Search results for "hollywood"

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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.”

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Pieces Of History
Yesterday the Los Angeles Conservancy held its annual Preservation Awards at a packed ballroom in the Biltmore Hotel in Downtown LA. Some interesting tidbits we picked up about the winners: The Biscuit Factory Lofts Downtown used to be a Nabisco bakery, making Oreos and other treats. Cole's, the famous French Dip restaurant Downtown that opened over 100 years ago, is located in a former terminal for red car street cars. The day prohibition ended Cole's served 2,000 gallons of beer. Griffith Park's application for landmark status was 400 pages long. And the La Laguna De San Gabriel Park Historic Structures include Stella the Starfish, Peanut the Green Dolphin, and Ozzie the Octopus. The winners were all impressive. Here's the list: Biscuit Company Lofts (Aleks Istanbullu Architects and Donald Barany Architects) Cole's, Originators of the French Dip (Kelly Architects and Historic Resources Group) First Church of Christ Scientist, Pasadena (Architectural Resources Group) Griffith Park City of Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument Application Hollywood Palladium (COE Architecture, Architectural Resources Group and KKE Architects) La Laguna De San Gabriel Historic Structures Report and Preservation Plan (Garavaglia Architecture) Malibu Pier (Architecture & Light and Historic Resources Group) Mark Taper Forum (Rios Clementi Hale Studios and Harley Ellis Devereaux) Pisgah Village (Ena Dubnoff Architects)

Usher's Revenge?

On April 13, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Thomas McKnew Jr. abrogated parts of LA’s SB 1818 ordinance, which compels local governments to craft their own rules rewarding density bonuses to developers who include a percentage of affordable housing units in residential projects. Former LA planning commissioner Jane Usher, who recently stepped down, had been an outspoken opponent of the measure.

In some cases, the LA ordinance provided bonuses 300 percent greater than those mandated by SB 1818. The ruling prevents the city from approving projects with density bonuses that exceed state law.

The ordinance has been the target of numerous lawsuits. One such suit, filed in April 2008 by a group of homeowners called the Environment And Housing Coalition Los Angeles (EAHCLA), argued that the city acted improperly by approving the ordinance, which allowed developers to increase density and height while reducing parking and open space requirements—all without environmental review. Judge McKnew agreed, and his decision throws an unknown number of proposed developments into jeopardy.

Proponents of the ordinance have said that it encourages affordable housing and limits sprawl. Foes have long argued that it was a giveaway to developers and speculators which would have resulted in a net loss of affordable housing as developers razed older apartment complexes to build profitable, market-priced condominiums with one or two affordable units.

In March 2008, then Los Angeles City Planning Commission President Jane Ellison Usher authored an email opposing the ordinance and inviting public action. In the now-famous missive, Usher pointed to language within the ordinance defining some projects seeking density bonuses as “ministerial,” thereby exempting them from review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Usher noted that the ministerial designation was at odds with a Categorical Exemption issued by the Planning Department, which stated that all projects filed in accordance with the ordinance be subject to CEQA review.

Not surprisingly, Usher is pleased with the judge’s ruling. “It did justice to the legal requirements of CEQA,” she said. Although she was critical of SB 1818, asserting that the bill had developers “licking their chops,” Usher nevertheless saw an opportunity for Los Angeles to draft an ordinance that embraced a smart growth formula. “The city didn’t follow that path,” she noted.

Will Wright, Director of Government and Public Affairs for the Los Angeles Chapter of the AIA, believes the city’s intent was to cut through the “bureaucratic bog” and make it easier to bring projects to market, thereby increasing opportunities for low-to-moderate housing. Still, Wright sympathizes with those who feared the ordinance would destroy the character and scale of their communities, citing the “low levels of sophistication” that have plagued many residential developments. “Over the last 15 years or so, you’ve seen massive condo projects go up that have no character and no connectivity to the neighborhood, and this represents the monster,” he said.

Ric Abramson, founder of Workplays Studio Architecture, points to another quandary, namely that of instituting SB 1818 over a broad range of jurisdictions, citing the turmoil it has caused in West Hollywood. “That’s a community that had a very proactive and progressive affordable housing program in place, and when the state passed SB 1818, it completely upset their balance,” he said.

Councilmember Ed Reyes, who chairs the council’s planning and land-use management committee, was unavailable for comment, as were representatives of the city’s planning department.

While the city council may appeal Judge McKnew’s ruling, Usher hopes they will instead redraft the ordinance in a manner that will promote smart growth rather than sprawl-inducing densification. “I think that the city has to grab hold of its future growth pattern for traffic and environmental reasons—here is an occasion where the city can be a leader,” she noted.

When asked if she is hopeful that an ordinance embracing those principles might eventually be adopted, Usher let out a hearty laugh, adding: “There’s always room for hope.”

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Home Sweet Home
A conceptual rendering of the new museum.
courtesy A+D Museum

After years of nomadic existence LA’s A+D Museum, created in 2001 to “celebrate and promote an awareness of architecture and design,” is finally getting its own home, at 6032 Wilshire Boulevard, right across the street from the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM) on LA’s Museum Row. The museum signed a six-year lease (with an additional five-year option) for its ground-floor space on April 17, and plans to occupy it in September. It left its former location on 5900 Wilshire—about two blocks east of the new space—on April 20.

Since its founding the A+D has bounced around LA, occupying locations donated by philanthropists like developer Ira Yellin, who gave the museum its first facility in Downtown LA’s Bradbury Building in 2001. It then moved to Santa Monica (2003), to West Hollywood (2003-2005), and finally to its most recent location in Miracle Mile (2006-2009), a large space donated by developer Wayne Ratkovich.

The new venue is on the ground floor of a small midcentury office building, and will be fronted by large storefront windows and bright signage that will welcome the public more immediately than the museum's most recent, set-back site. Design work for the raw, minimal space will be donated by Richard Meier & Partners and by Gensler. The builder has not yet been determined. Once the buildout is complete the museum will measure 4,800 square feet, including a 3,500-square-foot main gallery as well as room for offices, conference rooms, and project storage.

"We see this as our next big step,” said A+D’s president, the architect Stephen Kanner, who stressed the museum’s desire all along to stay in the Museum Row area, near major museums like the LA County Museum of Art, BCAM, the La Brea Tar Pits, and the California Craft & Folk Museum. “This will allow us to have a broader outreach and to have more shows because of the new stable location,” he said. Kanner added that the museum has been fundraising through top architects and designers in the city over the last nine months. The museum will announce several top donors at its fall fundraiser, he added.

Over the years the museum has hosted exhibitions about architects like Ray Kappe, and has put together thematic shows on emerging architects (New Blood: Next Gen), on the future of LA (LA Now!), on design-savvy developers (Enlightened Development), and on the destruction and rebuilding of New Orleans (After The Flood). Future shows—roughly four per year, said Kanner—will be split evenly between architecture and design. The museum had tended to lean more heavily toward architecture. Future exhibits, he noted, could feature production design, commercial design, graphic design, and film set design in addition to a variety of architecture-based shows. The museum will also focus more on outreach and education.

“It’s not just a museum for architects and designers, but a museum for the public,” said Kanner.  

Before construction begins, the A+D will host a pop-up exhibition in the new space from May 8 to 23 called UPCYCLING: Recuperating Past Lives, featuring art and design objects made from recycled materials. Its first exhibition in the completed space is not yet set, although A+D Director Tibbie Dunbar said that the museum will host the Society of Design Administration’s 2009 CANstruction event and exhibition in early October.

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Billboard Brouhaha
Illegal billboards plague LA, but a new ordinance passed by the planning department could cause more problems than it fixes.
LA Weekly

One day last fall, Kate Burkart-Paulson, a longtime resident of LA's Silver Lake neighborhood, was surprised to wake up to discover that the billboard outside her duplex on Silver Lake Boulevard had been converted into a digital display, shining directly into her living room. "We need to close our blinds at night because it's so distracting. It changes every few seconds," she explained. "It really changes the tone of the neighborhood."

Burkart-Paulson is one of many residents across the city troubled by billboards. In the past few years the city has settled several lawsuits brought by outdoor advertising companies—among them Clear Channel, CBS, and World Wide Rush, thereby allowing the companies to convert signs to both digital and so-called supergraphic billboards, which often span several building stories, despite a 2002 ban on new billboards in the city. As a result, the offending signs began appearing across LA in late 2008, inspiring the anger of community residents and anti-clutter proponents across the city.

Responding to pressure from community organizers, developers and outdoor advertising lobbyists, the City Planning Commission—facing the June expiration of their December 2008 temporary sign moratorium—approved a comprehensive new sign ordinance for LA on March 26 by a vote of 6-3. The measure will next be considered by the LA City Council. A date for that vote has not yet been set.

The new ordinance all but bans digital billboards and supergraphics in the city, except in 21 designated sign districts, including most of Chinatown, Hollywood and downtown, as well as parts of Century City, Boyle Heights and Miracle Mile. Hoping to address what has been seen as a relatively lax enforcement policy for billboards, the ordinance also calls for much stricter enforcement guidelines, including hefty financial penalties for violators.

"If I said you can park anywhere and never get a ticket, you wouldn't obey parking rules," said Craig Lawson, a land use consultant in LA who represents a number of local retail and residential projects. "It's the enforcement problem that is causing a signage problem." Jeff Aran, director of government affairs for the California Sign Association agrees. "The city should enforce the ordinance that's already on the books and abandon this ongoing waste of civic energy," he said.

Additionally, the ordinance requires a reduction in existing signage as a condition for establishing the sign districts. While the potential sign districts represent a compromise between competing interests, they've been met with cautious optimism. "This sign ordinance isn't perfect, but it's a big improvement over what's on the books now. Requiring meaningful off-site sign reduction as a condition for establishing sign districts could be a real benefit to neighborhoods suffering from the visual clutter and blight of billboards," declared Dennis Hathaway, president of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight, a non-profit opposing most outdoor advertising in LA.

But while the new ordinance, if passed, may satisfy some early opponents, the effect of the new regulations on the architecture and design industry still remains a question. Thus far, many architects have been concerned by the lack of visual analysis undertaken by the city regarding billboards. For instance, Bob Hale, managing principal at Rios Clementi Hale, pointed to LA’s unique horizontality, which he said makes it different from New York and other cities, though the city has yet to consider such distinctions. “It seems to me,” Hale said, “that the planning department is using the hue and cry of a community bombarded by digital billboards to do a wholesale recreation of the sign code from scratch, even though no one I know of has complained about [the existing sign code]."

John Kaliski, president of the AIA/LA chapter and principal at Urban Studio, called the changes a visual ordinance, not a billboard one. The challenge, he stressed, is approving a sign ordinance that balances competing interests to create successful legislation. "In general, we're seeking a balance between creativity in sign districts and sensible citywide guidelines to ensure the integrity of communities," Kaliski said.

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Announcing Winners: A New Infrastructure
An image from the winning entry, Mas Transit, by Joshua G. Stein/RadicalCraft, Aaron Whelton/AAW Studio, and Jaclyn Thomforde with Jacob M. Brostoff

On March 21, SCI-Arc's SCI-FI program and The Architect’s Newspaper announced the winners of their open ideas competition, A New Infrastructure: Innovative Transit Solutions for Los Angeles.

The competition, inspired by LA County Measure R—a half-cent sales tax hike that promises up to $40 billion in transit funding for the city— attracted 75 proposals from around the world. It offered architects, engineers, urban planners, and students a chance to propose new ideas for the city's transit infrastructure. Their entries focused on specific rail extension projects in the city and also take a look at larger-scale, interrelated planning challenges.

The competition jury included architects Thom Mayne, Eric Owen Moss, and Neil Denari;  Aspet Davidian, director, Project Engineering Facilities, LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Cecilia V. Estolano, chief executive officer, CRA/LA; Gail Goldberg, director of planning, City of Los Angeles; Roland Genik, urban planner and transit designer; and Geoff Wardle, director, Advanced Mobility Research at Art Center College of Design.


First Prize
Más Transit: Joshua G. Stein/RadicalCraft, Aaron Whelton/AAW Studio, and Jaclyn Thomforde with Jacob M. Brostoff

Más is regional high-speed rail for Los Angeles with a landscape to match. Promoting dense, organic development, it diversifies the communities in the built environment, making travel less necessary, easier and more predictable, and bypassing roadway congestion through a new raised infrastructure. Looping around the city, with connections to subways and buses, Más links local and inter-regional commuting; providing frequent service that will also sync up with the California High Speed Rail network. San Diego via más is less than an hour away, including transfer times; San Francisco is less than three hours away.


Second Prize
Infrastructural Armature: Fletcher Studio: David Fletcher, Dylan Barlow, Ryan Chandler, Daniel Phillips, Tobi Adamolekun

Recognizing the vital role that mobility, water, and sewage will play in Los Angeles' future, the city must begin to invest in a core armature of new bundled infrastructures which will allow the city to survive the impending reality of peak water and peak oil.  The city must reorganize along the matrices of transportation, water and sewer networks, and grow infrastructural tentacles out into the world to ship and receive.



Third Prize
Mag Luv: Osborn: Holly Chisholm, Kate Harvey, Armen Isagholi, Takeshi Kobayashi, Michael Pinto, Jared Sopko, Esmeralda Ward, Yuju Yeo

The scheme proposes eroding a portion of the freeway and supplanting it with a new object, mode, and form for adoration—Mag Luv. The high speed magnetic levitation peripheral train appropriates freeway, right of way, and “dream space” to become the mega structure of the Los Angeles transit system. The loop circumnavigates the city providing 12 hubs of activity, transportation, and power production.



Mobility on Demand: RSA: Dwight Bond, Diane Tadena, James Wong

A combination of rail, light-rail, smart cars, bike share, and different bus systems will provide easy connections in and between cities. Multiple vehicle types provide users with choices among combinations of cost, comfort, and functionality. A commuter might choose to ride the train to work, pick up a smart car to attend a meeting, go to the gym, or pick up groceries before going back home. In creating a dense commercial and residential environment to support and foster the inevitable expansion of the transit system, the scheme also investigates alternative development strategies that are adaptable to the ever-changing conditions of our urban culture.


Green Tech City: NBBJ: Harry Bairamian, Hrant Bairamian, So Eun Cho, Tony Choi, Scott Hunter, Byoung Kweon, Anthony Manzo, Nnamdi Ugenyi, Jonathan Ward, Tim Zamora

This scheme created green-tech districts along the Westside expansion corridor stretching from downtown to Santa Monica. The plan likened itself to a living organism, including a Skeletal System composed of new green districts between stations; a respiratory system that included a 2.5-mile green park along the length of the transit system; and tendons, which were linkages to the community, like freeway bridges, human-scaled densities, walkability plans, urban parks, and agricultural zones.


Go Mixed-Modal: Tom Beresford

In 2000, LA Metro gambled that it could increase both ridership and transit efficiency by making a bus a little more like a subway: The Metro Rapid. Mixed-modal goes even further to suggest that any bus has the potential to go “local,” “rapid,” or “express” at coordinated points along its route to flexibly serve transit demand. A bus may go “express” by entering grade-separated express lanes shared with planned or existing rail modes, with the help of new frictionless electric power-transfer technologies and hybrid rail/road drive surfaces. The mixed-modal project offers a vision of what the Expo line might look like if it operated as the “trunk” of a regional transit tree with “branches” extending up and down existing Metro Rapid lines.



First Prize
Glocalizing Los Angeles: Ryan Lovett

The physical separations between places of work and play have become outdated and burdensome. Meanwhile the divide between commercial, residential, agricultural, and manufacturing zones have become so exaggerated that the infrastructures needed to connect and sustain them crumble in lack of upkeep and congestion. In conjunction with newer, faster transit systems, this plan proposes a simple development strategy that collapses the distances between all the elements needed to support our lifestyles by suggesting that workplaces, as well as production of food and goods, be within walking distance.


Second Prize
Modular Diffusion: Alan Lu, Yan-ping Wang

In a car, the passenger can go from any given point to another in one continuous trip.  To achieve this level of mobility in tandem with an increase in roadway capacity, we introduce a mass transit system based upon a Modular Transit Vehicle (MTV for short).  This modular system would allow passengers to (1) board from a wide range of street stops, (2) travel along the freeway, and (3) take the freeway exit closest to the destination and drop passengers off there, all in one ride.


Third Prize
Freeways Are For Trains: Ben Abelman, Vivian Ngo, Julia Siedle

This team believes that Los Angeles need not invest in a “new” public transportation system but transform its existing transportation system of freeways into “trainways.”  By taking over “freeways” with rail tracks, a comprehensive expansion of the LA Metro will respond to the projects that are indicated in Measure R and will commence at a much lower cost due to taking advantage of the rights of ways established by the freeway.



Feeding Community and the Gold Line
Roe Goodman
University of British Columbia

If we are to develop along a freeway we need to keep in mind that the surrounding residential neighborhoods need to access the train in a way that encourages a shift away from car dependency. This entry proposes a string of micro-scale infill developments along a bus line that feeds into the Eastside Transit Corridor. Positioned along newly developed commercial corridors, stops have waiting rooms that store bikes, serve as markets, and create a center of community.


Interstate 10
Tim Do, George LaBeth, Randy Stogsdill

This scheme proposes a reconsideration of the existing freeway corridor as a multi-function transit corridor. The existing freeway would be retrofitted with a new structure that over a series of stages adds layers of public and environmentally friendly transit options. As this second tier becomes more populated, greenscaping is added, converting the freeway corridor into a vibrant public space.


Minjeong Gweon
Cal Poly Pomona

Los Angeles’ current subway network relies too much on a centralized spoke-network approach. A more effective subway system should also include cross-linkages. This subway design project looks to develop a new cross-link between the existing red line (which connects Hollywood and Downtown) and the future purple Westside Extension line. The proposed connecting line would add three new stops: the first at Santa Monica Blvd. and Highland Ave, the second at Santa Monica and Fairfax, and the third at La Cienega. The connecting point to the red line would be at Hollywood and Highland, and the connecting point to the future purple line would be located at the Beverly Center.



Fast, Fluid & Free: ODBC/ Odile Decq

This project takes advantage of LA’s polycentric character, developing a grid of multimodal transit systems, articulated on different levels within the existing city. On the scale of the city, the plan proposes a Free Car Transport System, on the model of free bike systems largely developed in Europe today. Electric cars will be available for hire throughout the city. Other proposals include Smooth Jumps over Motorways: stations that combine the urban proposal of green park links between the two sides of the freeways by building a station over them, and containing contain carparks, commerce, Free Car and Free Bike  stations.


The Answer Is Not Mass(ive) Transit: Wes Jones

Instead of the massive, resource-intensive, and inflexible infrastructure that results from top-down approaches to planning, this proposal argues, why not consider a flexible, pragmatic, small-scale, bottom-up approach? Introducing the Elov, a small, pod-like vehicle that fits into less space than a smart car and reduces the volume of traffic by serving the same number of occupants in only one quarter of the space. Because of its light weight and micromotor efficiency, the Elov can be charged overnight using home outlets, further reducing the required infrastructure.



Friday, March 27, 2-4 pm
A New Infrastructure Discussion:
Competition Winners and METRO Transit Officials
Metro Headquarters
Windsor Room, 15th Floor
One Gateway Plaza
Los Angeles
Thursday, April 2, 7-9 pm
A New Infrastructure Discussion:
Transit And The City Panel Discussion
MAK Center at the Schindler House
835 North Kings Road
West Hollywood

Tuesday, April 14, 7-9 pm
A New Infrastructure Discussion:
Transit and The Community Panel Discussion
GOOD Space
6824 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles

Friday, June 26, 1:45-3:15 pm
A New Infrastructure Discussion:
Architects And Transit Panel Discussions
AIA Mobius/ Dwell Conference
Los Angeles Convention Center
1201 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles

Sponsors for A New Infrastructure include AECOM, Arup, and Sussman/Prezja. The project is also funded in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles' Department of Cultural Affairs.

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jamba juice headquarters by pollack architecture with torrance steel windows
eric laignel


Astec Architectural Bronze
Via dell’Artigianto, 3031030 Dosson di Casier,
Treviso, Italy;

Centria Architectural Systems
Los Angeles;

Ideal Mechanical
8524 Abelette Rd.,
Santee, CA;

5, Rue de la Roche Grolleau,
Lusignan, France;


3676 Alameda Ave.,
Oakland, CA;

Cami de Can Ferran s/n,
Pol. Industrial Coll. De la Manya,
Barcelona, Spain;

Grosvenor Solutions in Glass
1238 Richards St.,
Vancouver, BC, Canada;

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

Oldcastle Glass
2425 Olympic Blvd.,
Santa Monica, CA;

Olde Good Glass
1800 South Grand Ave.,
Los Angeles;

Pilkington North America
811 Madison Ave.,
Toledo, OH;

United Glass and Door
55672 Yucca Trail,
Yucca Valley, CA;

Torrance Steel Windows
1819 Abalone Ave.,
Torrance, CA;

800 Park Dr.,
Owatonna, MN;


Backroads Lumber
P.O. Box 81,
Placerville, CO;

661 Brea Canyon Rd.,
Walnut, CA;

Spectrum Oak
1038 North Lemon St.,
Orange, CA;

205 North Mt. Shasta Blvd.,
Mt. Shasta, CA;

Tremont Stairways & Railings
18 Keefer Rd.,
St. Catharines, ON, Canada;


Advanced Concrete Enhancement
11070 Fleetwood St.,
Sun Valley, CA;

Bisazza Mosaico
8371 Melrose Ave.,
Los Angeles;

1137 57th Ave.,
Oakland, CA;

Gladding, McBean
601 7th St.,
Lincoln, CA;

Sadler Stone
3551 Camino Mira Costa,
San Clemente, CA;

430 Arthur Sauvé St., Eustache, 
Quebec, Canada;

851 Enterprise Way,
Fullerton, CA;

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

Vermont Structural Slate
3 Prospect St.,
Fair Haven, VT;

Walker Zanger Showroom
8750 Melrose Ave.,
West Hollywood, CA;

Willis Construction Co., Inc.
2261 San Juan Hwy.,
San Juan Bautista, CA;


2300 South 2300 West,
Salt Lake City, UT;

5835 Adams Blvd.,
Culver City, CA;

P.O. Box 410592,
Charlotte, NC;

Sandhill Plastics
119 West 19th St.,
Kearney, NE;

Sika Corporation
201 Polito Ave.,
Lyndhurst, NJ;




pine street condominiums by owen kennerly architects with oldcastle glass


Metal Window Corporation worked closely with us to modify their standard extrusions and co-fabricated additional parts that could interface with our other prefabricated building components for the Off-grid itHouse. They were able to trim down the extrusions to a very small profile and enhance the look of the window and doors to maximize the views and simplicity of the system.”
Linda Taalman
Taalman Koch

“We’ve been continually using the 3form product out of Utah. In the Neptune home we’re doing a floor out of it soon, and on three other projects, we’re using it. I get a lot of clients who are very happy with it, even though it’s a little pricey. It’s a very stable material, so it’s got some structural value to it. It comes in a nice array of colors and values. I hear from the subcontractors that it’s easy to cut and form. It has great appeal, and good aesthetic value.”
Steven Lombardi
Steven Lombardi Architect

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Fittings and Furniture

the children's place by clive wilkinson architects with western office interiors and vitra


Cascade Coil
9505 SW 90th Ct.,
Tualatin, OR;

Constantine Commercial
220 Montgomery St.,
San Francisco;

Edelman Leather
101 Henry Adams St.,
San Francisco;

564 Pacific Ave.,
San Francisco;

Shaw Floors
616 East Walnut Ave.,
Dalton, GA;


Geiger International
6095 Fulton Industrial Bvld., SW, Atlanta, GA;

900 12th St. Dr. NW,
Hickory, NC;

600 Townsend St.,
San Francisco;

214 Wilshire Blvd.,
Santa Monica, CA;

Moroso dba Unifor
146 Greene St.,
New York, NY;

Poltrona Frau
141 Wooster St.,
New York, NY;

Quinze & Milan
Walle 113, 8500 Kortrijk, Belgium;

28-30 Greene St.,
New York, NY;

Valley City Architectural Furniture
64 Hatt St., Dundas,
Ontario, Canada;

Vitra Los Angeles
8753 Washington Blvd.,
Culver City, CA;

Western Office Interiors
500 Citadel Dr.,
Los Angeles;


Lost and Found Etcetera
6314 Yucca St.,
Los Angeles;

Stefan Lawrence
8057 Beverly Blvd.,
Los Angeles;


55 Ferris St.,
Brooklyn, NY;

151 Vermont St.,
San Francisco;


Von Duprin
2720 Tobey Dr.,
Indianapolis, IN;


Boffi Los Angeles
1344 4th St.,
Santa Monica, CA;


5 Tudor City Pl.,
New York, NY;

Duravit Bathroom Furniture

John Boos + Co.
315 South 1st St.,
Effingham, IL;

6015 Power Inn Rd., 
Sacramento, CA;


9006 Beverly Blvd.,
West Hollywood, CA;


Boyd Lighting
944 Folsom St.,
San Francisco;

950 Bolger Ct.,
St. Louis, MO;


7200 Suter Rd.,
Coopersburg, PA;

5 Lumen Ln.,
Highland, NY;

Zumtobel Lighting
44 West 18th St.,
New York, NY;




Western Office Interiors and Vitra provided all of the workstations and most of the ancillary furniture for the Disney Store Headquarters in Pasadena. There was a huge amount of custom work and this team provided virtually every piece on time and with impeccable quality. We worked exclusively with Melanie Becker from Vitra and Dawn Nadeau of Western Office, who worked tirelessly to provide the highest level of product and support, and produced an excellent result.”
John Meachem
Clive Wilkinson Architects

Lost and Found Etcetera is a big decorators’ secret for enlivening modern interiors.”
Barbara Bestor
Bestor Architects


We know these are tough times for newspapers, but something wasn’t right with the list from The Los Angeles Times at year’s end entitled, “The best houses of all time in L.A.” The panel assembled was stellar, if odd: Ray Kappe, Hitoshi Abe, Ron Radziner, Steven Ehrlich (none of whom were allowed to nominate their own work, even though Kappe’s own house made the top 10), David Travers, Crosby Doe (uh, real estate agent who represents plenty of the top picks), Linda Dishman (LA Conservancy=agenda), and non-LA-based Karrie Jacobs (why not choose a voice from our own city—we don’t know, maybe the newspaper’s own architecture critic?). Jurors were given no guidance other than to pick the “best houses,” and thanks to a bizarre point-assigning metric, the result was rather narrow. Although the paper defined Southern California as “Santa Barbara to San Diego, including Palm Springs and the desert,” the top 10 consisted of mostly midcentury homes built from 1920 to 1960 (“of all time”?), almost all of which can be seen on a short drive around the Hollywood Hills. No Spanish Colonials, no Victorians, no Frank Gehry residence, none of the bazillion houses built since 1968. Concerned, UCLA professor Dana Cuff asked a group of advanced architecture students to determine what the heck went wrong with this experiment. The verdict? Even seasoned critics fell victim to the fame game, said student Esra Kahveci: “The absence of a guide led the jury to the most banal version of exploration, and the question of what constitutes ‘the best’ becomes the question of iconic image,” noting that 80 percent of the selected houses had been photographed by Julius Shulman. Even more icky was the accompanying story, an opportunity squandered with descriptions that mostly focused on all the movies shot within them.

Is West Hollywood urban designer John Chase the most flamboyant practitioner of California architecture? At a December event co-organized by your faithful Eavesdropette, Chase lived up to his reputation and then some: Dressed in a Prince-worthy fluorescent orange-and-purple ensemble, he described the too-hot-for-Eavesdrop details of inviting a homeless man into his house to discuss “public vs. private space.” (The story was obviously no shock to Chase’s husband Jonathan Cowan, who shook his head good-naturedly in the front row.) A few weeks later at a panel discussion for the re-release of Chase’s book Everyday Urbanism, guests entering the Hollywood gallery LACE had to walk past a projected film of naked young men playing an innocent game we’d venture to call Slap the Weenie. We asked Chase if he had anything to do with the choice of that particular film. “That was me,” he quipped, “before the change.” As the panel started, fellow editor John Kaliski thanked his daughter, while Chase thanked Monica Lewinsky, “for being such a wonderful subject.” Or perhaps you’ve been on the receiving ends of one of Chase’s famous emails that include some very NSFW websites (to be fair, they do prominently feature design as well as, um, other prominent things). Anyway, it’s all very, very naughty, John! And we love you for it.

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House of the Issue: Lorcan O'Herlihy

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Retail Al Fresco
Space 15 Twenty's alleys and courtyard create a sense of urban fabric.
Michael Wills

Sadly, the mall was invented in California, and most of the state’s stores are still carefully cloistered, with frigid air conditioning and bright lighting that make us forget where we are. But some of the newest retail ventures are taking advantage of California’s beautiful and diverse surroundings, bringing the outdoors in through courtyards, alleys, skylights, natural materials, and other inventive solutions, and reaching out to the neighborhood to foster a sense of community instead of self-containment.

One of the most novel examples is Hollywood’s Space 15 Twenty, a series of lighting warehouses-turned-stores in Hollywood that spans a full block just north of Sunset Boulevard. The unique conglomeration, which combines the best of the mall and the boutique by creating intimate outdoor connections, forms a neighborhood of its own.

A courtyard leads from each of 13 establishments—which include Urban Outfitters (anchoring the complex with an 11,000-square-foot store), Hennessy and Ingalls, and clothing and art stores for the young, hip, and creative—to an outdoor open space, with a stage used for performances, flea markets, and other public events (concerts are programmed by neighboring Amoeba Records). It also has its own eatery named Snackbar, and an art gallery featuring local artists’ work. Each retailer was invited to customize its own space within the stripped-down, exposed-brick and bow-truss interiors that evoke the structure’s former use as a warehouse.

Corey Walter

courtesy comme des garcons
heath ceramics' store (top) features warm, artisanal materials like timbers and bricks, along with an outdoor courtyard. comme des garcons' guerrilla store (ABOVE) brought urban elements inside, like a tower of shopping carts.

On Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood, Heath Ceramics’ new showroom, designed by LA firm Commune, also has an outdoor gathering space notched into the back of the building, used for parties, private dinners, barbecues, and pottery classes. Inside, in contrast with many of its slick neighbors, the store has a lived-in, bohemian feel that belies the firm’s goal to create a “Scandinavian-artisan-meets-Conran’s-Habitat” aesthetic. They achieved this through the use of brick industrial walls, knotty pine floors, unfinished pine cabinets (mimicking the drying racks for a potter’s finished work), powder-coated metal surfaces, hand-painted signs, and faded blue tiles.

In other instances—particularly evident in West Hollywood—nature is wrapped into the building itself. It started back in the 60s when Fred Segal adorned his West Hollywood store on Melrose Avenue in Ficus plants that crawl up the outside, planted in flowerpots or holes in the ground. “It really softens the building and makes for a beautiful presentation,” said Segal’s son, Michael.

Now West Hollywood’s Melrose Avenue shopping area is saturated with natural facades. Marc Jacobs has covered both of its West Hollywood stores in ivy, as did the new boutique for Spanish fashion house Balenciaga, whose planted facade contrasts dramatically with the store’s cool, futuristic interior. Max Azria took the idea a step further, covering its Melrose Avenue store in a swirling facade of interwoven stick bundles (placed on a grid-like wire-steel frame) created by artist Patrick Dougherty. His work, explained art curator Linda Johnson, “alludes to nests, cocoons, hives, and lairs built by animals, as well as the man-made forms of huts, haystacks, and baskets.” This is no Bed Bath & Beyond experience.

Sometimes bringing the outside in can get a little grittier, as with the Comme Des Garçons Guerrilla Store, a temporary space in downtown LA that just reached the end of its stay. The space, set up in one of the area’s oldest buildings, incorporated off-white tiles, a metal skeleton of fixtures, fluorescent lighting, and a towering installation of empty shopping carts—the kind usually left outside and strewn across parking lots because who ever said the outside was all roses?

Max Azria's woven wood facade was created by artist Patrick Dougherty.
David C. Calicchio
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AN Celebrity Party #1
Since we're in LA, it was only a matter of time until The Architect's Newspaper got to visit a celebrity party. This Saturday we were invited to the launch of author Jerry Stahl's new thriller Pain Killers, thrown by none other than Ben Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor. How did we get in? Thanks to voiceover artist-cum-architect-extraordinaire Janna Levenstein, who designed the 5,000 square foot Hollywood Hills pad (pictured above) that housed the festivities: 1615 Rising Glen. Once a cramped, impractical midcentury Modern, the indoor/outdoor home is now tricked out with terrazzo floors; wraparound Koi ponds; a lava-lined pool; tropical wood-clad walls, cabinets, and furniture; stainless steel fixtures, and a countless supply of custom details ranging from teak sinks to electronically controlled everything. So what did AN's fearless California Editor say to Stiller? "Um.You guys were great," he said, in response to the couples' creative posing for the party favor of the night: a custom-made flip book. Ok, we're still training for the Hollywood thing. Don't worry, we're not in the papparazi. No pictures were taken at the party. At least not by us.