Search results for "Lorcan O'Herlihy"

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On the Road Again: Artists Respond to Single-Family Homes in Los Angeles
Our friends at On the Road, a yearlong series of LA-centric architecture, art, and design programs taking place throughout the city, are at it again. Last weekend they took their talents to the residential realm, encouraging a series of designers to respond to eight single-family houses on the city's west side through postcards placed inside the homes' mailboxes. Architecture/muses included Frank Gehry's Norton House, Rudolph Schindler's Kings Road House, and Lorcan O'Herlihy's Vertical House. Highly varied postcards, pointed out OTR co-organizer Jonathan Louie, Assistant Professor of Architecture at Syracuse, directed their attention on homes' insides, outsides, and contexts. Among other things, they displayed abstracted and inverted plans, historical and typological studies, and even (sort of) private self-addressed letters. Some, like those by Clark Thenhaus and Jessica Colangelo, even framed views of the homes themselves.  See more intriguing results of architecture inspiring art below, and for a glipmse at the event in progress visit #otr on Twitter.  
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Sunset-La Cienega
Courtesy SOM

Sunset-La Cienega
Designer: SOM, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects
Client: CIM
Location: West Hollywood
Completion: TBA

Local developer CIM and the city of West Hollywood have finally come to an agreement over the once-stalled project formerly known as Sunset Millennium. Located in the center of West Hollywood’s entertainment and retail district, the project’s first phase was completed years ago. Phase two, which occupies the parcels east and west of La Cienega on Sunset, was supposed to begin in 2008. Now called Sunset|La Cienega, the four-tower megaproject—consisting of residential, retail, and hotel components—will take over the south side of Sunset Boulevard, where the Tiffany Theater, the Peterson Building, and other mid-century buildings now stand. Demolition of those structures has already begun.

In their place will rise two ten-story hotel towers and two eight-story residential towers. SOM designed the hotels, while the residential towers were a team effort by SOM and Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA). Both schemes feature buildings that are set back and slightly rotated to form large entries and view corridors. On either side of La Cienega, the towers are unified by ground floor retail and integrate public terraces with gardens and outdoor amenities designed by landscape architecture firm Mia Lehrer + Associates. LOHA, which has worked on several housing projects in West Hollywood, has also been given the green light on a twenty-unit mixed-use complex off San Vicente.

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Neutra’s Neighbor
Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects designed the proposal.
Courtesy LOHA

The bitter battle over 11024 Strathmore Drive—the site across from Richard Neutra’s famed Strathmore Apartments in Westwood—appears to have been finally resolved. On November 14, the Westwood Design Review Board (DRB) approved a stepped and textured apartment by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA)—a feat that the previous proposal for the site never achieved.

LA-based Togawa Smith Martin designed the previous iteration of the project—Grandmarc Westwood. DRB rejected the large, box-shaped design six times on the grounds that its bulk, massing, and character were incompatible with Westwood’s North Village Specific Plan. However, the LA planning commission approved that design last August.

The new complex will step down the sloped Westwood site.
 

Local opponents, led by a group called the Friends of Richard Neutra’s Strathmore Apartments (FORNSA), fought the plan in Los Angeles Superior Court, which sided with them, forcing the developer, PPC Landventure, to reconsider its plans.

“They were trying to game the system to get approvals without adequate public input,” said Noel Weiss, attorney for FORNSA. “Council people figure they can give away land use entitlements to their friends. The judge said no.”

FORNSA and PPC then negotiated a settlement in which the developer would move forward with a design competition. Others shortlisted for the project included Michael Maltzan, Michael Folonis, Daly Genik, and Koenig Eizenberg.

 
Section showing grade changes (left) and a roof plan detailing the building's green roof scheme (right).
 

O’Herlihy emerged victorious. His plan is composed of two buildings that each step down the street across from the Strathmore Apartments, reaching their minimum height across from the modernist landmark. Their shifting volumes and their close connection to the landscape reference the Neutra building itself. “We were trying to riff on history,” said O’Herlihy. The buildings will be clad in metal panels—some solid, some perforated, and some corrugated.

“This is the first quality building to be proposed in the North Village since John Lautner designed the Sheats apartments on Strathmore Drive in 1948,” said Michael Webb, president of FORNSA and a frequent contributor to AN who is happy that the developer came around to good design. “The DRB was demonstrably pleased to approve a building they respected, rather than a piece of garbage that scraped by after endless revisions.”

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Shulman 2.0
The living room is updated with a new floor and millwork.
LOHA
 
The old living room.
 

Next to the front door of photographer Julius Shulman’s house sits a plaque stating that the property is Los Angeles Cultural Historic Monument #325. It’s a well deserved designation. The legendary home in the Hollywood Hills was not only the stomping grounds of one of the most famous chroniclers of the modern movement, but its indoor-outdoor design, which frames the site, was created by one of the most famous mid-century modern architects, Raphael Soriano.

But since Shulman’s death two years ago, the 1950 house has slid into a sad state of decline. Its paint is chipping, its carpets are dank, its concrete is cracking, and its interiors have a worn look that begs for renewal. Furthermore, the home’s abundant landscaping, designed by Garret Eckbo, is starting to become an overgrown jungle that’s turning on the house itself.

Planned updated to the Shulman house entry (top) and existing conditions (above).
 

LA-based Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA) has been commissioned by the home’s owners, who wish to remain anonymous, to ride to the rescue. Firm principal Lorcan O’Herlihy has had some experience renovating modernist masterpieces: he also restored Richard Neutra’s Staller Residence in Bel Air and Neutra’s Goldhammer House in Palos Verdes. He has been working on the Shulman project since May and is set to complete the renovation by the fall. And despite the fact that the house is carefully designated, LA’s Office of Historic Resources is allowing the architect to add some of his contemporary “voice,” as he puts it.

“It’s going to have a new life,” said Lambert Giessinger, Historic Preservation Architect for LA’s Office of Historic Resources. “It’s not going to be a museum. We try to maintain a balance between preserving the historic fabric and responding to the needs of the owner.” Giessinger says this often comes as a surprise to owners and architects, but such flexibility is common within the bounds of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, which guided the project.

The house, with its floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, open floorplan, and lush landscaping, showcases the California lifestyle that Shulman captured over his storied career. The scenery dominates most views, and Shulman’s office is located in a separate building altogether.

 
Old (left) and new (right) screens at the Shulman house.
 

But one of the elements that Soriano didn’t like was Shulman’s addition of screens, which essentially created outdoor rooms but didn’t adhere to Soriano’s idea of strict formal boundaries between inside and out. Still, for Shulman, his family, and visitors the screened areas became the dominant location for meals and socializing and proved quite successful. O’Herlihy plans to riff off these screens, adding several of his own in a lighter color that will create a contemporary take on a modernist look.

While the exterior will remain essentially the same, changes inside will include re-cladding the house’s aging Douglas fir panels with lighter woods, adding some skylights to help light penetrate darker corridors, and creating completely new kitchens and bathrooms. “Adding richness where there’s tiredness,” as LOHA associate Donnie Schmidt put it. Shulman’s old office will become a guest suite, and the firm will add a series of small new ductless heating and cooling units, which should be virtually impossible to spot.

 
Modern amenities will be brought to the new kitchen.
 

O’Herlihy describes the renovation as a “light touch,” and points to “control and improvisation” as his guiding themes. “Change is ok,” he added. “Tension between old and new can be valuable.” The firm is working with Soriano’s original drawings, found in the Cal Poly Pomona archives, and will likely collaborate with landcape architect Mia Lehrer in the near future to return the house’s terrain to its former glory.

In many ways LOHA is the perfect firm to undertake the job, since they’ve made a name creating splendid-looking modernist residences using inexpensive off-the-shelf materials. And they will need to use that expertise—at $240,000, the overall budget is tight. “That’s architecture,” said O’Herlihy. “You have parameters.”

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Skid Row Housing Trust Offices
The architects drew on the space's abundance of existing columns, dressing them up with LED strip lights.
Courtesy LOHA

Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects is designing the new property management offices for Skid Row Housing Trust, a major developer of affordable and transitional housing in Los Angeles. The nonprofit is a big design client: It has hired architects like Michael Maltzan, O’Herlihy, and Koning Eizenberg for new buildings. The current project entails the renovation of a 4,200-square-foot structure located on 7th Street and Central Avenue, including 16 office spaces. The design creates an airy new workspace, letting light in through a wall of glass blocks and opening the space up further with large sliding doors. Textured metal screens will provide intricacy. The project also highlights what O’Herlihy calls the “forest of columns,” an effect created by taking the building’s abundance of structural columns and skinning them with long, thin LED lights that peel out toward the top. In contrast to many raw office and arts spaces downtown, O’Herlihy said he was trying to give employees a break from the bleakness of Skid Row with a design that is more “artful, playful, and uplifting.” The project, unsurprisingly, will be built on a very modest budget of about $55 per square foot.


Despite the modest budget, the design creates an airy new space, letting light in through glass-block walls and movable partitions.

Architect: Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects
Client: Skid Row Housing Trust
Location: 7th Street and Central Avenue, Los Angeles
Completion: 2011

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Some of Our Faves from the AIA LA Awards

Eric Owen Moss's Samitaur Tower, one of our faves
AIA/LA hosted its annual Design Awards last night at LACMA, an event that while not too full of people (that pesky recession) was full of astoundingly good projects. The AIA made us really happy, awarding AN a Presidential Award (Thanks AIA/LA President Paul Danna) for "Architectural Interpreter". Aw Shucks.. Other notable winners included Firm of the Year Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects and Gold Medal winner Brenda Levin. Since there were a hefty number of Design Award winners, we've decided to pick out a few of our favorites. And so without further ado we present the first ever, completely unofficial, AIA/LA Awards Awards! Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Morphosis Laumeier Sculpture Park Museum, St. Louis, Pugh + Scarpa 3631 Holdredge Avenue Building, Culver City, Lynch/Eisinger Pittman Dowell Residence, Michael Maltzan Architecture Czech Embassy, Washington D.C., Your Building Here Performance Capture Studio, San Francisco, Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects with Kanner Architects Palms Residence, Venice, Daly Genik Conga Room, Belzberg Architects 41 Cooper Square, New York, Morphosis Deichmann Center, Beer Sheva, Israel, Vert Architects
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The A+D House Party
As promised yesterday, we are going paparazzi. We have pix of the architecture event of the week: the opening of LA's A+D Museum. (See Slideshow Here). The event drew hundreds into the museum's brand new space, a beautiful white jewel box located on the ground floor of a midcentury office building. Guests were treated to tunes from KCRW DJ Tom Schnabel, and bid on works of art and sculpture created by some of LA's biggest architects and cultural icons. Big names contributing work included Bruce Mau, Max Neutra, Lorcan O'Herlihy, Thom Mayne, Richard Meier, Hitoshi Abe, and many more. And so it begins for a museum that has for years been known for not having its own space. Welcome home.
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The Problem With Architecture Web Sites
Ok, we promise this is our last link to AN contributor Alissa Walker's Fast Company posts for a while. But this one is definitely worth it. The other day  she focused on a subject we've been pondering for a long time: how despite their design expertise, most architects' sites aren't very good. Many, she points out, overuse gimmicks and make finding information and projects way too difficult. Sites for Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, Renzo Piano, Rem Koolhaas' OMA, she says, are all completely Flash-reliant (a no-no in the new i-Phone, i-Pad world) and "use label-less maps, wordless grids, sketches and other graphic devices with rollovers as navigation, with no easy way to locate or share projects." One site that we at AN find particularly confusing is that of Lorcan O'Herlihy (one of our favorite architects, by the way), which puts projects into a grid that resembles the Periodic Table of the elements. Sure, it looks great, but.. Well, you get the idea.
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LA Architects Learning To Promote Selves
...Or so hope the creators of Architects Reaching Out, a series of panels sponsored by the A+D Museum and the AIA Los Angeles, in which journalists, PR experts, photographers and web designers will give architects the tools to improve their self-presentation skills. Lessons will include getting good pictures, pitching to media outlets, creating monographs, composing press releases, and even putting together virtual building tours. The panels, moderated by architecture writer Michael Webb, will take place at the A+D's new location at 6032 Wilshire Blvd in LA on November 14 and 21. Panelists will include KCRW's Frances Anderton, AN's California Editor Sam Lubell, architect Lorcan O'Herlihy, photographer Benny Chan, PR maven Christine Anderson, and web designer Shannon Vincent-Brown.
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Better Living

After several flush years, supportive housing for LA’s homeless faces an uncertain future. But that hasn’t stopped many architects from seeking such publicly funded projects to survive the economic downturn.

At the height of the economic boom in 2005 and 2006, a number of projects for homeless housing, often involving top architecture firms, secured funding. Michael Maltzan completed the Rainbow Apartments for Skid Row Housing Trust in downtown LA in 2006. He recently topped off another project, the New Carver Apartments, with 95 units of senior affordable and supportive housing arranged radially around a courtyard, and due to begin leasing in October. Killefer Flammang Architects Villas at Gower, a 70-unit permanent supportive housing project in Hollywood, should break ground in November. Koning Eizenberg is just completing the Abbey Apartments on Skid Row, while Pugh + Scarpa recently completed a 46-unit facility in Santa Monica called Step Up on Fifth. And Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects is collaborating with the Skid Row Housing Trust on an 82-unit site in downtown LA.

Despite this flurry, future funding is in jeopardy. If passed, proposition 1E, on the May 19 ballot, would let the state legislature redirect funds from 2004’s Mental Health Services Act—which provided $400 million in funds for supportive housing—back into state coffers. Furthermore, money from 2002’s Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act, or Proposition 46, has been disbursed more slowly than in the past, forcing non-profit developers to look for alternate funding sources.

The failure of the state to approve a budget has also delayed bond issues for publicly funded projects. Just as seized-up credit markets hurt the larger economy, one frozen sector has consequences for every other, explained Molly Rysman, director of special projects at Skid Row Housing Trust.

 

An supportive housing proposal by Lorcan O'Herlihy ArchitectsA supportive housing proposal by Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects.
Courtesy Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects

The private sector is unlikely to make up the shortfall. As Tod Lipka, president and CEO of Step Up on Second, which provides housing for the homeless in Santa Monica, explained, “Giving hasn’t stopped, but people aren’t giving at the level they were before the recession.”

But despite the uncertain financial landscape, architects in Los Angeles continue to work closely with nonprofit developers on more affordable and supportive housing. In fact, with a relatively dire commercial market, more architects than ever are receptive to working with much tighter budgets in the public sector, said Lipka.

Nonprofit housing developers stress that they’re looking for architects with an innate sensitivity to the community they’re serving. “We want to create housing that doesn’t feel institutional,” said Rysman. Another criterion is speed. “There’s a certain degree of stop-and-go,” explained Dora Leong Gallo, CEO of A Community of Friends, an affordable housing developer. “Responsiveness is critical, especially for projects funded with tax credits. Delaying any part of the process can jeopardize a project.”

One architect who has transitioned from commercial projects to publicly funded work is Lorcan O’Herlihy, who maintains that lessons learned in the private sector can translate into supportive housing design. “We take programmatic criteria—incorporate green roofs, cable systems for irrigation, landscapes into urban areas—and try to be inventive within strict parameters,” he said.

Is there a silver lining to the budget crisis for affordable and supportive housing? Gallo thinks so, especially as president pro tempore of the California State Senate, Darrell Steinberg, plans to introduce a bill to provide a permanent revenue source for affordable housing. Gallo said the political environment may finally be ripe to pass such a bill: “One good thing that’s come out of [this financial crisis] is an understanding of the importance of having a place to call home.”

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Better Living
Pugh+Scarpa's Step Up On Fifth, a homeless shelter of a different breed in Santa Monica.
Courtesy Pugh + Scarpa

After several flush years, supportive housing for LA’s homeless faces an uncertain future. But that hasn’t stopped many architects from seeking such publicly funded projects to survive the economic downturn.

At the height of the economic boom in 2005 and 2006, a number of projects for homeless housing, often involving top architecture firms, secured funding. Michael Maltzan completed the Rainbow Apartments for Skid Row Housing Trust in downtown LA in 2006. He recently topped off another project, the New Carver Apartments, with 95 units of senior affordable and supportive housing arranged radially around a courtyard, and due to begin leasing in October. Killefer Flammang Architects Villas at Gower, a 70-unit permanent supportive housing project in Hollywood, should break ground in November. Koning Eizenberg is just completing the Abbey Apartments on Skid Row, while Pugh + Scarpa recently completed a 46-unit facility in Santa Monica called Step Up on Fifth. And Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects is collaborating with the Skid Row Housing Trust on an 82-unit site in downtown LA.

Despite this flurry, future funding is in jeopardy. If passed, proposition 1E, on the May 19 ballot, would let the state legislature redirect funds from 2004’s Mental Health Services Act—which provided $400 million in funds for supportive housing—back into state coffers. Furthermore, money from 2002’s Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act, or Proposition 46, has been disbursed more slowly than in the past, forcing non-profit developers to look for alternate funding sources.

The failure of the state to approve a budget has also delayed bond issues for publicly funded projects. Just as seized-up credit markets hurt the larger economy, one frozen sector has consequences for every other, explained Molly Rysman, director of special projects at Skid Row Housing Trust.

An supportive housing proposal by Lorcan O'Herlihy ArchitectsA supportive housing proposal by Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects.
Courtesy Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects

The private sector is unlikely to make up the shortfall. As Tod Lipka, president and CEO of Step Up on Second, which provides housing for the homeless in Santa Monica, explained, “Giving hasn’t stopped, but people aren’t giving at the level they were before the recession.”

But despite the uncertain financial landscape, architects in Los Angeles continue to work closely with nonprofit developers on more affordable and supportive housing. In fact, with a relatively dire commercial market, more architects than ever are receptive to working with much tighter budgets in the public sector, said Lipka.

Nonprofit housing developers stress that they’re looking for architects with an innate sensitivity to the community they’re serving. “We want to create housing that doesn’t feel institutional,” said Rysman. Another criterion is speed. “There’s a certain degree of stop-and-go,” explained Dora Leong Gallo, CEO of A Community of Friends, an affordable housing developer. “Responsiveness is critical, especially for projects funded with tax credits. Delaying any part of the process can jeopardize a project.”

One architect who has transitioned from commercial projects to publicly funded work is Lorcan O’Herlihy, who maintains that lessons learned in the private sector can translate into supportive housing design. “We take programmatic criteria—incorporate green roofs, cable systems for irrigation, landscapes into urban areas—and try to be inventive within strict parameters,” he said.

Is there a silver lining to the budget crisis for affordable and supportive housing? Gallo thinks so, especially as president pro tempore of the California State Senate, Darrell Steinberg, plans to introduce a bill to provide a permanent revenue source for affordable housing. Gallo said the political environment may finally be ripe to pass such a bill: “One good thing that’s come out of [this financial crisis] is an understanding of the importance of having a place to call home.”

House of the Issue: Lorcan O’Herlihy

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