All posts in West
John Lautner’s spiraling Foster House is for sale
One of Los Angeles's most successful housing programs is facing a lawsuit
According to the Los Angeles Times, an L.A.-based nonprofit has filed a lawsuit seeking to eliminate one of the city’s most successful affordable housing programs. Fix the City (FTC), which board members describe as a “pro-safety, pro-livability, pro-‘rules-matter’ group,” is suing the municipal government over its implementation of the Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) program, which loosens planning regulations for developers who build near transit stations. FTC’s leaders assert that the TOC scheme, which was initiated after Los Angeles voters came out in favor of Measure JJJ to address the city’s homelessness crisis, has allowed local officials to bypass the elected leaders of the city council and operate without proper civic oversight.
The lawsuit is intended to halt progress on the construction of a 79-foot-tall apartment building on Santa Monica Boulevard, which would accommodate 120 residential units spread across seven stories. If the project moves forward, it will be allowed to exceed existing height limitations on Santa Monica Boulevard by more than 20 feet in exchange for a guarantee that a certain percentage of the units will be set aside for affordable housing—a provision of the TOC program aimed at increasing residential density. FTC board members have accused the city of providing developer incentives that go beyond what voters approved under Measure JJJ, insisting that officials should redraw the housing plan with greater attention to due process and community oversight.
Contrary to what the FTC’s most recent lawsuit might suggest, the Transit Oriented Communities strategy has actually been quite successful in encouraging developers to build more residential units across the city. Since it went into effect in late 2017, the program has led to developer-led proposals for 20,000 new units, almost 4,000 of which are designated as affordable. Mayor Eric Garcetti has also indicated that the initiative’s focus on transit corridors will help to reduce L.A.'s crippling congestion problems.
Supporters of the TOC program and Measure JJJ have criticized the lawsuit as an impediment in the city’s quest to address its mounting housing crisis. The FTC, which has repeatedly sued the city over planning decisions ranging from the construction of a 27-story tower in Koreatown to the addition of hundreds of miles of bus and bicycle lanes through the Mobility Plan, is a known impediment to such actions. Whether the latest lawsuit will mark a legal victory or defeat for the city still remains to be seen.
Though design details haven’t been released yet, the upcoming 450-foot tower is slated to contain 750,000-square-feet of office space with room for a conference center, a childcare facility, retail space, and an underground garage. Initial concepts for the project lightly reference the surrounding city buildings in the Civic Center District, including Los Angeles City Hall, a structure of similar height. Plans also call for a landscape that links pedestrians to Little Tokyo nearby, according to Urbanize L.A. After issuing a request for qualifications this spring, the Bureau of Engineering reduced the five submissions it received down to a shortlist of three. Below are those finalists: DTLA Civic Partners, LLC This local team is led by SOM and Clark Construction, funded by Meridiam and Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate, and managed by ENGIE Services. LAC 3 Partners L.A.-based firm Morphosis is at the helm of LAC 3, which includes Hensel Phelps Construction, Macquarie Financial Holdings, and JLC Infrastructure, as well as Honeywell International in operations management. Plenary Collaborative Los Angeles Smith Group and Renzo Piano Building Workshop are working together on the design for the project, while Webcor Construction, Plenary Group, and Johnson Controls will serve as the building, equity, and operations experts respectively. Once this shortlist is approved by the L.A. Board of Public Works, an RFP will be presented to the City Council ahead of any further announcements. Construction is expected to start next year and end in 2023.
As we say goodbye to what served as the LAPD’s Headquarters for many decades, Parker Center, we are reminded that our past is full of memories and life lessons that shape our present and our future — we are excited to see what this historic site will hold. pic.twitter.com/96hacwDJah— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) July 15, 2019
Smoke and Mirrors
A look at the flimsy architectural stage sets of William Leavitt
He's a Pinball Wizard
Olafur Eliasson unveils larger-than-life spheres in San Francisco
Revealed to the public this week, the finished spheres now sit arranged in a circle within the 25,000-square-foot triangular plaza of the Chase Center—home of the Golden State Warriors. Flat mirrors carved into the inward-facing side of each structure allow visitors to see their reflection, as well as the other spheres, from various angles. Whether viewing up close or from the center of the installation, the pieces appear and disappear, layer on top of one another, and distort the surrounding landscape. The circular, oversized frames are also rimmed with LED lights that glow at night. “Seeing spheres is a public space that contains you and contains multitudes,” said Eliasson in a comment on Instagram. “We often think of public space as empty, negative space in the city, viewed from a car or crossed on the way to somewhere else. Seeing spheres offers a place to pause, where you see yourself from outside, as a participant in society.” This isn’t Eliasson’s first foray into spheres. Known for a longtime career of crafting super shapely, light-filled artwork, most of it somewhat trippy, his most recent projects featuring spherical forms include In real life, 2019 and Renaissance echoes, 2019, both currently on view at his Tate Modern retrospective in London, as well as Rainbow bridge, 2017, shown at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in New York, among many others.View this post on Instagram