We heard back in April that architecture giant Gensler's move to Downtown LA was spurred largely by a million dollar enticement arranged with the city. But it's only now that we get to see the details behind the move. The LA Times' Steve Lopez was able to dig up the emails that set the process in motion, and they include corporate requests to pave the way for federal community development block grants (usually reserved for low income communities) to go to Gensler. The emails were sent from big-time developer Thomas Property Group to an aide in councilperson Jan Perry's office. This seamless connection between business and government, we all know, is how things work in LA. But it's rare to "look inside the sausage factory," as Lopez puts it.
Posts tagged with "Gensler":
As we've noted, architecture giant Gensler is moving from Santa Monica to Downtown LA (a move that has seen its share of controversy lately thanks to the firm's city-provided subsidy). With the help of three talented students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo's Professional Studio program, the firm has put together a video about their new 'hood. It documents Downtown's dramatic growth and change over the years, and offers predictions and suggestions for its future. Downtown Los Angeles from tam thien tran on Vimeo. Their intriguing ideas include: putting parking on the periphery and closing the rest to cars; keeping production local; developing a new ground plane in the sky; and transferring cars' kinetic motion into energy. Wishful thinking, of course, but that's a good thing in a studio meant to be a "marriage between reality and mythology." The studio was led by Gensler Design Directors Shawn Gehle and Li Wen and the three students/filmmakers/visionaries were Sarah Fleming, Tam Thien Tran, and Toon Virochpoka.
Hem Sweet Hem. We love this quirky story from our friends at Curbed. The Swedish-based IKEA is well on itsway to worldwide domination of the budget-furniture market -- and who doesn't love wandering through the cavernous stores and imagining life in the mini habitats arranged throughout the store? Photographer Christian Gideon sure did. His latest project documents what life might look like if you lived in one. Subsidy Switch. LA's Mayor Villaraigosa promised not to spend any taxpayer money to a proposed football stadium in the city, but the project's lead architect is another matter entirely. According to LA Weekly, the mayor is sending $1 million slated for the city's poor to lead-architect Gensler as they prepare to move their offices from Santa Monica to downtown LA. Elvis Goes Danish. Think living at IKEA was strange enough? Well, the Historic Sites Blog hopes to top that. Apparently there is now a replica of Graceland in Denmark. Yes, Denmark. If those photos weren't enough, the BBC has a brief video of the Danish dupe. Empire Example. According to gbNYC, the Empire State Building plans to be in the LEED when it comes to retrefotting historic buildings. Though owner Anthony Malkin, the man behind the green curtain, didn't set out to achieve the green label for one of the city's highest profile building, he's apparently changed his tune.
Artist Stephen Talasnik has long been inspired by architecture and engineering. Now he can return the favor, thanks to an in-office exhibition at Gensler in New York's Rockefeller Center. The show, called Adrift/Afloat, includes 16 pieces, including sculptures, drawings, and diagrams. Talasnik's work is in the collection of the National Gallery, the British Museum, and the Canadian Centre for Architecture, among other institutions. The work will be on view through June 15 and can be seen by appointment (212-492-1529).
Nature's Benz. LA Autoshow reveals a radically green Mercedes-Benz concept called Biome-- it's made of organic fibers, powered by the sun, and releases pure oxygen into the air! The system behind this model is called "Mercedes-Benz Symbiosis," in which vehicles are seamless part of the ecosystem. Facebook's Exodus. According to the New York Times, Facebook is moving out -- of the office clusters in Palo Alto -- and into an insulated 57-acre corporate campus in Menlo Park, California, which is to be renovated by San Francisco-based Gensler. About 2,000 workers, including Mark Zuckerberg, will be moved in within next 10 months. These young 20-somethings don't want a sleek corporate office, but something idiosyncratic and soulful, which the new campus aims for. Code Green. Crain's reports that the New York City Council continues to green up the city's building codes. A trio of bills looks to "create more energy-efficient roofs." While the first bill requires more reflective and less heat-absorbent roof materials, the second removes building-height limitations from solar thermal equipment and electric collectors and the third bill will add heat and power systems to the list of allowable rooftop structures. Well-spoken Vowell. Chicago magazine talks to Sarah Vowell about Chicago -- and a little New York -- architecture. "It’s what I do for fun: Go see buildings. I like architecture because it’s so nonverbal," she said, and then goes on to discuss her personal relationship with the Carson Pirie-Scott Building. Vowell recently finished her new book on Hawaii called Unfamiliar Fishes.
Although LA still does not have an NFL Team, developer AEG today awarded architecture giant Gensler the design of the city's hypothetical 1.7 million square foot downtown stadium, called Farmers Field. Gensler beat out HKS and HNTB who were also shortlisted for the project back in December. If the $1 billion project moves forward it will seat 65,000 to 75,000 people, contain about 200 luxury suites, and have a retractable roof, enabling it to facilitate convention events as well as football games. Gensler's proposal also features a lightweight ETFE roof, bulging outward and taking on an oval-shaped profile. The project would be located on a 15-acre plot on the site of the LA Convention Center's West Hall, which would be demolished and moved to a site further south (AEG is conducting a search for the architect of that project, which will be called Pico Hall). Gensler has already designed the majority of AEG's L.A. Live development in the area, including its Ritz-Carlton/JW Marriott and its Regal Cinemas. Meanwhile the beleaguered NFL may not even have a season next year, so we think it might be occupied with other things for a while. Stay tuned.
As spring rolls around, deadlines loom for coveted summer internships. AN has collected a list of five prestigious firms that are looking for their 2011 class of interns. Good luck! 1. Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP Deadline: April 4, 2011 SOM has designed some of the most iconic buildings of our time, from the John Hancock Center and the Sears Tower to Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Send your cover letter, resume and 5-8 work samples (8.5” x 11”) to SOM’s Human Resources Department at 14 Wall Street, 24th Floor, New York, NY 10005. Only hard copy submissions will be considered. 2. Gensler Deadline: rolling Gensler is offering several internships in architecture, interior design, marketing, graphics and planning in Dallas, Newport Beach, San Diego, LA, Denver, Houston, and Morristown, NJ offices. Most of the internships listed online are accepting students enrolled in professional degree programs only, but check the qualifications on the company’s career website. 3. Perkins+Will Deadline: April 22 for architecture internships in Atlanta and NYC, but deadlines are specific to each types of internship. Perkins+Will’s portfolio includes Chase Tower in Chicago and Antilia in Mumbai, a 27-story structure that’s one of the most expensive personal homes in the world. The firm’s paid internship program currently has five openings in interiors, architecture and urban design+landscape architecture. The internships are based out of in their Atlanta and NYC offices. Submit one complete PDF with a cover letter, resume, and up to a total of three pages of design examples no larger than 4MB through the company’s website. 4. HOK Deadline: rolling HOK has openings for summer architectural interns in its St. Louis and Chicago offices. Interns will have to opportunity to 2D and 3D presentation/design drawings, and create models/project boards for client and project team review. According to the website, the full-time summer internships are generally paid. The firm also offers a sustainable design internship program. Apply online. 5. OMA Deadline: rolling Last week, OMA announced two new internship opportunities. The Dutch firm is looking for a business development intern and a model shop intern for their Rotterdam office. They also have model shop and architectural internships available in their New York office. Internships in both departments are paid.
Last Saturday, architecture took a cue from Project Runway. The assignment: In one fast-paced day, redesign a less-than-inspiring edge of a California town as a glamorous new transit-oriented development—starting with site analysis and ending in a formal presentation of conceptual designs. Among the days visions to sashay onto the stage were mixed-use high-rises, a light-rail station, green roofs and solar collectors, and an alluring gateway arch. The town in question: Menlo Park, a suburban town about halfway between San Francisco and San Jose, and the new home of Facebook. The company recently bought the 57-acre former campus of Sun Microsystems, located all by its lonesome on the edge of the Bay. It is cut off from adjoining industrial areas and residential neighborhoods by the speedy Bayfront Expressway leading to the Dumbarton Bridge. Gensler is busy doing an interior reno of the actual campus, ripping out offices right and left to make the 11 buildings and their 1 million square feet appropriate for the young, hip, social-networking set. But there is nothing in particular to speak of in the area around the campus today and the city of Menlo Park, seeing a ripe opportunity to energize this nondescript corner, invited the San Mateo County chapter of the AIA to run the giant brainstorming session. The AIA SMC has conducted 19 community charrettes over the last 25 years, making it a signature event for the chapter (it got a national AIA grant in 2006 to expand its work in a "Pipeline to Design" initiative.) "Cities get in touch with us when they have a specific area they want to explore ideas for," said Noemi Avram, past president of the chapter. "They can get a broader variety of options before they take the step of hiring a particular firm. We're hoping to whet the appetite of the people that can make decisions." For the Belle Haven & Willow Business Area Design Charrette, the AIA SMC brought in more than 150 architects, design professionals, and students, all working pro bono, to ponder linkages and ways to develop a sense of place. Four teams re-envisioned four areas: the nearby commercial area, including a parcel of land that Facebook has purchased for an expansion; the Belle Haven residential neighborhood; the perimeter of campus and its connection to the wetlands; and the intersection of the crossroads at the corner of the campus. The specific proposals were detailed in the local press (a Menlo Park Almanac story and a San Jose Mercury News story). But the greatest architectural inspiration emerged from the last team, who presented a wide range of eye-catching examples pulled from around the world, including BedZED, a zero-energy housing development in London by Bill Dunster Architects, and the proposed undulating Lent-Tabor pedestrian bridge in Toronto by Ja Studio. The presentation culminated with renderings of a circular pedestrian ramp that would connect the Facebook campus with the rest of town, a visual representation of a "circle of friends," and serve as a gateway to the city. "You can have something like this be the big public event, it doesn't have to be a point tower in the landscape," said architect Paul Jamtgaard of Group 4 Architecture. As envisioned by the architects, the ramp could even have a digital ticker, which would post the Facebook updates of the pedestrians traveling along it—thus adding another wrinkle to a favorite discussion topic among architects: the intersection of public and private space.
In a breathless press release, developer AEG and its partners have revealed that they will be unveiling renderings from the three finalists for the proposed downtown LA stadium tomorrow evening at 5pm (December 15). According to Sports Business Journal, the three firms chosen via an RFP are HKS, HNTB, and Gensler (who designed the Ritz Carlton/JW Marriott where the press conference will be held.. hmm..). The stadium's proposed location is the site of the LA Convention Center's West Hall. We will of course share the renderings with you after the presser, so stay tuned. Of course, LA still has no football team, nor does it have an approved location for a stadium. But this is Hollywood! We know how to dream! In other downtown news, City Council on Thursday will vote on the fate of the proposed Wilshire Grand redevelopment, which would include two large towers designed by AC Martin. Stay tuned everybody!
AN recently took a sneak peak at late night preparations for the fifth annual Canstruction LA, a charitable design competition—whose pieces are currently on display in the lobby of 5900 Wilshire Boulevard— that taps teams of architects, designers, builders and engineers to create large-scale sculptures using canned goods (and even a few water bottles) that will eventually be donated to the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank. What we found was a furor of activity, many boxes of pizza, and a bit of competitive banter among teams. “It’s like Christmas morning,” said Damian Carroll, one of the founders of Canstruction LA. The eight teams worked way past their normal office hours putting together their closely guarded designs. “You’ll see them, going to peek at the other ones and thinking, ‘What are they building? What is that thing?'” said Carroll. And how do these firms get all these cans? “You get to know the store managers really well,” said Cassandra Coffin of HKS Architects, the team that brought a yellow-skinned Despicable Me minion to life this year. This year’s awards went to: JURORS’ FAVORITE: “Can-on Picture a World Without Hunger” by Gensler and Arup
Crain's Chicago Business reports that big-box retailer Target is negotiating with the developers Joseph Freed and Associates for space at the venerable Carson Pirie Scott & Co. building, now named the Sullivan Center. Formerly home of the department store Carson Pirie Scott, the building, designed by Louis Sullivan, has remained largely vacant following a recent substantial rehab effort. The upper floors house the School of the Art Institute Chicago’s departments of architecture, interior architecture, and designed objects and the architectural mega-firm Gensler. The building anchors the slightly more downtrodden southern end of State Street within the Loop. Chicago Business reports that Target has been scouting downtown real estate for months and that serious talks are underway between the retailer and Freed. They note it would be a significant victory for Freed, whose nearby Block 37 development has been tangled in foreclosure suits over the past few months. This would be the second Target store for the downtown area, as a another opened in recent years about one mile away in the South Loop. Perhaps the design savvy retailer will find their next Michael Graves upstairs.
HITCHIN’ A RIDE With its price hikes, worker strife, and bureaucratic image, LA METRO doesn’t exactly set the standard for good press. But that appears to be changing as the transit authority has hired two of our favorite writers to supply in-house news and consulting. After being laid off by the Los Angeles Times in March, transit reporter Steve Hymon was hired by Metro to put together its new transit blog, The Source. On November 20, AN contributor Sam Hall Kaplan announced that he had been hired by Metro to be a transportation planning manager, with a focus on “crafting a user-friendly interface in Downtown LA between the Metro and the proposed California High Speed Rail,” in particular for stations and streetscapes. Eavesdrop hopes there’s one more spot for a guy who would like to check out the coolest cities and their metro systems for ideas—say Paris, Rome, Berlin, and Tokyo. AVE ATQUE VALETS! Bad blood is stirring between the William Morris Endeavor talent agency and developers George Comfort & Sons, as the agency tries to extract itself from a lease at a building now under construction at 231-265 North Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills. Earlier this fall, WME contended that Comfort & Sons had violated the lease, because the agency would be forced to share a valet service and parking with a competitor (God forfend!) in a neighboring building. Prior to William Morris’ mega-merger with Endeavor, the agency had hired Gensler to design the interiors for 231. Enter Ari Emanuel, then head of Endeavor, who now runs the WME shop—where egos in excess outstrip even the most brazen architect. The agent fired Gensler and hired Neil Denari. Then came word that Emanuel was trying to leave the Beverly Drive address entirely. Now, no one is talking, at least not to us. Or is it Eavesdrop’s Corvair? Gensler declined to comment, while Denari’s firm tells us they’re still on hold. As for the valets, we hear they’re deeply offended. Naturally.
WHY TV APPEARANCES MATTER
Why take ourselves seriously as architecture critics when we can be lampooned on The Colbert Report in order to sell a few books? Whoops, that’s not Eavesdrop’s game. That’s New Yorker critic Paul Goldberger, who sat gamely grinning in the hot seat on November 19 while Colbert ridiculed—uh, make that discussed—world architecture and Goldberger’s new book, Why Architecture Matters. After a rocky start (Colbert mis-pronounced Goldberger’s name in the intro), Colbert proceeded to grill the author on the possibility of landmarking the Colbert Report set. Then, he suggested putting a toilet handle on the Guggenheim, and asked if he could skateboard down the Gugg’s ramp (Why not? Krens would have—might have—motorbiked it if he had the chance). Finally, Colbert pondered aloud that if architecture reflects who we are, as Goldberger’s book claims, then how come our houses aren’t getting fatter? Goldberger took it all in stride, relishing the rare chance among architecture authors to bathe in the brighter lights of TV-bound public attention. Fair warning, though: Eavesdrop’s aiming to get on Oprah with an architecture Tell-All.
Send METRO passes and teleprompters to Eavesdrop@archpaper.com.
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