Architects are no strangers to designing furniture, as they often strive for a visual homogeny throughout the interior and exterior of their built projects. At Friedman Benda in Chelsea, Manhattan, the historical legacy of architectural furniture is celebrated with Inside the Walls: Architects Design alongside its ambiguous future with No-Thing: An exploration into aporetic architectural furniture. Guest curated by Mark McDonald, Inside the Walls charts milestone furniture design across the 20th century from both domestic and international architects. The extensive survey extracts pieces of furniture designed for site-specific installations and displays them alone and with other items, drawing attention to how the designer’s influence and intent still shines through. The show’s focus might jump from piece to piece, displaying furniture by everyone from Charles and Ray Eames to Luis Barragán, but a “clarity of vision” threads throughout all of them. For example, a Frank Gehry-designed rocking chaise made from cardboard contains the same swooping curves and exploration of form as his buildings. Likewise, the collection of chairs, tables, and lighting fixtures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, despite their simplicity, are immediately recognizable as his. Wright is inarguably the centerpiece at Inside the Walls. The show displays ephemera from across the architect’s career and presents him as an auteur. Visitors can examine the cantilevering sets of outdoor lighting fixtures from Wright’s 1914 Francis W. Little House up close, then study furniture from his 1956 Price Tower without missing a beat. No-Thing is located in Friedman Benda’s basement project space, and puts new commissions from up-and-coming studios front and center. Curator Juan García Mosqueda assembled a group showcase under the guise of a furniture exhibition, with works that implore the viewer to project personal meaning on the furniture within. This “non-dogmatic approach to object creation” is in direct contrast to the rigid visions of Inside the Walls in the space above, creating the titular “no-thing,” a work that is bestowed value by its users. A seemingly normal table built from leftover construction materials (MOS Architects) mingles with a blacked-out mirror (Norman Kelley) that challenges the viewer to see much of anything, playing with preconceived notions of what to expect from that typology. No-Thing features work by Andy and Dave (Brooklyn), Ania Jaworska (Chicago), architecten de vylder vinck taillieu (Gent, Belgium), Leong Leong (New York), MILLIØNS (Los Angeles), MOS (New York), Norman Kelley (New York, Chicago), SO–IL (Brooklyn), and Pezo von Ellrichshausen (Chile). Both Inside the Walls and No-Thing are on display at Friedman Benda at 515 W. 26th St, until February 17.
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The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is moving to expand the number of facilities it operates with not one, but two new potential sites in South Los Angeles. The New York Times reports, that the institution is looking to potentially expand to a 80,000-square-foot industrial building in South Los Angeles Wetlands Park and to a vacant site located in the 104-acre Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park in an effort to boost community outreach and make better use of resources as the organization plans a controversial $600 million expansion of its main campus. LACMA is currently working to acquire rights to use both sites, with the Wetlands Park location being further along in the approval process. Plans for that site will come up for consideration later this week by the Los Angeles City Council, which expected to approve a 35-year lease on the site so that LACMA can initiate its adaptive reuse project. The industrial structure LACMA intends to occupy dates to 1911 and was formerly used to store trains and buses that served the local transportation system. The single-story beaux-arts structure has sat empty for decades, however, even as the former rail yards surrounding it were converted into wetlands by planning and design firm Psomas. Plans released during the initial completion of the park’s water retention and landscaped areas in 2014 called for repurposing the structure into a rail museum, a plan that has since given way to LACMA’s potential reuse. The renovations are expected to cost between $25 million and $30 million, Govan told The New York Times. Referencing the museum’s plans for replacing its existing facilities in Mid-Wilshire, LACMA director Michael Govan told The New York Times, “You start thinking, where can the value of your collection and program be the greatest, when you’re behind a big fancy fence on Wilshire Boulevard or out in the community?” The museum—which receives roughly 25 percent of its funding from Los Angeles County—is also looking at a site six miles to the south of the park for a potential third location. Those facilities would occupy the site of the former Ujima Village housing project, which was demolished in 2009 due to contamination issues at the site. The park sits near the Blue Line light rail line and within walking distance of the Watts Towers arts complex. The potential ground-up development would present an opportunity for the museum to build a new structure in the park that could potentially accommodate LACMA’s off-site art storage facilities. The park is currently in the midst of a $50-million, decade-long renovation and remediation effort and local officials are reportedly receptive to LACMA’s plans. Regarding the two-site plan, Govan told The New York Times, “I can tell you now, it’s not an either-or. If we get both spaces, I think that it will be even easier to make each work. Each property offers very different advantages in completely different neighborhoods.” A timeline for the second site has not been announced. The location expansions would add another layer to the changing dynamic in the South Los Angeles region, which has slowly begun to gentrify in anticipation of the new Crenshaw Line light rail route and as high housing costs elsewhere push formerly-reluctant homebuyers into the area. As far as institutional players go, LACMA will be joined in the area by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which is in the process of creating a satellite facility in nearby Inglewood designed by Frank Gehry. Gehry’s plans for the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA) will repurpose an existing 17,000-square-foot facility into a new community center that will provide performance and rehearsal spaces for up to 500 young musicians. Designs for the complex have not been unveiled, but the new YOLA facilities are expected to open in 2022.
Work on the long-stalled complex adjacent to Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall is finally about to begin. The Los Angeles architect is finishing up designs for the Grand, a $1 billion residential, retail, and entertainment complex right across the street from his famous concert hall. The parking garage, not-so-affectionately known as "the Tinker Toy garage" is a dead zone in the Bunker Hill neighborhood, which was itself bulldozed and made anew in a midcentury urban renewal scheme. The 24-hour, live-work-play district envisioned by civic leaders never materialized in full. According to developer the Related Companies, construction is expected to begin in the fall. The Los Angeles Times reported Related was slated to build the project in 2004, but concerns about the project's feasibility (a nice way of saying the design was too expensive), along with the 2008 recession, stalled work. This time, the developer is partnering with a real estate subsidiary of China Communications Construction Group, one of China's largest companies, to fund the project. Gehry told the paper he can "live within the constraints" of the budget. With its stylistic similarity to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the architect believes the Grand will stand out from other L.A. mixed-use developments he regards as uninspiring. He added that terraces and a big plaza between the Grand and the concert hall will draw visitors and residents into the space. And there will be plenty of people: the grand will feature a 39-story tower with 113 condos and 323 apartments, as well as a 314-key, 20-story Equinox hotel. One-fifth of the apartments are set aside as affordable housing. Just like the concert hall, the Grand's metal walls will be fitted with projection-friendly cladding so images can be screened on its surfaces. "You'll see a lightness in the building," Gehry told the Los Angeles Times. "That's in the way we are relating to Disney hall. We are not building heavy stuff."
The noted and influential Los Angeles artist Ed Moses has passed away. A fixture on the L.A. art and architecture scene for over 70 years, Moses died of natural causes at his Venice, California home at the age of 91 on Wednesday, January 17, 2018. Moses was widely-celebrated for his ever-changing and provocative style of painting and was well-known among the L.A. architects of the 1970s and 1980s who gravitated toward the city’s then-burgeoning visual arts scene. Moses was also member of the so-called “Cool School” group of artists, a motley mix of contemporary visual artists that took root in the 1950s in L.A. and set a trailblazing path in the realm of Pop Art. The group was heavily associated with Ferus Gallery in L.A. and included Craig Kauffman, Billy Al Bengston, Robert Irwin, Edward Kienholz, Ken Price, Ed Ruscha, Larry Bell, John Altoon and Wallace Berman among its members. Moses was also a mentor and friend to architect Frank Gehry, who told The Los Angeles Times, “He opened a lot of doors for me, doors of thinking, to a way of looking at life, of thinking about work and creativity and freedom and expressing oneself—taking chances.” Gehry added, “He was the first person that was in that world that sort of took me under his wing. He was very supportive. I think he influenced others by his sense of freedom, his personality, his willingness to step into the unknown. He epitomized that … I think of him as my north star.” Moses is survived by his wife, Avilda, his sons Cedd and Andy, daughters-in-law Pamela and Kelly, and grandchildren Maxwell and Violette.
One of architect Frank Gehry’s earliest public buildings collapsed this month as it was nearing the end of a five-year, $55 million renovation, forcing the owners to revise their plans. The roof of the Merriweather Post Pavilion, a 19,000-seat open-air concert venue in Columbia, Maryland, crashed down in the middle of the night on Saturday, January 13, burying the seating below. No one was injured. Designed by Gehry, Walsh and O’Malley, and opened in 1967, the concert pavilion was being renovated to help it compete with other performing arts centers. The design team, led by JP2 Architects of Baltimore, opted to keep the original roof because it was a defining element of Gehry’s design. But the designers also wanted to raise it to improve sightlines. Gehry, now head of Gehry Partners, is not part of the design team, but had been briefed on the project and toured the site several years ago. The roof collapse makes the concert pavilion one of the first major Frank Gehry buildings to be substantially lost or altered -- despite the owner's efforts to retain its architectural integrity throughout the renovation. The roof was in the process of being raised on hydraulic lifts 20 feet above its original height when it collapsed. The pavilion’s operators said this week that they intend to build a new roof in time for the summer concert season, and that it will be at the 51-foot height to which the original roof was being moved. Investigators have not disclosed a cause for the collapse, but there has been speculation that wind was a factor. The chairman of the pavilion’s operating company, Seth Hurwitz of I. M. P., alluded to that possibility in a message on Facebook. “The winds of fate prevailed and decided that, instead of simply raising the roof, we should just go ahead and build a new one,” he wrote. “Was not our decision but the bright side is all the money we save on imploding.” Hurwitz added that “everything will be ready for season opening,” with the first show scheduled for July. One of the first buildings to open in Columbia, the 50-year-old concert pavilion is now a key element in a multi-phase expansion of the unincorporated city led by its master developer, the Howard Hughes Corporation. Hughes transferred ownership of the pavilion in 2016 to a nonprofit group, the Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission. Gehry had an office in Baltimore when he designed the pavilion, one of four structures in Columbia that he worked on for developer James Rouse. Another one of his commissions, the former Rouse Company headquarters, has been converted to a mixed-use development with a Whole Foods Market as its anchor tenant. Gehry could not be reached for comment about the roof collapse.
Gehry Partners has released a new batch of renderings of their mixed-use tower on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, California, nearly five years after initially announcing the project. What was once a 22-story tower has now been cut down to 12, after the Santa Monica City Council imposed wide-ranging height restrictions on new construction in the city’s downtown in April of 2017. When AN last wrote about the Ocean Avenue project in 2013, Gehry’s tower-on-a-base was still 22 stories and 244 feet tall, and destined to sit in a major 1.9-acre redevelopment at the corner of Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. The $72 million mixed-use tower would have housed 22 condos, 125 hotel rooms, two stories of restaurants and retail, and a 36,000-square foot art museum with a glassy facade nearby. After years of legal battles stalled out development at the site over the tower’s height, Gehry’s rippling building could finally be on the rise following a City Council meeting on January 11th. While the overall massing and white-paneled, rippling façade of the revised tower still resembles the original plan, Gehry’s team has implemented sweeping changes. The project will now top out at 130 feet at its peak, with an average height of 44 feet across the tiered building. According to the Ocean Avenue Project website, the floor area ratio (FAR) has been reduced from 3.2 to 2.6, all condo units have been removed, the number of residential and affordable units has been increased, and Gehry has tried to improve integration with the street. A more concrete timeline for the project’s construction will likely become available following the upcoming City Council meeting.
After an arduous journey, Steven Holl's Maggie's Centre is finally open. The new $10 million London care center, as with all Maggie’s Centres, will offer free emotional and practical support to cancer patients. This particular center, however, was marred by controversy—not something you would expect from a building designed to help sick people. The center is the latest for Maggie's, the charity founded by Charles Jencks in 1995 after his wife, Maggie Keswick Jencks, died of cancer. The couple believed in the uplifting power of architecture and have since installed more than 20 centers across the world, the majority of which are in the U.K. Nestled into a neoclassical enclave on the grounds of St. Bartholomew's Hospital in central London, Holl's Maggie's Center very nearly never happened. For his design to be built, a rudimentary brick building from the 1960s had to come down. But that wasn’t the issue. Instead, the project’s adversaries argued that the new center didn’t connect with its surroundings. This is nothing new with Maggie’s Centers across the U.K., even though Jencks has previously enlisted architecture’s A-list to design the structures, which are independent from nearby hospitals. Jencks has tapped Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Richard Rogers, Rem Koolhaas, and soon Daniel Libeskind, with a center in Hampstead. A page from Charles Jencks’ The Architecture of Hope: Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres shows the site plan of all centers (before Holl’s was built). Here we can see green cytoplasm shrouding the Maggie’s Center nuclei; almost all the centers are one story and are surrounded by a protective grass lawn. On such a tight site, there was no room for greenery, on the ground level at least. The first Maggie’s Center to reach three stories, Holl’s design incorporates a roof garden overlooking a centuries-old quadrangle that includes the 1740s church of St. Bartholomew-the-Less. In a recent lecture at the World Architecture Festival, British architect and planner Sir Terry Farrell referenced Frank Gehry’s center in Dundee, Scotland (full disclosure: I work in communications at Farrell's firm). He argued that the building exacerbated the dichotomy between the brilliantly designed and the under-designed. Who wouldn’t want a pristine lawn to protect from the encroaching drab contemporary hospital vernacular? At St. Bartholemew’s, which is Europe's oldest hospital, such banal healthcare architecture cannot be found. Despite this, Holl's Maggie’s Center is at peace with its neighbors. After calls for modifications, the center shares a basement, toilets, and elevators with the adjacent 18th century Great Hall, a landmarked work of architect James Gibbs. Even these changes were nearly not enough. Holl's design scraped through the second round of planning by one vote and even after that, a lawsuit was filed against the planners. "I flew in from New York and they gave me three minutes in a courtroom. That was it!" Holl recalled, laughing. Wrapping the building is a facade that at night reveals the squares of color embedded, offering a hazy glow. During the day, this color palette is significantly muted and the glass skin is more of a misty gray. Outside, visitors can also see a rounded corner design, which is mirrored inside by a bamboo staircase that traces the perimeter as it winds upward. Holl calls this the “basket” and a “vessel within a vessel within a vessel,” a reference to the concrete structural shell that lies between the glass and bamboo. No attempt has been made to hide this structure, and the result is a pleasing display of both tectonics and tactile design in harmony. According to the Holl, the glass is a new invention. Comprising two layers of insulation, the embedded color film channels light out at night and blurs it during the day. The colored squares are also a reference to Medieval music's "neume notation." “It couldn’t be glossy!” exclaimed Holl. “There are too many glass buildings today.” The architect continued: "Jencks thinks I'm a postmodernist, however, this building is for architecture a manifesto for the expression of materials; [it stands] against everything pomo was." “In my 40 years of practice, this is one of my favorite buildings I’ve ever done,” Holl said.
Lower L.A. River revitalization plan finally revealed
Los Angeles is a vast, complicated place, and so is its 51-mile river. While the city’s Draft L.A. River Revitalization Master Plan, outlining a transformation of the river and the areas around it, was launched back in 2007 (laid out by a team including Studio M-LA and Tetra Tech) the many cities and towns south of the city have, ten years later, finally unveiled their own, set for the largely industrial 19-mile stretch between Vernon and Downtown Long Beach. The Lower Los Angeles River Working Group, a collection of officials, non-profits, and community members launched in 2015, has laid out improvements to the river that include vegetated terraces, access ramps, dams, public art, underground water retention systems and wetlands. They've also called for upgrades to almost 150 nearby properties, as well as parks, streetscapes, bridges, boardwalks, viewing platforms and pathways. To paint a picture of what could be, the working group, along with Tetra Tech and Perkins + Will, have laid out close to a dozen case studies. These include a plan for the Cudahy River Park, in the city of Cudahy, calling for new bridges, access ramps, levee terracing, and riverbank green space, as well as public art installed along the river bed itself and affordable housing rising alongside the new park. About eight miles south, the Compton Creek Confluence Area would include a new green terracing along the riverbanks, a new community center, picnic stations, and even water recreation thanks to a new rubber dam and stormwater treatment plant. Things are moving quickly on the 11-mile stretch of River between Downtown L.A. and Elysian Park: dozens of parks and trails have sprung up, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers preparing a $1 billion dollar revitalization, and AECOM wants to add 36,000 housing units. But the south L.A. working group is still identifying funding for its endeavor, from local, state and federal sources. The group is also working to curb gentrification in these vulnerable neighborhoods, which accounts for, among several plans, the increase in affordable housing, rather than market rate proposals. The scheme, when finalized, will be incorporated into the overall Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan. Both will likely incorporate the wide-reaching approach being developed by Frank Gehry, Olin and Geosyntec on behalf of the non-profit L.A. River Revitalization Corp, or River LA. It could be decades before the changes are completed, but if you look at the many small projects already completed further north, it's clear substantial progress could take place in the next couple of years.
This year’s Architecture and Design Film Festival, now in its 9th year, presented 34 films which fall into the categories of profiles of makers, of places, and of users. Glenn Murcutt: Spirit of Place profiled the 2002 Pritzker Prize-winning Australian architect who was put forward for the award by Frank Gehry, noted for his quiet, site-specific houses and prized by Norman Foster and Renzo Piano. Here we follow an intriguing through-line in the building of a new mosque in Melbourne. The Newport Islamic Society’s creation represents an intensely loaded subject at this moment made tangible through the architecture. Murcutt works in close conjunction with the community, especially Hakan Elevli, who became a collaborating architect. Designing Life: The Modernist Architecture of Albert C. Ledner shines a light on the architect of New York's Maritime Union (now Maritime Hotel) and the Maritime Building, which became St. Vincent’s Medical Center and is now Lenox Hill HealthPlex in New York. Ledner was a product of New Orleans, where he was born. He briefly worked for Frank Lloyd Wright, but unlike many of the master’s acolytes, Ledner knew he had to leave in order not to be trapped in the Taliesin vortex. His inventive, problem-solving buildings filled with unorthodox solutions, organic forms, and a keen sense of materials are based on solid principles: one of his two sons became a physicist and realized he grew up in a house that was all about physics. Born in 1924, Ledner continues worked until his recent passing on November 20th. His contemporary, Kevin Roche, born in 1922, also goes to the office every day. The ADFF offering, titled Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect, shows he’s really more stealth than quiet. Made by Irish television about a native son who became a Pritzker Prize winner, the film traces Roche's career, first with Eero Saarinen, then under his firm Roche Dinkeloo, who went on to create successful buildings such as the Ford Foundation, the Metropolitan Museum’s expansion and master plan, the Oakland Museum, and corporate headquarters for Union Carbide, General Foods and Cummins Engines. He personally represents elegance as much as his buildings. Other profiles included Dries on artisanal fashion designer, Dries Van Noten – a few architectural nods are to his country house and garden, a fashion show in a raw industrial space in Paris, and one at the Paris Opera House Garnier; and a sheaf of Pritzker Prize-winning architects: Getting Frank Gehry on the architect building his University of Technology (UTS) in Sydney Australia; Zaha: An Architectural Legacy on Zaha Hadid; Jean Nouvel: Reflections; and Rem on OMA’s Rem Koolhaas. SuperDesign is a group portrait of 19 “revolutionary” Italian designers active in the 1960s, and The Diplomat, the Artist and the Suit: The Story of Denton Corker Marshall is about the long-running Australian firm. For films that centered on place, a good place to start was Integral Man. Built by Canadian mathematician James Stewart, a “calculus rock star” who made his fortune authoring textbooks – he’s called the most published mathematician since Euclid. The building is called Integral House because of its curved walls, a reference to the mathematical integral symbol. Located outside Toronto, the house includes a concert hall seating 150 because of Stewart other passion is music (he was a concert-level violinist). After interviewing Frank Gehry, Steven Holl and Rem Koolhaas, Stewart decided on the Canadian firm Shim-Sutcliffe Architects (Howard Sutcliffe and Brigitte Shim). It’s a Toronto version of Fitzcarraldo’s opera house building project in the Amazon (Werner Herzog’s 1982 film). Alas, Stewart died as the house neared completion. The Neue Nationalgalerie chronicles the creation of this iconic structure by Mies van der Rohe, his last work, and the recent renovation by David Chipperfield. Filmed in lush black and white, intelligent interviews put the building in context, then and now. Greene & Green’s Gamble House in Pasadena tells the story of two Yankee blueblood brothers (the Puritan Mather family; ancestor Cotton oversaw the Salem witch trials) who went to MIT, stopped at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, saw the Japanese pavilion on their way west, and settled in the winter enclave for wealthy Midwesterners near Los Angeles. The Gambles from Cincinnati, from the Proctor and Gamble fortune, patronized the architects in one of several large homes where everything -- furniture, light fixtures, stained glass, rugs, andirons – was designed by the pair and fabricated with local craftsmen, like William Morris’s of the West. Building Hope: The Maggie’s Centres showcases the cancer centers, largely in the U.K., by prominent architects who lent their services because of their connection to Charles and Maggie Jencks. Face of a Nation: What Happened to the World's Fair? chronicles architect/filmmaker Mina Chow’s exploration of why world’s fairs have been abandoned in this country. Dynamically, two films featured movement through buildings: Aires Mateus: Matter in Reverse using the Portuguese firm’s work and Ghost Story with dancers using Bjark Ingels Via 57 as their stage.
- Glenn Murcutt: Spirit of Place, Catherine Hunter, director
- Designing Life: The Modernist Architecture of Albert C. Ledner, Catherine Ledner & Roy Beeson, directors
- Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect, Mark Noonan, director
- Dries, Reiner Holzemer, director
- Getting Frank Gehry, Sally Aitken, director
- Zaha: An Architectural Legacy, Jim Stephenson & Laura Mark, directors
- Jean Nouvel: Reflections, Matt Tyrnauer, director
- Rem, Tomas Koolhaas, director
- SuperDesign, Francesca Molteni, director
- The Diplomat, the Artist and the Suit: The Story of Denton Corker Marshall, Paul Goldman, director
- Integral Man, Joseph Clement, director
- The Neue Nationalgalerie, Ina Weisse, director
- Gamble House, Don Hahn, director
- Building Hope: The Maggie’s Centers, Sarah Howitt, director
- Face of a Nation - What Happened to the World's Fair? Mina Chow, director
- Aires Mateus: Matter in Reverse, Henrique Câmara Pina, director
- Ghost Story, Sarah Elgart, director
New York-based Gluckman Tang Architects has released their master plan for Western Gateway Heritage State Park (Heritage Park), an integral piece of the larger redevelopment in North Adams, Massachusetts. The proposal links the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), the restored waterfront, Main Street, and the site of Frank Gehry's future Extreme Model Railroad Museum (EMRCAM). The project is part of a larger "cultural corridor" that ultimately hopes to bring the Bilbao effect to this corner of Massachusetts. The plan breaks up Heritage Park into three distinct plazas connected by walking paths. Each area revitalizes the historic industrial buildings within while better connecting to other parts of the city. The North Plaza will contain a new amphitheater, while the Central Plaza will hold a grove of birch trees and outdoor seating. The South Plaza will help orient visitors to Gehry's railroad museum. Originally slated for a 14,000-square-foot, 19th century warehouse inside the park, the Gluckman Tang-designed EMRCAM was scrapped for a 75,000-square-foot Gehry design elsewhere. Featuring architectural dioramas by Gehry himself and Zaha Hadid, the new museum will be located across the street from the MASS MoCA. Gluckman Tang will be converting the original park building into a Museum of Time and add another 6,000 square feet, a glazed entryway and a steep butterfly roof. Other than the museum, Gluckman Tang has also proposed converting a 3,250-square-foot coal hopper into a distilling hall, complete with a new 4,000-square-foot retail space and tasting room. “In addition to improving the experience for visitors to North Adams, our master plan will enhance the central role of the city in the Cultural Corridor and its anchor institutions, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) and The Clark Art Institute,” said Gluckman Tang principal Richard Gluckman. One question left unanswered is how Jean Nouvel will factor into the evolution of North Adams. The French architect was reportedly in consideration to master plan the city as of last year, but news of his involvement has been scant since then. Leading the redevelopment initiative and museum complex is Thomas Krens, former director of the Guggenheim Foundation. Krens has a storied history with Nouvel, and it seems the architect’s ideas will make it into the master plan in one way or another.
To celebrate the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s centennial, the organization has announced that Frank Gehry—famed architect and designer of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, where the philharmonic performs its winter time showcases—will design a new permanent home for the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA) in Inglewood, California. For the project, Gehry will transform a 17,000-square-foot structure into a new community center and music academy. The facility, named in honor of donors Judith and Thomas L. Beckman, is expected to serve up to 500 aspiring music students from throughout the Los Angeles area, including the South L.A., Rampart District, Westlake/MacArthur Park, and East L.A. neighborhoods, according to a press release issued by the Philharmonic. The complex will contain rehearsal and educational spaces as well as a performance venue for the youth orchestra. YOLA currently serves over 1,000 students across the region and is conducted in partnership with EXPO Center, Harmony Project, Heart of Los Angeles, and Camino Nuevo Charter Academy. Gustavo Dudamel, director of the L.A. Philharmonic, said in a statement, “The Beckmen Center will take [our] core beliefs … and turn them into something tangible for the children of L.A. and help ensure a brighter future for them and for all of us.” Dudamel added, “We commit ourselves as an organization to a better life for our inheritors—[this] amazing facility will ensure that.” In the same statement, Gehry added, “The L.A. Philharmonic is the first orchestra anywhere to take such an enormous step for the future of its community. Thanks to the time I’ve spent with [Dudamel], I’ve seen the difference that YOLA makes in young people’s lives. I’m proud to play my part by making spaces where the kids can feel inspired, and YOLA can open up the whole world of music to them.” Designs for the structure have not yet been released, but it is expected to open by 2022.
After more than four years of construction, Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi will finally open to the public on November 11. Images of the ambitious project, spanned by a 262-foot latticed, double-skinned dome, have been released for the first time ahead of the full opening. Joining Frank Gehry’s troubled Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and museum projects by Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando and other big name studios, Nouvel’s Louvre is the first completed building on the Saadiyat Island Cultural District. The French architect expressed hope that the museum, sited on the wetland island’s coast, would pay respect to the surrounding environment as well as the cultural history of both France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). “The Louvre Abu Dhabi becomes the final destination of an urban promenade, a garden on the coast, a cool haven, a shelter of light during the day and evening, its aesthetic consistent with its role as a sanctuary for the most precious works of art,” said Nouvel. Referencing Arab architectural traditions, the project’s radiating dome is composed of nearly 8,000 interlocking metal octagons layered over each other to form a perforated shading system. Shading visitors during the day and shining from below at night, Nouvel called the roof “an oasis of light.” Protected from the elements, the public spaces below will host a rotating selection of pieces specifically commissioned for the museum. Layering patterned partitions is nothing new for Nouvel, whose Burj Doha in Qatar similarly took advantage of the mashrabiya, an Islamic screen designed to keep occupants cool during the summer months. The galleries themselves are a collection of squat, white cubic volumes with ceiling heights that vary from room to room and an irregularly-spaced paneling design that permeates inside to the display areas. This “museum city” totals 23 gallery spaces across 6,400 square meters (21,000 square feet), as well as a children’s museum, auditorium, restaurant and merchandise shops. The floor tiling calls back to Ottoman-era mosaic design, including a “stone carpet” in one of the gallery spaces. The museum's first exhibition, From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone, will open on December 21st and display 18th century artwork from the opening of the original Musée du Louvre in Paris alongside modern pieces.