The Martin Architecture and Design Workshop (MADWORKSHOP), a foundation meant to encourage "beautiful, artfully designed" technological craftsmanship, launched last month in Santa Monica. Its founder, David C. Martin, a principal at Los Angeles–based firm AC Martin, hopes to sponsor the next generation of inventors and designers, with the assumption that they have the potential for critical and commercial success “Our approach to making things is much like the approach taken to design a building, only on a more manageable scale,” said Martin. Selected individuals will be mentored through the process of prototyping, drafting and fabrication. The Foundation will then assess public relations and marketing opportunities and assist in launching the idea. The group is particularly interested in projects that have the potential to influence design on a grand scale. They will also sponsor ideas that can be written, illustrated, or diagramed, and have the potential to be published or exhibited. The foundation's path began in 2005 when Martin began teaching a design studio at the USC School of Architecture. The class resonated with students, helping them rediscover craftsmanship. Over the next eight years it evolved, and Martin and his wife Mary challenged students to think bigger, eventually designing a site-specific pedestrian bridge. MADWORKSHOP has thus far green-lighted five projects in various stages of development. They include: 1. The Collapsible Chair: Origami Lighweight Foldable Chair by Designer Yuan Yao 2. The Smart Table Lamp by Designer Shihyung “Bobby” Kim 3. 3D-Printed Wearable Architectural Fashion by Designer Behnaz Farah 4. The Robotics Research Grant – USC School of Architecture Studio Class 5. The Mexico Book: An Architect-s Road Trip by Author David C. Martin, FAIA
Posts tagged with "AC Martin":
The Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering's competition for a $350 million expansion and renovation of the LA Convention Center has been narrowed down to three final teams. And they are: AC Martin/LMN, Gensler/Lehrer Architects, and HMC/Populous. According to the project's Task Order Solicitation (PDF), the teams will each receive $200,000 to “develop and present conceptual designs,” including models, renderings, plans, cost estimates, phasing plans, etc. Designs are due on December 8. According to Bud Ovrom, the Convention Center's Executive Director, the plans would center on rehabbing the center's oldest building, the West Hall, which has become particularly out of date, "filling the void" between the West and South halls, adding plans for at least one" 1,000-room hotel, and upping the facility's amount of usable space to over one million square feet. Ovrom said his team recently looked at 11 competitive convention centers, and LA's ranked 9th in square footage. "We're significantly smaller to start and the competition is upping its game," he said. The city is still under contract with AEG to build a football stadium on part of the site, but that contract expires on October 18, and it doesn't look like the city will get an NFL team before then. Ovrom said the stadium is still the city's first choice, but argues that a renovation and expansion "makes more economic sense" for the convention center. One of the competing design team members, Populous, proposed a plan for the convention center with developer AEG back in 2012 linked with the football stadium. Another firm on the list, Gensler, designed that stadium, Farmers Field, with a dramatic winged structure. Both may soon join the ranks of the city's Never Built.
[Researchers have also turned drones into builders, here laying bricks for a parametric tower.] Look up in the sky: It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Nope, it’s a drone. Yes, the U.S. military isn’t having all the fun… Architects are now getting into the drone game as well. In order to get a better look at their sites—particularly views from higher elevations—word has it that firms like AC Martin and Moore Ruble Yudell have developed their own drones, hovering high in the clouds and rotating in all directions. Air traffic rules for these sorts of things are still rudimentary, so flyers need to take things like etiquette and safety into their own hands. But for now it’s the Wild West. And it’s a virtual thrill that more may be taking off soon.
The Wilshire Grand, a 73-story tower under construction in downtown Los Angeles, hasn’t yet risen out of the ground, but it’s already in the Guinness Book of World Records. That’s thanks to a February 15–16 event promoters called the Grand Pour, in which construction crews poured 21,200 cubic yards (82 million pounds) of concrete in 18 hours—the largest continuous concrete pour in history. Why all the fuss? The idea for the event originated with AC Martin's design itself. Unlike most of Los Angeles’ other high rises, the Wilshire Grand will be built around a concrete core rather than a steel frame. “As we worked through all of those things,...[AC Martin CEO Christopher Martin] realized this was going to be an absolutely huge technical event. It involves a lot of coordination and almost theater in terms of getting [the trucks in and out],” said design principal David Martin. “Then everybody really got behind that [and said], ‘let’s get a marching band and have a parade with the concrete.’” “There was really a buzz downtown about the whole thing,” added project manager Tammy Jow. The parade included 100 members of the USC marching band, representatives of the building’s owners, Korean Airlines, and, of course, the concrete trucks. “Whenever you have the Trojan marching band there you can’t go wrong, they’re all about the party,” said Jow. “What was really incredible [was that] as it got dark there were these huge spotlights, and it almost looked like a stage set,” said Martin. “So we were all having this huge party in the plaza next door, and these big trucks would go through the background.” The Grand Pour was only the beginning of the Wilshire Grand story. “I think what comes next is even more exciting,” said Jow. “Now that the mat is successfully in place we’re going to start seeing vertical.” At 1,100 feet in height, the $1.1 billion building is projected to be the tallest skyscraper west of the Mississippi River. Its office and hotel floors will be covered in floor-to-ceiling glass, another feature that sets it apart from its granite-clad neighbors. For the skyscraper’s crowning sail, as well as on portions of the east and west facades, AC Martin will use an ultra-clear, low-reflectivity glass. On the north and south sides, a radiant coating will boost performance and give the facade a more mirror-like aspect. The designers experimented with new coating technologies to ensure that hotel guests will be able to see out at night without glare from interior lights. The building’s other highlights include its unusual roofline, which was made possible by negotiations with the fire department regarding helipad requirements. “That allowed this building to be different, and hopefully will leave a legacy so that buildings can get back to being more interesting,” said Martin. The designers also worked to maximize the connection to the outdoors, and to tailor the mechanical systems to Los Angeles’ hospitable environment. Finally, the Wilshire Grand prioritizes urban design. “The lower parts of the building reach out and really embrace the city,” said Martin. “There’s a lot of ballrooms and big windows and terraces that reach out to the city.” For Jow, one of the best parts of working on the Wilshire Grand has been the people involved. “We were able to create a team in our office of fresh talent out of school, with skills some of us older people couldn’t dream of.” She pointed to the design of the tower podium, which was generated parametrically using Rhino and Grasshopper. The younger architects’ digital prowess meshed well with the older designers’ experience in construction, said Jow. “We’re able to work together and rationalize forms to make it affordable and buildable.”
USC president Max Nikias is curious. Since taking over in 2010 he has held the torch for past president Steven Sample’s beloved “California Romanesque” style on the campus, resulting in the red brick and tight arches of buildings like AC Martin’s Ronald Tutor Campus Center and George Lucas’s School of Cinematic Arts. Now he’s shifted a few years in the future to Collegiate Gothic. AC Martin has been commissioned to design a Gothic-style building for the business school, and other firms are competing for a similar project, we hear from our moles. Perhaps he will move into French Renaissance next? Get ready for some chateaux!
Los Angeles has for years been working to change its fire code to allow for skyscrapers without boring flat tops. It looks like there's been a breakthrough. LA Councilman Jose Huizar recently announced that his office and the LA Fire Department have issued "Policy No. 10," a step to reform the department's decades-old policy calling for flat rooflines for helicopter rescue. New technology has allowed firefighters better rescue access via reinforced elevator shafts (otherwise known as "hardened elevators") and stairwells, so helicopter rescue isn't as vital. So while buildings over 120-feet-tall (up from 75 feet in previous regulations) will still need helicopter landing areas, they won't take up the entire rooftop, leaving room for spires and other new forms. The policy, said Huizar, "will contribute to a more inspired and creative urban design and iconic skyline" for the city. The measure will have to be adapted to various types of buildings and scales moving forward. "The biggest challenge will be finding an evolving set of fire, life, safety measures that will allow us to adjust this policy for future buildings of varied size, height and traffic capacities while also meeting the current level of safety and protection," Huizar told AN. The first exception to the rule will be downtown's new 1,100-foot-tall Wilshire Grand hotel, whose architects, AC Martin, worked closely with the fire department (including several meetings with helicopter pilots, pointed out firm principal David Martin) to devise a modified design that worked for all parties.The slim roof—an extension of a sail-like facade–still does contain a helicopter landing area (officially called a "tactical approach"), but it is split into several levels. AC Martin is also working on a new high-rise residential development in South Park for developer Mack Urban that will include a "sculpted" top, according to Martin, who is again working closely with the Fire Department. "We want to advance the idea, rather than do what we did before," he said.
Very sad news in the LA architecture world. AC Martin associate Patrick Martin has died at the age of 35, after a battle with cancer. The fourth generation architect (AC Martin was founded by his grandfather over 100 years ago) had worked at the firm for 11 years. Martin is survived by his wife Danielle and their children, Thomas and William.
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!
The California Design Biennial includes a well thought out spectrum of designers from the practical to the extraordinary. Held this year at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, the fourth running of the event (which continues through October 31) has five categories: Fashion Design, Transportation Design, Graphic Design, Product Design and, for the first time, Architecture. Bravo to each curator for making every category work together. Frances Anderton, host of KCRW’s DnA: Design and Architecture radio series, was curator for the Architecture category. Her selections address the social and community roles of building, like the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. The large public facility, completed in 2009 by Safdie Rabines Architects, is open to hikers needing respite. Another socially oriented project is Inner City Arts by Michael Maltzan. Maltzan’s thoughtful design for this learning center near LA's Skid Row creates a village-like composition of shifting geometries. On the other side of the exhibition space is the Hollenbeck Replacement Police Station by AC Martin. The building’s staggering façade of tempered glass is a visual surprise considering its authoritative role. After leaving these projects, my eye was caught by a hanging installation of cut white paper. Bridging lace doilies and tectonics, the intricate geometric structure is a great example of art working with architecture. It was made by Fat Fringe, a collaboration of design firm Layer and organization Materials & Applications. In other categories I was immediately drawn to the extraordinary. Michel Berandi’s neogothic fashion is presented by a mannequin wearing a fitted black leather outfit, a helmet and a beehive-like mass of hair. Behind the mannequin are four equally fascinating, and fantastical, prints based on the scene in front of them. In the quiet corner nearby sits the graphic presentation of design thinker Willem Henri Lucas. Entitled, "Culture and Globalization," it combines visual technique with data percentages; cleverly merging graphic design and education.