Posts tagged with "AIA Los Angeles":

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Brooks + Scarpa’s Southern Utah Museum of Art opens

Anchoring the new Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts campus in Cedar City, Utah, Brooks + Scarpa’s Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA) has opened to the public. The L.A.-based architects drew from the surrounding sandstone canyons of Mount Zion National Park for inspiration when designing the dramatically dipped roof and arched overhangs for the 28,000-thousand square-foot institution. Shaped like a canyon cutaway section, SUMA’s roof naturally funnels rain and snow out of the openings and into hidden wells, where the runoff returns to the aquifer below. The museum's facade is also clad in ridged, undulating panels that recall the texture of a sheer cliff face, while the smooth, sheltering underside is similar to rock that’s been worn away by erosion. Cantilevering out up to 120 feet on the west side of the building, the roof creates 6,000 square feet of lit public event space that eases the transition between the indoor and outdoor areas. Besides fostering outdoor social interaction, these extensions shade the interior of the museum and allowed large windows to be installed without exposing any of the artwork to direct sunlight. Because of this solar shading, the museum uses 30 percent less electricity than a comparably sized building. Inside, the museum is using what Brooks + Scarpa has called a “trigeneration” process that integrates heating, cooling, and electricity into a single system. Through the use of radiant heating and a ground-level air supply, the system acts as a natural heat pump that diffuses hot and cold air throughout the building as needed. Speaking to Interior Design, Lawrence Scarpa described how his studio approached the project from a context-first standpoint. "I had never been to Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park before being hired to design the Southern Utah Museum of Art in Cedar City, and the slot canyons were pretty stunning,” said Scarpa. “The way you get in and out of the parks, in fact, is through the canyons, and they reminded me of my design process. A bit like water that seeks its own path, eroding the stone, I start with a general idea, not really knowing where it’s going to take me,” he added. The winner of an AIA LA 2017 Citation Award, SUMA will host contemporary and modern visual art from across southern Utah and the surrounding Colorado Plateau. By integrating performance spaces, classrooms and hands-on conservation training for MFA students and faculty at Southern Utah University, the museum will also become a powerful tool for the local community.
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AIA|LA awards highlight diverse range of practices and projects

The American Institute of Architects Los Angeles (AIA|LA) chapter recently announced the winners of its 2017 Design Awards, which recognizes practices and projects across the region in categories celebrating overall design, status as rising talent, and quality of environmental sustainability. The three award categories—Design Award; Next L.A.; and COTE—paint a picture of the diverse and multi-faceted character of Los Angeles’s architecture scene, with winners representing a broad spectrum of practice.   Design Awards AIA|LA’s Design Awards highlighted two projects in particular with top honors: The New United States Courthouse by SOM and the Crest Apartments by Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA). Since opening in late 2016, the new courthouse has become one of the region’s premier public buildings. The iconic cube-shaped structure utilizes a 28-foot cantilever over the ground floor areas to create an open, public plaza and garden designed by Mia Lehrer + Associates. MMA’s Crest Apartments, on the other hand, is a very different sort of project. The 64-unit affordable housing project utilizes minimal ground floor structure and exuberant plantings and paving strategies to create flexible recreation spaces that double as car parking when not in use. The project was developed with Skid Row Housing Trust to benefit veterans who have previously experienced homelessness. The following projects were awarded “merit” and “citation” designations by the AIA|LA Design Awards jury:   Merit Awards Road to Awe, Dan Brunn Architecture West Hollywood, CA Hyundai Capital Convention Hall, Gensler Seoul, South Korea Oak Pass Main House, Walker Workshop Beverly Hills, CA House Noir, Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects Malibu, CA Citation Awards Helmut Lang Flagship Store, Standard Los Angeles, CA Southern Utah Museum of Art, Brooks+Scarpa Cedar City, Utah South Los Angeles Pool Renovation, Lehrer Architects LA South Los Angeles, CA Sunset La Cienega Residences, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP + Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects West Hollywood, CA Prototype | A True Starter Home, Lehrer Architects LA South Los Angeles, CA The Salkin House, Bestor Architecture Los Angeles, CA Corner Pocket House, Edward Ogosta Architecture Manhattan Beach, CA Ayzenberg Group, Corsini Stark Architects Pasadena, CA Platform, Abramson Teiger Architects Culver City, CA Desert Palisades Guardhouse, Studio AR&D Architects Palm Springs, CA The Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Kevin Daly Architects Los Angeles, CA Rice University Moody Center for the Arts, Michael Maltzan Architecture Houston, TX Saddle Peak Residence, Sant Architects Topanga, CA Mar Vista House Addition and Renovation, Sharif, Lynch: Architecture Los Angeles, CA 2017 AIA|LA Design Awards jurors were Gabriela Carrillo, co-founder, Taller | Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo; Lance Evans, associate principal and senior vice president, HKS Architects; and Neil  M. Denari, professor, Department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA. AIA|LA Next L.A. The AIA|LA Next L.A. awards honor yet-to-be-built projects that are in the design and planning stage.  This year’s winning project—The West Hollywood Belltower—is designed by Tom Wiscombe Architecture. The project aims to redefine the vernacular billboard as a spatial, digital installation framed by a public park. The proposal was generated as part of a design competition orchestrated by the City of West Hollywood to guide the design of future billboards. The following projects were awarded “merit” and “citation” designations by the AIA|LA Next L.A. awards jury:   Merit Award Los Angeles Residence, Baumgartner + Uriu Los Angeles, CA   Citation Award St. Georges Church, PARALX Beirut, Lebanon A4H Office Building, P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S Glendale, CA Varna Library, XTEN Architecture Varna, Bulgaria Sberbank Technopark, Eric Owen Moss Architects Moscow, Russia Silver Lake Duplex, Warren Techentin Architecture Los Angeles, CA Twin Villa, Patrick TIGHE Architecture & John V Mutlow Architects Beijing, China Second House, Freeland Buck Los Angeles, CA Jurors for AIA|LA Next L.A. awards were: Mark Foster Gage, principal, Mark Foster Gage Architects; Alvin Huang, design principal, Synthesis Design + Architecture; and Julia Koerner, Director, JK Design GmbH.   COTE Award AIA|LA’s Committee on the Environment focuses on highlighting projects that “demonstrate achievement in the implementation of sustainability features” and is awarded by a panel of experts who focus on performance, systems integration, and sustainability research. For 2017, the committee awarded four projects with top honors, including the Mesa Court Towers at University of California, Irvine designed by Mithun. The project features a LEED Platinum sustainability rating, exterior circulation, and an emphasis on day-lit spaces. Other winners in the category include: the J. Craig Venter Institute La Jolla by ZGF Architects; the New United States Courthouse by SOM; and The SIX Veterans Housing by Brooks+Scarpa.   Citation Award UCLA Hitch Suites & Commons Building, Steinberg Los Angeles, CA Kaiser Permanente, Kraemer Radiation Oncology Center, Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign Anaheim, CA The jurors for the 2017 AIA|LA COTE Awards were: Ezequiel Farca, creative director, Ezequiel Farca + Cristina Grappin; Dan Heinfeld, president, LPA; and Ben Loescher, founding principal, Loescher Meachem Architects.   Other Awards At its award ceremony last week, the organization also presented its 2017 Presidential Honoree awards, which included honors for architects Design, Bitches, builders MATT Construction, and Mike Alvidrez of the Skid Row Housing Trust, among others. Those awards include: Emerging Practice Award: Catherine Johnson, AIA; Rebecca Rudolph, AIA | Design, Bitches Design Advocate, Builder Award: Steve Matt, Affiliate AIA|LA, Co-Founder, MATT Construction; and the late Paul Matt, Co-Founder, MATT Construction Community Contribution Award: Southern California Chapter, National Organization of Minority Architects (SoCalNOMA) 25-Year Award: Grand Central Market Restoration Design Advocate, Developer Award: Mike Alvidrez, Chief Executive Officer, Skid Row Housing Trust Building Team Award: Wilshire Grand Building Team Honorary AIA|LA Award: Tibby Rothman, Marketing Strategist, AIA|LA | journalist, writer, creative Educator Award: Dr. Douglas E. Noble, FAIA, Ph.D; Discipline Head, Building Science, Director of the Master of Building Science, University of Southern California, School of Architecture Gold Medal: Lawrence Scarpa, FAIA; Design Principal, Brooks + Scarpa
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AIA|LA announces 2016 Design Award winners

The Los Angeles chapter of American Institute of Architects Los Angeles (AIA|LA) announced the winners of the 2016 Design Awards program this week. This year’s awards breakdown consisted of its three categories that include honor awards for built projects, citations for forthcoming work, and a special category celebrating sustainable design. Winners for the built project honors were peer-selected by a jury of architects based across the United States who are, according to a press release issued by AIA|LA, “ conversant in the field’s potential at national and international levels.” Jurors placed a special emphasis on design excellence for the completed projects, with Gensler’s Shanghai Tower, Diller Scofidio+Renfro’s Broad Museum, and Brooks + Scarpa’s The Six housing project taking top honors. The organization also produced a group of winners for a counterpart competition, the AIA|LA Next LA awards, that honored as-yet-unbuilt work. The jury for these projects consisted of practicing architects, academics, and the Los Angeles Times architecture critic, Christopher Hawthorne. A few of the winners for this category included the Bi(H)OME project by Kevin Daly Architects; the Pure Tension Pavilion by Synthesis Design + Architecture, and the Studio Art Hall by wHY Architecture. The organization also launched its first annual COTE LA awards, citing projects that “further and/or demonstrate achievement in the implementation of sustainability features.” These projects, in turn, were chosen by sustainability leaders who considered aspects like performance and system integration. Here, the Los Angeles Police Department Metropolitan Division Facility by Perkins+Will, the Pico Branch Library, by Koning Eizenberg Architecture and The Courtyard at La Brea by John V. Mutlow Architects and Patrick Tighe Architecture won top honors. See below for the full list of winning firms and projects. 2016 AIA|LA Design Award Winners Honor Awards
  • Shanghai Tower, (Shanghai, China), Gensler.
  • Broad Museum, (Los Angeles, CA), Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler.
  • The Six - Affordable Housing for formerly Homeless and Disabled Veterans, (Los Angeles, CA), Brooks + Scarpa.
Merit Awards
  • Samsung American Headquarters, (San Jose, CA), NBBJ.
  • Rajeunir Black Caviar Palm Desert, (Palm Desert, CA), Studio Jantzen / O-S-A.
  • Embassy of the US Helsinki, Finland, (Helsinki, Finland), Moore Ruble Yudell Architects and Planners.
  • IVRV House, (Los Angeles, CA), SCI-Arc.
  • The Barbarian Group, (New York, NY), Clive Wilkinson Architects.
  • MirrorHouse, (Los Angeles, CA), XTEN Architecture.
  • Affordable Infill in the Inner City, (South Los Angeles, CA), Lehrer Architects LA.
  • Montee Karp, (Malibu, CA), Patrick Tighe Architecture.
Citation Awards
  • Bi(H)OME, (Los Angeles, CA), Kevin Daly Architects.
  • LAX CTA Entrance Phase 1, (Los Angeles, CA), AECOM, Los Angeles Design Studio.
  • Pure Tension Pavilion, (Milan, Bologna, Venice and Rimini (Italy), Moscow (Russia), Palm Springs (US)), SDA | Synthesis Design + Architecture.
  • The Bram Goldsmith Theatre at the Wallis, (Beverly Hills, CA), Studio Pali Fekete Architects [SPF:a].
  • The Gores Group Headquarters, (Beverly Hills, CA), Belzberg Architects.
  • CJ Corporation Blossom Park, (Gwanggyo, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea), Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign.
  • MU77, (Los Angeles, CA), Arshia Architects.
  • Loyola Marymount University Life Science Building, (Los Angeles, CA), CO Architects.
  • Pomona College, Studio Art Hall, (Claremont, CA), wHY Architecture.
  • Roberts Pavilion, Claremont McKenna College, (Claremont, CA), John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects.
  • CJ Corporation Blossom Park (Interiors), (Gwanggyo, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea), CannonDesign.
2016 AIA|LA NEXT LA Awards Merit Awards
  • 1st & Broadway Civic Center Park, (Los Angeles), Eric Owen Moss Architects
Citation Awards
  • WATERshed, (Los Angeles, CA), Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects.
  • Victory Healthcare, (Los Angeles, CA), P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S.
  • City on a City, (Los Angeles, CA), Zellner Naecker Architects.
  • The Mountains, (Dubai United Arab Emirates), AECOM.
2016 AIA|LA COTE LA Awards Merit Awards
  • LAPD Metropolitan Division Facility, (Los Angeles, CA), Perkins+Will.
  • Pico Branch Library, (Santa Monica, CA), Koning Eizenberg Architecture.
  • The Courtyard at La Brea, (Los Angeles, CA), John V. Mutlow Architects & Patrick Tighe Architecture.
CITATION
  • La Kretz Innovation Campus, (Los Angeles, CA), John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects.
  • The Resort at Playa Vista, (Playa Vista, CA), Rios Clementi Hale Studios.
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L.A.’s anti-development “Neighborhood Integrity Initiative” heads to March 2017 ballot

After being approved by their respective municipal bodies, a Los Angeles-area anti-development ballot measures isofficially heading to March 2017 ballot, raising many questions about the future of development and architecture in the region. The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously in September to send that city’s Neighborhood Integrity Initiative (NII)—a measure that would, among other things, block certain kinds of new development in the city for two years and force the city to update its General Plan—to the ballot. The approval comes a few weeks after supporters of the initiative delivered the necessary 104,000 signatures to City Hall, setting in motion the official leg of what has already been a brutal and painful political slog in the city. The initiative is organized by a group known as the Coalition to Preserve Los Angeles (CPLA), itself primarily funded by the nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF). The group contends that the region’s recent development boom has had adverse impacts on the lives of its patients, who, because of new development, must now struggle with more traffic and rising rents. The group’s initiative, adopting the anti-establishment tenor of the other so-called populist movements of this election cycle, takes aim at politicians and developers. The group’s literature and social media presence paint a vivid picture: Los Angeles as a dystopia made up of crooked politicians in cahoots with monied developers, with both groups exploiting the city’s hugely outdated General Plan for personal and political gain at the expense of everything else, “neighborhood character” especially. But the organization’s goals—limited high-density development and the preservation of spread-out, low-density neighborhoods—also happen to align with the growing voices of so-called Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) groups. The suburban-minded citizenry supporting the NIMBY movement aim to use political and legislative maneuvers to maintain  sparse, auto-dependent neighborhoods, propping up property values and physically manifesting social stratification in the process. The Los Angeles region’s capacity for high-density housing has been slowly hemmed in by these groups over the decades, resulting in the current and ongoing housing crisis. Estimates indicate that the L.A. region would need to build more than a quarter-million units today just to keep up with demand, and as of December 2015, the region’s vacancy rate for rental units stood at a meager 2.7 percent, a historic and unhealthy low. Increasingly, academics and housing and social justice activists have argued that high rents resulting from low vacancy rates actively harm local economies and the poor. This idea has gained such prominence that even President Barack Obama has voiced his position. In the recently-released Housing Development Toolkit, President Obama calls for anti-NIMBY planning ideas, saying, “By modernizing their approaches to housing development regulation, states and localities can restrain unchecked housing cost growth, protect homeowners, and strengthen their economies.”   Amid the larger context of an intensifying regional homelessness crisis and the potential economic sluggishness resulting from high housing costs, one must ask which version of Los Angeles that the anti-development measures aim to preserve. One of the group’s central policy planks is the abolition of so-called “spot zoning” decisions, the types of lot-by-lot concessions working within contemporary Los Angeles’s outdated zoning code demands. Because Los Angeles’s zoning ordinances and current General Plan have not been updated since the 1990s, many of the large-scale projects delivering housing infrastructure to the region—luxury, affordable, and supportive alike—require “spot” modifications to the code in order to allow for the higher density and height associated with their development. CPLA, in a press release, accuses the City Council, where “campaign cash, gifts, and donations” are exchanged openly, of being too cozy with these developers, saying that benefactor developers “are allowed to destroy community character and max out local streets and water mains” through their use of these spot zoning measures. Because the Los Angeles City Council has the power to approve and make demands of development projects that need spot zoning variances, the opportunity for crooked politics is certainly rife, but many across the region are asking if an outright moratorium on spot zoning isn’t too drastic of a response given the current conditions. And because high-density housing development is already relatively limited to certain pockets and enough housing has not been built overall, the region is also contending with a parallel gentrification and displacement crisis. The initiative is seen by the development community as a project-killer and in pro-housing circles as a threat to working class neighborhoods. Housing advocates argue that a halt in construction would further limit the development of affordable units in tow with the luxury projects the initiative seeks to curb, and push wealthier professionals into working class neighborhoods, displacing residents further down the economic ladder. Michael Lehrer, principal at Lehrer Architects in Los Angeles, told The Architect's Newspaper (AN) via email, "The insidious effect of the new initiative will be a trickle down lack-of-housing. There will be less and less affordable housing, so that cheaper housing will be filled by people of more means. More people of lesser means will then become homeless." NII backers, though, have successfully peddled fear and suspicion through their campaign, bringing together an unholy alliance of Hollywood celebrities, anti-gentrification and working class advocacy groups, and wealthy landowners, blaming the skyline-changing projects for altering a perceived sense of “neighborhood character” and decrying the city’s “rigged development system.” These groups ignore the fact that the largest impediment to the city’s affordability lies not with luxury towers, but with an overabundance of single family homes and low-density zoning. If Los Angeles is to get more affordable, it must densify—not continue to spread out into the desert. Lehrer went on to say that restricting development as the NII proposes to do "radically restricts housing development. Legitimate concerns about lesser quality development must be answered with higher collective, legislative, and political leadership for design excellence and thoughtful urbanism and architecture that cherishes streets and quality pedestrian experience. That’s what we must always focus on and demand." In Santa Monica, the proposed Measure LV is on the Nobember 2016 ballot and would dole out even more draconian measures by requiring every building built taller than 32 feet in height to be put to a public vote. Regarding how anti-development initiatives like Measure LV would impact the ability of local architects to produce innovative architectural solutions that work toward alleviating the housing crisis, Julie Eizenberg and Hank Koning of Santa Monica—based Koning Eizenberg Architects told AN, “Requiring a public vote on buildings over 32-feet will inhibit any creative solutions in the development of multi-unit housing. Project budgets will stay the same, but the money currently spent on inventive solutions and creative design will instead be spent campaigning for a public vote. It’s a shame people are so afraid.” The Santa Monica ordinance would also upturn decades of civic progress for the beachside municipality that has a long tradition of mixed use development and pedestrian life. Worse still, the recently-opened Expo Line extension to the city from Downtown Los Angeles has reinvigorated the city’s potential for transit-oriented development; Measure LV would decapitate that energy with generational consequences. Koning and Eizenberg take issue with the relatively-low height threshold imposed by the measure, saying, “Under the current code, the maximum height that can be built by-right on most boulevards in Santa Monica is already 32-feet. Anything over that, up to a cap of 55-feet, goes through the Development Review Process that involves extensive public hearings. In most cases, we’re only arguing about 23-feet—but those feet make all the difference in terms of efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and housing creation." The Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIALA) also recently came out against Measure LV, saying in a press release, “Measure LV ... is extreme, costly, and would result in devastating consequences ranging from haphazard planning, increased housing costs and decreased supply of affordable housing.” AIALA argues that the measure would undermine the city's Land Use and Circulation Element, a planning instrument already developed for Santa Monica via a “20-year-long democratic process.” The organization points out that Measure LV would hinder the development of housing units, overall, undercut the orderly planning approaches already in place through unpredictable voter approvals, lacks exemptions for public buildings like firehouses, and could also potentially limit the effectiveness of the city’s Architectural Review Board. L.A's measure, among several development-related initiatives that have gained traction this election year, will have to wait until the presidential election is over to have its test before voters. 
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AIA|LA asks “How will design professions respond to the nearly 47,000 homeless people living in L.A. County?”

A recent count by Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) put the growing visibility and proliferation of homelessness in L.A. County into stark terms. Reporting a 5.7 percent increase in overall homelessness, the report counted 46,874 homeless individuals this year compared with the 44,359 counted in 2015. Within that statistic, LAHSA detailed 34,527 people living on the streets full-time, up from 31,025 doing so one year prior. The count comes on the heels of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s as-yet-unfunded $138 million homelessness prevention and amelioration plan for fiscal year 2016, $86 million of which is earmarked for the development of permanent affordable housing like Michael Maltzan's Star Apartments. Hoarse-voiced homeless advocates across the region hope LAHSA’s report might provide the political pressure needed to finally compel city, county, and state officials to act in a coordinated fashion on a phenomenon savaging a region already struggling with ever-increasing rents, neighborhood displacement, and across-the-board housing shortages. Attempting to articulate the architectural community’s response to what it views as an increasingly important issue, the American Institute of Architects Los Angeles (AIA|LA) chapter convened a special congress bringing together design professionals, thought leaders, and local officials with the aim of  developing “workable solutions” for addressing some of these housing affordability issues. The sold out, day-long congress, called Design for Dignity, also featured panel discussions and lectures from advocates working across the region to share best practices and new research. The congress was notable for attempting to place the contributions of architects and designers front-and-center, both in addressing these crises and within professional discourse itself. AIA|LA’s Director of Government and Public Affairs Will Wright explained the conference’s primary goals to AN as wanting to “connect policy makers and housing providers to design thinkers; to underscore the role of the architect as an innovator that needs to be at the decision-making table as early as possible; and to set a compassionate tone of the fundamental importance of designing for all a dignified human experience.” Long-time housing practitioners like Michael Lehrer, Michael Maltzan, and Lorcan O'Herlihy represented the design profession during various panel discussions held throughout the day, pressing for innovative and humane solutions. Regarding the architectural community’s role in addressing the homelessness crisis, Lehrer told AN, “Beauty is really a rudiment of human dignity, people who have nothing understand that and [they benefit from living in] places made with an open heart and with respect. [Architects] have to realize that the things that matter in architecture matter for everybody because they are human pleasures.” Recently, the L.A. County’s population surpassed 10 million inhabitants and a corresponding and the Census Bureau reported a three percent vacancy rate in the Greater L.A. area (a Census-designated region including Long Beach and Anaheim) rental market. Therefore AIA|LA is right to spotlight architects’ potential role as innovators and leaders on this subject. Congress moderator Peter Zellner told AN, “Architects and designers have to become more involved politically if we are to raise awareness [on addressing the homelessness crisis in L.A.]. It would be incumbent upon architects to propose forms of urbanism that integrate approaches for housing the homeless and poor alike. We have to lead through design and articulate a viable, alternate vision for L.A. that is dense, vertical and integrated.” With the abundance of homeless residents in the region expected only to grow over the coming years, it's likely this phenomenon that will continue to grow, exacerbating and even deteriorating living conditions for all Angelenos if solutions advocated by the likes of Zellner are not more actively pursued across the city. In fact, based on overall tenor of the day’s congress, it would be easy to argue that the future of architectural profession in the Southland is rooted in how design professions address the region’s combined homelessness and affordability crises. In a growing, densifying region, it’s likely that—along with sustainability and climate change—the issues of affordability and homelessness will play a major role in defining the careers of the young practitioners and students of today. Congress attendee Kelly Majewski, principal at the recently-founded landscape architecture firm Superjacent, told AN, “Homelessness is an extremely complex problem that requires collaborative forward-thinking solutions between policy makers, space makers, and communities. The answer does not just lie in the building of new structures, but also in our approach to shared public space, be it our parks or our streets. As landscape architects and urbanists this is one of the biggest issues we are facing in the coming decades.”
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AN’s 2016 Facades+ conference series kicks off in Los Angeles

“We don’t need walls anymore.  We need living, breathing systems that provide so much more to the urban realm than keeping in conditioned air and keeping out noise and pollutants.” - Will Wright, AIA|LA

Los Angeles’ 2016 Facades+ Conference, presented by The Architect’s Newspaper, is the 18th event in an ongoing series of conferences and forums that have unfolded in cities across the nation, including New York City, Miami, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Seattle, D.C., and Chicago. Held at the L.A. Hotel Downtown, the conference incorporated architects, engineers, fabricators, and innovative material manufacturers into a multidisciplinary two-day event covering the state of building envelope design thinking today. The daylong symposium kicked off with spirited remarks by Will Wright, Director of Government & Public Affairs at AIA L.A., where he set forth a plea for stronger emphasis on localism and craftsmanship. Co-chaired by Kevin Kavanagh and Alex Korter of CO Architects, the event included AIA LA, four local architecture schools – UCLA, USC, Woodbury, and Cal Poly Pomona – and a robust collection of Los Angeles-based architecture firms. Four panel discussions throughout the day covered the influence of building envelopes on business, education, structural design, and data analysis. The conversations engaged audience participation through an interactive, web-based tool called Sli.do. In a morning panel discussion titled “Money Well Spent? An Owner’s Perspective on the Value of Facades,” moderator Kevin Kavanagh spoke with representatives from Kaiser Permanente, Kitchell, and The Ratkovich Company on finding the right balance between aesthetics, energy performance, fiscal responsibility, and efficient project scheduling. During breaks, conference attendees attended a “Methods+Materials” gallery that highlighted innovative building envelope materials such as electrochromic glass, metal mesh fabric with integrated media display, and ultra-compact surfacing products. The symposium was highlighted by keynote addresses from Enrique Norten and Eric Owen Moss.
  • Presented by The Architect's Newspaper
  • 2016 Conference Chair YKK AP America
  • Gold Sponsors GKD Metal Fabrics View Dynamic Glass
  • Methods+Materials Gallery 3M, Agnora, Akzo Nobel, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Cambridge Architectural, CE|Strong, Consolidated Glass Holdings, Cosentino, CRL-U.S. Aluminum, Elward, Giroux Glass, Glasswerks, Guardian, Kawneer, Nichiha, Ollin Stone, POHL Group, Porcelanosa, PPG IdeaScapes, Prodema, Rigidized Metals, Roxul, Sapa, Schüco, Sedak, Sika, STI, Terracore, Tremco, UL, UltraGlas, Vitrocsa, and Walter P Moore
Norten’s opening keynote set forth an argument for a socially responsible architecture integrated into the city via infrastructural, landscape, and public space projects. He cited works of his firm, TEN Arquitectos, which incorporate topographical manipulations of the landscape to establish social spaces of public engagement. His work intentionally camouflages the building envelope into a contextual landscape—be it an adjacent park or cityscape—to dissolve the separation between public and private. Eric Owen Moss spoke in the afternoon, questioning at what point the conceptual content of a project becomes lost amidst constructional realities. Through recent work of his firm, Eric Owen Moss Architects, he focused on building envelope details that strayed from original design intent, transforming in concept and tectonics as engineers, fabricators, and contractors participated in the process. In a panel discussion titled “Bytes, Dollars, EUI: Data Streams and Envelopes,” Moderator William Menking, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Architect’s Newspaper, spoke with Atelier 10, Gehry Technologies, and CPG regarding tools and processes facilitating facade analysis and optimization. Sameer Kashyap (Gehry Technologies) shared perhaps the most bewildering stat of the day—that GT was able to script processes which allowed two people to produce over 1200 shop drawings per day for 33 weeks in the coordination of a highly complex facade system. Paul Zajfen of CO Architects rounded out the day with a presentation titled “Facades: A Manifestation of Client, Culture, Climate,” where he argued for contextually specific design producing a facade that “would not be possible at any other time—and in no other place.” The symposium was followed on day two with a series of “dialog” and “lab” workshops covering net-zero facade systems, digital fabrication processes, curtain wall design, and advanced facade analysis. A full roster of organizers and sponsors can be found on the conference website. The Los Angeles event was the first in 2016 of a seven-city lineup, and will be followed by a Facades+AM morning forum in Washington, D.C., on March 10th. The next two-day conference will take place in New York City April 21st and 22nd.
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Guy Horton behind the scenes at the 2015 AIA Los Angeles Design Awards

Going to the AIA/LA Design Awards is a totally different experience when you’ve been on the jury, as I was this year. For one, you get to see the entire spectrum of the awards program, the behind-the-scenes production and the staging of what seemed like a thousand projects flashing before you in a darkened room. Not only do you have the heavy responsibility of judging all of these, but also you then have to champion and defend the ones that really speak to you. There was a lot of debate and discussion—and even some yelling and throwing of chairs involved. And probably way too much caffeine. The best part about being on the jury was to finally see and meet the people behind all the winning entries, whether unbuilt Next LA projects, where propositions about cities and buildings moved the bar a few notches higher, or the built projects that make people think twice about what architecture is and can be, was gratifying beyond simple description. Of course, in the back of my mind, were all those projects that didn’t make the cut, some of my personal favorites. Overall, what I came away with was an excitement about the state of architecture right now. While it might seem obvious, the awards remind you that there are so many different ways of thinking about and doing this, so many ways of shaping environments that impact people on multiple levels. From the awards ceremony at the Aratani Theater in Little Tokyo, the crowd shuttled and walked—I think Alissa Walker, winner of the Design Advocate Award, did in fact walk—to the dinner reception at the A+D Museum’s new digs in the adjacent Arts District. If I had to measure the awards in decibels, the loudest cheers and applause definitely went to Sarah Lorenzen, Chair at Cal Poly Pomona, who won the Educator Award. “I guess it’s good to be a teacher,” joked AIA/LA president Ted Hyman of ZGF Architects, who presented the Presidential Awards. One of the best moments of the night had to have been Steven Ehrlich’s heartfelt and genuine speech after he was presented with the Gold Medal. He spoke to the core of the discipline and profession. “At every step in my practice I’ve been blessed with the most talented and congenial collaborators and courageous clients that anyone could wish for,” said Ehrlich. His speech was all about “we.” And truly, that’s what design is all about.
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Q+A> AIA Los Angeles Educator Award Recipient Sarah Lorenzen on the future of architectural education

On October 29, Angelenos will gather for the 2015 AIA|LA Design Awards and Next LA Awards to toast the city’s best contributions to architecture and design. Every year the AIA|LA Board of Directors chooses outstanding and passionate individuals as winners of the Presidential Honoree program. AN spoke to Educator Award recipient Sarah Lorenzen. An architect, professor, and chair of Cal Poly Pomona's Department of Architecture, she reflected on the honor and shared her thoughts on the direction architectural education. The Architect's Newspaper: What does it mean to you to receive this recognition from your peers? Sarah Lorenzen: I was incredibly surprised and pleased to receive this award, especially given all the terrific architecture programs and talented faculty that reside here in Los Angeles. Even though the award is given to an individual, I see it as validation for the work being produced by the students and faculty at Cal Poly Pomona. Over the last few years we have revamped the program and made a concerted effort to showcase what we do well at our school. What have you taken from your experience and own architecture education and applied to your role as chair at Cal Poly Pomona? I had a varied education. My undergraduate degree focused on liberal studies and studio arts and I attended two different graduate programs: Georgia Tech in the mid 90s and SCI-Arc in 2003. The two programs had very different pedagogies and design interests based in part on their locations and in part on the times. My education at Georgia Tech was heavily influenced by poststructuralism, while at SCI-Arc it was all about the Information Age. During one of my final presentation Georgia Tech I remember clutching a copy of Roland Barthes’ Image, Music, Text… while at SCI-Arc Michael Speaks proclaimed, “Theory is dead. Long live architecture.” As someone that now heads an architecture program I embrace many points of view, but I try to steer clear of dogma and certainty in approach. I love a good argument and lean towards a Socratic method of teaching, but I am also keenly aware that as architects we need to take a position and be able to express that position in visual form. I would say that I am most interested in giving students a “professional” knowledge base while having them understand that this knowledge is culturally constructed and shaped by social and aesthetic biases. How do you see design education changing in the next 5, 10 years? It’s really hard to tell where we will be in 5–10 years. From the work being produced today at most architecture programs, at least here in Southern California, there seems to be a backlash against the all-digital, doom-and-gloom project. Students are digging up books that I haven’t looked at since my days at Georgia Tech. I have no objection to this renewed interest in postmodernism, as long as it is utilized as lens to investigate contemporary situations and not simply as a style to be appropriated. I am pleased to see a renewed interest in drawing in our program, especially when students take advantage of new digital tools to reimagine and reinterpret pre-digital drawing techniques. I imagine that it 5–10 years the realities of a world in crisis will hit our profession very hard. The situation to me looks pretty dire. I don’t expect that the primitive forms and My Little Pony–palette will be too long-lived. Which is too bad, the cynical side of me likes their ignorance is bliss attitude. How might design pedagogies adapt to or even lead technological advances in the field and respond to a changing urban landscape? In 1987 the Statistician George E. P. Box wrote that, "Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful." This statement certainly rings true when we see how data mining and Google Analytics now shape our understanding of the world. Technological advances of this sort are as significant to architecture as was Greg Lynn and Maya, or Frank Gehry and CATIA. Since the 1990s the use of computer-driven heuristic models has gained currency in a number of architectural schools and design firms, particularly as a means to address the changing urban landscape. Technological advances, such as those employed by data and analytics companies, offer the potential for architects to understand previously unimaginable relationships between social, environmental, and physical factors acting on a site. I well understand that there are no perfect models. For one thing the world is mutable, it will never reach a perfect balance. The models we use to represent the urban environment are, and always will be, approximations. Still, models can be helpful if we accept the fallacy of their construction. The heuristically derived models of the petabyte age can help us become aware of the problem of complexity, they can be highly creative endeavors that help us see the world in a new way, and they can help us find gaps in our knowledge about the urban environments we live and work in.
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Honors> AIA / LA hands out its annual roster of awards

I love going to Downtown Los Angeles. It’s changed. A lot. And what a fantastic way to celebrate the AIA/LA Design Awards: down on Broadway, choreographed by the Awards Committee to triangulate the historic Million Dollar Theater, the iconic Bradbury Building, and the revamped Grand Central Market for the closing party. In fact, it was so well-choreographed that it was difficult to pull people from the Bradbury (all those fantastic wood, iron, and marble details were lit up in the vertigo-inducing atrium like some movie set) to the actual theater and get them in their seats for the awards presentation. That was the vibe. It was a good time, spilling and tripping out into the street from one venue to the next. The program included members of the LA art world: Getty Center CEO James Cuno, who introduced the Design Awards, and Ann Philbin, director of the Hammer Museum, who introduced the Next LA Awards.  A total of 21 firms and 14 Presidential Honorees received awards. Presidential Honorees included Adele Yellin, the owner of Grand Central Market credited with bringing it back to life, and Tibby Dunbar, executive director of the A+D Museum. The A+D also won the Community Contribution Award. The Twenty-Five Year Award went to Thom Mayne and Michael Rotondi for Kate Mantillinni, one of early Morphosis’ first realized projects. Writer Michael Webb, author of 26 books on architecture and design, won the Design Advocate Award. Educator of the Year went to Norman Millar, dean at Woodbury School of Architecture. Platform for Architecture Research (PAR) won the Emerging Practice Award. And the award for Building Team of the Year went to Morphosis and its team for giving Emerson College something quite different for its LA campus. By the time the last award, the Gold Medal Award, was presented to Christopher and David Martin for their achievements, the story was complete. Everyone was sitting in the theater their grandfather had designed, a 100-year-old AC Martin project. What a story that is, for them, as leaders of one of the city’s legacy firms (AC Martin was founded in 1906), and for the city itself. See images of the Design Award–winning projects below.
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Frederick Fisher Gets Gold in Los Angeles

The AIA Los Angeles has awarded its 2013 Gold Medal to Frederick Fisher. Founder and principal at Frederick Fisher & Partner Architects, Fisher has been practicing architecture in LA for more than 30 years. During the late 1970s he was part of the “L.A. School,” a group of architects including Thom Mayne, Frank Gehry, and Eric Owen Moss who staged exhibitions at Mayne’s in-home architecture gallery.Fisher worked in Gehry’s practice for several years, yet in his own designs Fisher eschews the mind-bending geometry for which Gehry and some of his other contemporaries are known. Instead, Fisher’s work is characterized by a combination of lightness and restraint. Many of Fisher's projects have been art museums or educational buildings. Adaptive-reuse cultural projects include the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in New York, the renovation of A. Quincy Jones’s The Barn, now the home of the Chora Council of Metabolic Studio, and the Sturt Haaga Gallery of Art at Descanso Gardens. Among Fisher's work for educational institutions are the Jane B. Eisner Middle School, housed in a building originally owned by the Southern California Telephone Company, and the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Center for Information Science and Technology at Caltech.  Fisher also designed the Sunnylands Center and Gardens at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands and the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica. Fisher will receive his award at the AIA Los Angeles Design Awards Gala on October 28th. Other presidential award winners include LA mayor Eric Garcetti, LACMA director Michael Govan, and artist James Turrell.
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Winning “Cellular Complexity” installation design twists the limits of architecture

AIA Los Angeles has announced that UCLA SUPRASTUDIO lecturer Julia Koerner’s proposal Cellular Complexity is the winning entry for the 11th annual 2x8 Student Exhibition, a scholarship organization that has showcased projects of over 150 students from more than 15 architecture and design schools in California. This year’s winning scheme, in collaboration with Paris-based architect Marie Boltenstern and architect Kais Al-Rawi, presents a parametric pavilion of twisting planes that transitions in porosity from one end to the other. According to the AIA|LA, the jury appreciated the design concept's creativity and edginess. The installation and exhibition of student work is expected to be complete by February 2014.
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Our Man At The AIA/LA Awards

[Editor's note: Our fearless correspondent Guy Horton shares his thoughts—Gonzo Style—on the AIA/LA Awards Ceremony that took place on the Broad Stage in the Santa Monica Performing Arts Center. And he was surprisingly assured by it all.  Read ahead, if you dare. And enjoy the slideshow of the Design Award winners at the end.] To those who missed it, Man you should have been there. It was crazy. Honestly, the most insane Awards I've been to in years. Moby was there. You know he's been doing this LA architecture blog. He called LA urbanism a "shit show." Can you believe that? Brilliant. That got repeated a lot and I imagine it will become the buzz-word for the 2012 Awards: The Shit Show. In a good way, of course. He looked a little nervous. Saw him before he went on stage to introduce things. Told me the whole architecture economic situation really sucks. I know, I told him. But that's OK. We get by. And that was the vibe on the floor at the Broad Stage that night: we get by..."but we don't feel the same", as The Brian Jonestown Massacre song goes. Somehow we have all made it through the last four years of a wasted economy. We are all desolation's angels for having arrived on the other side of that and I think there was this sense that a corner was being turned and a new view coming into clarity. Call it a giddy post-recession fatigue. Soon the election will be done with and the book on 2012 closed. I think LA's architecture scene has undergone a permanent brain chemistry alteration. I got the sense things are bouncing back and people were feeling it at the Broad. It was like a shared sense of having come through a war of sorts. Was it just me? The Awards made me happy and I can't explain why exactly. That was unexpected. It could have been the merlot or the colorful tubs of sangria. People just seemed to be in good moods. You know I'm the last person to use the "O" word, as in optimism, but there was this pervasive atmosphere of just that. Many I spoke to said business wasn't great but that they were somehow doing fine and thought next year would be better. Frances Anderton was there and hearing her radio voice up close and in person just made the whole thing feel regal and legitimate. I won't go into all the different awards but our old friends Koning Eizenberg won the Gold Medal. They also won an award for the South Pasadena House they worked on. As if by magic, I sat right next to the couple who own the house. They were thrilled to be there and they remembered how great it was working with the whole team. They really love the place and their lives have clearly been transformed by the house and the design experience. That reminded me how great this stuff can be. The comedian Richard Montoya (Honestly, I had to Google him), from the Department of Cultural Affairs, was definitely on something. I think mostly himself, and as far as I'm concerned he can do that as much as he likes. He might as well have been on stage with a flaming hulu-hoop on a unicycle. He was on his game. End of story. He knew just what to say to a bunch of partying architects. We all looked sharp and have like five percent body fat. He could be reading the recession on us. The recession diet does wonders. It's the original lap band. Somebody said I looked taller so maybe the recession made me grow. The other thing was the reverse stage diving that took place throughout the evening. Alissa Walker and Marissa Gluck announced a best run-and-jump-on-stage-to-get-my-award award. I'll have to find out if anybody actually won. I think Mehrdad Yazdani, actually. He made it look so effortless. Peter Zellner also made a nice landing—neither his glasses nor his hair seemed to move. It's not just me, right? There was something in the air that night. Everyone seemed to be in that space. At one point a Broad Stage associate tried to block the stage jumper-uppers like one of those burly Coachella security people, but in the end she just gave up. Who forgot to put another set of stairs on stage right? Who needs them! Am I missing anything? Let's see Eric Owen Moss won the 25-Year Award for the Petal House. Though he is good at giving speeches, there was none. Hernan Diaz Alonzo, in a beautiful moment of doubling, somehow had on the same suit and crazy scarf he was wearing in his projected photograph as he walked up (he didn't jump) to receive the Educator Award. As you can see, there is just too much to get into here, but you get the idea. Maybe it was the merlot. By the way, Moby sends his best.