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Frank Gehry Papers

Getty Research Institute acquires Frank Gehry archives
The Getty Research Institute (GRI) has acquired a major archive of work by Frank Gehry. The collection—known as The Frank Gehry Papers—contains material spanning over 30 years of the architect’s work and was acquired by the GRI through a combination of gifts and purchases. Thomas Gaehtgens, GRI director, touted the acquisition in a press release: “This extensive archive, covering the first three decades of his illustrious career, offers an in-depth look at the genesis of Gehry’s distinctive style and includes many of the projects for which he is internationally known.” The archive spans work produced during a period from 1954 to 1988. With the acquisition, the GRI is increasing its already expansive array of modern and contemporary architecture collections. The Gehry archives will serve to “connect with threads” between GRI’s expansive modern and contemporary architecture collections, according to Gaehtgens. The archive contains a combination of presentation and study models, project drawings, correspondence, photographs, slides, and sketches relating to 283 projects, roughly spanning the period between the Romm House and the competition entry for the Walt Disney Concert Hall. This era encompasses work on some of the architect’s most groundbreaking buildings. The archive contains roughly 1,000 sketches, 120,000 working drawings, 100,000 slides, and hundreds of boxes of records. There are also 168 working models and 112 presentation models in the collection. Importantly, the collection also includes various digital collections, including files pertaining to early designs for the Vitra museum from 1989, the Disney Concert Hall, and the perhaps soon to be realized Grand Avenue project. Certain works from the archive will be on view at the upcoming GRI exhibition Berlin/Los Angeles: A Space for Music that opens April 25. Maristella Casciato, senior curator of architectural collections at the GRI added that Gehry’s work during this period serves as an important bridge between the high modernism and early postmodern eras, saying “Gehry was a powerful figure in this evolution. He contributed to the essential concepts which put Los Angeles and its particular architectural vision at the center of the global architectural discourse.” In announcing the acquisition, Gehry stated, “I’m honored by the attention of the Getty Research Institute delving into the history of my work, my beginnings, and other things that I never thought anybody would be interested in” adding, “I’m very moved that this great institution, with its resources to search for the best examples of creativity in our world, has found me an interesting party. I will be forever grateful.”
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Bilbao (Prison) Effect?

Frank Gehry to teach “The Future of Prison” course at SCI-Arc

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) announced last winter that architect Frank Gehry would be teaching one of the school’s elective vertical studios for the spring 2017 semester. According to an image promoting the studio on the university’s Instagram, the studio is titled “The Future of Prison” and “calls on emerging architects to break free of current conventions and re-imagine what we now refer to as ‘prison’ for a new era.”

Could Gehry and his students re-imagine the carceral system the way his firm did with tourist-driven arts destinations? Perhaps the class could propose new designs for the Metropolitan Detention Center in Downtown Los Angeles, the 757-bed jail located just one mile from the SCI-Arc campus. The jail is due to be replaced sometime between 2027 and 2030 under the auspices of the city’s new Civic Center Master Plan. If rebuilt elsewhere, planners would be wise to look to Gehry’s SCI-Arc studio for ideas and inspiration.

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Risky Business

Is the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi dead?
  In a podcast posted on March 21, former Director of the Guggenheim Foundation, Thomas Krens, cast doubt on the near-future hopes of building the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, a project he helped set into motion in 2006. The museum, designed by Frank Gehry, was originally scheduled to open in 2012 and would be the largest branch of the Guggenheim to date. The project was one of several cultural institutions designed by the likes of Foster and Partners, Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, and Tadao Ando as part of a larger plan for Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. Construction of the Guggenheim has been delayed several times and, as of 2017, only Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi is near completion. In his podcast interview with In Other Words, produced by the art advisory firm Art Agency Partners, Krens states that he believes these delays are intentional to help the city gauge the reaction of locals to the new development. Because the plans for this new cultural hub were drawn up in more “naïve” times, Krens thinks this type of development is just something that can’t happen in the current climate. “The world financial crisis and the Arab Spring has changed the equation radically,” said Krens in the interview. “It may not be such a good idea these days to have an American museum…with a Jewish name in a country [that doesn’t recognize Israel] in such a prominent location, at such a big scale.” The potential for the museum to be seen as a target for terrorism was a fear that the Guggenheim team addressed from the beginning of the project, and something Krens views as more worrisome now. “If I were them [Abu Dhabi local authorities], I would say we’re not abandoning our mission… to building these institutions, but we don’t need all five of them up and running at the same time,” said Krens in the interview. He also alludes that perhaps, in the future, there may be a better opportunity for the development and for further “cooperation and coordination.” For now, it seems the project is still on hold, although not without hope. In a statement to The Art Newspaper, a representative from the Guggenheim reiterated their support for the project and their continued work to make it happen: “The Guggenheim Foundation remains committed to the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and its transformative potential as a catalyst for exchange and for expanding the narratives of art history.” To find more information about the Saadiyat Island development, you can visit their website here. UPDATE 4/4/2017: The Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority has provided this comment:
Abu Dhabi remains committed to developing an innovative cultural destination on Saadiyat Island for Abu Dhabi's residents and visitors. Louvre Abu Dhabi is set to open this year, and together with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, we are unquestionably progressing with the development of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The programme and collection of the Museum have been progressing for the past years and we have recently launched The Creative Act: Performance, Process, Presence, the second exhibition of artworks from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection. Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority is continuing the development of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi's curatorial narrative, collection and educational outreach with the expertise of the curatorial team to bring this museum to life.
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Point and Shoot

Photographer Todd Eberle wins the Julius Shulman Institute's 2017 Excellence in Photography Award
Burbank, California–based Woodbury University has announced that the university’s Julius Shulman Institute (JSI) will bestow the 2017 Excellence in Photography Award on acclaimed international photographer Todd Eberle. New York City–based Eberle has been Vanity Fair magazine’s Photographer at Large for over 20 years and is known widely for his “clean and analytical minimalist aesthetic,” according to a press release issued in support of the award. Eberle's work includes photographs of designs by Mies van der Rohe, Phillip Johnson, Oscar Niemeyer, Donald Judd, Le Corbusier, John Pawson, Peter Zumthor, among others. His portrait works include photographs of works by Oscar Niemeyer, Morris Lapidus, Donald Judd, Tadao Ando, Annabelle Selldorf, Herzog & de Meuron, Rem Koolhaas, David Adjaye, Peter Zumthor, Massimo and Lella Vignelli, and Dan Kiley. The university will hold an exhibition of Eberle’s work—titled Todd Eberle: Empire of Space and curated by Audrey Landreth—at Woodbury University’s Hollywood Outpost (WUHO) gallery featuring his portraits of well-known architects, including Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, Julius Shulman, Florence Knoll Bassett, and Phillip Johnson. The award will be presented to Eberle by architect and executive director of the JSI Barbara Bestor at a ceremony marking the occasion at WUHO Gallery.
Todd Eberle: Empire of Space Opens at WUHO May 4, 2017 Curator: Audrey Landreth May 4 to June 25, 2017 Opening Reception: May 4, 2017, 6 to 8 pm
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Check your Mailbox!

Take a sneak peek at our AN Interior 6! (Includes calendar of great architecture and design events)

We couldn't be more proud of our latest installment of AN Interior, our magazine that showcases the best in interiors from around the world.

This issue includes a wide variety of featured projects:

  • A vibrant apartment that the architects behind breakout firm Pedro&Juana designed for themselves. (Image seen above.)
  • A sleek coffee shop from Dallas-based OFFICIAL that goes from day to night thanks to a craft cocktail bar tucked in the back.
  • A minimal—but far from plain—home in Seattle’s Capitol Hill inspired by art galleries and designed by Heliotrope Architects.
  • An office in San Francisco designed by Studio O+A for wealth management company that's modern but still conveys traditional business values.

...and there's plenty more, from stunning architectural models at Columbia University's GSAPP to a conversation with Marsha Meredith, creative director of Aesop. In addition to the teaser image above, we've included the issue's calendar below. Spring always brings a new round of exhibitions and festivals that will help welcome the warmer months. Several high-profile traveling exhibitions are also making stops in new locations, so watch out for these shows:

Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium Art Institute of Chicago 111 S Michigan Avenue, Chicago Through May 7

This is the first U.S. retrospective of one of the most influential postwar Latin American artists, Brazilian master Hélio Oiticica. The show traces the evolution of his work from dynamic abstract paintings meant to break free of the flat plane to sculptural artworks and large-scale installations that critique political and social problems (most notably, Brazil’s military dictatorship.) Oiticica’s direction helped inspire Tropicália, a widespread activist art movement taking strong positions against conservatism and fighting for a purely Brazilian art.

Architecture of Independence-African Modernism Center For Architecture 536 LaGuardia Place, New York Through May 27

Exploring the legacy of modern architecture and nation building in 1960s and 1970s Africa, Architecture of Independence shines a light on a time when Sub-Saharan countries, having just gained their independence, looked to bold new architecture to express their national identities. The show, which features photography by Iwan Baan and Alexia Webster, looks at astounding designs like the Independence Arch (1961) in Accra, Ghana, by the Public Works Department, the Hotel Ivoire (1962-1970) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire by Heinz Finches and Thomas Leiterdorf, and the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (1967-1973) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Decoding Asian Urbanism Architecture + Design Museum Los Angeles 900 East 4th Street, Los Angeles April 21–June 23

This comprehensive exhibition explores the architecture and urban interventions that are creatively transforming the spatial landscape of Asian cities. It also illustrates the complex principles that underlie these interventions, such as sustainability, density, and regional culture. Featured projects include Hong Kong’s web of interlinked, raised walkways; South Korea’s Sejong City, a municipality recently built from scratch; and Shanghai Tower, the tallest skyscraper in China and the second-largest building in the world.

Moholy-Nagy: Future Present Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles Through June 18

Moholy-Nagy: Future Present, which traveled from the Guggenheim Museum in New York, examines the career of one of the most diverse, influential designers in history, László Moholy-Nagy. The Hungarian-born pioneer worked as a painter, photographer, sculptor, filmmaker, and writer as well as a graphic, exhibition, and stage designer. He was also an influential teacher at the Bauhaus, and later the founder of Chicago’s Institute of Design. The exhibition includes more than 250 works from collections across Europe and the U.S., from paintings to 35mm films.

Liam Young: New Romance Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery Columbia University 1172 Amsterdam Avenue, New York March 30–May 13, 2017

Architect, artist, and filmmaker Liam Young uses film as an architectural tool, experimenting with cutting-edge technologies. His breathtaking works, on display at Columbia’s Arthur Ross Gallery, employ autonomous drones, laser scanning, and architectural renderings to create surreal visions of the future. Examples include In the Robot Skies (2016), Where the City Can’t See (2016), and the debut of Renderlands (2017). The show also contains a selection of props, materials, and research for each undertaking.

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Design Week Portland Various locations Portland, Oregon April 15–21

A weeklong, citywide series of programs exploring the process, craft, and practice of design across all disciplines. Events include lectures, panels, exhibitions, workshops, studio open houses, home tours, dinners, films, music, and, of course, the opening and closing parties. Highlights include Snøhetta’s exhibition, People Process Projects, at the Center for architecture; a hike through Maya Lin and Confluence’s restored Sandy River Delta; Adobe’s Creative Jam tournament; a three-hour design charrette competition; and a table tennis tournament for Portland’s designers and architects.

Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture Kimbell Art Museum 3333 Camp Bowie Boulevard Fort Worth, Texas March 26–June 25

Organized by the Vitra Design Museum, The Power of Architecture showcases the work of one of the greatest architects of the 20th century. (The Kimbell itself is one of Kahn’s masterpieces, making it an ideal venue.) In addition to encompassing a wide array of drawings, models, photographs, and films, the exhibition contains many of Kahn’s watercolors, pastels, and charcoal drawings, a 12-foot-tall model of his City Tower in Philadelphia, as well as interviews with Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano, Peter Zumthor, and Sou Fujimoto.

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RCR Arquitectes

Trio of Spanish architects named 2017 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates
For the first time, three individuals have been named as Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureates: Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta. All three are from Olot in the Catalonian region of Spain; in 1988 the trio founded their firm RCR Arquitectes. The Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate is typically given to an individual. In awarding a group, the Pritzker Architecture Prize cited the following: "Their intensely collaborative way of working together, where the creative process, commitment to vision and all responsibilities are shared equally, led to the selection of the three individuals for this year’s award." Aranda, Pigem, and Vilalta are collectively the 38th winner of the prize and they will take home $100,000 as well as architecture's most prestigious honor. Recent major projects from the firm include the Bell–Lloc Winery (2007, Palamós, Girona, Spain), Soulages Museum (2014, Rodez, France), and the La Lira Theater Public Open Space (2011, Ripoll, Girona, Spain). In a press release, The Pritzker Architecture Prize cited the emotional power of the trio's architecture, as well as its site-specific sensitivity and enduring qualities:
Their work demonstrates an unyielding commitment to place and its narrative, to create spaces that are in discourse with their respective contexts. Harmonizing materiality with transparency, Aranda, Pigem and Vilalta seek connections between the exterior and interior, resulting in emotional and experiential architecture. Mr. Pritzker remarks: “The jury has selected three architects who have been working collaboratively for nearly three decades. Mr. Aranda, Ms. Pigem and Mr. Vilalta have had an impact on the discipline far beyond their immediate area. Their works range from public and private spaces to cultural venues and educational institutions, and their ability to intensely relate the environment specific to each site is a testament to their process and deep integrity.” Mr. Aranda, Ms. Pigem and Mr. Vilalta represent the first time that three architects together are honored with the prize. Their intensely collaborative way of working together, where the creative process, commitment to vision and all responsibilities are shared equally, led to the selection of the three individuals for this year’s award. As the winners of the 39th edition of the Prize, it is the second time that laureates hail from Spain, following Rafael Moneo who received the award in 1996. In response to being named the 2017 Laureates of the Pritzker Prize, Ms. Pigem states: “It is a great joy and a great responsibility. We are thrilled that this year three professionals, who work closely together in everything we do, are recognized.” The locally-based architects evoke universal identity through their creative and extensive use of modern materials including recycled steel and plastic. “They’ve demonstrated that unity of a material can lend such incredible strength and simplicity to a building,” says Glenn Murcutt, Jury Chair. “The collaboration of these three architects produces uncompromising architecture of a poetic level, representing timeless work that reflects great respect for the past, while projecting clarity that is of the present and the future.” As such, an early 20th century foundry has become their office, Barberí Laboratory (2007), and many remnants of the original building have remained, blended with highly contrasting, new elements, which were added only where essential.
Last year, Alejandro Aravena won the prize. The Chilean architect, widely accoladed for proposing half houses in his home country that inhabitants completed, was known for his socially-minded approach to architecture. 2015, however, saw the Pritzker judges take a different approach. Instead of choosing a relatively young, innovative architect, Frei Otto from Germany was rewarded for his life's work, notably his tensile structures. Otto died later that year, meanwhile, Aravena, went on to direct the Venice Biennale after receiving his award, capping off a stellar year for him. Other past winners include Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Peter Zumthor, SANAA, Rem Koolhaas, Richard Meier, Frank Gehry, Richard Rogers and Phillip Johnson who won the first ever Pritzker Prize. The Prize has been running since 1979. The full announcement is available here.
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Shine a Light

SOM's new L.A. courthouse needs almost no artificial lighting during the day

The new Los Angeles U.S. District Courthouse is located downtown midway between City Hall and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and it’s a worthy companion to those exemplary civic landmarks. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) won the competition four years ago with a simple yet powerful design: A cube of folded glass that seems to float above a recessed base. The nine upper floors are suspended from a multi-dimensional roof truss system supported on four structural cores—a strategy that halves the amount of steel a conventional building requires and makes it more resistant to a blast than one supported on columns. Architects and the Clark Construction Group collaborated on a design-build program that brought the building to completion in 40 months, and it expects to secure LEED Platinum rating.

Few buildings achieve so much, so quickly, and SOM has made a significant contribution to the renaissance of Downtown L.A., which is still a work in progress. A park designed by OMA and Mia Lehrer + Associates will occupy the long-vacant block fronting City Hall, and a Frank Gehry–designed mixed-use complex, repeatedly delayed, may soon begin construction to the west across from Disney Concert Hall.

As SOM design partner Craig Hartman explained, “We began with the concept of a courthouse that had the appropriate scale and massing and strengthened the civic axis of First Street. The facades had to achieve transparency and clarity of expression, qualities that express what Americans hope to get from the justice system.”

To exploit the drop of 25 feet from Hill Street to Broadway, the building was raised so that—as Hartman noted—the topography flows under it and it stands apart, accessed by steps on three sides and by ramps that slice up through gardens to either side of the entry. Steel bollards provide an unobtrusive security perimeter. The downtown grid is 38 degrees off from a true north-south orientation, which complicated the architects’ task of protecting the facades from solar gain. Rather than rotate the building, they folded the glass. About 1,600 chevron-shaped units of high-performance, blast-resistant glass were craned into place, and nearly all of them have an inner baffle on the side that receives direct sunlight. That cuts solar gain by half, and a rooftop array of photovoltaic panels further reduces energy consumption. The elegance of the detailing at the corners and along the upper and lower edges is the product of intensive research by SOM, which constructed full-scale mock-ups and worked closely with curtain wall manufacturer Benson Industries.

The upper stories are cantilevered 28 feet over an entry plaza, shading people who are waiting to pass through the security barrier inside the glass doors. From there, they emerge into a soaring atrium with south-facing baffles that channel light down to all 10 levels, including the 24 courtrooms on floors five through ten. “The whole building is about light,” said José Luis Palacios, design director at SOM with Paul Danna. The courtrooms are lit from clerestories facing in and out to achieve a harmonious balance. United States Marshals deputies share the third floor with the holding area for the accused. The 32 judicial chambers occupy the periphery with sweeping views of the city. Artworks, including a multi-level work by Catherine Opie, enhance the minimalist interior.

The public has free access to the upper floors and to a tree-shaded patio in back, which is flanked by low, meticulously detailed glass wings. Jurors gather in one and a cafe occupies the other. Many cases are settled by mediation, even on the day scheduled for a trial, and there are breakout areas with comfortable seating on three upper levels to accommodate these encounters. Only a small amount of artificial light is required and this is provided by energy-efficient LEDs.

The architects’ main client was the General Services Administration, whose Design Excellence Program has done much to enhance the quality of federal architecture country-wide. But SOM also worked with a committee of judges, headed by Justice Margaret M. Morrow, who enunciated 10 guiding principles for the design of the courtrooms. “Decorum, fairness and equality are the essentials and those haven’t changed very much over the years,” explained Hartman. “But judges have different opinions on how to express those qualities and it’s surprising how much latitude there is in the layout. Judge and jury need to see the face of a witness, but where are they all to sit?”

To refine its design and win approval from the judges, SOM did a full-scale mock-up of their courtroom, which groups all the parties closely together. Sidewalls clad in ribbed gypsum reinforced plaster assure good acoustics, for audibility is the highest priority of all. A tilted ceiling diffuses the natural light, and every position—including the raised dais of the judge—is wheelchair accessible.

“America’s civic buildings offer a permanent record of our democracy’s values, challenges, and aspirations,” declared Hartman at the opening. Though the SOM courthouse is a demonstration of these ideals, the reality is that ever fewer Americans can afford a day in court, given the dizzying rise of legal costs. That’s the next big case for judges and legal associations to ponder.

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They'll be Missed

Who we lost in 2016
A list no one likes read, but here's a collection of notable figures who we lost from the design world this year. (See the rest of our Year in Review 2016 articles here.) Zaha Hadid The tragic passing of Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid sent shockwaves through the architectural community and beyond. The Architect's Newspaper (AN) helped break the news of her death and shortly followed-up with an obituary and tribute from architect Sir Peter Cook. Renato Bialetti The creator of one of the most ubiquitous Italian industrial designs of the 20th century, Renato Bialetti was fittingly interred in one of his designs—the octagonal Moka coffee maker. Peter Corrigan Australian architect Dr. Peter Corrigan, AM, the dean of a vigorous and difficult brand of Australian architecture passed away on December 1, 2016. Corrigan leaves behind a grand legacy: of many buildings and countless awards received; of numerous protégés and perhaps some enemies; of wild ideas shared selflessly with many students in Melbourne and elsewhere; of an architectural voice in the wilderness built of dreams and hopes set against the small-mindedness of the local political leadership and the usual numbing logics of the construction market. Bing Thom Hong Kong-born Canadian architect Bing Thom won the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Gold Medal in 2016, the same year as his passing. He was described as "full of passion, thoughtfulness, intelligence, generosity of spirit, and belief in the power of architecture to transform." Claude Parent "Master of the oblique," French architect Claude Parent died on February 27, a day after his 93rd birthday. He was one of the most influential modernist architects to come out of France and founder of the oblique function. His style is widely acknowledged for paving the way for architects such as Daniel Libeskind, Frank Gehry, and the late Zaha Hadid. Thomas S. Marvel Thomas S. Marvel, FAIA, was born in Newburgh, New York, on March 15, 1935 and passed away on November 3, 2015 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He designed numerous residences, including a very innovative house for his own family in a dense urban neighborhood that was published in Phaidon’s edition of 20th-Century World Architecture. Jack Masey Born in Brooklyn in 1924, Jack Masey worked out of Manhattan for most of his life. A trained architect who also studied graphic design at Yale, Masey worked with R. Buckminster Fuller and Charles and Ray Eames at numerous exhibitions where he incorporated art by the likes of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. Ali Tayar Ali Tayar is remembered for his love of modern design which he applied to a range of projects including everything from furniture to hardware to restaurants Pop Burger and Pizza Bar in New York City. He grew up in Istanbul and studied architecture at the University of Stuttgart and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Later, Tayar founded the Parallel Design Partnership in 1993. Vladimir Kagan Born August 29, 1927 in Worms, Germany, Vladimir Kagan fled Nazi Germany to France and then settled in New York. While he studied architecture at Columbia University, he never graduated and instead worked with his father at a cabinetry shop before selling his own furniture. Kagan and his furniture flourished; he sold works to films stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Gary Cooper. At the age of 88, he passed away on April 7, 2016, in Palm Beach, Florida Diana Balmori Born in 1932, landscape architect Diana Balmori was a leader in the landscape profession, particularly of designing spaces that interface with architecture. Balmori’s firm Balmori Associates is headquartered in New York but she worked in countries all over the globe, such as with her New Government City in South Korea—a zero waste community designed in 2014.
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Construction Might Start 2018

New timeline for long-stalled Gehry Partners towers across from Broad Museum
The Los Angeles City Council voted this week to approve a new joint venture partnership and project timeline for the Grand Avenue Project, a long-stalled, $950-million Gehry Partners-designed mega-development across from the Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles. The project's revised timeline now includes a 2018 groundbreaking and—don't hold your breath—a 2022 opening date, according to developer for the project, Related Companies. Chinese developer CCCG Overseas, also known as CORE, has been brought on to invest $290 million on the project. The agreement, recently approved by the L.A. Board of Supervisors, mandates that at least 30% of the construction and permanent workforce must be locally hired and compels the project team to utilize apprenticeships and local training programs to hire workers who have "previously faced barriers to employment," according to a press release issued by L.A. County. The new agreement between Related, CORE, and the Grand Avenue Authority, a joint powers authority representing the County and City of Los Angeles, ushers in a new spirit of possibility for the delayed project. The deal also signals that the project's cost, reported to be $650 million back in 2014, has ballooned in the years since. The project encompasses a pair of residential and hotel towers located above a mixed-use podium. The project will include a 300-room Equinox hotel as well as between 380 and 450 residential units, 20% of which the Los Angeles Downtown News reports will be affordable. Additionally, the developer has agreed to remain neutral if future hotel workers decide to unionize, a standard provision that paves the way toward local workforce unionization. Grand Avenue Project will consist of two towers at the corner of 1st and Olive Streets with one rising 38 stories and containing condominium and apartment units. A smaller, 16-story building located along 2nd Street would contain the hotel. Current plans call for 200,000 square feet of commercial space, 1,500 parking spaces as well as a large public plaza along Grand Avenue and across from the Broad Museum.
In a press release for the project Ken Himmell, CEO of Related Urban, celebrated the addition of CORE to the project, saying, “We welcome CORE as our joint venture partner on Grand Avenue. They share our vision for the creation of a world-class destination and as a global Fortune 110 company, they boast not only a sterling financial record but also have great excitement for the development.”
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Agent of Change

From affordable housing to parks, inside the versatile Fort Lauderdale-based Glavovic Studio

When Miami clients want a high-profile designer, they often bring in architects from New York and London simply because marketing demands signature international brand names. The developing streetscape of Wynwood, Miami’s Art District, has buildings by scores of important architects from every city but Miami.

But the city has its own, often-underappreciated talent. For example, there is Fort Lauderdale-based Glavovic Studio and its founding principal Margi Glavovic Northard, who has the resume of an architect one would usually find practicing in New York or Los Angeles: She was educated at SCI-Arc, taught at UCLA, and worked for Smith-Miller+Hawkinson in New York before opening her own practice. In Los Angeles, Northard met Robert Mangurian who told her to “go to a place where you can make a difference.”

Taking this advice, she started her Florida firm in 1999. The local projects she cobbled together make her someone who should be better known outside Florida. Northard, who is from South Africa, brings a global perspective and ambition into her practice that attempts to link local ideas, traditions, and needs with a broader international perspective. She said she admires the way Canadian Frank Gehry arrived in California and worked with the local vernacular to create truly revolutionary designs. 

But, unlike Herzog & de Meuron, for example, who practice in the small city of Basel and won the prestigious Miami Art Museum (now Pérez), she does not just pitch glamorous cultural projects. “We are part of the local community that wants to be part of a larger conversation, and we are able to connect them to a global conversation,” she said. Indeed the firm focuses on local public housing, community centers, parks, and libraries because Nothard believes architects are, as she put it, “cultural change agents and facilitators.” She made the conscious decision to design affordable housing because she believes affordability is a broader notion than just low income.

At one affordable housing project, Kennedy Homes, Nothard claimed to have expanded the discussion “from affordable to affordability.”  The design work, she asserted, is about “creating change” with a commitment to design buildings that are “direct experiences.” She said that she was asked to design a gazebo and “ended up doing an artist center for the community” that has enriched the town and region. It would be a sign of Miami’s maturity as a design center, something boosters point to, for her to be given a project in Wynwood, Brickell, or on Collins Avenue.

Young Circle Arts Park Hollywood, Florida

This 10-acre cultural center is located in downtown Hollywood, Florida. Its park immerses visitors in native landscapes and offers visual and performing arts programming and community activities. Two buildings include the Visual Arts Pavilion, which provides classrooms, a glass blowing studio, metal studio, painting studio, exhibition program, and support facilities, as well as the Performing Arts Pavilion, which contains a stage and lawn seating.

Kennedy Homes Affordable Housing Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Kennedy Homes is a 132-unit LEED Gold affordable housing project poised at the gateway to the City of Fort Lauderdale. Its living spaces are spread into eight residential buildings, with three community buildings housed in renovated structures, providing a gymnasium, library, and meeting and leisure rooms. The 8.5-acre site is developed as an expanded green space within an urban landscape.

Girls' Club Collection Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Located on a quiet street on the northern edge of downtown Fort Lauderdale, Girls’ Club is an artist studio, a gallery, a foundation, and a quasi-public space. The 1984 masonry building has a reconfigured facade layered with light, color, landscape, and enigmatic materials that employ local craft techniques and industrial references.

Sunset Hammock Tamarac, florida

Sunset Hammock, a public art project in Tamarac’s Sunset Point Park, renders moments in time through increasing intensity and color. It explores the expansiveness of the Everglades through the study of wetland topographies and tectonic forms.

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“Starchitecture Doesn’t Trump our Heritage”

L.A. Conservancy sues City of Los Angeles over Frank Gehry project
The Los Angeles Conservancy is suing the City of Los Angeles for “blatantly disregarding environmental law” and violating the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by approving the Gehry Partners—designed 8150 Sunset development last month. The $300 million mixed-use project has faced community push-back from all sides, especially from wealthy neighbors who contested the project’s height, density, and parking provisions, even though the project is located on the Sunset Strip commercial corridor. Those partisans won out over the course of the approval process, as developers and even Frank Gehry himself, in an in-person testimonial before the Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM), pledged to rework the project to ameliorate community concerns. At that meeting, the starchitect said, “I’m going to make it, as best I can, something special for the community. Something that we would all be proud of.” The development was ultimately approved by PLUM and, later on, the L.A. City Council, but with a few caveats. In a nod to the neighbors’ concerns, the project’s residential towers were approved with a 56-foot height reduction, an additional number of affordable housing units, and increased number of parking stalls. Overall, the project will contain 229 market rate units, including 38 affordable units, 65,000 square feet of commercial space, and 494 parking spaces in a group of rumpled towers located on a site featuring multiple public plazas and ground-floor retail. But one point the designers and developers behind the project would not flex on—and that neither PLUM nor the L.A. City Council were eager to emphasize—was whether to save the historic, modernist-style Lytton Savings bank building currently occupying a portion of the site from demolition. The iconic structure, which features a striking folded concrete roof and large expanses of glass, became a rallying point for preservationists who were not necessarily against the project, per se, but hoped the developers would incorporate the structure into the proposal. The bank building was designed in 1960 by Kurt Meyer and since plans were announced, a group of preservationists rallied around saving the structure. The structure was quickly nominated as a Historic Cultural Monument (HCM) status by Friends of Lytton Savings. HCM status offers some degree of protection against demolition, except that PLUM delayed the structure's nomination and the L.A. City Council was able to approve 8150 Sunset in the augmented form described above. The building’s existence is now in peril, and as a result, the Los Angeles Conservancy has filed suit to “force the City of Los Angeles’s compliance with (CEQA).” The Conservancy argues that under CEQA regulations, a project must “avoid significant impacts such as the demolition of a historical resource if the fundamental project objectives can be met without demolition.” The Conservancy’s logic stems from a series of development proposals incorporated into the Environmental Impact Report (found here) developed as part of the project’s approval process that called for reusing the structure as part of the commercial component of the Gehry Partners development (the building currently operates as a Chase Bank branch). Those alternatives, however, were shut out of consideration by the developers, who simply preferred to start with a blank site. Previously, Adrian Scott Fine, director of advocacy for the LA Conservancy, had told The Architect’s Newspaper that the Gehry project would “unnecessarily demolish a historic cultural monument,” and added,  “there’s a very clear way for this project to move forward while preserving the bank building.”  Friends of Lytton Savings founder Steven Luftman told The Architect's Newspaper via email that his group is "still proceeding with the Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument (HCM) application with the full support of Councilmember David Ryu. The application goes to a vote with the LA City Council on Wednesday December 7th."  When asked whether the group would support relocating the endangered structure as part of a comprehensive preservation approach, Luftman replied, "We continue to believe the best solution is for the building to remain at its current site. Incorporating this city's rich architectural past with the new project can lead to an exciting and vibrant development," adding "(Lytton Savings) functions beautifully as a bank and it has wonderful potential for adaptive reuse. Once the alternatives are appropriately explored, as a last resort we would consider a sincere commitment by the developer to relocate the building." For now, however, the Lytton Savings bank stands imperiled as part of a long line of Modernist structures falling to the wrecking ball and the project stands to move forward as approved.
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"The Helsinki Effect"

Helsinki rejects Guggenheim outpost
Late last night the Helsinki city council rejected a proposal to fund a new Guggenheim Helsinki Museum; the final tally was 53 to 32. Despite its initial failures in securing funding from the Finnish government, up until this vote the Helsinki Guggenheim Museum was still a real possibility. However, it seems this rejection has finally capped years of controversy. First proposed in 2011, the Guggenheim Helsinki has been the subject of years of back-and-forth between the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Finnish government over who would pay for the proposed museum's cost and maintenance. Much like the Guggenheim Bilbao, the museum would've featured parts of the foundation's modern art collection on a rotating basis, along with works by local artists. The foundation argued that tourism revenue would outweigh the government's funding. However, critics argued that the Guggenheim Foundation was seeking to spread its international brand at the unfair expense of Finnish taxpayers (and that Helsinki already had a robust arts scene). In 2014, the foundation launched an international competition to pick a design and win over the Finns in the process. Simultaneously, a competition formed by the proposed museum's critics, dubbed The Next Helsinki, sought alternative proposals. The Next Helsinki competition announced its winners in April, 2015; that same June the Guggenheim named Paris-based Moreau Kusunoki Architectes as their winner. Then, in September 2016, the incumbent and fiscally conservative Finnish government said that the museum's costs were too high—an estimated $138 million. The project was revived when, on this past November 11, Helsinki's city board members narrowly gave it the greenlight with a new funding scheme: The city would cough up approximately $85 million while the Guggenheim Helsinki foundation would provide the rest. However, their vote—which was a marginal 8 to 7—was not binding. Last night's vote from the 85-member strong city council, however, has nixed that. Biennale Books co-founder Laura Iloniemi told The Architect's Newspaper that the city councilor's concerns included the museum's appearance ("coal pile," "bunker," "inappropriate for the site"), the value of the proposed harbor site, the Guggenheim's association with workers' rights issues in Abu Dhabi (the location of one of their outposts), doubts about the Guggenheim's tourism forecasts, and frustration with the foundation's lack of transparency and forceful lobbying. Those in favor said the Guggenheim Helsinki was a unique opportunity that would increase tourism and the city's cultural offerings while forging a stronger trans-Atlantic connection. According to The New York Times, the Helsinki Council communications department released a statement after the vote, which said “The main objections to the project presented by Council members included the project’s excessive cost for the Finnish taxpayer; inadequate private funding; and the proposed site, which was considered too valuable for the project.” Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, told the Times that “I suppose that it was a reaction to a sense of engulfing internationalism, or a reaction against globalism.... That’s how I’m explaining it to myself.” Even as the Guggenheim Helsinki fades away, it leaves behind a legacy of alternative proposals: Urban Research, the imprint of Next Helsinki co-organizer Terreform, has announced the publication of a book featuring the Next Helsinki competition's designs. Dubbed The Helsinki Effect: Public Alternatives to the Guggenheim Model of Culture-Driven Development, it's due out in December and available for pre-order. The Helsinki Effect was edited by Checkpoint Helsinki board member Terike Haapoja, G.U.L.F. editor Andrew Ross, and Terreform founder Michael Sorkin; each editor has also contributed a chapter (Sorkin's is titled "WALMART COMES TO HELSINKI"). It looks at the submissions as a way of enlivening public discourse on "the role of culture in civic health and economic development," the consequences of which stretch beyond Finland and its capital. The Helsinki Effect also includes essays from leading urbanists, artists, and architects that touch on The Next Helsinki competition's significance to contemporary urban principles. Prominent Finnish architect and Next Helsinki juror Juhani Pallasmaa contributed a chapter to the book; in it he forcefully argues against the public's funding of Guggenheim's Helsinki outpost. He also skewers the Guggenheim Foundation's winning entries:
The awarded entries hardly acknowledge the unique historical narrative, character, and quality of Helsinki, or the adjacency of the neoclassical part of the city. All the awarded projects are self-centered in various ways, and lack an understanding of and respect for urban traditions, which altogether belong to the most valuable heritage of culture. All the winning entries are rather detached from the context and have little, if any, meaningful interaction with their neighbors.
Speaking to The Architects' Journal, Pallasmaa described the venture as a "ruthless business presented as a cultural project," calling for taxpayers money to better spent on furthering Finnish artistic culture. Finnish politician Anders Adlercreutz, contrasting the Guggenheim Helsinki with Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Bilbao, said "I simply can’t feel any excitement when viewing the winning proposal... It feels like a lost opportunity altogether, an entry that does very little to enhance the whole harbor area, that doesn’t contribute to the public space around it and that frankly looks quite out of place."