Search results for "Lorcan O'Herlihy"
In nearly every issue, we invite architects, scholars, industry experts, and editors to candidly discuss high-profile projects, urban issues, and events in our architecture criticism column. This year, Los Angeles dominated the spotlight with its collective boom of new museums and buildings, while over on the east coast, Renzo Piano’s Whitney continued to spark conversation.
Rick Joy's design for a commuter rail station in Princeton is endowed with civic importance and grace.
Renzo Piano has not made a building to love, but one in which the art viewing experience is given priority.
Kevin Daly Architects brings the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music into the digital age.
Michael Webb considers Morphosis' latest "scaly silver beast," this time at Cornell University.
Inspired by automotive design, the Petersen Automotive Museum stops traffic on Wilshire Boulevard.
Lorcan O'Herlihy designs housing in a precarious context.
Is prefab the future for affordable housing in Los Angeles? A case from Michael Maltzan Architecture.
Hodgetts + Fung's first religious building creates sanctuary on Jesuit High School's modernist campus.
Rafael Viñoly's Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston complements adjacent JFK Library.
When LA><ART, the well-known contemporary gallery founded by curator Lauri Firstenberg, left Culver City last year, it joined the ranks of art spaces remaking Hollywood. The new venue, designed by architect Lorcan O’Herlihy, is located in a former recording studio first built for RCA Victor in 1928. While the architects wanted to preserve the atmosphere of the site, which is loaded with music history (Elvis Presley, Stevie Wonder, The Beach Boys, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, and Jimi Hendrix all recorded hits in the building), they also aspired to create a venue that could accommodate LA><ART’s innovative exhibitions and events.
“LA><ART hosts a number of public outreach programs and events, including artist talks, performances, and Slanguage, their on-site educational program,” noted O’Herlihy, adding that they resisted the conventions of the white cube gallery. “Our main goal was to create an incubator that amplifies all this activity and recognizes the urbanism inherent in LA><ART’s experimental programming.” By stripping back the 4,000-square-foot space to the original wood beams and brick walls, the architects established a baseline for new work. Sure, de rigueur white walls are on hand for hanging artworks, and skylights fill the galley with natural light, but the space is also ready to adapt to multimedia works or performance. “We embraced this space as a flexible, working gallery that fosters curatorial and artistic freedom and highlights contemporary art in all forms,” said O’Herlihy.
For AN’s third annual design awards, seven jurors gathered in New York to review nearly 500 projects submitted by architects and designers.
The jury included Amale Andraos, dean of Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation; Nicholas Koster, project manager at Snøhetta; Chee Perlman, editor and curator of Chee Company; Ana Garcia Puyol, computational designer at Thornton Tomasetti; Ali Tayar; founder of Parallel Design Partnership, Terence Riley, founding partner at Keenan/Riley, and Mimi Zeiger, AN’s west coast editor.
In each category, a winner and an honorable mention were selected, although there were a couple of ties. Over the coming days, we will be posting their selections in the 21 categories.
Residential Multi-family Winner
Architect: Alloy Design
Location: Brooklyn, NY
“A continuous facade combines the individual townhouses into a block which is particularly fitting for the industrial past of this NYC neighborhood.”
—Ali Tayar, Parallel Design Partnership
Located on a small lot in Brooklyn, the DUMBO Townhouses are five townhouses of approximately 3,500 square feet. A unique sectional strategy offers a generous program of four bedrooms, three baths, covered parking and outdoor space with parlor floor ceiling heights and multiple skylit rooms. Across from a park and located within a landmarked district, the industrial warehouse context inspired a cladding of tensile Ductal concrete panels composed of a series of tapered fins. Interspersed with full height windows, the cladding offers a combination of generous light and air with solar shading and privacy. The locally based team acted as architect, contractor, developer and broker for the project.
Architect: Morris Adjmi Architects
Location: New York
Architect: Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects
Location: Los Angeles
Residential neighborhoods all over Southern California are losing their character as owners and developers exploit escalating land values. North Westwood Village, master-planned in the 1920s as a small-scale community of rental properties, has been particularly hard-hit. The North Westwood Village Specific Plan mandates harmonious development, but that requirement was ignored from the 1960s on, as hills were carved away and big-box student rooming houses overwhelmed neighboring properties and narrow, winding streets. Development was driven by the growth of UCLA and its behemoth medical center. The university (a state institution unhindered by local regulations) was the worst offender, constructing oversized faux-historic blocks and trashing modern classics by Richard Neutra and John Lautner.
After a half century of abuse, the North Village has finally acquired an architectural gem, located across the street from Neutra’s landmark Strathmore Apartments. It required legal action by a neighborhood association to compel the developer to abandon the eyesore he had proposed and commission a new design from Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA). The challenge was to fit 31 units (totaling 37,000 square feet) onto a narrow, tilted wedge of land, stepping down from six to two stories in deference to Neutra’s design, a garden court of eight units terraced up a steep slope. The strategy reprised LOHA’s Habitat 825 on Kings Road in West Hollywood, where the site was excavated a story so that the new block would not overshadow the garden of Schindler’s classic studio-house.
The “luxury” condo towers along nearby Wilshire Boulevard and the dingbats on every side street are essentially alike: warrens of rooms and internal corridors, sealed off from nature and the street. LOHA’s works stand in contrast; two of the firm’s condo blocks in West Hollywood are set back from pocket parks, blurring the divide between public and private, and creating shared spaces that benefit the community as well as the residents.
“On Strathmore we asked ourselves, ‘What if we cut into the box and landscaped the different roof levels, allowing residents to engage the outdoors?’” said O’Herlihy.
That’s a concept as old as the Native American pueblos of the Southwest and the roof gardens of North Africa and the Middle East, but one that has been largely forgotten in the most developers’ rush to exploit every foot of rentable space.
With Studio 11024 on Strathmore, the architects go further. The city mandates a 50-foot wide view corridor through a block that is more than 150 feet long. LOHA reinterpreted this rule to create a linear divide, which accommodates outdoor walkways and stairs linking three roof gardens, and reduces the need for double-loaded corridors. Half the apartments have opening windows on two sides for abundant natural light and cross ventilation.
Most L.A. houses and apartment buildings are faced in stucco, all too often in beige tones. LOHA had used metal facing panels on previous jobs—Formosa 1140 in West Hollywood was clad in fire engine red. Though the budget was tight, they discovered the structure could be clad in ribbed, white enameled aluminum panels for only a few dollars a square foot more than a standard stucco finish ($16 versus $13). The panels are deployed on the two street facades in tiers of differently sized ribs. Those variations break up the mass of the conjoined blocks and the sheer planes serve as screens to capture crisp patterns of sun and shade. Lateral cuts serve as backdrops to the roof terraces and are clad with Hardie board, layered in six tones of yellowish green that become lighter as they ascend. The white echoes the Neutra and several neighboring blocks and responds to changes of light. Handrails and metal staircases pick up on the green walls, which introduce a vibrant new element into the townscape. They even inspired another property owner to repaint a faded pink block in forest green. Perforated white metal panels screen the staircases, teak benches divide up the terraces, and the sharp edges are softened by landscape architect Mia Lehrer’s generous plantings.
Nearly all L.A. apartment blocks are as repetitive as a motel, but LOHA insist on diversified interiors, ranging from studios to lofts. O’Herlihy—like architects Michael Maltzan, Kevin Daly, and other contemporaries—understands that a younger generation wants to break free of the conventional layouts imposed on earlier generations. On Strathmore, the two- and three-bedroom apartments were configured by the developer’s interior consultant, but the plans are varied, and there are three duplex apartments on the fifth floor.
Studio 11024 is a deceptively complex building with well-varied fenestration that responds organically to the shifts of elevation and orientation. It raises the bar for Westwood Village and shows how architecture adds value for the owner, tenants, and neighbors. Ideally, it will not become another student rooming house, but will attract a lively mix of residents, and encourage other developers to aim higher, hiring talented architects rather than docile hacks. It should also stiffen the resolve of the Westwood Community Design Review Board, which rejected the previous scheme and enthusiastically supported this, but has sometimes been too tolerant of mediocrity.
In Pittsburgh, where multi-unit residential projects figure prominently in the current development scene, Lorcan O’Herlihy’s Formosa 1140 Apartment Building in West Hollywood, CA, is a particularly suitable project to showcase in an exhibition of architecture.
The rhythmically interlocking black and red screens of the layered modernist facade, though well suited to the West Coast, are just the sort of affordable sophistication that the rustbelt metropolis needs. So, when images of it appear in promotional materials, from flyers to billboards, promoting Sketch to Structure, currently at the Heinz Architectural Center (HAC), they seem to encourage similarly nuanced facade designs throughout the city.
In the show itself, which is assembled by curatorial assistant Alyssum Skjeie, the portrayal of O’Herlihy’s building is expanded with didactic effect. Several early compact but evocative color sketches hint at the chromatic intensity and compositional rhythms of the building yet to come. Also, a plexiglass concept model in transparent and colored layers expresses the precise play of aperture and plane, freed from burdens of program and site. A final presentation model and accompanying building photography represent the completed project, in which those initial lively ideas are affirmed and elaborated.
Sketch to Structure aims to give similar insights into the architectural process across eras and project types, using a four-part organization that is more poetic than regimented. The section entitled, Concept, displays projects in their early stages of design and documentation, whether it be Richard Neutra’s freehand graphite perspectives of the Los Angeles County Hall of Records of 1961 or Herzog & de Meuron’s conceptual sketches for the House for an Art Collector in Therwil, Switzerland, of 1985. The Collaboration section, with mid-process drawings, emphasizes the development of designs and the associated teamwork, according to accompanying text. So blueprints of Pittsburgh’s R. F. Moreland House of 1935, a colonial revival design by Brandon Smith, are included with mention of the numerous draftsmen who initialed their work on the same sheet. Here, the drawings are instructive, but the thematic connection seems tenuous.
Communication gives priority to the manner in which architects present their designs to clients, so models figure prominently. Highlights include Theodore Conrad’s model of SOM’s Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company building in Toledo from 1957 and Jakob + MacFarlane’s 3-D alumide print, the museum’s first, of the Restaurant Georges in the Pompidou in Paris. In the Case Study section, examples allow a few projects to evocatively show a few steps that would not fit in one of the other categories singularly. This is where O’Herlihy’s project is central. Other works, such as a sprawling model and an interior perspective of Tasso Katselas’s X-shaped Pittsburgh International Airport of 1991, a nod to the local audience, are on display.
These accumulated works, even with a few videos for good measure, end up being very object-oriented, so it may seem that issues such as construction process and client interaction seem to get short shrift. But this is a problem more of title than content. The original items on display (though not necessarily enlarged photos or videos) are drawn entirely from HAC’s own collections, which began with works collected and donated by Drue Heinz to establish the institution as a subsidiary of the Carnegie Museum of Art beginning in 1990. Now there are more than 5800 objects in the collections, of which several dozen are on display. About 70 percent of the current exhibition is made up of objects that have never been displayed before, and several new acquisitions are labeled as such.
The institution has engaged local neighborhoods and constituencies with locally focused exhibits over the years. The education programs, which have always been substantial, have expanded from tours and handouts to ventures into the galleries themselves. Now visitors can draw on trace paper or build with legos in the exhibitions rooms and leave their results on display in selected areas.
The goal seems to be two-fold. The collections as they are, when thoughtfully selected, can engage a general audience by teaching some fundamental issues about the processes and products of architecture. At the same time, they can delight specialists with highly refined artifacts of recent and historic architectural practice that have been their hallmark from the outset. Lorcan O’Herlihy’s documents, which are recent acquisitions, are a perfect intersection of these values of engaging both general and specialist audiences. Meanwhile, an exhibition subtitle that indicates new objects acquired and old ones revealed could helpfully clarify what is really a multifaceted and engaging show, but not quite what its title suggests.
On a related note, in early February, the Carnegie Museum of Art announced the immediate elimination of seven positions, one of which was HAC curator Tracy Myers. Myers first joined the organization in 1997 and rose through the ranks with a range of well-received exhibitions on topics including Machine Age architecture, Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood, Lebbeus Woods, and more recently, architectural photography. Neither she nor the Museum offered official comment. Curator Raymund Ryan remains in his position.
LA’s Arts District, on the eastern edge of downtown, has for years been a center for experimentation. A rough-around-the-edges place far from the clutches of the usual, full not only of artists, but of semi trucks, imposing warehouses, dangerous chemicals, and gritty street art. That character is now facing a major test as a maelstrom of development is being proposed for the area, which is being compared in some real estate circles to the next Meat Packing District.
In order to keep up with the wave of speculation, and to try to maintain what makes the area unique, LA’s planning department in late August released a draft zoning overlay called the Arts District live/work zone. The final legislation, which would double the amount of residential units in the Arts District from 1,500 to 3,000, should be put in front of the planning commission by the end of the year.
The update stresses keeping the existing character and uses of the area while addressing some of its livability issues. Among other things it will largely eschew traditional apartments in favor of live/work ones, continue to allow for both industrial and residential land use, and mandate a minimum of arts and productive uses in each new project. To help with habitability, it limits the most noxious industrial uses, encourages pedestrian paseos and plazas, and discourages blank, imposing walls.
Building aesthetics will not be strictly regulated, but structures will need to keep massing in check, utilize transparent street frontages, build close to the street line, and maintain some of the warehouse and loft character that has marked the area for the last few decades since the Artist in Residence ordinance allowed artists to start inhabiting former industrial buildings here.
“We don’t want a traditional building that sticks on corrugated metal and calls itself an industrial building,” said Bryan Eck, one of the LA city planners overseeing the measure.
The guidelines have the difficult task of balancing the demands of both existing artists and newcomers looking for a place that is both edgy and livable. The big question is what does the arts district want to be? Up to this point, said Tyler Stonebreaker, one of the founders of Creative Space, a real estate consultancy that has been “curating” much of the offerings coming to the Arts District, there has not been a clear conclusion. Like many here he favors an area with type one and two construction and does not want to water down the neighborhood so it looks like other parts of the city. “Is this an artist neighborhood or another sanitized neighborhood that people are going to live, work, and play in?” asked Stonebreaker.
In the center of the battle are architects. Many are top-level firms working with the neighborhood and city planning to adapt to the new ordinance, and in some cases to help inspire it.
Shimoda Design’s 695 South Santa Fe (formerly AMP Lofts) was already designed with an industrial-inspired aesthetic. But in response to local comments and to the developing ordinance, Shimoda has significantly increased the average size of the project’s units to facilitate live/work, added workshop spaces, and made the development less closed off, with permeability to a central open space, and shorter retail and townhouse spaces closer to the street and larger masses in the middle. “They’re trying to preserve the character of the community. It’s a special place,” said Ryan Granito of Bolour Associates, the developer of the project. “We’re interested in figuring out how we can capture the essence of the Arts District,” said Shimoda.
LOHA is building Industrial, a five-story development of live-work units, commercial spaces, and retail near the corner of Industrial Street and Alameda. Founder Lorcan O'Herlihy said that his basic design—a black brick and rusted steel building with large openings in its street wall to a courtyard—has not changed through the process. The building’s ground level units will have 18-foot ceiling heights and use type one construction, while above more traditional apartments will have 11-foot-high ceilings and be built with type five. O’Herlihy is not concerned about the use of wood construction in an industrial zone, as some neighbors are. “It’s how you work with the material that makes it work,” he said.
Doug Hanson, whose firm Hanson Design is designing the 122-unit 1800 East 7th Street, agreed. His building—which contains all live/work lofts, wraps around a courtyard and a paseo, and features a sculptural glass corner—will be clad with lightweight concrete panels and use type three construction. “People confuse the type of construction with the way they want it to look,” said Hanson.
For those like Stonebreaker, regular living spaces do not cut it. “If you want compartmentalized apartments you should go to areas that already have that kind of housing,” he said.
But neighbors are even more concerned with other projects that have raised eyebrows for continuing the unfortunate legacy of late-1990s and early 2000s projects here that took advantage of a policy that allowed ground-up buildings but did not clearly regulate them. “They became an example of what not to do,” said Eck.
So far the biggest offender is 950 East 3rd Street, a 472-unit, mixed-use project on the corner of Traction Avenue, in the long-vacant lot next to SCI-Arc. The developers, Legendary Development and Associated Estates, have not been forthcoming with their plans. But they have received criticism from the community for not reaching out, and for developing a huge amount of units that are not live/work and are out of character with the area.
Maltzan’s One Santa Fe has received positive reviews for its design, but some thumbs down for its hulking size, which dwarfs the rest of the area.
Regardless of how these projects turnout, the zoning, a precursor to much larger neighborhood plans in downtown, is still a work in progress. Issues like affordable housing—a vital issue in a place for artists who presumably will not be pulling in large salaries—have yet to be worked out. “We are looking to the community first to see how they want to guide growth in the future,” said Eck. “It’s a real struggle. There’s a lot of development pressure and a lot of speculation.”
Stonebreaker remains vigilant against “creeping other objectives.” For instance, he is guarding against those who want to remove industrial zoning here altogether. “When you’re in an M3 zone you’re choosing to be in an M3 zone. Don’t move to Hollywood if you hate clubs,” he said.
Shimoda, among others, is wary of the guidelines becoming too prescriptive and projects starting to look the same, especially those by developers not interested in pushing the limits. His new plans, some might say, are less unique than the original ones. “I get a sense that planners are trying to make Los Angeles another city and not what it is,” he said. “I get a little nervous when things are a little too pretty. I wonder, where’s the edge?”