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Pereira's historic CBS Television City achieves landmark status amid redevelopment rumors
The Los Angeles City Council has voted to designate the William Pereira-designed CBS Television City complex in Los Angeles as an official city historic-cultural monument, paving the way for the complex to be preserved or adaptively reused as redevelopment talks for the 25-acre site heat up. The International Style complex was built in 1952 and features gridded expanses of clear glass set along planar geometries. Designed by the firm Pereira and Luckman, the complex is among several of the office's many threatened works, including their LACMA building, among many, many others, and one of the few to glide toward landmark status in recent years, a surprise given the red-hot development climate in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Conservancy nominated the complex for landmarking earlier this year as rumors began to swirl that CBS was interested in redeveloping the complex. Alan Hess, an architectural historian who wrote the building's historic nomination on behalf of the Conservancy, told The Architect's Newspaper that "CBS Television City is a true landmark of the electronic age, and a real testament to the design and planning vision of William Pereira and Charles Luckman," adding, "They built it at the dawn of television, yet it is still in use today for its original purpose. That’s good design. It stands alongside [Richard] Neutra’s Lovell House and Skidmore Owings and Merrill’s Crown Zellerbach tower in San Francisco as one of California’s three greatest examples of International Style architecture." Hess added that the importance of the structure and its International Style design surpass its use as a television facility, as well, saying, "The International Style was inspired by the straightforward functionalism of factories, and CBS Television City is, in fact, a factory building, not a house or office building. CBS can be congratulated for being a good corporate citizen and supporting this designation." The complex came into being as a replacement facility for the Columbia Square broadcasting facilities located just a few miles away in Hollywood, CBS's original home designed by William Lescaze in 1938. Columbia Square was restored, reused, and expanded by Rios Clementi Hale Studios in 2017 as part of a larger project that added a high-rise tower and new office spaces to the site. The award-winning project has been heralded as a marquee approach for preservation-focused adaptive reuse. A potential project for the Television City site has not been announced.
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Welding Bells

Visiting UAP, the studio fabricating many of the biggest projects in art and architecture
UAP may not be a household name, but the firm is behind the scenes of many of the biggest projects in public art and architecture. With studios in Brisbane, Shanghai, and New York, UAP works with world-renowned artists and architects like Ai Weiwei, Carsten Höller, and Frank Gehry on highly complicated sculptures and architectural features. Most recently, it manufactured Phillip K. Smith III’s Open Sky with clothing brand COS for Salone del Mobile in Milan. UAP is also overseeing a number of projects in the Hudson Yards mega-development. Started in 1993 by brothers Daniel and Matthew Tobin in Australia, UAP collaborates with artists, architects, developers, and governments to plan and fabricate large-scale projects. However, at their core the Tobins are committed to protecting artists’ voices and maintaining conceptual integrity—dealing with tight deadlines, engineering challenges, and logistical complexities to deliver the creator’s vision in full. In this way, they function as an extension of the artist’s studio, allowing artists to step back from management and go back to doing what they do best: making art. UAP is organized into three sectors: UAP Studio, which produces site-specific artworks and offers curatorial oversight and public art strategy; UAP Factory, which works alongside architects on building projects; and UAP Supply, which offers limited-edition and custom furnishings. While UAP’s business includes working with artists to make their visions materialize, the firm also works with developers and governments to curate and consult on the how, where, and who behind public art. Recently, it has been going even bigger and helping develop master plans and long-term public art strategy for clients such as the Queen’s Wharf in Brisbane. Although handwork, traditional CNC, and cutting-edge fabrication techniques are integral to the practice, UAP is constantly looking for new ways to utilize technology. The team has been introducing virtual reality into its design process and collaborating with manufacturing researchers at Innovative Manufacturing CRC, Queensland University of Technology, and RMIT University to experiment with new robotic manufacturing systems that present a range of new possibilities. With his artist pedigree, founder Daniel has designed monumental projects, including the 197-foot-tall concrete tower Al Fanar (Beacon) in Saudi Arabia (with bureau^proberts) and a National AIDS Monument with the West Hollywood Foundation, to be completed in 2019. It’s this creative sensibility that’s central to UAP. It can help artists because they themselves are no mere fabricators; they’re partners in the creative process with an intimate knowledge of production and a deep investment in creative expression. Good Fences Make Good Neighbors New York This past winter’s blockbuster five-borough public exhibition from Ai Weiwei, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, showcased the work of UAP in one of its most memorable sculptures: the 40-foot mirrored cage underneath the Washington Square Arch. Made in collaboration with the Public Art Fund, the arch sculpture was one of two that UAP completed for Ai’s project. The subject of many photographs, the sculpture approached serious topics with levity—juxtaposing a passage with a cage, it troubled the constructed notion of borders and highlighted the different ways they restrict, regulate, and permit the movement of differentiated bodies. Nuage, promenade Miami Working with renowned designers (and another fraternal pair) Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, UAP oversaw the construction of a series of metal and glass canopies in Miami’s design district. Called Nuage, promenade, the pergola is designed to engage with not only the surrounding built environment of Paseo Ponti, but also the natural environment, as native plants will slowly grow around the blue and green structure. SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico UAP worked on every step of the process, from design to fabrication to installation, for an external cladding system for a SHoP Architects expansion to the New Mexico contemporary art space SITE Santa Fe. The layers of folded and perforated aluminum cladding for the two entrances help to unify the extension as a whole and mesh it with the museum and the public space. UAP also worked with SHoP on the interiors of the American Copper Buildings in Manhattan. Wahat Al Karama Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates In 2016, UAP worked with British artist Idris Khan to realize the massive memorial park Wahat Al Karama in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The central monument comprises 31 leaning tablets made of aluminum plates recycled from decommissioned armored vehicles. The tablets are inscribed with the names of service members and poems and quotes from Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. At one end of the park is the Pavilion of Honor, completed with bureau^proberts. Made of 2,800 aluminum panels encircling seven glass panels by Khan, the meditative space is a quiet interior pause that complements the monolithic structure outside.
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Wrecking Ball

Gehry’s Sunset Strip complex all clear to demolish Kurt Meyer-designed bank in L.A.
In Los Angeles—when it comes to preservation battles and development, at least—history tends to repeat itself.  Such was the case last week, as the Gehry Partners-designed 8150 Sunset complex cleared another legal hurdle in the quest to demolish an existing historic building so that the project might move one step closer to construction. The California Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal brought forth by the Los Angeles Conservancy against a recent ruling that would have allowed developers Townscape Partners to demolish the 1960s-era Lytton Savings bank designed by Los Angeles architect Kurt Meyer located on the project site. The bank itself was built following the destruction in 1959 of the storied Gardens of Allah hotel complex, an elaborate collection of villas surrounding the historic Hayvenhurst estate. In its time, the hotel hosted a who’s-who of Hollywood entertainers and literary personalities, including the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the actress Alla Nazimova—after whom the complex was originally named—Greta Garbo, the Marx brothers, Ronald Reagan, and many others. Urban legend has it that the demolition of the Gardens complex inspired the line "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot" in the Joni Mitchell song "Big Yellow Taxi,” though sources—and Mitchell herself—do not quite agree on the matter. At the time of its destruction, the Gardens complex was seen as representative of an outdated style in need of renewal. Nearly 60 years later, Frank Gehry says the existing concrete folded plate structure that replaced the gardens has “outlived its time” as well, and is incompatible with his proposed design, a rumpled collection of twisted, fluted forms set to rise on what is now the city’s Sunset Strip. Gehry has pledged to “recognize” the Lytton structure as part of the redevelopment, though he has not specified what that means. The latest mixed-use project would bring a clump of segmented towers surrounded by broad public spaces and a stepped plaza to the site. Contained within the three squat towers that make up the project would be 229 housing units, including 38 low-income designated homes. The housing element will be joined by 60,000 square feet of commercial spaces, as well.  It is unclear what’s next for the project. A statement from the L.A. Conservancy website states that the latest ruling “effectively ends legal efforts to stop the needless demolition of the historic Lytton Savings building,” however. A statement put out by Friends of Lytton Savings referred to the ruling as “bad news.” Steven Luftman and Keith Nakata of Friends of Lytton Savings said via email, “Demolishing the Lytton building will be a tremendous loss for Los Angeles. The building represents what was good about the ‘Mad Men’ era of architecture in Los Angeles:  Kurt Meyer and Bart Lytton created a soaring space that brought art, sophistication and the vision of a bright future to the people of this city.’’ A development timeline for 8150 Sunset has not been released.
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Gateway to Other Futures

A St. Louis symposium imagines alternate urban futures inspired by Afrofuturism
We have to imagine a place before we can actually be there. So St. Louis–based artists and curators Gavin Kroeber, Tim Portlock, and Rebecca Wanzo invited their fellow citizens to imagine the urban future with “a two-day festival of art and ideas that explores the collisions of race, urbanism, and futurism, providing a platform for alternate visions of the St. Louis to come.” The name of the event, “Dwell in Other Futures,” comes from the novel Dhalgren by the Afrofuturist writer Samuel R. Delaney, who also served as the keynote speaker and underpinning force that bound together a number of the program’s participants. To open the event, Delaney recited a chapter from his most recent novel that bolstered the role that intimacy might play in how we understand our spaces. Held on April 27 and 28, the program included a collection of workshops and presentations, with special emphasis on performances. For example, the multidisciplinary artist Eric Ellingsen, along with his team of Tyvek-hazmat-suit-clad landscape architecture faculty and students from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, invited the public to join as they performed a choreographic ritual on an empty land parcel across the street from the Pulitzer Foundation. Inspired by the spray paint markings that often indicate underground utility lines, Ellingsen’s team challenged the audience to assume agency over the colored ground markings that make up our cities in order to speculate how infrastructure may connect us in more creative ways. Children and adults took charge of rolling paint applicators to inscribe the site with colorful lines while an overhead drone recorded the real-time mapmaking from a bird’s-eye view. Inside, artist Autumn Knight invited audience members to offer impromptu proposals for civic institutions as part of her La-A Consortium performance, positing playful yet bureaucratic titles such as “Shephanique Center for Literacy” and the “Jadavian Center for Creative Ecologies” as a starting point. By leveraging the power of intentional naming, Knight prompted the audience to consider how they might creatively impact the identities and activities of the organizations that constitute our society. The event closed with a bang as six different local participants delivered “Manifestos for a Future St. Louis.” These brief, bold, and highly choreographed proclamations required each participant to articulate a scenario about a possible future through whatever artistic means necessary. Architectural historian Michael Allen delivered a prescient soliloquy set to a Hollywood soundtrack, warning of a “non-topian” future that intensifies our troubled present, brimming with privatization and distrust of the public sphere. Maxi Glamour, the self-proclaimed “Demon Queen of Polka and Baklava” projected a nonbinary, gender-fluid future enacted by a spectacular drag performance. Social practice designer De Nichols closed the series with an optimistic call to action, imploring us to consider what parts of the status quo need to be destroyed in order to make space for “audacious” culture-makers and “fearless” justice-makers. What conclusions did the festival draw? Its participants proposed more questions than answers, implicating the audience every step of the way, but most assuredly, the celebratory collective voice proclaimed that the future will be black, the future will be queer, and the future city demands all of our emphatic participation.
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Gerard & Kelly: CLOCKWORK at Pioneer Works
My body is the first architecture* The centerpiece of the exhibition Gerard & Kelly: CLOCKWORK is a 35-minute film called Schindler/Glass (2017) depicting performances at the Philip Johnson Glass House (1949) in New Canaan, CT and the Rudolph Schindler House (1921) in West Hollywood, CA. Shown in a round pavilion on the ground floor of the converted industrial hall that is cultural center Pioneer Works in Red Hook, Brooklyn, this installation is part of an ongoing series by the duo Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly called Modern Living which explores the effects of Modernism on domestic spaces: ““What would a home have to be today to shelter intimacies that do not fit within dominant narratives of family, marriage, or domesticity?” Whereas the transparent, open-plan Glass House was inhabited by a gay couple, Philip Johnson and David Whitney, the Schindler House was created as a communal residence for two young families, the Shindlers and the Chases, who shared common spaces in addition to their two interlocking L-shaped apartments, “homes the architects built for themselves to shelter relationships as experimental as their designs.” The house is a blueprint for memory* According to Glass House curator Cole Akers, Johnson and Whitney “upended conventional notions about domesticity and architecture, particularly as they relate to sexuality.” The campus was a gathering place for the gay avant-garde (Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Merce Cunningham) in the pre-Stonewall era, and has a history of engaging with dance across the campus including Cunningham dance company’s 1967 performance at the site, and both the Monument for Lincoln Kirstein (1985), a founder of New York City Ballet, and the Lake Pavilion (1962) which are virtual maquettes for Johnson's New York State Theater at Lincoln Center. Relationships like clockwork* In the film, nine dancers from L.A. Dance Project (Benjamin Millepied’s company) explore “hidden choreographies” by showing a “family” in various configurations — 2 men, 2 women, a male/female couple — calling out the time of day and related activities. The just distribution of two men and two women* Accompanying the film are visual and sculptural elements placed throughout the Pioneer Works space, inspired by elements from these houses as well as two additional buildings: the Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe in Plano, Illinois, a weekend retreat for the single occupant, Dr. Edith Farnsworh; and the Pioneer Works building itself. There is no front—space is the medium* Untitled (Edith) (2018) is a curtain made from vintage sheer, light blue nightgown fabric that flutters in the breeze, her revenge against Mies who objected to her desire for heavy curtains. Farnsworth said, “Mies talks about his ‘free space’: but his space is very fixed. I can’t even put a clothes hanger in my house without considering how it affects everything from the outside…because the house is transparent, like an X-ray.” The disagreement led to lawsuits; Farnsworth complained about her uninhabitable “glass cage.” skin and bones (2018) are two sheets of glass, which together are the size of one Farnsworth House pane, each mounted onto white I-beams and subwoofer speakers that transmit the sound of the Fox River that runs below the house, which is so loud that the glass visibly vibrates, echoing another complaint of the resident. A home is a mathematical equation* When Gerard and Kelly started working in the Red Hook building, they grappled with the 1880s architecture that originally housed the manufacturing of large-scale machinery for railroad tracks and sugar plantations, since it was not Modern. Instead, the daily geometric display of light raking through windows fit their aesthetic and is captured in silkscreens called Light Studies 4:33 made from photos taken at 4:33 PM on the first day of the month over a one-year period, named in homage to John Cage’s composition 4’33” (incidentally, Cage was a resident at the Schindler House in 1934). This work is echoed by Relay (2018), colorful transparent vinyl strips placed on the building’s windows, which echo the costume hues of the nine dancers in the film Schindler/Glass. Private (2018), is a sculptural object outlining the Glass House’s layout that features a page from Franz Schulze’s biography of Johnson, sandwiched in sandblasted glass. It quotes a Lincoln Kirstein letter acknowledging Johnson’s Nazi sympathies and later remorse. The title “Private” plays on the multiple meanings of the word, “the secret testimony, the formal reference to one another as Private soldiers in the US Army, and the open secret of their sexual orientations.” They quote Johnson: “I mean the idea of a glass house, where somebody just might be looking…That little edge of danger in being caught.” The family is a system of regeneration* The family is a system of regeneration (2018) are folded wooden panels painted with colorful double-helixes in the same materials and sizes as the Schindler House, and mark the dancers’ steps in the film. The curators stated, “CLOCKWORK explores how the passage of time underlies these sites, their intimate histories, and the occasion of the exhibition itself…transforming Pioneer Works from a space in which machines were built into a machine for keeping time.” While in Red Hook, stop by roodgallery for Alexandros Washburn’s painting exhibition including David Childs and Capitol Hill 4. Washburn is the Founding Director of the Center for Coastal Resilience and Urban Xcellence (CRUX) at Stevens Institute of Technology and former Chief Urban Designer in the NYC Department of City Planning. Gerard & Kelly: CLOCKWORK, Pioneer Works, 159 Pioneer St, Brooklyn, NY 11231, through July 1. https://pioneerworks.org Lux Figura, Alexandros Washburn, roodgallery, 373 Van Brunt St.,Brooklyn, NY 11231, through June 30. http://www.roodgallery.com
  • Axioms for Modern Living, Gerard & Kelly
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Pop Style

MRY restores Charles Moore’s PoMo gem at UC Santa Barbara
When the Moore, Lyndon, Turnbull, and Whitaker Architects-designed University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Faculty Club opened in 1968, architectural historian and critic David Gebhard wrote in Forum that the complex was “theatrical (like Hollywood) and planned, even though on the surface everything appears haphazard and disjoined.” The compliment applies in opposite to the recently-completed $11.25 million renovation, restoration, and expansion to the complex by Charles Moore’s successor firm Moore Ruble Yudell (MRY), where a series of rationally-organized dining facilities, hotel accommodations, and administrative offices conceal nuanced and rich architectural detail. The complex was originally designed as an homage to the era’s Pop Architecture phenomenon that blended Spanish Colonial Revival stylings with a 1960s penchant for dumb shacks and postwar vernacular modernism. Though from the outside, the building originally appeared as a stuccoed mass of disjointed shapes, Moore and Turnbull’s original vision was decked out inside with soaring framed archways, criss-crossing mezzanine walks and stairways, and neon signs and symbols decorating its walls. The project’s showpiece, a central, multi-story dining room, contained all of these elements and more, including deep-cut architectural references to other famous works—like a sloped entry reminiscent of Le Corbusier’s Carpenter Center at Harvard—that were amplified and repurposed throughout the UCSB Lagoon-adjacent complex.  Today, the expanded club boasts a wholly new 15,760-square-foot wing hosting 34 guest rooms wrapped by perimeter circulation, as well as a renovated and restored central dining hall and a bevy of new sustainability features. Overall, the building has more than doubled in size from 14,595 square feet to over 30,000 square feet today, an effort that has overtaken but not necessarily overshadowed the existing PoMo gem. MRY has taken a gradient-driven approach to the project by restoring the easternmost two-thirds of the original building while also adaptively reusing the remainder of the existing complex and adding the new wing on the building’s west side.  The upgraded dining room—dialed down in terms of its furnishings and place settings from the 1960s version, as one might imagine—is more spare than before. Gone are the expanses of wall-to-wall red carpeting, Mid-Century Modern-styled dining chairs, and glass-topped dining tables and their frilly, folded napkin arrangements, which have been replaced with more paired-down and contemporary elements.  Many other aspects of the existing building have been retrofitted for contemporary times as well, including the building’s windows, which have been replaced with energy-efficient panes. The complex boasts passive design features that facilitte matural ventilation throughout. Added too are new sensitive lighting designs that allow for task-level lighting control in the hotel rooms, as well as new ambient lighting in the dining areas that compliments the large glass light fixtures already inhabiting the space.  Perhaps the most unique elements of the complex come in at ceiling height, where many areas feature drop-down roof rafters that evoke the vigas of the Spanish Revival as well as the slap-dash 2x10 ceiling joists of the Mid-Century vernacular, as well.  These elements are complemented in the hotel rooms and in the building’s many shared areas by peculiar ceiling geometries that result from the building’s heaped architectural forms. Everywhere rooms and entire wings explode askew to the structural grid, with massive octagonal arches doing the work of keeping the building standing, as sloping ceilings, pop-out window walls, skylights, and transom openings combine to create delightful ceiling geometries.  Overall, the architects have proven that it is possible to respect and embrace history—even what might be considered by some today as an over-wrought PoMo relic—while also building for the future.  In Santa Barbara, PoMo isn’t “back,” and it’s certainly not dead—It’s been here and will continue to remain. 
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Take Out Totems

A feast of architectural ducks abound in the latest edition of "California Crazy"
The third edition of Jim Heimann’s California Crazy from TASCHEN asks what happens when you build out a new city in the car-crazy age of the early 20th century. The result? A freethinking (and wheeling) design style that cut ties with the past and dropped giant owls, ice cream cones, and hot dogs across the desert landscape. Southern California, according to Heimann, has always been a land of roadside attractions, movie lots, amusement parks and attention-grabbing style. The rebar-and-plaster animals made for movie sets gradually became larger as roadside businesses, looking for ways to lure in customers whizzing by at high speeds, constructed buildings to be seen from a distance, but also act as attractions in and of themselves. The access to cheap land and loose (or no) zoning let builders in the 1920s and beyond build increasingly fantastical buildings as well as mini-golf courses and life-sized recreations of historically famous buildings. The core premise was always to entertain and attract, even if the results drew scorn from architectural critics. But over time, the conglomeration of “buildings that look like other things” across Hollywood and Los Angeles created their own architectural vernacular, one that eventually spread east to cities like Las Vegas. California Crazy also includes David Gebhard’s essay, in which he defines the relation this language has to the automobile and “normal” domestic architecture. The original version of California Crazy was published in 1980, but our fascination with fanciful architecture seems like more than a passing fad. Buildings like NBBJ’s Big Basket or the giant chest of drawers in North Carolina continue to draw attention, and in California Crazy, Heimann breaks down exactly why we still find them so intriguing.
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Diamond in the rough

Ai Weiwei to design new exhibition space in Beverly Hills

United Talent Agency (UTA) will be moving their Los Angeles art space from Boyle Heights to a former warehouse in Beverly Hills this summer with an architectural overhaul designed by their own client, renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

UTA opened their first art space in 2016 after founding a fine arts division to represent high-profile artists in 2015. While getting some positive press from art world critics, the space, along with a number of other L.A. galleries, received flack and community pushback for contributing to gentrification in the Eastside. Perhaps it is then fitting that UTA Artist Space will be relocating to Beverly Hills, taking over a 4,000-square-foot former diamond-tooling facility. Ai’s yet-to-be-released design is inspired in part by the architectural similarities of the concrete Los Angeles warehouse to his own Beijing studio. This is hardly Ai’s first foray into architecture. The artist has collaborated with Herzog & de Meuron on more than one occasion, including on major commissions like the Beijing National Stadium (commonly referred to as the “bird’s nest”) and the firm’s 2012 Serpentine pavilion. Ai has also collaborated with other firms on architectural projects and, since 2003, has run his own architecture firm FAKE Design.   While Ai himself will exhibit a series of new marble works at the new UTA Artist Space this October, the gallery will open in July with a color field-focused show entitled One Shot featuring the work of Morris Louis, Helen Frankenthaler, Kenneth Noland, Sam Gilliam, and Jules Olitski, among others.
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Full Metal Jacket

Neil M. Denari Architects releases revised renderings for West Hollywood hotel
Neil M. Denari Architects (NMDA) has unveiled new renderings for its 1040 La Brea hotel project in West Hollywood, California. The latest images come as the project team attempts to move through the design review process and were made in response to design critiques leveled at a previous review session.  The fundamentals of the project remain the same. The 110-foot-tall building will contain 90 hotel units and eight apartments, with a collection of retail spaces and a new porte cochere occupying the ground floor along an alleyway. The nine-story “L”-shaped block features softly-curved geometries, including along its faceted corners and set-back faces. The structure’s four-story podium is topped by an amenity deck that is overlooked by the hotel rooms and apartments.  Design changes include condensing and moving automobile access for the project away from busy La Brea and into the alley in order to improve the pedestrian experience along the street. The building has also changed color. The previous project was wrapped in nearly-black metal panels; These elements have been lightened in the new renderings. The mass of the building has also changed, with the latest version showing a series of inset loggia spaces overlooking the alley. Wehoville reports that Gwynne Pugh, a contract design consultant for the city of West Hollywood and principal at Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio, gave the revised proposal high marks in a report he presented in review of the project. Pugh’s report reads: “This is a very elegant and sophisticated building well-thought-out. The issues of previous concern have largely been addressed.” The project is up for review once again on Thursday evening. A timeline for the construction of the project has not been announced. 
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Your Fave

Benny Chan to receive 2018 Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography Award
The Julius Shulman Institute (JSI) at Woodbury University has named Benny Chan as the 2018 recipient of the Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography Award.  Chan’s work is well-known to AN readers, as he is among one of the favored photographers for Los Angeles-area architects. In recent years, Chan has photographed projects designed by John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects, Shimoda Design Group, Neil M. Denari Architecture (NMDA), Standard Architecture, Belzberg Architects, and Johnson Favaro, among many others.  Chan, a Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) graduate, also maintains an art photography practice that compliments his architectural photography work. After graduating from SCI-Arc in 1992, Chan worked for NMDA and SOM before deciding to go all-in on photography. Chan, who grew up in Hong Kong—“there’s nothing there but buildings,” he explained—was drawn to photography after a stint spent traveling and photographing buildings abroad. Loathe to return to the “really, really dry” routine of everyday practice, he instead set out to help architects capture and propograte their work via photography. In the over 25 years since, Chan has built a reputation for bold and honest representations of Los Angeles architecture and the city’s human-made landscapes. A press release describes Chan’s straightforward and technically-precise work as constituting an “assembly manual for Los Angeles,” a comparison that will shine through in an exhibition that will go on display at Woodbury’s WUHO Gallery in Hollywood starting May 12. The exhibition, titled Above and Behind: The Architectural Photography of Benny Chan, will showcase photographs taken of some of the region’s most important new buildings while under construction. The works, abstract and looming, are drawn from Chan’s art practice, not the polished photos of finished architectural works we are used to seeing. Regarding his focus on in-process architecture, Chan said, “[Construction represents] a unique moment in a building’s life—It’ll never look like that again,” adding, “I see these shots as more like sports photography than architectural photography.” Describing Chan’s virtuosity and technical focus, architect Barbara Bestor, principal of Bestor Architecture and director of JSI said, “He builds his own cameras, reframes the act of construction as worthy of portraiture, and has a mad scientist/photo studio-as-laboratory where he crafts images as small as X-rays of his own cameras and as large as wide views of urban neighborhoods shot from a helicopter in his home made camera rigs!” Previous JSI Excellence in Photography Award honorees include: Helene Binet, Iwan Baan, James Welling, and Catherine Opie.  Above and Behind runs through June 24, 2018, see the WUHO site for more information.
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Supporting Cast

LOHA advances eye-catching affordable housing schemes in Los Angeles
As Los Angeles gears up to tackle its homelessness crisis, L.A.-based Lorcan O’ Herlihy Architects (LOHA) is busy at work on a collection of novel, forthcoming affordable housing projects that aim to build upon the firm’s many previous experiments in dense urban housing.  A recently-unveiled plan for the Isla de Los Angeles project with non-profit housing developer Clifford Beers Housing is perhaps the most daring of the new projects. The development will bring 54 studio apartments to a paved triangular site in the city’s Harbor Gateway community in a stepped and articulated structure made up of stacked and repurposed shipping containers.  The rapid-rehousing development is being designed to house a series of shared spaces as well as parking along the ground level. The five-story project will be located beside the intersection of the 110  and 105 freeways and its site organization reflects this troublesome locale—the edges of the site will be populated by planted areas to block out freeway pollution while the building itself is laid out to face away from the highways in order to take advantage of the natural sunlight and breezes. Much of the complex is topped by shade panels as well.  Amenity spaces for the project will include: edible gardens, space for a farmer’s market, a small lab, and areas dedicated to cottage-scaled food production, health and fitness activities, and job training services.  Units in the 18,000-square-foot structure will be earmarked for residents who make less than or equal to 40 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). The project is to be built on excess city-owned land using funding from Proposition HHH, a recent initiative aimed at building 10,000 supportive housing units in Los Angeles over the next decade. The firm is also pushing forward on a proposal announced late last year that would add 78 units of affordable housing, various community spaces, as well as arts and educational programming to a city-owned site located in the Westlake neighborhood west of Downtown Los Angeles. The project will sit adjacent to the historic Westlake Theatre and is expected to reinvigorate the institution while ensuring its revival is suited to benefit existing neighborhood residents. Renderings for the seven-story project depict three linear and interconnected apartment blocks spanning over a central courtyard. The canted apartment slabs sit on a perimeter base that is open on one side to face the street and heroically span the courtyard above these otherwise porous ground floor areas in a way similiar to an approach pursued by Michael Maltzan Architecture’s One Santa Fe complex. Cesar Chavez Foundation is the lead developer for the project, with Meta Housing Corporation as a co-developer. The Youth Policy Institute will act as a service provider for the project in partnership with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.  A timeline has not been released for either of these developments.  LOHA is further along, however, on the MLK1101 supportive housing complex, a 26-unit development geared toward military veterans who have formerly experienced homelessness that is currently under construction. The four-story L-shaped apartment complex wraps a single-story storefront space that is topped with a rooftop terrace and community room. The storefront is being developed as a retail opportunity for the project and is flanked by a broad stair that leads to the terrace level, where picnic tables, plants, and benches will populate the 4,000-square-foot gathering space. Renderings for the 34,000-square-foot project depict a white perforated metal panel-clad structure with a pedimented retail space wrapped with storefront windows. Work on the project is well underway and is expected to be complete later this year.

These developments join LOHA’s growing slate of innovative residential projects in Los Angeles, including several market-rate developments along Pico Boulevard, a 30-unit apartment complex in West Hollywood, and a quintuplet of small-lot houses at the foot of the Hollywood Hills. 

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Way Up There

Gondolas could link Dodger Stadium to L.A.’s Union Station by 2022
Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies, LLC has announced plans to construct a gondola system that would take passengers from the Los Angeles Union Station to Dodger Stadium.  The $150 million plan was submitted to L.A.’s transit agency—Metro—as an unsolicited bid proposal, in line with Metro’s innovation-driven procurement efforts, The Source reports. The plan would link Los Angeles’s central transit node with the city’s baseball stadium located just two miles away in the hills above Echo Park. This gondola route is envisioned as an additional transit route meant to augment existing rapid bus service to the stadium and would ferry between 30 and 40 passengers per pod, shipping up to 5,000 passengers per hour during peak frequency. The proposal comes from former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and other private investors—McCourt sold his stake in the team in 2015 but continues to own a stake in the sea of parking lots that wrap the stadium. The gondola line would presumably serve to augment parking revenues, perhaps freeing up some of that land for other types of development. The Los Angeles Times reports that while ticket prices have not been pinned down for the gondola, it is expected that fares would fall below the cost of parking at the stadium, which currently stands at roughly $20. Regarding the unsolicited bid, Metro’s chief innovation officer Joshua Schank said, “We set up the unsolicited proposal process to encourage outside-the-box thinking when it comes to mobility and building new transportation infrastructure,” adding, “The Dodgers’s proposal is intriguing and we’re looking forward to reviewing the details.” The propsal is the latest urban gondola scheme proposed for an American city in recent months and the second such project envisioned for the hills surrounding Los Angeles. Earlier this year, officials in the city began weighing weather to construct a gondola system to reach L.A.’s Hollywood sign. Project backers are looking to Metro to help prepare environmental reviews for the project with the hope that a final route will be decided by 2019 or 2020. Ultimately, the gondola team is hoping to have the line running by opening day of the 2022 Major League Baseball season.