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Mister Massey

Jonathan Massey named dean of University of Michigan Architecture and Urban Planning
Jonathan Massey, dean of architecture and professor at California College of the Arts, has been named the next dean of the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. He will follow Dean Monica Ponce de Leon, who is now the architecture dean at Princeton, and Robert Fishman, professor of architecture and urban planning, who has been serving as interim dean. "Taubman College has excelled by taking Detroit, the Great Lakes region and other sites around the globe as frameworks for research on the challenges and opportunities posed by processes of modernization," Massey said. "I am excited to work with U-M students, faculty and staff to generate architecture and planning strategies that expand economic opportunity, increase equitable access to resources, design better health and create the operating system for smart cities." Massey earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from Princeton University. He earned a Master of Architecture degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a doctoral degree in history and theory of architecture from Princeton. Massey has worked for architecture firms including Frank O. Gehry and Associates and has taught at Barnard College, Parsons School of Design and Pratt Institute, and Syracuse University, where he served as chair of the Bachelor of Architecture program from 2011-2014. He is the author of the book, "Crystal and Arabesque: Claude Bragdon, Ornament, and Modern Architecture," and in 2006, Massey co-founded the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative, "a team of scholars focused on how buildings shape processes of political, economic and social transformation." He also edits The Aggregate Website.
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Old Meets New

New renderings released for L.A.'s massive Crossroads Hollywood project
International firm SOM and L.A.-based Rios Clementi Hale Studios (RCH) have released new renderings depicting the firms’ massive redevelopment of the historic Crossroads of the World complex in Hollywood, California. The 1.43-million-square-foot project, currently pegged to cost between $500 and $600 million to develop, aims to repurpose, update, and expand the Crossroads of the World complex by adding a collection of new programs and several high-rise towers. Crossroads of the World was designated as a City Cultural-Historic Monument and was designed in 1936 by architect Robert V. Derrah as the region’s first outdoor, mixed-use office and shopping complex, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy. The complex, which features a collection of squat, streamline, Spanish-, Moorish-, and French-Revival style structures, will be joined on surrounding blocks by a group of high rise towers and mid-rise podium structures. Overall, the so-called Hollywood Crossroads project aims to add 950 housing units, 94,000 square feet of office space, and 185,000 square feet of commercial uses to the roughly eight acre site. The project features a trio of towers, including a 26-story hotel tower containing 308 rooms, a 30-story tower with 190 condominiums, and a 32-story tower containing 760 units, including the podium levels. The project’s site plan features a diagonal paseo cutting through the site that connects the Crossroads of the World complex with the new housing towers. The paseo is lined with ground floor retail uses overlooked by apartment balconies. The generic-looking, glass-clad housing and hotel towers rise from these integrated lower levels, according to the renderings. Sunset Boulevard, via a collection of new—and controversial—high rise developments, is in the midst of  becoming a new vertical spine running through Los Angeles. The Hollywood area, in particular, is seeing a rush in high-rise construction, as developers scramble to meet an insatiable demand for new housing. These projects, however, have run into problems, as the new density has rankled local residents hesitant to see their neighborhoods change. Projects like Natoma Architects’ Palladium Residences and Frank Gehry’s 8150 Sunset in nearby West Hollywood have drawn the ire of local residents, for example. David Schwartzman, chief executive at Harridge Development Group, however, is unfazed by the potential controversy. The developer behind the project told the Los Angeles Business Journal, “In Hollywood, you always have issues with projects and people complaining, but we’re following the rules.” He added, “We’re not doing a general plan amendment, we’re providing affordable housing. We’ve thought about the needs of the community. At the end of the day, you’re not going to make everybody happy.” The recent completion of RCH’s Columbia Square—another tower-over-historic-complex project developed a few blocks east of the Hollywood—has been met with praise, so perhaps there is hope yet for this project. Harridge aims to complete construction on the project by 2022, though an official construction timeline for the development, has not been released.
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Model-Mania

Inside Gulliver's Gate: New York's model-making treasure trove
I put an oversized plastic key into an illuminated lock, turned it, and out popped Queen Elizabeth II from Buckingham Palace. Another lock summoned Scotland's Loch Ness Monster and another sent a helicopter flying above New York City's skyline. Where was I? Gulliver's Gate. Inside the former New York Times office building, there's some large-scale small-scale building going on. Today, Gulliver's Gate opened its doors to the public, unveiling a $40 million new tourist attraction to Times Square. On show is a 50-nation display with 300 small-scale scenes, covering more than 6,500 square foot. The first location visitors encounter after receiving their own key at the ground-floor reception is a miniature Manhattan. The model was made in Brooklyn by a team of 16 who took 358 days to craft the 950-square-foot scene. The almost year-long effort, though, was worth it. Details down to vases for bars and free standing coffee machines can be seen if you look close enough, meanwhile, New York's skyscrapers, truncated by the ceiling, are exhibited as light forms. "These are an interpretation, New York is a city of light," a spokesperson told The Architect's Newspaper (AN) at the opening ceremony. Additionally, visitors can see a myriad of dramas (almost all transport-based) played out on New York's down-sized streets: from an overturned flatbed truck to fire engines rescuing people stranded on rooftops. These scenes are static, though the overall experience is kinetic and interactive. A section of Manhattan cuts through Grand Central Station, highlighting the station's ornate interior complete with its signature ceiling. Below, the story continues as Amtrack and MTA Subway trains pass underneath, travelling surprisingly freely without interference of train traffic or other bizarre disturbances. The selling point (or rather, key to success) for Gulliver's Gate, however, is its interactivity—an unusual quality for a miniature model exhibition, where typically no touching is ever allowed. Of course, the same applies here, but to quell the thirst of your inner five-year-old yearning to play, keys handed out to each visitor allow you call all sorts of moving diorama's into action. Sadly (though probably for the best) the moving trains, cars, and boats are not controllable. New York City may be the first location visitors see, but it is certainly not the only one on display. The Middle East, mainland Europe, Britain, Niagara, Russia, South America and Asia all feature, boasting their most iconic architecture. OMA, I.M. Pei, Moshe Safdie, Daniel Libeskind, Santiago Calatrava, Bjarke Ingels, Pelli Clarke Pelli, Frank Gehry, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and Gensler just to name a few, all have their buildings on display at 1:87 scale. An odd number, the scale is used in conjunction with the H0 Gauge model railroad locomotives on display—the gauge (gap between the tracks) is per the standards set by the National Model Railroad Association. The only location not to adhere to this is Britain, where the standard scale is 1:76, a scale that works with the established 00 Gauge for railroad models and thus British model railroad accessories. There are more than 1,000 trains on show, not to mention 10,000 cars and trucks and roughly 100,000 people. At the grand opening, AN spoke to Head of Model-Making, Adrian Davies. Davies, from England, was working on a scale airplane, but took the time to explain that he and his team of 20 are continuing to build despite today's opening. He also said that models were made using architects' plans as well as photography and "lots of Google Earth." Unlike other miniature model mega-exhibitions, Gulliver's Gate is proudly a work in progress. Such openness is usually only reserved for traveling railroad model exhibits, where community emerges from informality as enthusiasts flaunt their back-of-house rolling stock. Lighting and other electrics are managed by a nuclear-style control system, the operation of which is on view to the public. An airport scene, designed in collaboration with Ben Krone of Gradient Architecture, is in the works and can also be seen. Africa and Mars too, staff told AN, are being built, but are currently hidden away. Visitors can also make their own models... of themselves. A full-body scanner and 3-D printer allow you to create miniature versions of yourself which you can either take home or leave behind as a permanent “model citizen” of Gulliver’s Gate. Gulliver's Gate can be found at 216 West 44th Street and is open from 10 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. every day (last entry at 9:30 p.m.).
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R.I.P.

New York architect and professor Diane Lewis passes away
[UPDATE 5/5/2107, 5:40 pm EST] A mid-June memorial is being planned to celebrate Diane Lewis's life in architecture, art, and literature. Additional details will be released at www.dianelewisarchitect.com as plans are finalized. [UPDATE 5/2/2107, 12:25 pm EST] This article has been updated to include a statement from Nader Tehrani, dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of the Cooper Union. Diane Lewis, recipient of the 1976 Rome Architecture Prize in Architecture and the 2008 Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, passed away this morning. She was a prominent figure in the contemporary New York architecture scene and distinguished tenured professor at the Cooper Union. Lewis founded her eponymous firm in her native New York City in 1983 after working in the offices of Richard Meier, I.M. Pei and Partners, and Jim Freed, leading projects such as the Jacob Javits Convention Center, MIT Center for Arts and Media, and 499 Park Avenue. Her firm’s projects include the 2006 residence for the dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, the Perlman Conservatory and campus for Paul Rudolph’s Riverview High School in Sarasota, Florida, the Gauchos Basketball Foundation in Harlem, New York, and the HCK Charter School in San Antonio, Texas, as well as art galleries such as Kent Fine Art, Paul Kasmin, Claude Bernard, American Fine Art, and SPOT. She received a Knoll International Modern Main Street award in conjunction with World Monuments fund for the master plan for Riverview High School. In 1982 she was the first woman architect appointed to the full-time faculty at the Cooper Union and also served on many university faculties including Yale, Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Technical University of Berlin, the Architectural Association in London, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She co-edited the Education of an Architect, a book on the work of Cooper Union from 1975 to 1982; in 1989 she received a Graham Foundation grant for her lectures and essays on architecture and surrealism. She was also the task force director of the Urban Institute at the Cooper Union. In addition to this, Lewis also taught at the Pratt Institute in New York. There she taught undergraduate architecture students, working as a visiting professor. After 25 years of independent architecture practice, a monograph was published of her work, entitled DIANE LEWIS: INSIDE-OUT: Architecture New York City in 2007. Her drawings of plans for the Astor Place parking site and others can be found in the Museum of Modern Art permanent collection. Nader Tehrani, dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of the Cooper Union, released the following statement early this afternoon:
Diane H. Lewis, 2017 It is with profound grief and a heavy heart that I share this communication with my students, colleagues, and alumni of The Cooper Union. Today, we lost one of the most beloved and influential voices of our community, architect and professor Diane H. Lewis. Diane Lewis came to The Cooper Union as a student in the Art School in 1968, transferring to Architecture in 1970, and completing her studies in 1976. Immediately upon graduation, she was awarded the Rome Prize in Architecture, making her one of the youngest members to be honored by the American Academy in Rome. Upon her return to the United States, Lewis joined the offices of Richard Meier and Partners and later, I. M. Pei and Partners where she received her early training—this, while also launching her teaching career. Initially a professor at the University of Virginia, Lewis went on to teach as a visitor in many respected programs including Yale University, the Technical University of Berlin, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the University of Toronto, where she held the Frank Gehry Visiting Chair in 2006. But it was here at The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture that she planted her foundations as a radical and committed educator; Lewis was the first woman architect to be appointed to the full-time faculty, and later tenured in 1993. In an age when few dedicate themselves to teaching as a craft, her focus on creating a transformative space of learning will be a central part of her lasting legacy. Indeed, as much as Lewis was a product of Cooper Union, today we can look back at more than thirty years of her contributions and come to realize that we are, in fact, defined by the culture of her teaching. As a practicing architect, Lewis set up her own office in 1983 under the banner of Diane Lewis Architects PC, and she has since led a focused and critical practice concentrating on competitions, urbanism, and built projects known for their exquisite refinement in both plan and detailing. Of those projects, the Studiolo for Colomina and Wigley, the Mews project for Professor Dworkin, and the Kent Gallery all demonstrate the nuance and skill that Lewis brought to her sense of materiality, figuration, and occasion. With a protean intellectual profile, Lewis’s work spoke to the panoramic range she held within her scope; a writer, designer, film-maker, and urbanist, Lewis brought passion to her many activities, often synthesizing her investigations into the many publications she edited and authored. Her most recent book, including the work of several generations of students, Open City: Existential Urbanity is one such example, featuring not only her written work, but also her research on Neo-realist cinema, the role of the civic institution on the making of urbanity, and even book design as a central part of its argument. The practice of Diane Lewis served as a conduit for her inter-disciplinary interests, and she seamlessly navigated between professional practice, scholarly work, and her teaching projects as part of a larger commitment to the discipline. Naturally, as co-editor of the Education of an Architect, Lewis shared a vision about how the commitment to teaching was also part of a social contract to give back to society in productive ways. Exhibited widely, including at the Cooper Hewitt Museum, the Van Alen Institute, and the Galerie Aedes in Berlin, Lewis also gained many accolades such as the John Q. Hejduk Award and nominations for the National Design Award from the Cooper Hewitt and the Daimler Chrysler Award. Diane Lewis was widely recognized as a consummate architect and professor. Loved by students, respected by professional colleagues and debated by academic peers, Lewis defined architecture with equal parts passion and erudition. In recent years, her Design IV urbanism studio was known for its often twelve-hour long final reviews—each one of them a marathon discussion of critical precision and clarified architectural thought. On a more intimate note, I can only say that I will personally miss Diane dearly, most especially the tenacity with which she engaged in fierce architectural debate. Diane’s persevering intellect and commitment to leadership were so ever-present in the School, I can only imagine that both John Hejduk and Anthony Vidler felt her almighty strength in the administration of the school. She led the school symbolically, and when things did not go her way, she led a parallel school of thought alongside the very deans that gave rise to her platform. Her agency represents the very ethos of the key protagonists that a school would want inside its walls. She had a voice, she used it, and she led with it. In the past days and weeks, I have been touched by the many students, alumni, and academic associates who have reached out to me inquiring about her well-being. Diane was loved by many and respected by all. She was fiercely loyal to her students, and she made no secret of her advocacy of the many friends she held dear in both personal and intellectual complicity. To that end, I can only see that this loss is shared far and wide by many. As the Dean of The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, I have the honor of bringing words to the collective sentiments that I believe everyone has voiced to me, and yet, I know that these words do not suffice in face of a deep, collective grief. The presence of our beloved family and friends is real and profound, but in their absence, we also discover that their every lesson, their words of wisdom, humor, and sensibility is something that takes on even more vivid presence precisely because they are no longer here in body. Diane may have left us in person, but her presence will be very much part of the education of many architects to come, and she will continue to speak with strength and clarity in the halls of this institution. As we miss her deeply, we will also have the benefit of her ongoing guidance, the fulfillment of over thirty years of generous giving.
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Preservation Fight

Legal ruling forces Frank Gehry's 8150 Sunset to reconsider historic midcentury modern bank
The debate over what is—and what is not—historically significant enough to save from demolition continues to heat up in Los Angeles, where a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge recently ruled in favor of the preservation of the historic Lytton Savings bank building. Townscape Partners, the developers behind the Gehry Associates–designed 8150 Sunset project, are seeking to demolish the midcentury modern structure so as to have a clean site for the controversial $300 million project. 8150 Sunset will consist of 60,000 square feet of commercial spaces and 249 housing units organized in a cluster of rumpled towers surrounded by plazas. The mixed-use development has received criticism from multiple fronts, including anti-density neighborhood advocates who see the project as incongruous with its surroundings. Detractors have also criticized the project’s parking stall count, saying the project has either too little or too much parking, depending on whom one asks. Preservationists—never to be left out of a good development fight—have waged a quest to save the historic bank building at the center of the recent ruling. The Friends of Lytton Savings group successfully nominated the structure for Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) designation last year, but not before the Los Angeles City Council approved a development scheme for the project that presupposed the bank’s demolition. The Superior Court has determined that the city’s overall project approval was in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a state law meant to defend both natural and built environments from harmful development. CEQA legislation is often used in California for historic preservation aims, especially with regards to culturally-important structures that might lack normative architectural significance. The decision with Lytton, however, was made easier because the project’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) included two development alternatives that incorporated plans for repurposing the building, which was designed by architect Kurt Meyer in 1960. Under CEQA guidelines, historic structures must be incorporated into new developments if the project can still meet its fundamental objectives without demolition. As a result of the ruling, the City’s approval is being set aside and 8150 Sunset will have to either be re-approved to include preserving the historic structure or prove that keeping the structure intact would place an undue burden on the viability of the project.  Of the various groups challenging the project, the L.A. Conservancy has perhaps has the firmest ground to stand on regarding their bid to positively impact the project's outcome. Sparing the Lytton building is a no-brainer, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy, as the structure is an important example of mid-20th-century design and has functioned for its original purpose—the building is currently home to a Chase branch bank—for its entire history. Moreover, according to the organization, the 20,000-square foot structure makes up a small percentage of the 330,000-square-foot project and could feasibly be incorporated into Gehry Partners’ plan for the site. Simply put, it’s unreasonable that the design and development teams should be able to clear a site of historic structures simply for convenience’s sake. In a statement announcing the Superior Court’s decision, Linda Dishman, president and CEO of the L.A. Conservancy said, “We’re very grateful for this decision, and we’re excited that the development project can move forward incorporating the historic Lytton Savings building.” Adrian Scott Fine, director of advocacy at the L.A. Conservancy added, “We’ve worked with many architects and developers to successfully integrate historic places into new development, and now that can happen here.” Scott Fine explained further: “blending old and new is the wave of the future in Los Angeles.” For now, Townscape Partners’ lawyers are evaluating whether to appeal the ruling.
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Ohio Hygge

University of Cincinnati breaks ground on Henning Larsen's first U.S. project
The University of Cincinnati (UC) has broken ground on what will be the first U.S. project for Denmark-based Henning Larsen Architects. The 225,000-square-foot Carl H. Lindner College of Business will take two years to build at a cost of $120 million. Henning Larsen’s design focuses on encouraging interaction and allowing for future flexibility. Specifically designed to work with UC’s West Campus master plan, the building will be a central meeting place for the entire campus. As a nexus of activity, the project is boarded by a new transit stop, the Campus Green, a bustling pedestrian way, the campus Library, and a new plaza. The ground floor interacts with the Campus Green's landscaped mounds and numerous pedestrian paths through varied stepped levels. The green roofscape continues the connection with the surrounding campus via multiple lookout points, all varying in height to address neighboring structures. The roof's curving lines also make reference to the pedestrian paths below. Large open-air atria puncture the four-story building at different levels, bringing in light and air to the heart of the project. The interior space planning aims to bring faculty, students, and the greater Cincinnati business community together. Public functions fill the completely transparent ground level. A lecture hall and auditorium make up the largest programmed spaces, while a seating staircase and indoor and outdoor furniture allow for more informal meetings. Quieter spaces line some of the atria, allowing students to work under natural light. Along with a goal of achieving LEED Gold Certification, the project utilized Henning Larsen’s dedicated sustainability specialists throughout the entire design process. The team analyzed everything from wind forces to solar loads and local microclimates. Simulations based on that data were used to inform the form and orientation of the project. Henning Larsen has lead the design of the project while Cincinnati-based KZF Design is acting as architect of record. The design was chosen through a competition, with the Henning Larsen/KZF team beating out a shortlist that included Foster+Partners . The competition was part of the University’s Signature Architecture Program, which has helped bring work by the likes of Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, Peter Eisenman, and Thom Mayne to the campus.
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Reefer Madness

This Miami studio creates mesmerizing artworks of the city's original architects: corals

This article appears in The Architect’s Newspaper’s April 2017 issue, which takes a deep dive into Florida to coincide with the upcoming AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando (April 27 to 29). We’re publishing the issue online as the Conference approaches—click here to see the latest articles to be uploaded.

“Corals are the first architects on planet earth and the only organism besides humans to create things you can see from space,” said Colin Foord, marine biologist and cofounder of Coral Morphologic, a multimedia aquaculture studio and science lab out of Miami that is as focused on studying and growing corals as it is capturing and sharing their unique relationship to the city. “Miami has been submerged and emerged multiple times over recent and long-term geologic history,” explained Foord. “Coral keystone mined from the Florida Keys was used all over Miami—much of the city is made from marine calcium carbonate, some of which is the coral skeletons themselves. That is the baseline of our metaphors: the similarities between the city being like a coral reef and the coral reef being like a city. A reef is a 3-D ecosystem that is urban life on top of urban life; it’s fast and colorful and full of diversity.”

Coral Morphologic films the corals growing in its lab and then composes unique soundtracks for the videos to create mesmerizing artworks that are equal parts Planet Earth and Acid Test. The films are usually captured in a single shot using high resolution to capture the corals’ unique fluorescent qualities, and sped up to showcase the corals’ movements, which otherwise happen at a rate slower than humans want to watch.

In late February, Coral Morphologic teamed up with independent cinema nonprofit Borscht Corporation, music, arts, and technology festival III Points, and alternative band Animal Collective to create a site-specific performance at the Frank Gehry–designed New World Center in Miami Beach. Using multiple projectors, Foord and his cofounder, musician Jared McKay, screened their coral videos on all five of Gehry’s iconic sails while Animal Collective performed an hour of new music inspired by the reefs. According to Foord, the New World Center has one of the most advanced audio-visual systems in North America and the massive, swooping sails—the largest is 7,000 square feet—lend themselves well to the immersive experience. There are plans to adapt the performance to a planetarium setting in order to bring it to more audiences in the future.

This is the second performance on which Coral Morphologic, Animal Collective, and Borscht Corporation have collaborated: In 2012 they presented a film on the outside of the New World Center. Previously, Coral Morphologic has projected its coral videos on architecture around Miami and created a large-scale installation in 2009 at Miami’s Art Basel. “By projecting corals onto cement and limestone walls, we are sort of referencing the geologic path,” says Foord. “All of the city was once under water, so it’s a very pertinent reminder that the coastline is not a static thing. We are essentially creating artificial reefs because, when the sea level rises and the buildings go under water, the corals will recolonize the cement—essentially, the bones of their ancestors—and they will inherit the city.”

Foord and McKay believe that humans have much to learn from corals, from their slow timescale (there are corals alive in Florida that predate Columbus’s arrival to the New World) to their adaptability. For example, corals now inhabit Biscayne Bay, a formerly brackish, mostly freshwater site turned saltwater bay, and have even glommed onto manmade infrastructure, including highways and artificial islands. They have survived numerous climate shifts, an impressive feat considering that corals are cemented in place and cannot leave if an environment becomes uninhabitable. According to Ford, “Miami has sort of inadvertently become a coral laboratory funded by taxpayers, and if we can begin to understand how coral can adapt and respond to this environmental upheaval then perhaps Miami can be a glimmer of hope in adapting to these changing environmental conditions.”

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1212 Lincoln Road

Perkins + Will unveils renderings of mixed-use Miami Beach development

Perkins + Will has revealed renderings of its new mixed-use complex in Miami Beach, which will anchor one of Miami’s liveliest corners, Alton Road and Lincoln Road Mall. The new structure will house a boutique hotel, European-style food market, retail spaces, and a 450-car parking structure.

Lincoln Road is already home to many modern buildings, such as Frank Gehry’s New World Center and Herzog & de Meuron’s 1111 Lincoln Road, which is part of the appeal according to Jose Gelabert-Navia, Managing Principal on the project. “We love doing projects in Miami Beach, because the architecture is already modern, contemporary, and cutting edge,” he said.

1212 Lincoln Road aims to speak to that tradition and engage the area’s walkable nature, providing a grand exterior staircase for access to the market and a second-floor balcony with views of the pedestrian mall.   

1212 Lincoln Road is scheduled to begin construction in 2017. The design team is led by Design Director and Principal Pat Bosch alongisde Alejandro Branger, Damian Ponton, and Carlos Vilato and Kricket Snow is the Project Manager.

Architect: Perkins + Will Client: Crescent Heights Location: Miami, FL Completion Date: 2018

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Heart of L.A.

L.A. to heal planning scars with ambitious Civic Center Master Plan
The City of Los Angeles is moving quickly in its efforts to rework the historic Civic Center district as it aims to rectify nagging post-World War II era planning and building legacies amid a period of intense development within surrounding Downtown Los Angeles neighborhoods. The areas around the district—roughly encompassed by the 101 Freeway, Judge John Aiso Street, 1st Street and Grand Avenue—are already undergoing broad change, including the recent completion of the SOM-designed Los Angeles U.S District Courthouse and the forthcoming First and Broadway park by Mia Lehrer+Associates and OMA. The area is also due to receive a series of high-rise residential towers from Canadian developers Onni Group, including a boxy scheme by Gensler and a collection of pointed condo towers by AC Martin. The draft plan aims to convert the purpose-built bureaucratic and administrative quarter into a “Civic Innovation District”—a mixed-use neighborhood containing street-fronting retail, startup office space, broad pedestrian paths, a bounty of public parks, and high-rise residential housing. In March, the Los Angeles City Council voted to approve the new Civic Center Master Plan—a document based on a study by multi-service firm IBI Group that would guide the redevelopment of the area. The plan envisions adding 1.2 million square feet of office space to the area, as well as roughly 1.1 million square feet of housing, and at least 217,500 square feet of retail space, all the while reworking surrounding streets and blocks into a network of interconnected, axially-driven, pedestrian-friendly promenades. Most controversially, instituting the plan involves demolishing a variety of structures, including the historic but socially-problematic former Los Angeles Police Department headquarters from 1955—designed by architect Welton Becket and known as Parker Center. The modernist-style City Hall East building and the Metropolitan Detention Center, a 757-bed federal prison, would also be demolished via the plan, among other structures. Another aim of the plan is to establish City Hall as the visual and conceptual locus for an area that would stitch together the Bunker Hill, Little Tokyo, Arts District, and El Pueblo neighborhoods. The plan would be implemented over six phases beginning later this year with the demolition of Parker Center. That structure was recently denied historic status and is headed toward demolition, to be replaced with a high-rise tower containing 712,500 square feet of office space and 37,500 square feet of ground floor retail. The existing City Hall South building will be replaced starting in 2019 with 569,000 square feet of housing and 90,000 square feet of retail uses in a podium-style tower that would also create a paseo between itself and the City Hall East building. The housing tower would face the Morphosis-designed CalTrans Building from 2004 and would sit diagonally from the new Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters building by AECOM from 2009 that made the Parker Center structure functionally redundant. Starting in 2021, the scheme calls for converting the existing Los Angeles Mall into a 390-foot tall tower complex containing 675,000 square feet of government office, commercial, and flexible spaces. The podium-style building will leave generous, wedge-shaped areas along the ground as open space. A fourth phase would bring another 520,000 square feet of housing and 90,000 square feet of retail to the southern portion of the block containing the Parker Center’s replacement between 2024 and 2027. Planning documents show those structures as a series of wedge-shaped housing towers and low commercial buildings organized around a continuation of the paseo started on the block just to the north. This paseo would connect to the booming Little Tokyo and Arts District neighborhoods, which are due to receive a slew of high-rise, mixed-use developments along the Alameda Corridor, as well. Following that development—the document times phase five to start in 2027—the Metropolitan Detention Center at the eastern edge of the block will make way for a 360,000-square-foot government office and retail tower. It is unclear whether the prison will be replaced locally or elsewhere. The final phase of the plan would demolish the modernist-style City Hall East building, replacing the striking 13-story tower with a small cultural building and a civic plaza. The plan, as specified, would be completed sometime between 2030 and 2032. A recently-released rendering by IBI Group describes the area as a more uniformly 12-20 story tall cluster of towers separated by broad swaths of open space. The plan—more radically—also envisions placing a lid over a three-block section of the 101 Freeway currently dividing the Civic Center from the El Pueblo and Union Station areas. The connection would make the Civic Center area accessible to the currently-under-construction $410 million La Plaza de Cultura project by Johnson Fain, Benchmark Contractors, and the non-profit Cesar Chavez Foundation. That project aims to bring 355 housing units at 46,000-square feet of retail space to the area.   Once completed, the Civic Center Master Plan has the potential to convert the sleepy, bureaucratic district into the lynchpin of a continuous, mixed-use center spanning from Pershing Square at the heart of downtown to the western banks of the Los Angeles River on one end and Chinatown on the other. The areas between the Civic Center and the Arts District are expected to receive a series of stops along the new Regional Connector subway line, a condition that will surely drive further residential and commercial growth in the area. The plan was recently approved by the Los Angeles City Council’s Entertainment and Facilities Committee. It now heads for consideration by the full city council, and eventually, the mayor’s office.
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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.