Search results for "michael maltzan"

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SRHT at a Crossroads

Mike Alvidrez, CEO of L.A.’s Skid Row Housing Trust, to step down next year
In an effort to reorient one of the country’s most innovative homelessness alleviation organizations around a new generation of leadership, longtime Skid Row Housing Trust (SRHT) CEO Mike Alvidrez has decided to step down from his post effective sometime next summer. Alvidrez’s tenure with SRHT has spanned 27 years so far, with 13 of those years spent at its helm. Under Alvidrez’s stewardship, Los Angeles–based SRHT has grown to become a leader in re-housing initiatives via the implementation of the “housing first” model. Under this model, individuals are afforded permanent housing first, with other supportive services following afterward. SRHT has implemented the model through a series of high-profile collaborations with Los Angeles area architects in an effort to bring thoughtful design to contemporary models of American social housing. The organization has collaborated on multiple projects with Michael Maltzan Architecture, including the firm’s much-lauded prefabricated Star Apartments and most recently on the Crest Apartments in the San Fernando Valley. SRHT also recently completed work on The Six apartments, a 52-unit complex by Los Angeles–based Brooks + Scarpa aimed toward housing veterans who have previously experienced homelessness. Regarding the project, Angela Brooks of Brooks + Scarpa described how the firm emphasized the need to create a multi-layered sense of public and private space for the complex. She said, “Where’s the threshold between the neighborhood and your house? If it’s just a single line, that’s too thin. We want it to be deep with a sense of public, semi-public, and then finally private [spaces] along the way.” In a statement announcing his planned departure, Alvidrez stated: “The public perception of supportive housing has forever changed thanks to our partnerships with renowned architects to design beautiful residential and community spaces that foster reconnection, healing, and dignity.” Alvidrez’s announcement comes after the success a pair of SRHT-supported ballot measures aimed at increasing funding for supportive housing services in recent elections. Those initiatives—Measure HHH in the City of Los Angeles and Measure H in Los Angeles County—aim to provide funding and support for the construction of 10,000 supportive housing units, among other initiatives, a windfall that will surely impact SRHT’s initiatives moving forward. For now, the organization is going to take its time to transition to new leadership. Alvidrez announced that SRHT will begin reviewing applicants later this year and he would stay on with the organization as an ambassador after the fact. See the SRHT website for more information.
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More Green, Less Concrete

New L.A. River restoration renderings revealed by Mia Lehrer, AECOM, Gruen Associates and others
A partnership between the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, AECOM, Gruen Associates, Chee Salette, WSP,  CH2M, Mia Lehrer + Associates (MLA), and Tetra Tech has produced preliminary visioning plans for a segment of the Los Angeles River running through Downtown Los Angeles. The dramatic proposals aim to reconfigure a several-mile stretch of the concrete-lined river running from the southern tip of the Frogtown neighborhood north of Downtown to the Redondo Junction at its far southern end. Each of the seven teams was given a separate segment of the river to reconfigure and asked to take into account river-adjacent projects currently under development like BIG’s 670 Mesquit, among others. The teams were also asked to anticipate future planning approaches, including private-public partnerships and a potential extension of the Red Line subway to the Arts District. The proposals, according to a project website, are meant to focus on increasing pedestrian connectivity to the river while also “embracing bold, world-class design.” Gruen Associates, Barclay to Spring Street: Gruen Associates’ scheme seeks to reconfigure a narrow stretch of riverfront between Interstate 110 and the northern border of Chinatown by covering over an existing rail yard with a meadow and elevated public paths. WSP, Spring Street to Cesar Chavez Avenue: WSP’s proposal aims to create a series of stepped terraces that gradually meet the existing river bottom. The terraces expand as they reach the river, creating a broad, swoopy promenade. CH2M, Cesar Chavez Avenue to 1st Street: CH2M’s scheme creates a dramatic creek just south of Interstate 101 that rises up to meet the northern edge of the Arts District neighborhood. Renderings included with the proposal showcase broad bicycle and pedestrian paths as well as integrated seating and meandering trails. Chee Salette, 1st Street to 4th Street: Chee Salette’s proposal calls for a densely-packed sculpture garden sandwiched between Michael Maltzan Architecture’s (MMA) One Santa Fe complex and the L.A. River. The scheme features a river crossing that traverses the L.A. River’s bottom. Like the previous concepts, the scheme envisions placing a broad, stepped cap over the existing Metro rail yard that runs parallel to the waterway, where the Red Line extension would go.   Mia Lehrer + Associates, 4th Street to 7th Street: MLA’s proposal extends work the firm has proposed for the adjacent 670 Mesquit project—MLA is landscape architect for that project, as well—by adding a riverine forest, wetlands, and stormwater filtration pools to the eastern banks of the river. The scheme also envisions creating a connection between the forthcoming 6th Street bridge park underneath the new MMA-designed 6th Street bridge and the nearby Hollenbeck Park. AECOM, 7th Street to Olympic Boulevard: The AECOM proposal aims to utilize a network of new pedestrian bridges over the river to connect the western and eastern banks of the river around a segment of the Arts District that has seen several new development proposals in recent months, including a new SoHo House outpost and an 110-unit live/work complex by Studio One Eleven. The AECOM scheme proposes a series of elevated park islands resting on diminutive feet and focuses on improving a Department of General Services-owned lot with demonstration gardens and a new solar farm. Tetra Tech, Olympic Boulevard to 26th Street: The scheme for the final leg of the study area includes the grounds surrounding the vacant Sears, Roebuck & Company Mail Order Building, which is currently slated to be redeveloped by Izek Shomof into a mixed-use complex. The Tetra Tech scheme envisions a new bridge at East Washington Boulevard over the river as well as a series of terraced gardens along the western banks of the river as well as a covered promenade along the eastern banks. No word yet on which, if any, of these proposals will actually be built. A budget for the bridge-heavy collection of ideas has not been released. See the LA River Design Dialogue (3D) website for more information.
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New Housing, New Look

SRHT plans 100 supportive housing units in L.A.’s Industrial District
Skid Row Housing Trust (SRHT) and Killefer Flammang Architects (KFA) have unveiled plans for a 100-unit supportive housing complex in Los Angeles’s Industrial District neighborhood, home to the city’s Skid Row. The 100 units will be divided between two structures located on the same block. A larger, signature structure featuring white stucco massing, canted walls, and panel-clad protrusions is to be located at 519 E. 7th Street and will provide 81 new units for the neighborhood. A smaller, 19-unit building currently owned and operated by SRHT located at 647 S. San Pedro Street will be rehabilitated as part of the project, as well.   A recent report filed with the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council contains renderings depicting only the larger structure at the corner of 7th and San Pedro Streets, which features punched window openings, and appears to be organized around a central courtyard overlooked by exterior circulation. The corner complex contains a differentiated ground floor that will contain offices, supportive services, as well as a community room and laundry facilities. The ground floor mass will contain a rooftop terrace above a portion of the office areas. The structure’s massing and ornamentation suggest a somewhat more traditional Los Angeles apartment typologies, somewhat of a departure from SRHT’s more formally-aggressive projects from recent years. SRHT, a veteran non-profit housing developer, is currently quite busy building a bevy of new projects. The organization debuted two striking developments last year alone—The Six, a much-lauded 51-unit development by Brooks+Scarpa and the Crest Apartments by Michael Maltzan Architects, a more recently completed 64-unit complex in the San Fernando Valley. KFA and SRHT have worked together previously, most recently in 2015. That year, the team completed renovations on the New Pershing Apartments, a 69-unit Single Room Occupancy (SRO) residence contained within Downtown Los Angeles’s only remaining Victorian era structure.
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Green Light

Olafur Eliasson invites refugees and asylum seekers to craft lighting designs at The Moody Center for the Arts

The Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University opened in Houston to much fanfare with exhibitions by practitioners including Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and Japanese collective teamLab to kick off its first season. Green light – An artistic workshop is the brainchild of Eliasson in collaboration with the Thyssen Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) of Vienna. In its first trip to the U.S., the workshop aims to give refugees and asylum seekers a “green light” to participate in a variety of programs to elicit creativity and community. The workshop invites participants to construct modular green lamps designed by Eliasson out of recycled materials, which can stand alone as singular units or be stacked into more complex constructions. The hope for the work is to create an environment where communities can collide and create together in a playful and collaborative environment. “Green light is an act of welcoming, addressed both to those who have fled hardship and instability in their home countries and to the residents of the cities receiving them,” said Eliasson in a statement. “I hope Green light shines light on some of the challenges and responsibilities arising from the current refugee crisis in Europe and throughout the world.”

Green light – An artistic workshop The Moody Center for the Arts at Rice University 6100 Main Street, Houston Through May 6, 2017

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Rice University

First look at Michael Maltzan’s Moody Center for the Arts in Houston
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The Moody Center for the Arts, designed by Los Angeles–based Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA), is a 50,000-square-foot, $30 million center located on the campus of Rice University. It serves the campus and general public as an experimental platform for making and showcasing works across disciplines through deliberately flexible interior spaces.
  • Facade Manufacturer Endicott (brick units)
  • Architects Michael Maltzan Architecture
  • Facade Installer Linbeck (contractor); Dee Brown, Inc (masonry subcontractor); Duke Glass (glazing systems)
  • Facade Consultants Thornton Tomasetti (facade consultant); Guy Nordenson and Associates (structural engineer)
  • Location Houston, TX
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System steel frame, masonry veneer, curtain wall
  • Products Manganese Ironspot norman masonry brick units by Endicott; first floor curtain wall & second floor windows by Oldcastle; Glazing by Guardian
The building is generally composed of three long narrow blocks, set along an east-west campus grid. The structure references typological buildings and their related exterior quadrangle spaces on Rice University’s campus, which stem from an early 1900s masterplan by Boston architect Ralph Adams Cram. "We had this fantasy that, if you could take all of the campus and squish together its long rectangular buildings with its exterior quads, you would combine both formal and informal ways of making connections and learning," said Michael Maltzan, founder of Michael Maltzan Architecture. "In that regard, we were alluding to the Moody as a microcosm of the entire Rice campus." The facade appears quite massive from far away, but as you get closer, it is revealed that the facade is actually quite thin and permeable. This is most apparent through a "floating" outdoor canopy that frames an arcade running parallel along the building's primary north elevation. The facade here is framed by steel and integrates a secondary steel web that spans from the second floor to the roof continuously along the entire facade. This web encloses “lanterns,” or volumetric voids in the massing of the building, and wraps around starburst-shaped columns which bookend the composition. These iconic columns carry the load of the steel and masonry structure at each end of the building. A double angle detail provides a crisp bearing shelf for the brick facade. At the east lantern, the brick surface is installed as screen wall configuration. To achieve this, threaded stainless steel rods were integrated into the hollow cells of the brick units, which were installed in a 1/3 running bond pattern. Andrea Manning, associate at Michael Maltzan Architecture, said this allowed for selective bricks to be omitted, producing a unique perforated floating masonry screen. "It was a technical challenge to make brick work this way while maintaining a light and delicate structure," she said. Maltzan said this building uniquely brings together a lot of programmatic elements they have worked on in the past. "There aren't that many examples of this new type of building whose ambition is to be [a] extremely cross-disciplinary hype-collaborative center where lots of different unexpected individuals, groups, artists, technical people all come together. One of the biggest challenges is to anticipate the wide range of activities that might take place without any of that being determined yet when designing the building. To try and build in the right amount of flexibility without flexibility completely taking over the building in such a significant way that it compromises any parts of the program. Getting this right was a big learning curve for everyone involved on the project." The brick is a dark manganese ironspot brick, which Maltzan says produces a surface that is animated by the dynamic quality of the atmosphere of the site. “Brick often feels like it is very stable and unchangeable. The manganese brick is black, but over the course of the day with changing lighting conditions, it can take on the appearance of metal, deep purple, or sky blue. That quality, along with the thinness of the assembly gives a new reading and character to brick which we are very excited about.” Beyond the facade, at the heart of the Moody is a double-height “Creative Open Studio” that anchors the building in plan and section. This space was imagined by the architects as an interior version of the typical campus quad. “This interior landscape brings the most diverse programmatic functions into contact with one another, while opening views out to the campus,” said Maltzan. The cross-disciplinary building establishes a new arts district on campus, with proximity to the Shepherd School of Music and the James Turrell Twilight Epiphany Skyspace on the Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion. The facility will be programmed, but it’s also a place where the public can be inspired, with public shows and free admittance year-round.
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Mid-Rise to the Occasion

Brooks+Scarpa proposes mixed-use building clad in corrugated aluminum screens for North Hollywood
Filings with the Los Angeles Department of City Planning (LADCP) indicate that Los Angeles-based architects Brooks+Scarpa are working on a new, 60-unit mixed-use project in the city’s North Hollywood neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. The LADCP documents indicate that the new five-story, mixed-use project will contain six units dedicated to Very Low Income Households and 2,826 square feet of ground floor commercial space. The complex will also contain one level of underground parking with 90 parking stalls. The building is being designed to a maximum height of 60 feet and will contain 44 one-bedroom units, 12 studio units, and 4 two-bedroom units. It will also feature a collection of shared leisure spaces, including a central courtyard, outdoor deck area, and a community room. The complex is articulated as a building mass extruded from the footprint of the building. That mass is carved away in certain areas, particularly along southern and northern exposures—Camarillo and Bakman Streets, respectively—where the facade gives way to generous, interior courtyard areas. The Camarillo Street frontage contains the largest openings, creating a street-fronting, three-story plaza located above the building’s retail level. Distinctively, the building’s fifth level caps the front facade, creating a large entry portal to the building’s interior. The complex features tall and narrow bands of casement windows and sliding doors and is clad throughout in a white, corrugated aluminum screen wall system. The San Fernando Valley, a densely-populated and diverse region north of Downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood, is currently seeing a boom in the construction of mid-rise, mixed-use projects, including the conversion of an outdated Westfield Corporation shopping mall by HKS Architects, Johnson Fain, and Togawa Smith Martin Architects and the development of permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless individuals by the Skid Row Housing Trust and Michael Maltzan Architects. This Brooks+Scarpa project is located adjacent to the Red Line subway line and Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit line. Developers HL Capital Holdings II have not released a construction timeline for the project.
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Measure HHH

San Fernando Valley poised to tackle homelessness with new $1.2 billion housing initiative

The San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles has a reputation as a quintessentially suburban enclave. But, as the inner-city areas of Los Angeles have begun to embrace the hallmarks of traditional urbanism—increased housing density, fixed-transit infrastructure, and a dedication to pedestrian space—the valley has found itself parroting those same shifts in its own distinct way.

One area where this transformation is taking shape is housing, specifically, transitional and supportive housing for formerly homeless individuals.

According to the Los Angeles Homelessness Services Authority, the number of homeless people in the San Fernando Valley increased by 36 percent last year. Though the increase was significantly lower throughout L.A. County overall last year, one thing is clear: The number of people without homes in the areas around Los Angeles’s urban core area is growing. A similar trend is playing out across the country. Not only are urban homeless populations being increasingly displaced out toward the suburban areas by gentrification, but greater numbers of suburbanites themselves are becoming homeless, as well, due to a fraying social net and systematic income inequality.

Dire though the situation might be, Los Angeles—and the San Fernando Valley in particular—is currently poised to make strides in re-housing currently homeless individuals living in quasi-suburban environments by building a collection of new housing projects across the city. That’s because this November, 76 percent of L.A.’s voters supported Measure HHH, the city’s Homelessness Reduction and Prevention, Housing, and Facilities Bond. The initiative will raise $1.2 billion in bonds to pay for the construction of up to 10,000 units of housing for the homeless. The victory represents a shift in collective perspective that goes hand-in-hand with changing urban attitudes: As transit, density, and pedestrianism spread, so too has a visceral awareness that the city’s homeless population has been wholly abandoned by society and that action is overdue.

The passage of Measure HHH represents an opportunity for architects to assert themselves in civic and cultural discourse at an incredibly meaningful scale. And as much as the valley has begun to accept increased density, so too is it likely to see its fair share of new transitional and supportive housing as a result.

Already, the Skid Row Housing Trust (SRHT), a local affordable housing provider known for its focus on design quality, has begun to expand into neighborhoods beyond Skid Row. The organization opened a new set of apartments designed by Los Angeles–based architects Brooks + Scarpa this summer in the MacArthur Park neighborhood just west of Downtown Los Angeles. The project, called The Six, is the group’s first development with permanent supportive housing specifically for veterans. The name of the complex comes from the military shorthand, “got your six,” which means “I’ve got your back.”

The complex is designed around a central, planted courtyard and is expected to receive LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. It features solar panels on the roof and ground-level supportive services for the residents, with a large public courtyard located on the second floor. Units rise up around the perimeter of the courtyard along a single-loaded corridor and are capped by a roof terrace and edible garden. The firm also calibrated the building’s architectural massing in order to respond to passive cooling and lighting strategies and features selectively glazed exposures as well as a courtyard layout that facilitates passive lighting and ventilation.

Another project under development by SRHT is Michael Maltzan Architecture’s (MMA) Crest Apartments in Van Nuys in the San Fernando Valley. Crest Apartments will deliver 64 affordable housing units for formerly homeless veterans. The building is laid out as a long, stepped housing block raised on a series of piers above multifunctional hard- and soft-landscaped areas. The long and narrow site shapes the complex such that the building’s mass steps around in plan as it climbs in height, creating vertical bands of windows aimed toward the street and side yard in the process. The ground floor of the complex contains supportive service areas as well as a clinic and community garden. The building recently finished construction and residents are beginning to move in.

The future of housing efforts in the valley is also being tackled by students at University of Southern California (USC), where a studio funded by the nonprofit Martin Architecture and Design Workshop (MADWORKSHOP) is aiming to develop a rapid-re-housing prototype to be deployed across the valley. The studio, formally unrelated to Measure HHH, is led by Sofia Borges, acting director at MADWORKSHOP and R. Scott Mitchell, assistant professor of practice at USC. The professors tasked architecture students with studying the spatial implications of homelessness at the individual person’s scale.

Ultimately, the studio, with nondenominational ministry Hope of the Valley as its client, developed the beginnings of a single-occupancy housing prototype that could be mass-produced and temporarily deployed to selected vacant sites in as little as two weeks. The cohort spent the semester meeting with officials in the city government, including the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, to work on an actionable plan for implementing their prototype. The students built a full-scale mock-up of the 96-square-foot unit for their final review and detailed plans for how the unit might be aggregated into larger configurations as a sort of first-response to help people transition from living on the streets to occupying more formal dwellings like The Six or Crest Apartments.

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Hammer Time

Michael Maltzan Architecture to expand Hammer Museum
Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA) and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles have announced plans for a 40,000-square-foot, multi-year expansion to the museum’s existing facilities at the foot of the University of California, Los Angeles campus. The newly-announced additions and changes come as MMA completes renovations to several existing galleries in the museum. That project has seen MMA consolidate existing spaces to enable a continuous, 10,000-square-foot gallery space, a programmatic requirement necessary for hosting most major traveling exhibitions. Those renovated galleries will debut to the public this weekend and feature new exhibitions with pieces by American sculptor Jimmie Durham and French painter Jean Dubuffet. In a press release announcing the expansion, Hammer Museum Director Ann Philbin said, “After years of continuous growth, the Hammer is in need of a physical expansion and upgrade to provide more art for our audiences, more places to study, and more places to gather.” The next set of renovations will build on existing capabilities by increasing the museum’s exhibition space by 60% and will include the addition of a new gallery dedicated to works on paper and special collections, in addition to creating a new museum store. Plans also call for increasing community spaces by 20,000 square feet. Renderings released by the architect depict white-walled gallery spaces with minimal detailing and blonde wood floors. MMA’s renovations will also include re-programming the ground floor facade along Wilshire Boulevard to increase transparency between the interiors and the street. In the same press release, Maltzan said, “The Hammer has become an essential destination in Los Angeles. This transformation will make it dramatically more visible and inviting, more connected, more immersive. It will mark a major new chapter for what the Hammer is, and what it can be.” MMA has a long list of previous projects at the museum, including designs for the museum’s Billy Wilder Theater in 2006, renovations to the museum’s courtyard in 2012, and the John V. Tunney Bridge, built in 2015. The Hammer Museum is located along the ground and lower floors of the 16-story Occidental Petroleum Building, a midcentury office tower originally designed by architect Claud Beelman in 1962. This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect’s Newspaper’s coverage of your city and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.
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Amazebowls

Traditional masonry vaulting inspired the sculptural ceiling of this L.A. eatery

Amazebowls, a casual health food chain that began as a food truck, recently opened its first brick-and-mortar storefront in Michael Maltzan Architecture’s (MMA) One Santa Fe building in Los Angeles.

The storefront space was designed by 64North, a Los Angeles–based architecture, branding, and product design firm with deep ties to the building: Cofounder and design director Wil Carson was a designer at MMA for a decade and worked on One Santa Fe. Carson described the project as an opportunity to productively engage with the recent iconic structure by designing an “animated element within the larger project, creating a modest yet dramatic experience at the southern terminus of One Santa Fe.”

For the 600-square-foot storefront, 64North drew inspiration from traditional architectural forms, namely masonry vaulting. Carson explained that the project “recalls the classic form of a series of domes, assembled here in a celebratory, contemporary way, as they are individually scaled and distorted, intersecting to create a non-uniform whole.” The designers filled the store with a few key elements, including a sculptural ceiling made of CNC-milled, high-density EPS foam that has been plastered over, a sinuous, maple wood panel accent wall, and a semi-circular stone counter lit by gold-painted Pablo Swell pendant lights. The lofted ceiling extends beyond the curtain wall glazing along Santa Fe Avenue to denote a small exterior seating area located beneath an extended overhang.

Amazebowls 300 S. Santa Fe Avenue, Los Angeles Tel: 310-384-2202 Architect: 64North

This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect’s Newspaper’s coverage of your city and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.

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Critical Thinking

Our 12 top building reviews of 2016
The Architect's Newspaper strives to bring you candid and insightful takes on top projects from across the U.S. Here we've gathered some of our best reviews, which range from critical to commending and everything in between. (See the rest of our Year in Review 2016 articles here.) World Trade Center Transit Hub by Santiago Calatrava Architects & Engineers Santiago Calatrava’s WTC Transit Hub opened with much anticipation and mixed reviews. AN reached out to New York’s architects, designers, and engineers to hear their thoughts on the structure. One Santa Fe by Michael Maltzan Architecture Architect Michael Maltzan describes his One Santa Fe as an example of “anticipatory architecture”—exercises in form making that endow architecture with the power to productively shape urban policy, planning, and the city at large. Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) by Diller Scofidio + Renfro It is impossible to visit the new BAMPFA without inducing comparisons to DS+R's The Broad, even though the two museums—one budget-minded, one blockbuster—share few common approaches and features. 3595 Broadway by Magnusson Architecture and Planning 3595 Broadway’s non-confrontational formal language visualizes critical conditions about how Columbia University positions itself when speaking to their ivy-league-educated audience in their Manhattanville and Medical Center buildings in comparison to the public around their 3595 Broadway building at 148th street. The Salt Shed by Dattner Architects and WXY There's a collection of buildings in a city that always strike one as other, as something not easily reduced to the events of inhabitation. One example in downtown Manhattan that testifies to this quality is lower west side’s new Salt Shed. The Whitney by Renzo Piano Building Workshop A year after the initial “wait and see,” it is time to call the Renzo Piano–designed Whitney building what it really is: An architectural tourist trap. Pico Branch Library by Koning Eizenberg Architecture (KEA) The Pico library branch doesn't privilege one side of its park over the other, and its experiment in neighborhood connectivity is most significant in this spirit of quiet assertion—that a building can possess a multitude of functions, but is only successful in doing so if it remains a place of enjoyment and discovery for everyone. Gordon Parks Arts Hall by Valerio Dewalt Train Associates (VDTA) The University of Chicago features an impressive collection of buildings by notable architects: Holabird & Root, Frank Lloyd Wright, Eero Saarinen, Mies van der Rohe, César Pelli, Rafael Viñoly, Jeanne Gang, and more. In October 2015, Chicago–based Valerio Dewalt Train Associates (VDTA) joined these prestigious ranks with their Gordon Parks Arts Hall, the latest addition to the University of Chicago Laboratory School. The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) by J. Max Bond of Davis Brody Bond, Phil Freelon, David Adjaye, and SmithGroupJJR The NMAAHC truly delivers something that few pieces of architecture can: It is a cascade of metaphors for collectivity, but is also in harmony with its content and program. Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center of Columbia University Medical Center by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) Nearly four decades since Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio began the collaboration that today is DS+R, with the Vagelos Center they have completed their most perfectly resolved building, an amalgam of their interests and the lessons learned from earlier projects. Vessel by Thomas Heatherwick When Thomas Heatherwick unveiled his design for a new public landmark called Vessel at Hudson Yards, questions abounded. What is it? What will it do to the neighborhood? And what does it say that Stephen Ross, the president and CEO of Related Companies, the primary developer of Hudson Yards, is financing the entire $250 million piece by himself? Center for Character and Leadership Development (CCLD) at the Air Force Academy by SOM Sited next to Walter Netsch's virtuosic 1963 Cadet Chapel, the CCLD is an artful study in conflict avoidance, restraint, and strategic power projection.
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Mood Books

Styled like illuminated manuscripts, Lari Pittman’s paintings stand in a Michael Maltzan Architecture-designed exhibition

Lari Pittman: Mood Books, features an exhibition design by Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA) and is currently on view at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. Pittman’s works consist of six large-scale art books that contain a total of 65 hallucinogenic paintings styled by the artist in the manner of illuminated manuscripts. Michael Maltzan described Pittman’s works to The Architect’s Newspaper during a recent studio visit as “architectural in scale,” which the firm sought to accommodate via an elaborate and expressive series of billowing, stark white pedestals. MMA’s lofted forms serve to highlight the weighty books, with the smooth, white-painted plywood reliquaries accentuating the bulk and eye-popping color of Pittman’s paintings. The pedestals connect to form one long sequence, an alternating display of spreads that will change throughout the course of the exhibition’s duration as the book pages are turned by gallery attendants.

Lari Pittman: Mood Books The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens 1151 Oxford Road San Marino, CA Through February 20

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Beach Party

L.A.’s Playa Vista is becoming “Silicon Beach” and plays host to top architecture firms

The Playa Vista neighborhood on Los Angeles’s west side is quickly becoming Southern California’s answer to Silicon Valley, as it plays host to a growing contingent of technology-focused companies like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, and WeWork. And as capital, brainpower, and new residents flow into the area, so too have big-name architecture firms with high-minded designs.

The Playa Vista tract was originally owned by airline mogul Howard Hughes, who used the ocean-adjacent expanse as the manufacturing facility and airstrip where he built his famous Hercules (Spruce Goose) airplane. President Bill Clinton designated the 1.3-square-mile area as one of six national pilot projects of the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing in 1998, and the property began its redevelopment as a mixed-use neighborhood in 2002. In the years since, the 460-acre area, partially master-planned by Los Angeles–based Moule & Polyzoides, has seen its population boom to over 10,000 residents. In recent years, the area has gained the moniker “Silicon Beach,” as technology companies originally based in the nearby communities of Venice and Santa Monica have outgrown their initial outposts, expanding the technology industry’s footprint southward.

Last year, Google signed on to lease 319,000 square feet of space in the Hercules Campus, a complex redeveloped by Brenda Levin and Associates and EPT Design for the Ratkovich Company, including the 200- by 700-foot Hercules building in which Spruce Goose was designed. The team restored the building, adding pedestrian-oriented amenities to the complex while also converting the historic structure into a series of soundstages and tech-friendly offices.

Michael Maltzan Architecture, which designed the eight-acre Playa Vista Central Park in 2010 with Office of James Burnett (OJB), is adding a new 425,300 square foot office complex called The Brickyard. The Brickyard is also beind developed with OJB. The new complex, currently under construction, will feature partially-sunken landscaped parking areas that aim to extend the park outward into the office zones. The office structures, articulated as a maze of stacked, shifted, and offset volumes, are made up of two principal masses: one long office block that bends at two elbows in order to frame the aforementioned parking deck and a singular, six-story office tower. Both buildings feature punched openings as well as a variety of delicately-articulated access points that connect the parking and ground-level areas with what’s above. The complex will include a 9,000-square-foot daycare facility and will help fulfill Playa Vista’s goal of becoming a full-service neighborhood.

Gensler has also been busy at Playa Vista, undertaking the architectural repositioning of four existing office spaces in its Playa Jefferson complex. Vantage Property Investors has announced a tech-focused project dubbed “Building E,” which will encompass another large office structure designed for creative collaboration. The structure, undertaken with 360 Construction Group and AHBE Landscape Architects, will bring 200,000 square feet of open plan creative office space to the district, with large expanses of glass, terraced floor plates, and a cantilevered anchor office space. Li Wen, design director and principal at Gensler, detailed several key aspects of the design, including “side-core configurations that allow open floorplates, direct access to and abundance of private outdoor space, operable windows, sawtooth skylights, thinner floorplates for natural ventilation and deep penetration of natural light, and flat slab construction that provides for 13-foot ceiling heights.” The ocean-oriented project is located adjacent to the “lifestyle amenity-rich” Runway at Playa Vista Apartments by Johnson Fain.

Last but not least, Shimoda Design Group and OJB completed work in 2015 on The Collective, a 200,150-square-foot, LEED Gold office park complex designed for Tishman Speyer that features five two-story buildings clad in distinctive, tilt-up concrete panels (seen at the top of the article). These panels, interspersed with expanses of glass, are topped by zigzagging, metal-clad roofs. The campus connects the humdrum of office life directly to the adjacent outdoor areas via a series of landscaped paths, bringing in the sensitive Ballona and Bluff Creek wetlands that run alongside Playa Vista’s northern and southern edges. With new lease agreements being signed almost by the day and the careful, meticulous process of filling in the district’s vacant parcels fully underway, Playa Vista looks more and more like a sure bet for L.A.’s growing roster of creative offices spaces.