The Brickyard is also beind developed with OJB. The new complex, currently under construction, will feature partially-sunken landscaped parking areas that aim to extend the park outward into the office zones. The office structures, articulated as a maze of stacked, shifted, and offset volumes, are made up of two principal masses: one long office block that bends at two elbows in order to frame the aforementioned parking deck and a singular, six-story office tower. Both buildings feature punched openings as well as a variety of delicately-articulated access points that connect the parking and ground-level areas with what’s above. The complex will include a 9,000-square-foot daycare facility and will help fulfill Playa Vista’s goal of becoming a full-service neighborhood.

Gensler has also been busy at Playa Vista, undertaking the architectural repositioning of four existing office spaces in its Playa Jefferson complex. Vantage Property Investors has announced a tech-focused project dubbed “Building E,” which will encompass another large office structure designed for creative collaboration. The structure, undertaken with 360 Construction Group and AHBE Landscape Architects, will bring 200,000 square feet of open plan creative office space to the district, with large expanses of glass, terraced floor plates, and a cantilevered anchor office space. Li Wen, design director and principal at Gensler, detailed several key aspects of the design, including “side-core configurations that allow open floorplates, direct access to and abundance of private outdoor space, operable windows, sawtooth skylights, thinner floorplates for natural ventilation and deep penetration of natural light, and flat slab construction that provides for 13-foot ceiling heights.” The ocean-oriented project is located adjacent to the “lifestyle amenity-rich” Runway at Playa Vista Apartments by Johnson Fain.

Last but not least, Shimoda Design Group and OJB completed work in 2015 on The Collective, a 200,150-square-foot, LEED Gold office park complex designed for Tishman Speyer that features five two-story buildings clad in distinctive, tilt-up concrete panels (seen at the top of the article). These panels, interspersed with expanses of glass, are topped by zigzagging, metal-clad roofs. The campus connects the humdrum of office life directly to the adjacent outdoor areas via a series of landscaped paths, bringing in the sensitive Ballona and Bluff Creek wetlands that run alongside Playa Vista’s northern and southern edges. With new lease agreements being signed almost by the day and the careful, meticulous process of filling in the district’s vacant parcels fully underway, Playa Vista looks more and more like a sure bet for L.A.’s growing roster of creative offices spaces.

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71Above

Peek inside the new restaurant and cocktail bar almost 1,000 feet above L.A.

With the recent completion of a Gensler-led renovation to the building’s lobby and uppermost floors, the addition of a terrifying glass slide by M. Ludvik Engineering, and the opening of 71Above, a smart restaurant and cocktail bar designed by Los Angeles–based Tag Front, L.A. suddenly has reason to reconsider what might be one of the city’s most easily overlooked landmarks: the U.S. Bank Tower.

The 1,018-foot stepped skyscraper at the heart of the city’s central business district was built in 1989 and designed by Henry N. Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Its 73 stories culminate in a flat-topped, multilevel penthouse suite formerly occupied by a boardroom. In recent years, the tower has struggled with high vacancy rates and the dramatic renovation comes as the building’s new owners, Overseas Union Enterprise Limited (OUE) aims to reinstate the building in the public’s mind.

Central to that effort is the Tag Front–led design for 71Above, located in the uppermost floor of that ex-board room. The overhaul has transformed a prototypical office building into a contemporary and noteworthy spot and modernized the spiky, crenelated cap sitting atop what is now—with the recent topping-out of the Wilshire Grand tower—L.A.’s second-tallest building. As a result, 71Above has been added to the city’s collection of remarkable spaces; there all can enjoy the tower’s panoramic views.

Tag Front described the project’s guiding principles as encompassing “the existing nature of the building, [the space’s] footprint, and the client’s desire for the dining and lounge areas to wrap around the entire building.” The space features wraparound atmospheric vistas thanks to special high-tech glass developed by SageGlass that very slightly changes opacity as the sun moves across the sky, minimizing heat and glare within the space and removing the need for view-blocking draperies.

The self-shading windows are framed by expanses of thin wood-panel piers suspended from the facade. These piers lurch forward at the molding line, pivot out over the dining room, and accentuate each aperture. In some areas, the panels conceal collapsible partitions that can be pulled out to make private dining rooms. Along a central area, the same wood paneling is used to frame the restaurant’s wine collection.

The ceiling spanning between these two areas, however, is a testament to the union of geometric articulation and functionality. Here, Tag Front installed a ceiling configuration, developed by architectural-products manufacturer Arktura specifically for the project, that consists of a hexagonally shaped grid of woven baffles made of recycled plastic that dampen sound. This arrangement complements the city stretching out just over the precipice, mimicking what, from nearly a thousand feet above, looks like an orderly, gridded urban expanse.

According to Tag Front, the design team focused on the spatial and acoustical qualities of the ceiling from the beginning of the project. “After going through five or six different types of solutions and modeling each one [using 3-D software], we finally decided on the hexagonal, cellular baffle ceiling,” Tag Front explained. “We felt that due to its nature, the hexagonal cells were able to adapt to the complex, circular, and faceted geometries of the building in a much more interesting way, filling most of the space with their detailed, ornate nature and at the same time leaving strategic voids where the hexagonal brass chandeliers were suspended below them.”

Tag Front explained that Arktura had been experimenting with repeated acoustical baffle modules suspended from thin-gauge wire to create a flexible, unobtrusive, and highly functional ceiling made of recycled materials. “We came across a miniature mock-up version of one and pushed them and the client to make it into an oversize version and a suspension system that also allowed the cells to move up and down vertically along with the cellular horizontal movement,” the architects said. “Everything evolved from that moment.”

In the end, the team of designers, fabricators, and carpenters came together to create a space that is relatively novel for the city: one of the few observation-deck-level restaurants not perched on a mountainside.

Resources

Structural Engineering Services Nabih Youssef Associates

Ceiling Assembly Arktura

Glasswork

Altered Glass (213) 327-2016

Exterior Windows SageGlass

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Casting Call

2016 Best of Design Award in Digital Fabrication: XOCO 325 by DDG
The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it's grown to 26 exciting categoriesAs in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN’s Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards. We are already looking forward to growing next year’s coverage for you. 2016 Best of Design Award in Digital Fabrication: XOCO 325

Architect: DDG Location: New York, NY

Acting as design architect, developer, and general contractor, DDG developed a custom, cast-aluminum screen using 3-D modeling software and state-of-the-art hardware. A burlap texture was hand-applied to the set of 12 repeating components before the sand-cast molds were made and the finished components cast. The resulting sinewy surface creates dialogue with the cast iron historic buildings of the area.

Executive Architect HTO Architect

Structural Engineer Severud Associates Fabricator Walla Walla Foundry RenShape Foundry Pattern & Tooling Board Freeman Manufacturing & Supply Company Aluma Black Birchwood Casey

Honorable Mention, Digital Fabrication: Northeastern University Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex

Architect: Payette Location: Boston, MA

The Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex at Northeastern University is a high-performance research building with a triple-glazed curtain wall and solar veil to help the building exceed 2030 energy savings goals.

Honorable Mention, Digital Fabrication: FilzFelt LINK

Architect: Gensler Location: Los Angeles, CA

Originally created as a one-time solution for Gensler’s Los Angeles office, the company recognized its wider possibilities and partnered with FilzFelt to produce a flexible modular panel system that adds texture and color to an environment while serving as a privacy screen, shade system, room divider, and acoustical element.

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Stacking Up

2016 Best of Design Award in Facade: Vagelos Education Center by DS+R with Gensler

The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it's grown to 26 exciting categoriesAs in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN’s Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards. We are already looking forward to growing next year’s coverage for you.

2016 Best of Design Award in Facade: The Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center at Columbia University

Architect: Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Gensler Location: New York, NY

This state-of-the-art medical and graduate education building at Columbia University embraces how medicine is taught, learned, and practiced in the 21st century. The facility rethinks the conventional stacked floor plate typology of high-rise buildings by complementing traditional classroom and laboratory spaces at the north side of the building with a network of social and collaborative study alcoves that connect via a cascading open staircase on its south side. By combining this with a range of sustainable features, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Gensler have created a forward-looking training ground for future healthcare practitioners.

Facade Consultant BuroHappold

Structural Engineer Leslie E. Roberston Associates Curtain Wall Fabricator/Installer Josef Gartner, Permasteelisa Group Glass BGT Bischoff Glastechnik AG Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) David Kucera, Inc.

Honorable Mention, Facade: 371 Broadway

Architect: ODA New York Location: New York, NY

To balance this building’s modern appeal with the old world aesthetics of its environment, ODA New York reinterpreted Tribeca’s cast-iron typology with curving, basket-weave brick that expresses a similar scale to that of its pre-war neighbors.

Honorable Mention, Facade: USTA Grandstand Stadium

Architect: Rossetti Location: Queens, NY

The stadium facade is composed of 486 individual Teflon-coated fiberglass membranes that vary in opacity and translucence, offering glimpses in and out of the stadium as if through foliage.

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Silicon Alley

New York City will fund a virtual reality and augmented reality lab
In a bid to trump their West Coast rivals, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) yesterday announced that they will invest $6 million into a virtual reality (VR) and augment reality (AR) lab—the first of its kind on the East Coast. The NYCEDC and MOME are set to release a request for proposals early next year to set up and run the lab. According to NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer, the decision was made to make the most of the rapidly emerging VR technology scene. The lab (whose location is yet to be decided) will also be the country's first ever publicly funded institution of its kind. Earlier this year, Antonio Pacheco, the west editor of The Architect's Newspaper, noted the rise of VR being used by architecture firms such as Gensler, NBBJ, and Özel in California. The lab in New York will serve as an incubator for VR/AR businesses. In a press release, the NYCEDC and MOME said that the city's VR/AR industry has seen more than $50 million invested in the past year along with a 125 percent increase in job demand. In terms of operation, the lab will support the growth of VR/AR companies by providing space, infrastructure, and resources. Additionally, it will serve as a place for people involved in the industry to gather. “The timing could not be better. The talent in New York City, along with its anchor industries, place this city in a unique position to propel its sprouting VR/AR sector from early disruption to everyday, cross-sector application. Convening the technologists, academics, storytellers and start-up veterans that New York City hosts and attracts will create an invigorating boost to VR/AR’s momentum as we head into 2017,” said Adaora Udoji, managing director of The Boshia Group and adjunct professor of storytelling, New York University.
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Onni Group Plans

Pereira addition of Los Angeles Times complex to be demolished in redevelopment
Vancouver, Canada—based developer Onni Group has officially filed documentation with the City of Los Angeles to redevelop the historic Los Angeles Times property in Downtown Los Angeles. Urbanize.LA reports that the developer plans to rehabilitate the most historic components of the site, including the original, Gordon B. Kaufman—designed structure from 1935 and a 1948 addition designed by Rowland Henry Crawford. Onni’s plans, however, also call for the demolition of the William Pereira—designed addition made to the complex in the 1970s. Through visually and formally striking and demonstrative of larger architectural trends from each respective era, none of the site's components, including the original Los Angeles Times building, the 1948 addition, or the High-Modernist Pereira addition, are currently protected by historic preservation ordinances at either the local or national level. The developer paid $120 million for the entire Times Mirror Square complex earlier this year and has been quick to announce the growing list of redevelopment plans associated with the purchase in the months since. Tribune Media Company, owner of the L.A. Times, announced an unrelated development a few weeks ago for a site currently being as a parking lot for the complex. That project consists of a 30-story tall, boxy tower designed by Gensler. The design of that tower features offset and cantilevered masses and would contain 107 condominium units, 534,000 square feet of commercial space, and 7,200 square feet of ground-floor retail area, all located above a new subway station being developed as part of the Downtown L.A. Regional Connector project. Onni Group's filing indicates plans to build a pair of new high-rise towers in place of the Pereira-designed structure. These towers would contain a combined 1,127 residential units and over 34,000 square feet of ground floor retail space, Urbanize reports. The developers would also rehabilitate the remaining L.A. Times buildings as office space. The proposed development would require a series of discretionary approvals by the City, but since the L.A. Times complex is not currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places or locally as a Historic-Cultural Monument, the Pereira-designed portions, in particular, are open to demolition. The filing comes as the development and preservation communities in Los Angeles spar with one another over which aspects of the city’s architectural history are worth preserving. A Gehry Partners—designed complex at 8150 Sunset that aims to demolish the Kurt Meyer—designed modernist bank has been at the center of this debate, as have proposals to demolish several other William Pereira—designed structures, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art complex (to be replaced by a new $600-million museum by Peter Zumthor), and portions of the Metropolitan Water District.
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By the Book

Facebook to invest $20 million in affordable housing
After receiving criticism for displacing low-income residents in Silicon Valley, tech giant Facebook will invest $20 million in below-market-rate projects in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, California. Housing activists have long blamed Facebook for contributing to extreme income inequality in the area. This is not only because the corporation has displaced residents by expanding its headquarters campus, but also because of a seemingly well-meaning policy that offered bonuses to employees who lived near campus in Menlo Park rather than in San Francisco proper. Critics say this policy accelerated gentrification of the area and caused low-income tenants to be evicted in favor of the higher-earning Facebook employees. Of course, Facebook alone cannot be blamed for the Bay Area’s gentrification—Google, Apple, and hundreds of other heavy hitting technology firms and start-ups also call the area home. Plus, according to nonprofit group Public Advocates, the housing shortage in Silicon Valley has reportedly reached crisis levels, with the region building only 26 percent of the housing needed for lower-earning people. With Facebook’s new campus expansion, which entails adding 1.1 million new square feet to its current complex and plans to hire 6,5000 new employees over the next few years, community groups were concerned. In response, Facebook partnered with local activists and community groups, such as Youth United for Community Action, Faith in Action Bay Area, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, and Comité de Vecinos del Lado Oeste – East Palo Alto, as well as the local governments of East Palo Alto and Menlo Park to address the impact it will have on the Bay Area. Facebook is legally required to contribute $6.3 million to affordable housing thanks to development laws but does seem to be genuinely invested in the community. In addition to the $6.3 million required, another $12.2 million has been pledged to below-market-rate housing, $500,000 will go toward helping those displaced with legal and rental assistance, and $625,000 will go to job training in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). “Since shortly after Facebook was created, we’ve been part of Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. The region—this community—is our home,” said vice president of public policy and communications Elliot Schrage in a statement. “We want the region to remain strong and vibrant and continue a long tradition of helping to build technologies that transform the future and improve the lives of people around the world, and also in our extended neighborhood. We all need to work together to create new opportunities for housing, transportation and employment across the region. We’re committed to join with the community to help.”
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Development at What Cost?

Displacement-inducing South L.A. project approved unanimously by L.A. City Council
A controversial $1.2 billion mixed-use project designed by Los Angeles—based architecture firms P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S and Gensler has won unanimous approval from the Los Angeles City Council, pushing Downtown L.A.’s booming, luxury-driven growth into one of Los Angeles’s most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. According to documentation supplied to the City of Los Angeles, the project aims to generate 1,400 market-rate housing units coupled with office, restaurant, and art gallery programs totaling up to 1,664,000-square feet of floor area. The development features a smattering of canted, glass-clad towers surrounded by a mid-rise layer of articulated apartment blocks with punched openings and projecting and recessed volumes. The project is to be divided up between two adjacent blocks and built in phases, with the so-called “West Block” containing an existing, 12-story, 180,000-square foot office tower with 30,000-square feet of restaurant and retail spaces on the ground floor as well as an 8,000 square foot rooftop terrace and restaurant space. Plans for that site, to be built first, also call for a 20-story, 208-room hotel tower. A shorter, seven-story tall apartment tower containing 100 units and an eight-story, 1,158-stall parking garage with ground floor commercial areas will also occupy the site. The second phase of the project, referred to in documentation submitted to the city as “East Bock,” will host two towers, 32-stories and 35-stories in height, respectively, adding 895 for-sale units with a cluster of three- to seven-story apartment blocks adding a further 428 rental and 14 live-work units. This block will also contain a four-story subterranean parking garage with 1,354 parking stalls. With only a paltry five percent of the overall units to be reserved as affordable housing, the project has been controversial among community and working class housing activists due to the impact it will have on current residents' ability to remain in the area. The project’s size, scale, and location threaten to fracture a largely working class, renter-occupied neighborhood with a relatively low-to-average median income by introducing high-end, transit-oriented development. The developers behind the project have promised to add $15 million to an affordable housing fund as well as providing $3 million for community organizations for job training and youth programs, but activists caution that it will not be enough to stem large-scale displacement. Construction on the project is due to start by the end of 2017 or early 2017, with the completion of the second phase of the project wrapping up in late 2021.
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Tronc Tower

Stacked box tower to face off against neighboring L.A. Times building
Tribune Media Company, owners of the Los Angeles Times, is aiming to build a 30-story tower on an existing parking lot across the street from the historic L.A. Times building in Downtown Los Angeles. The project, first reported by Urbanize.LA, is designed by architecture firm Gensler and will feature 107 condominium units, 534,000 square feet of commercial space, and 7,200 square feet of ground-floor commercial area. Located at the corner of 2nd Street and Broadway, the project, when completed, will also stand directly above a new underground subway station being built as part of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) so-called Regional Connector project. The Regional Connector is an underground tunnel that will link together the existing Blue and Expo transit lines with Union Station and the Gold Line, fusing the Blue and Expo lines with the northern and southern halves of the Gold, respectively, creating two cross-regional transit lines that pass through the downtown area instead of merely coming to a dead end there as they currently do. A rendering for the project shows a highly-articulated tower with sections of grouped, projecting floorplates jutting out at various heights, along all sides. Each of the building’s boxy, projecting masses is clad in a different material and utilizes alternating stylistic approaches, with certain portions clad in floor-to-ceiling glass curtain walls and other sections featuring vertical ribbons of glazing spanning multiple floors. These masses overhang and project from one another, with other types of sun shading strategies like vertical and horizontal louvers populating the structure’s facades throughout. The development adds to speculation that a previously-mentioned plan to demolish a William Pereiradesigned section of the existing L.A. Times building will begin to move forward, as well. That plan would demolish the 1970s-era structure for another housing tower, this one potentially containing apartments instead of condominiums. A construction timeline for either tower has not yet been released.