Search results for "larry scarpa"

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New Orleans Rising
Map showing riverfront areas in New Orleans that will be redeveloped as part of the city's Reinventing the Crescent plan.
Courtesy New Orleans Building Corporation

Six years after Hurricane Katrina leveled much of New Orleans, the still-struggling city is beginning to show signs of rebirth. Projects underway amounting to billions of wide-ranging investment include new and renovated schools, hospitals, libraries, commercial corridors, boulevards, waterways, parks, and even entire development zones. Efforts like the Claiborne Avenue Corridor will link sections of the cities that have been divided by an interstate for decades.

Construction that began a few years ago is now starting to finish up, while the city’s new Mayor Mitch Landrieu has launched a program to instigate 100 city-initiated projects that will begin or even be completed in the next three years. In total, according to William Gilchrist, the city’s Director of Place-Based Planning, over $13 billion in federal, state and local investments will go into effect. In many ways, said Gilchrist, the city has become a laboratory for new ideas in architecture and urban planning.

Architects and landscape architects are playing a major role here, and creating designs that are in some cases shockingly contemporary.

The Crescent

Mandeville Crossing

Mandeville Crossing by Michael Maltzan.

One of the largest, and most architecturally ambitious, city plans now underway is called Reinventing the Crescent, a $300 million riverfront redevelopment plan, with contributions by a star-filled team including Eskew Dumez Ripple working on a master plan with Chan Krieger Sieniewicz and Ten Arquitectos; Michael Maltzan Architecture; David Adjaye; and Hargreaves Associates.

The Crescent, coordinated by the public-private New Orleans Building Corporation, calls for six miles of redevelopment along the banks of the Mississippi, including a continuous linear path, iconic landmarks, mixed use development, and parks and gathering spaces.

Gardens at Piety Wharf.   Planned lawn at Mandeville Wharf.
David Adjaye's gardens at Piety Wharf (left) and the lawn in Maltzan's new plan for Mandeville Wharf (right).

Stretching from Jackson Avenue to the Holy Cross site near the Industrial Canal, the project takes on the river’s crescent shape. It doesn’t just revitalize the riverbanks, but it reconnects these banks to the rest of the city—a connection that has deteriorated over the years with barriers like freight train tracks and floodwalls.

Timber pavilion at Piety Wharf.   The stage at Crescent Park.
Inside Mandeville Wharf
Clockwise from left: The timber pavilion at Piety Wharf by David Adjaye; The stage at Crescent Park; and an interior view of Mandeville Wharf.

The first phase of the project, the 1.3 mile-long Crescent Park, is being paid for by a $30 million federal Community Development Block Grant. It started construction about five months ago and should be completed by 2012. Further phases should move forward when funding is secured, said Alan Eskew, principal at Eskew Dumez Ripple, who hopes that much will be ready by the city’s tri-centennial in 2018. Already, said Eskew, the area is already seeing new adaptive reuse and development projects. “Once construction started, suddenly there’s a lot “of activity in those neighborhoods,” he said.

Maltzan jumped into the challenge of overcoming the infrastructural segmentation of the area by literally creating a bridge between the waterfront and the rest of the city. Maltzan’s long, serpentine Mandeville Crossing, which stretches high over the railroad and the floodwall all the way to the city’s famous French Market, is what he calls “an elongated signpost for the community,” made of a series of vertical gold-colored anodized aluminum tubes that, as you move along, create a shimmering effect of light and color.

Existing and planned conditions at Celeste Park (top) and at Spanish Plaza (above).

At the end of the pedestrian bridge, the firm is leading the revitalization of the city’s historic Mandeville Wharf for events and markets, maintaining the entire steel structure with its long span steel trusses and installing a new roof with a series of skylights to inject light into the building. The firm will also install a new indoor/outdoor platform for performances, new benches, and a new wall for movie screenings, all merging with the landscape outside and becoming the center for the Crescent’s performances.

The other major element of the Crescent Park will be Piety Wharf, featuring a grassy park and Adjaye Associates’ timber pavilion, a structure—still awaiting funding— that lies flush with the water, and appears to float. Adjaye is also designing a bridge, the Piety Crossing, which spans over floodwalls and rail tracks leading to a visitor parking lot along Chartres Street.

For Maltzan, who spent a lot of time in New Orleans when he was a young architecture student, the project is a homecoming of sorts, and a chance to give back to a city that has long inspired him. “I think the park has the opportunity to be a very important step in not only moving beyond Katrina, but creating an image of what the city can be and its future.”

Make It Right

Graftlab   Billes Architects and Concordia Architects
Billes Architects   Trahan Architects
Alexei Lebedev, Make it Right

Brad Pitt’s Make It Right foundation has already gotten a lot of attention for building contemporary-style, highly sustainable (from solar powered to rainwater harvesting) homes in the Lower Ninth Ward— the hardest hit of all of New Orleans’ neighborhoods. So far 80 of the 150 homes have been completed, including ambitious designs by LA firms Morphosis and Pugh + Scarpa as well as others by Adjaye Associates, MVRDV, Gehry Partners, Shigeru Ban Architects, Graft, Hitoshi Abe, Kieran Timberake, and Trahan Architects. Participant Larry Scarpa equates it to a modern-day Case Study program: “There was an idea to give people an opportunity to have a new and different way to live—to provide normal people with quality design.”

“Most visitors to the neighborhood love it, a few hate it,” said Make It Right spokesperson Taylor Royle. “But the most important thing to us is that each homeowner says that their design is the best one and can give you ten reasons why they're right.”

Planters Grove

Planters Park   Planters Park
Planters Park by Ken Smith Landscape Architect.
Ken Smith

Planters Peanuts has launched a program in which noted landscape architect Ken Smith is designing Planters Groves in New York, San Francisco, D.C., and New Orleans.  The parks—described by the company as “part urban revitalization, part art”—use locally reclaimed materials and native trees and plants to turn vacant lots into valuable urban spaces. New Orleans’ park, the first of the bunch, just opened.

New Orleans Grove appears on the site of a once trash-littered lot in the struggling Central City neighborhood. Elements of the 80 by 80 foot park include recycled concrete pavers, an open trellis wall made of recycled windows from homes destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, 16 bald cypress trees, solar-powered lights, common planting areas, and a bog garden made up of local plants. The garden's main spaces—the bog garden, the community gathering spot, known as Legume Plaza, and the space enclosed by the trellis—are shaped in plan, not surprisingly, like peanuts.

"It's not a playground, it's not a community garden, and it's not a conventional park,” said Smith. “The community can use it however they choose."

Lafitte Greenway

Lafitte Greenway

Lafitte Greenway

Lafitte Greenway proposed on a former railroad right of way.
Friends of Lafitte Corridor

This project aims to turn a former railroad right of way into a public park, pedestrian, and bike path, similar to New York’s High Line. The three-mile-long Greenway would extend from Basin Street, at the back of the French Quarter, all the way to Canal Boulevard in Lakeview, near Lake Ponchartrain. While recently held up by a lack of funds, the city has gotten the project back on track thanks to an $11.6 million Community Development Block Grant. If completed it would become the city’s first continuous urban greenway.

For New Orleans, many questions remain—including how the city’s neighborhoods will—or won’t—continue to be planned and developed, an effort that will include a myriad of agencies, from the Department of Capital Projects to the Department of Public Works. But the results are vital, and there’s no doubt that the city is committed. As Gilchrist put it: “From public housing to health care to education to infrastructure planning, New Orleans’ rebuilding efforts are setting the stage for American renewal.”

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Scarpa is King of the World (Updated!)
[ Updated 02.08.2011: Added the interview video, a gallery of Scarpa's 502 Colorado project, and more. ] You know you've hit the big time when you're not only invited to appear on Oprah, but you're interviewed by Leonard DiCaprio on Oprah. Such is the case with Larry Scarpa, of Santa Monica firm Brooks + Scarpa, who talked to Leo about his former firm Pugh + Scarpa's  502 Colorado in Santa Monica, which DiCaprio calls the “first green affordable housing project in the country.” Whether or not that’s true, the building does include 200 solar panels on its rooftop, providing much of the building’s energy. DiCaprio doesn’t ask Scarpa about any of the 44-unit building’s other green elements (including strategic orientation, natural ventilation, co-generation, and recycled materials), but that’s okay, he'll dream about it later. At least Scarpa gets to remind stubborn developers that building green can be cheaper than conventional building. By the way, we think Scarpa, who’s already a dead ringer for Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio, has earned himself a spot on DiCaprio’s next film, Devil in the White City, about the architects of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  Wake up and get that architect an agent NOW.
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The Public Option
Transportation facilities such as HOK's Big Blue Bus headquarters in Santa Monica are seeing increasing competition from firms eager for work.
Courtesy HOK

With most private markets dried up, the real game in town for architects right now is the public sector. The federal government is shelling out record amounts of money—both federal stimulus–related and otherwise—to get the economy on track, and states are still paying out large bond measures and other monies promised before their budgets began to crumble. Even cash-strapped cities are still handing out projects, albeit many fewer than several years ago.

And so the rush is on among architects to land government buildings, hospitals, parks, transportation centers, public schools, and university structures, among others. The amount of work is still encouraging, and most say they enjoy building for the common good, but the competition is fierce, and for many unexperienced in the labyrinthine bureaucracy and strange pecking order of the public realm, it can be close to impossible.

“Firms are chasing whatever projects they’re hearing about, and right now that’s public work,” said Kermit Baker, the AIA’s chief economist. “It’s the only place that anybody is working,” added Veda Solomon, director of business development for HOK’s LA office.

For firms like HOK, a mainstay in the public realm, this scenario means there is suddenly more competition for jobs that once fell into their laps. But they still get the lion’s share thanks to their experience. The firm has worked in the public sector since its founding in the 1950s. Its California offices are now working on the U.S. Mint in San Francisco, the new ARTIC high-speed rail and transit center in Anaheim, the Contra Costa Courthouse, the VA Hospital in Long Beach, the Adelanto Correctional Facility in San Bernardino, and the NOAA Pacific Region Headquarters in Hawaii, to name a few.

Seventy percent of CO Architects' work comes from the public realm, including the LA Valley College's Allied Health & Sciences Center in Van Nuys.
Robert Canfield

The firm’s LA office has only dropped 15 out of 165 workers since 2008, said Solomon, an incredibly low figure in this economy. There’s been such an influx of new public work, she added, that the firm has had to restructure to move more architects into the public sphere.

“Basically the whole firm is looking at public projects,” she said.

Another public regular in LA, 83-person CO Architects, is busy as well, with about 70 percent of its work coming from the public realm. “It’s been less stressful for us than for others,” said principal Scott Kelsey. Work currently underway includes courthouses in Porterville and Southeast Los Angeles, an addition for Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center/ Orthopedic Hospital, the new Palomar Medical Center outside San Diego, a UC Merced Academic Surge Building, the UC Davis School of Nursing, and projects for the LA Unified School District and LA Valley College, among others. (At press time, they unveiled plans for another public project, a new North Campus at the LA County Museum of Natural History.)

Even smaller design firms are getting into the game. Santa Monica–based Pugh + Scarpa, with its 15-strong staff, has signed a five-year at-will contract with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which limits fees to $12 million a year ($12 million, points out principal Larry Scarpa, would double the firm’s usual fees for a year). The firm is also building parking structures for the city of Santa Monica, a parking garage for UCSD, and is working with Olin Partnership on the new Plummer Park in West Hollywood, which includes a new parking structure and theater. Eight-person San Francisco firm Paulett Taggart Architects is working on two stimulus-related projects, the Turk/ Eddy Affordable Housing development and a portion of the Hunters View revitalization project. San Francisco–based Mark Cavagnero Associates, another small firm, has made a specialty out of quiet but striking institutional work like the Savo Pool in San Francisco, the Clovis Memorial District Conference Center in Clovis, CA, and the just-completed renovation of the Oakland Museum of California.

Mark Cavagnero Associates has made a niche of institutional work, such as the firm's Clovis Memorial District Conference Center in Clovis, CA.
Courtesy MCA

Other boutique firms going public recently include Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, which has signed on with the City of Santa Monica to build 360 shelters for the city’s Big Blue Bus. The canopies are a kit of parts that can be reconfigured to maximize shade depending on conditions. Richard Meier and Partners, while hardly small, is still interested in branching into the public realm and is working on the San Diego Federal Courthouse, a design that uses materials like natural stone, terra cotta, and pre-cast concrete. The firm also completed a large new city hall and civic center for the City of San Jose.

But although firms large and small have made an entry, getting a strong foothold in this realm has become increasingly difficult. The cutthroat competition means that even the most seasoned public veterans have to work harder than ever to get in the game.

“I’ve noticed a lot of big firms are going after smaller projects,” said HOK’s Solomon, who noted that  cash-strapped governments have taken advantage of this situation by paying much less for projects than similar work in the private sector. CO’s Kelsey points to the competition for the new academic building it is now designing at UC Merced, which saw 49 submittals. In better economic times, he pointed out, a project like that would have about 20 submittals. 

CO Architects' public portfolio includes a renovation of the LA Natural history museum.
 2L studio

richard meier & partners extends a special interest in federal facilities with designs for the san diego federal courthouse.
 courtesy richard meier & partners

And for those trying to get into the loop, the march to public work can be infuriating. Small firms say they are often shut out of the process because of their lack of experience and connections. Many point out that often, public agencies value the ability to check off the right boxes and propose low fees over talent and design expertise. The AIA/LA has suggested a new city Architecture Department that would, among other things, help get more firms involved in the public selection process through competitions, design review, and community outreach. The AIA has also called for changing public project delivery from design-bid-build—which favors well-connected firms that know the right contractors and engineers, or those that simply charge the least regardless of quality or competence—to more egalitarian and well-organized methods like integrated project delivery, public private partnerships, or a more equitable version of design-build.

The challenge of getting into the public realm even pertains to megafirms like Gensler, now wishing it had jumped into public projects sooner. Its 195-person LA office is working on a number of public projects—including the new Port of Long Beach Headquarters building, security upgrades for Los Angeles World Airports, and a new data center for the County of Los Angeles—but that is only about a third of its overall work.

“Honestly, it’s been somewhat challenging,” admitted Rob Jernigan, a Gensler principal. “We were heavily focused on work and lifestyle, and not as heavily on civic. We’ve been working with the public sector for more than ten years, which sounds like a long time, but it’s really not.”

Even for firms like HOK that have the experience and connections, working in the public realm brings new bureaucratic challenges that can stymie even the most stalwart. “You wouldn’t believe the bureaucratic hoops you have to jump through just to get your name on the list,” said Christopher Roe, HOK’s strategic director of marketing and business development. “Hundred-page forms that require signed affidavits from 20 references of previous clients and have to be notarized at the state, county, and federal level. It’s a paperwork nightmare of epic proportions.”

Public agencies themselves are struggling, and with their own budgets faltering, they are doing their best—like everyone else—to get as much work for as little as possible. Roe said that architecture and planning fees are down about 20 percent for federal projects from just a few years back. “We’re being squeezed on many levels,” he said.

smaller firms such as Pugh + Scarpa are getting in the game as well. The firm is working on the Santa Monica Parking Garage (above) in addition to work through a GSA at-will contract.
Courtesy Pugh + Scarpa

For smaller firms doing public work, the inevitable starts and stops of public projects can be disastrous. Scarpa mentions that every time a project is halted for an EIR review, he has to lay off staff. Steven Ehrlich faced similar problems working on a new project for UC Irvine, one of well over 30 projects halted for some time in the university system, many of them because of budget issues.

But Scarpa knows he is still one of the lucky ones because he got started before the boom. “My friends ask me how to get involved and I tell them it’s not gonna happen instantly. We’ve been doing it for five years.” Already he is looking ahead to new kinds of work in universities, museums, and overseas commissions.

So the question remains: will firms get too entrenched in public work just as they got too involved in commercial and residential before? What happens when the economy changes and the public sector becomes less sexy? Already, public institutions like universities are running out of funds and slowing down expenditures.

The public sector will always provide work, pointed out the AIA’s Baker, so getting caught flat-footed is more difficult. Nor does the sector provide the dizzying profits available in the private market. Persistent adaptation, as always, is the key to preserving the long-term health of architecture firms.

“We’ve realized that the only constant in the world is change,” said Gensler’s Jernigan. “In today’s world, this notion of getting into one niche and staying in that niche is over. We’re constantly asking, how do we broaden ourselves and diversify our offerings so we can stabilize things?”

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A Question of TIme
A rendering of Michael Maltzan's Star Apartments, whose prefab elements should help keep construction time down.
Courtesy Michael Maltzan Architecture

In the past few years, this paper has reported on the excellent architecture being produced in California’s low-income and homeless supportive housing sector, from Michael Maltzan’s New Carver Apartments to David Baker’s Folsom Dore Supportive Apartments. While creating these projects is always challenging given their limited resources, the challenge that architects complain about more than any other is the intense time crunch inherent in such work, and the pressure this puts on the quality of their work.

Most low-income housing projects are funded through low-income tax credits, in which projects are given a strict time limit for construction—usually between 18 months and two years. This, say many, is too short to keep standards high, and puts undue pressure on a client to stick with a set team, even if that team isn’t up to par.

“In some sense, the contractor has carte blanche because time is what rules,” said Larry Scarpa, principal at Pugh + Scarpa, who has built several affordable housing projects. Scarpa talks about contractors who have poured slabs without rebar in them, and those who have forgotten to put in light recesses. Each time, due to time constraints, those elements weren’t fixed and the contractors remained. “The owner ultimately has to decide whether to tear something out, not finish on time, and lose $10 million.”

Daly Genik's recently completed Tahiti Housing Complex in Santa Monica.
Tim Griffith

“They get locked in with contractors and they are reluctant to jump ship with them later,” agreed Julie Eizenberg, whose firm Koning Eizenberg has worked on many similar projects. She said she respects clients’ efforts in such a money-crunched field but feels there’s a limit to what can be achieved. “A lot of them are well-intentioned, but frankly they’re exhausted. There’s only so much stuff they can fight for.”

Tod Lipka, CEO of Step Up on Second, a supportive housing nonprofit in Santa Monica, adds that tight timelines not only hurt quality but also narrow options. He points to an instance in which his organization wanted a variance to remove underground parking from a project, since the homeless tenants didn’t have cars. After pursuing the variance for six months, the group had to abandon it because they needed to begin construction to keep their funding.

Federal low-income tax credits are allocated by the state treasurer’s California Tax Credit Allocation Committee. The timelines, points out treasury spokesman Joe DeAnda, are determined on the federal level, and are meant to avoid cost escalations, to get people into needed housing quickly, and to avoid problems on the back end.

“We don’t want to award credits to people who aren’t going to meet those deadlines,” DeAnda said. “There may be gripes, but this weeds out all but the most serious projects.” Projects are scored on the basis of readiness, affordability, number of units, and financing availability. They generally have 150 days to be construction-ready. They have two years from the award date to be built. “There are plenty who meet this deadline, so I wouldn’t say it’s a hindrance,” he said.

Joan Ling, executive director of the Community Corporation of Santa Monica, who has worked with Pugh + Scarpa, Daly Genik, and Stephen Kanner, added: “If they give you money and you just dawdle and don’t produce, that’s opportunity cost lost,” she said. “Hire good architects and good contractors so you don’t get into a bind.”

Some architects working in the field say they haven’t felt the time crunch at all. “I think you can plan around it and it shouldn’t be a problem,” said Richard Stacy of San Francisco firm Leddy Maytum Stacy, another supportive housing veteran. “It shouldn’t be that tight.”

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Fuller Brushoff
Questions remain about the fate of the project's affordable component, which was originally 50 percent of the units.
Courtesy Pugh + Scarpa

When construction began in 2002, Santa Monica firm Pugh + Scarpa’s Fuller Lofts was seen as a major coup for LA. The 104-unit project, built out of a 1920s cast-in-place concrete Fuller Paints warehouse in Lincoln Heights, included 50 percent affordable housing and was seen as the flagship project for Livable Places, a nonprofit affordable housing developer cofounded by Pugh + Scarpa principal Larry Scarpa and other major LA players.

But the project has been besieged by setbacks, with work stalling in early 2008 after Livable Places disbanded, a casualty of the economic downturn and disputes with contractors.

Construction restarted this spring under local developer Lee Homes and its prime lender Citibank, and the project neared completion before thudding once more to a halt—and jettisoning its architect. Scarpa has told AN that his firm is no longer associated with the Lofts, citing contractual differences with Lee Homes as a major cause of the firm’s exit.

“We’re as off that job as you can be off a job,” Scarpa said.

The half-built lofts photographed in February, around the time Lee Homes joined the project.

According to the architect, the current impasse began after Lee Homes took over the project, delivering him what he refers to as an “unworkable contract” and walking away from subsequent negotiations. The contract, said Scarpa, gave the firm fifty cents for every dollar it was owed, plus millions of dollars in liability. Scarpa has since refused to hand over project-related documents to Lee Homes.

“It’s completely unfair,” said Scarpa. “If they want to get material, they have to come to some agreement. I’m not going to just give the stuff away.” Scarpa suspects that the building’s affordable units and the ground-level retail may both be removed under the new ownership.

Lee Homes did not respond to requests for comment. According to the firm’s website, the company has completed over 1,000 units of housing since 2003, including the Flower Street Lofts in Los Angeles, Centre Street Lofts in San Pedro, and Harbor Lofts in Anaheim.

Asked if he would take legal action, Scarpa was stoic. “I can’t really do anything,” he said. “Architects don’t really have that kind of power.”

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Upending The Bad News
On Tuesday night AN, Gensler and the California Real Estate Journal (CREJ) hosted our panel discussion, Upending The Downturn at the Poliform showroom in Beverly Hills. Participants did their best to keep the tone positive, and suggested tips for surviving, and even excelling, during the recession and beyond. Most hinted that we're almost out of the woods. Potential bright spots for architects and builders included affordable housing, government work (including slowly-moving stimulus-related projects), sustainable projects (including work in LA's new Clean Tech corridor), health care, and design/build . Some even suggested that small projects are getting financing, and that larger ones should by the end of the year. The recession, one panelist pointed out, will be announced officially over in September. What?? And more good news: co-moderator Jennifer Caterino of the CREJ, noted that according to the Commerce Department US Construction spending rose .3 percent in June. What's next? Constant sunshine? Oh yeah, it's LA. There is constant sunshine.
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Taking Aim at the Downturn
OK, it's time to start doing something about this economic debacle. Next Tuesday, August 4, in Los Angeles, AN, The California Real Estate Journal, and Gensler will be co-hosting a panel to devise ways for SoCal firms to cope with the downturn. Topics will include finding architectural projects, exploiting creative measures like design-build, shaking loose financing, and securing public money and jobs, among other things. The panel will include Larry Scarpa of Pugh+Scarpa; Rob Jernigan of Gensler; Dan Rosenfeld of development firm Urban Partners (and Deputy for Economic Development to LA Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas); Cecilia Estolano, CEO of the LA Community Redevelopment Agency; Denise Bickerstaff of real estate consulting firm Keyser Marston Associates; and Jerry Neuman of real estate law firm Allen Matkins Leck. The event will take place at 6 pm at Poliform, 8818 Beverly Blvd. Networking, of course, to follow. Don't miss this chance to pull yourself up by your bootstraps!
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Ray Kappe Remembers Marvin Rand
We ran a rememberance of Marvin Rand yesterday by Larry Scarpa of Pugh+Scarpa. Here's another from Ray Kappe, the founding director of Sci-Arc:
Marvin Rand was a good friend and an exceptional architectural photographer. I have fond memories of that slight, energetic man with the large camera photographing one of my earliest houses in Sherman Oaks, in 1956. We grew up in Los Angeles architecture together--I developing my practice, and he photographing some of the most important buildings in Los Angeles--from documenting the Watts Towers, Greene and Greene, the architecture of early modernist Irving Gill, the Case Study houses and other works of Craig Ellwood, to many of the young architects of today. Marvin enjoyed working with younger architects, especially in recent years. He switched to digital photography and used the latest techniques. I am sure that is what kept him young at heart. He was also generous with some of us older members of the profession later in life, photographing work that he thought was important, and without charge. He honored me by photographing my 50 Year Retrospective exhibit at the A+D Museum in 2003-2004, and contributed two large major photographs, 5’ x 8’, which hung from the ceiling. Those of us who were fortunate to know and work with Marvin, as well as the architectural profession at large, have lost a generous spirit, and a talented friend and advocate. He will be sorely missed.
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You're the Tops

 General Contractor

Michaels Residence, Tolkin Architecture, Winters-Schram Associates 

One Window House, Touraine Richmond Architects, Brown Osvaldsson Builders

Brown Osvaldsson Builders really listen to what we are trying to do. They understand it, and come in with solutions and original ways to deal with problems.They are really respectful of the design and try to match the architectural expectations.”
Olivier Tourraine 
Touraine Richmond ARchitects

“Robert Vairo of Vairo Construction is like a saint. On Skid Row, he’s seen like an angel.”
Michael Lehrer
Lehrer Architects

JFR House, Fougeron Architecture, Thomas George Construction 

BBI Construction
1155 Third St., Oakland, CA; 

Bernard Brothers
1402 W. Fern Dr.,
Fullerton, CA; 

Brown Osvaldsson Builders
1333 Pine St., 
Santa Monica, CA; 

Bonomo Development
1523 Linda Ct., 
Simi Valley, CA;

CW Driver
468 North Rosemead Blvd., 
Pasadena, CA;

Hawkins Construction
4177 Yale Ave., 
La Mesa, CA ; 

1060 Capp St., 
San Francisco; 

Matt Construction
9814 Norwalk Blvd.,
Santa Fe Springs, CA; 

20401 S. W. Birch St.,
Newport Beach, CA; 

Roman Janczak Construction
942 South Harlan Ave., 
Compton, CA;

Shaw & Sons Construction
829 W. 17th St.,
Costa Mesa, CA; 

Thomas George Construction
8716 Carmel Valley Rd., 
Carmel, CA;

Thompson Suskind

Vairo Construction
1913 Balboa Blvd., 
Newport Beach, CA; 

Winters-Schram Associates
11777 Miss Ave., 
Los Angeles; 

Young & Burton
345 Hartz Ave., 
Danville, CA; 


Cancer Center at UMC North, CO ARchitects, John A. Martin

Lou Ruvo Alzheimer’s Institute, Gehry Partners, WSP Cantor Seinuk

Gilsanz Murray Steficek are really flexible, and react quickly. We called them the day before yesterday about a project detail and they were able to turn it around in a day. It’s a small detail, but with other firms it could take much longer.”
Paul Zajfen 
CO Architects

IBE are mechanical engineers who have the same sort of sensibilities as architects. They’re very concerned about sustainability and look at engineering from a global perspective; problem-solving at a large-scale level. And they’re very interested in exploring new ideas.”
Paul Zajfen 
CO Architects

“With principal Mike Ishler, you can really have a collaborative design experience. If you want to push your design technologically and structurally, he’s your guy.”
Barbara Bestor
Barbara Bestor Architecture

12777 West Jefferson Blvd., 
Los Angeles;

Buro Happold
9601 Jefferson Blvd.,
Culver City, CA;

WSP Cantor Seinuk
5301 Beethoven St.,
Los Angeles;

Davidovich & Associates
6059 Bristol Pkwy.,
Culver City, CA;

DeSimone Consulting Engineers
160 Sansome St., 
San Francisco; 

Dewhurst MacFarlane
2404 Wilshire Blvd.,
Los Angeles;

405 Howard St.,
San Francisco;

(Gilsanz Murray Steficek)

29 West 27th St.,
New York, NY; 

14130 Riverside Dr., 
Sherman Oaks, CA; 

John Labib & Associates
900 Wilshire Blvd., 
Los Angeles; 

John A. Martin
950 South Grand Ave., 
Los Angeles; 

Gordon L. Polon 
Consulting Engineers 

Thornton Tomassetti
6151 W. Century Blvd.,
Los Angeles; 

Christian T. Williamson Engineers
3400 Airport Ave.,
Santa Monica, CA; 

Yu Strandberg Engineering
155 Filbert St., 
Oakland, CA; 

Civil/Environmental Consultants
Atelier Ten
19 Perseverance Works, 
38 Kingsland Rd., 
+44 (0) 20 7749 5950

Cosentini Associates
Two Penn Plaza, New York;

Converse Consultants
222 E. Huntington Dr., 
Monrovia, CA;

145 Hudson St., New York; 

Zinner Consultants
528 21st Pl., 
Santa Monica, CA; 



"Plug Lighting has a great selection, a high level of professionalism, and they have lights that work with our work. That’s important to me because it’s very difficult to find good lighting.”
Lorcan O’Herlihy


2027 Oakdale Ave., 
San Francisco;

Fox and Fox
134 Main St., 
Seal Beach, CA;

Horton Lees Brogden
8580 Washington Blvd., 
Culver City, CA; 

KGM Lighting
10351 Santa Monica Blvd., 
Los Angeles; 

1213 South Ogden Dr.,
Los Angeles;

Lam Partners 
84 Sherman St., 
Cambridge, MA; 

Lighting Design Alliance
1234 East Burnett St., 
Signal Hill, CA; 

Vortex Lighting
1510 N. Las Palmas Ave.,






Hubbell Lighting



Louis Poulsen

City Lights Showroom
1585 Folsom St.,
San Francisco; 

Plug Lighting
8017 Melrose Ave.,
Los Angeles;

Revolver Design
1177 San Pablo Ave., 
Berkeley, CA; 


Felkner Residence, Jennifer Luce, Bendheim Glass

“JU Construction did fantastically good work. They’ll try anything.” “The intimate success of our projects is this idea that there’s a balance between material and texture. The fact that we can have that conversation with Basil Studio and play with that balance together makes the collaboration really strong.” 
Jennifer Luce
Luce et Studio

Deglas’s Heatstop is amazing. It’s twice the R value of insulated glass at half the cost. And it comes in 24-foot-long sheets that you can cut on site.”
Whitney Sander Sander Architects

Benchmark Scenery have a lot of expertise in making very complicated things very quickly.” 
Peter Zellner 
Zellner + Architects

Hyde Park Library Hodgetts + Fung JU Construction

JU Construction did fantastically good work. They’ll try anything.” 
Craig Hodgetts 
Hodgetts & Fung

Bendheim Glass
3675 Alameda Ave.,
Oakland, CA;

Giroux Glass
850 West Washington Blvd., 
Los Angeles; 

JS Glass
12211 Garvey Ave.,
El Monte, CA;

500 East Louise Ave.,
Lathrop, CA; 


Supreme Glass
1661 20th St.,
Oakland, CA;

800 Park Dr.,
Owatonna, MN;

Metal Fabricators
Scott Ange

Basil Studio
1805 Newton Ave., 
San Diego, CA; 

Dennis Leuedman
3420 Helen St., 
Oakland, CA; 

2300 South West, 
Salt Lake City, Utah; 

Gavrieli Plastics 
11733 Sherman Way,
North Hollywood;

888-2 DEGLAS

200 Bridge St., 
Pittsburgh, PA;

5835 Adams Blvd.,
Culver City, CA;

265 Meridian Ave.,
San Jose, CA; 

Daltile Ceramic Tile

Flor Carpet and Tile
1343 4th St.,
Santa Monica, CA;

1021 E. Lacy Ave.,
Anaheim, CA; 

Stone Source
9500 A Jefferson Blvd., 
Culver City, CA; 

Vetter Stone
23894 3rd Ave., 
Mankato, MN;

Benchmark Scenery
1757 Standard Ave.,
Glendale, CA; 

Dewey Ambrosino

Michael Yglesias

Jacobs Woodworks
3403 Hancock St.,
San Diego, CA; 

JU Construction
1442 Chico Ave., 
South El Monte, CA; 


Kitchen and Bath 

K2, Norbert Wangen for Boffi

1344 4th St.,
Santa Monica, CA; 

Brizo Faucets

153 South Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles; 

California Kitchens Showroom
2305 W. Alameda Ave., 
Burbank, CA; 

Jack London Kitchen 
and Bath Gallery

2500 Embarcadero St., 
Oakland, CA; 

16760 Stagg St., 
Van Nuys, CA; 

Duravit bathroom furniture and accessories

Gaggeneau kitchen appliances

Grohe bathroom and kitchen fittings

Kohler bathroom furniture

Miele appliances

Thermador appliances

Vola fixtures


Wet Style
16760 Stagg St.,
Van Nuys, CA; 

Landscape Design 

Lengau Lodge, Dry Design UNDINE PROHL

Bestor House, Barbar Bestor Architects, SB Garden Design 

Stephanie Bartron’s background is sculpture, and I think she brings a more artistic perspective and architectural edge to landscapes.” 
Barbar Bestor 
Barbara Bestor Architecture

Burton Studio
307 South Cedros Ave., 
Solana Beach, CA; 

Dirt Studio 
700 Harris St.,
Charlottesville, VA; 

Dry Design
5727 Venice Blvd., 
Los Angeles; 

Elysian Landscapes
2340 W. Third St., 
Los Angeles; 

EPT Design
844 East Green St.,
Pasadena, CA; 

Mia Lehrer + Associates
3780 Wilshire Blvd., 
Los Angeles; 

Nancy Goslee 
Power & Associates
1660 Stanford St., 
Santa Monica, CA; 

Pamela Burton & Company
1430 Olympic Blvd., 
Santa Monica, CA; 

Spurlock Poirier
2122 Hancock St.,
San Diego, CA; 

SB Garden Design
2801 Clearwater St., 
Los Angeles; 


Consultants, Services & Suppliers

Mills Center for the Arts, Competition Entry, Pugh + Scarpa, Mike Amaya

Mike Amaya listens to you. He’s not fixated on a certain way of doing things. Hisrenderings have life, but they don’t try to duplicate what reality would be. We’re more interested in capturing the spirit of the place.”
Larry Scarpa
Pugh + Scarpa Architects

11 North Main St., 
South Norwalk, CT;

Cost Estimating
Davis Langdon
301 Arizona Ave., 
Santa Monica, CA; 

McCarty Company
725 S. Figueroa St.,
Los Angeles; 

Mike Amaya

Robert DeRosa
1549 Columbia Dr., 
Glendale, CA; 

Tech Support
44 Montgomery St., 
San Francisco; 

633 West Fifth St.,
Los Angeles, CA;

SC Consulting Group 
6 Morgan St., Irvine, CA; 

Window & Door 

Fleetwood Windows & Doors 
395 Smitty Way, 
Corona, CA; 

Goldbrecht Windows
1434 Sixth St., 
Santa Monica, CA; 

Metal Window Corporation
501 South Isis Ave., 
Inglewood, CA;

Construction Suppliers
Anderson Plywood
4020 Sepulveda Blvd., 
Culver City, CA; 

Beronio Lumber
2525 Marin St., 
San Francisco; 

Cut and Dried Hardwood
241 S. Cedros Ave., 
Solana Beach, CA; 

Taylor Brothers 
2934 Riverside Dr.,
Los Angeles; 

Placeholder Alt Text

Hearing Voices

Now in its 23rd year, the Architectural League of New York's Emerging Voices program names eight talents with something to say.

The Architectural League of New York's Emerging Voices program has come to be regarded as an important benchmark in the profession. Launched in 1982 by Emilio Ambasz and Marita O'Hare, the League's then president and executive director, respectively, the idea was to create a public forum for young architects to share their work and ideas--an especially valuable opportunity in a late-peaking profession such as architecture. Said Craig Konyk, an Emerging Voice in 1996 and juror for the 2004 cycle, "Emerging Voices was quite instrumental in my career, a kind of 'coming out' where you become accepted among the 'arrived' architects."

For most of the program's history, the process of selection has begun with the League staff compiling names, culled from magazine articles, editors, past winners, and other advisors. "Usually we start out looking at around 40 firms and then narrow the field to about 15 to 20, from whom we request portfolios," said Anne Rieselbach, program director. "A committee, usually made up of past Emerging Voices, League board members, and maybe a critic or journalist, then selects the best work that reflects a distinctive 'voice.'"

"The crucial point is that the candidate has developed a voice that's driven not by styles or trends but by authentic commitment," said Michael Manfredi of Weiss/ Manfredi (Emerging Voices, Class of '97), who also served on this year's jury. "A 'voice' signifies a level of authenticity rather than maturity or finality. We looked for firms that are still experimenting, even making mistakes. Winning the award gave Marion [Weiss] and me a rare opportunity to say, yes, this is our voice."

Some of this year's choices might not seem as "emerging" or risk-taking as has come to be expected of the program. But, observed Konyk, "What has probably changed since I was selected is the amount of completed projects that architects have to achieve in order to be considered 'emerging.'" Still, a look at past winners shows that the Emerging Voices selection committees have been prescient more often than not. It might be a matter of a self-fulfillment: "After winning we felt we had to sustain a high level of quality," said Manfredi. "It was the best kind of burden.">

Preston Scott Cohen (Cambridge)

Harvard GSD professor Preston Scott Cohen hardly seems emerging, given that hismonograph, Contested Symmetries and Other Predicaments in Architecture (Princeton Architectural Press) came out in 2001 and he was named an emerging talent at the 1996 Venice Biennale. But it's true that he is just now putting the finishing touches on the long-publicized Goodman House (top), a rewrapped 19th-century

Dutch barn structure inspired by a torus or donut shape. Another major recent development in Cohen's career is his winning the competition to design a $45 million addition to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (above). The design, which includes a geometrically complex atrium that draws light three stories below grade, is slated to break ground this summer.

John Friedman and Alice Kimm Architects
(Los Angeles)

John Friedman and Alice Kimm Architects, founded in 1993, has quickly developed into a flourishing practice in Southern California. In its recently completed Los Angeles Design Center (above) and Cisco Brothers Showroom renovation, partners Friedman and Kimm transformed an unused courtyard into a vibrant urban space with a deftness and subtly that will surely give the car-dominated city a taste of vibrant pedestrian urbanity. The partners are currently designing a golf club and commercial building in Korea and a 47-unit SRO for senior citizens in central Los Angeles.

Rand Elliott
Elliott + Associates Architects
(Oklahoma City)

Oklahoma architect Rand Elliott has been scattering striking modern buildings across the midwestern landscape for 27 years. His designs of residences, offices, and industrial buildings are plainspoken yet elegant, such as his makeover projects for ImageNet, a scanning and imaging company, and his Will Rogers World Airport Snow Barn (below), an economical structure built to house the airport's snow removal equipment. The Snow Barn features a winglike overhang that is apt in its airport setting, and provides extra shelter in a harsh climate.


Tom Kundig
Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects

In most architecture award programs today, the winners always include a predominance of firms doing intelligent, admirable modernist work--and then there's often the one architect with an idiosyncratic edge. The 2004 Emerging Voices awards are no different and this year's funky architect is Tom Kundig of Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen. His Chicken Point Cabin in northern Idaho, is a refreshing example of contemporary thinking that makes a nod to Northwestern vernacular (left and below). It has a spectacular 20x30-foot glazed wall that opens to the adjacent lake by a giant, hand-turned metal wheel apparatus. The house can sleep ten, and must be fun when they stoke up the huge bong fireplace for guests.

Pierre Thibault
Pierre Thibault Architecte

Since establishing his practice in 1988, Pierre Thibault has striven to balance building with installation. At all scales, his projects contain strong archaeological references--tapping into geographic or material histories while remaining deeply sympathetic toward the temporal nature of constructions. The Museum of the Abenakis (above), a 2,000-square-meter addition to a former convent, is currently under construction near Nicolet on the St. Francis River in his hometown, Montréal. The building's steel frame construction and glass envelope are tempered by an opaque slat system, which harkens to sun shades found on vernacular buildings.

Lorcan O'Herlih
Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects
(Culver City)

Lorcan O'Herlihy's notoriety last year jumped when neighbors protested his construction of a condominium next door to the Schindler House, which houses the MAK Center. Ultimately, however, his project was accepted as an admirable descendent of the tradition of Southern California modernism. Like Schindler and Neutra, O'Herliihy respects rigorous geometry, a minimal material palette, and rich details. The recently completed 4,400-square-foot Jai House (left) overlooking the Santa Monica Mountains exemplifies his approach. The multi-use U2 Landmark Tower competition entry (above) was conceived for the Dublin Docklands regeneration plan.

Larry Scarpa
Pugh + Scarpa
(Los Angeles and Charlotte, North Carolina)

Recently, Pugh + Scarpa has been spreading its innovations with sustainable building beyond its base in Southern California and North Carolina. Following up on its 2001 Colorado Court in Santa Monica--one of the first 100 percent energy-independent single resident occupancy housing projects in the country--the firm has partnered with Office dA to design a sustainable housing project in Cambridge (left). And now it's constructing Solar Umbrella (below), a private residence in Venice, California, (slated for completion this spring) that uses, almost entirely, recycled building and landscaping materials, and will be completely independent from the power grid.

Ken Smith
Ken Smith Landscape Architect
(New York)

This year's only New York Voice, Ken Smith made his mark on the city by turning Queens Plaza dumpsters into planters in 2001, reinterpreting the unbuilt Isamu Noguchi design for the Lever House terrace last year, and splashing color into the schoolyard of New York's largest elementary school, P.S.19 in Queens, in 2003. He is currently collaborating with the Boston-based Kennedy Violich Architects on self-irrigating "container landscapes" for seven new commuter ferry piers along the East River (above). The $10.5 million project for the city will be completed in 2005.