Posts tagged with "California":

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Here's your first look at all 17 teams competing in the 2015 Solar Decathlon

The United States Department of Energy has named the 10 teams that will compete in the 2015 Solar Decathlon. The biennial program was launched in 2002 and "challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive." The teams are then judged on affordability, consumer ability, and overall design excellence. The Decathlon will be held October 8–18 in Irvine, California, but you can preview all of the teams' work right now. Clemson University From the team:
Designed for a family of four, Indigo Pine was envisioned as a family home from the start. Building on this foundation, the Clemson University team took the traditional concept of a Southern home and began redefining it in contemporary ways. This concept permeates the design and manifests in architectural details throughout. The structure is timber, but it is framed with a new technique. The roof is flat, but the ceilings are gabled. Like a traditional Southern house, the house will have a porch, but it will be an integrated part of the whole. While Indigo Pine will look unlike any house before, it will be as welcoming and familiar as any traditional South Carolina home.
Crowder College and Drury University From the team:
In envisioning its solution, the Crowder/Drury team focused on the Cole family, a fictional family of three that lost its home, car, small business, and sense of security in a tornado. The team strived to meet the family's needs through three key design objectives: quick, targeted response; facilitated recovery; and resilient layers of protection. The resulting design is shipped as two modules, with one module containing the service core and the other containing the private bedroom and study. These are joined onsite to form a functional refuge. Construction time and cost are decreased, and the Cole family is provided with a permanent core shelter. Later, the core can be expanded to form a more comfortable environment and adapt to the family's long-term needs. Through the use of disaster-resistant sustainable materials, the home will empower families to withstand the effects of severe weather and recover from natural disasters.
University of Florida, National University of Singapore, and Santa Fe College From the team:
The team's goal is to synthesize clean lines and efficient spaces with new envelope strategies, energy-production systems, and fabrication methods. The result will be a prototype for an elegant and disciplined house that: 1. Expresses its construction in an honest and direct manner. 2. Basks in the Florida sun and harnesses the full extent of the available energy. 3. Is cast from modular uniformity while celebrating the potentials of variants. 4. Reflects the poetic delight of a bygone era but is updated and transformed through the technological prowess of our time.
Western New England University, Universidad Tecnologica de Panama, and Universidad Tecnologica Centroamericana From the team:
Designed to be affordable for a working family with one or two young children in New England, the EASI Living Home combines a traditional New England-style exterior with a modern interior. Featuring high ceilings and clerestory windows, the house offers a comfortable living environment with multifunctional space. Space-saving technologies—including fold-away beds, innovative storage solutions, and multi-purpose fixtures—and natural lighting create an open and spacious interior.
Missouri University of Science and Technology From the team:
The Missouri team envisions Nest Home as a solution for young families that want to live sustainably, yet comfortably, in a home that expands as the family grows. Nest Home's design includes sliding doors that allow private spaces to blend into a central gathering area or be secluded sanctuaries. Its structure of repurposed shipping containers is both sustainable and flexible. Additional containers can be added or subtracted to allow for changing family needs. Every aspect of the Nest Home is designed to bring the family closer while giving members the space they need to grow.
New York City College of Technology From the team:
New York City is exploring new models for post-disaster housing that meet the unique needs of a high-density urban environment. In this context, multifamily, multistory solutions that can placed in residents' own neighborhoods are preferred over traditional single-family trailers with larger footprints.New York City College of Technology is therefore exploring a stackable design to provide relief after catastrophic storms that can also be used for mobile and low-income housing in urban areas. DURA will consist of several prefabricated modules that can be packaged and shipped in standard-size shipping containers for quick response at low cost. The flexible modules can then be joined in standalone configurations or stacked for multifamily solutions.
California State University, Sacramento From the team:
Sacramento State's approach to building an affordable, ultra-efficient house involves simple but effective modifications to traditional architectural elements. The gabled roof will appeal to traditional tastes, and the offset levels and slopes will allow natural daylight and an open floor plan. An expansive deck will encourage outdoor living, and numerous planters will create a closer relationship with nature. Inside, two bedrooms provide the flexibility of having two sleeping rooms or a separate workspace. And a porch off the master bedroom is a private retreat for the homeowners.
Stevens Institute of Technology From the team:
For the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015, Stevens Institute of Technology will build SURE HOUSE, a sustainable, resilient house for coastal communities. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy killed 158 people, caused more than $65 billion in damage, and damaged or destroyed almost 350,000 homes in New Jersey alone. SURE HOUSE represents a new direction in coastal shore housing that will provide a safe, secure, comfortable, and architecturally innovative home for a family of four.
State University of New York at Alfred College of Technology and Alfred University From the team:
The team's design concept is based on modular construction with a mechanical, electrical, and plumbing core that includes a bathroom, mechanical room, and kitchen. Featuring an open floor plan, the house offers a great area for entertaining that is illuminated by natural light from large windows on the north wall and clerestory windows above exposed trusses. Though the floor area may be compact, the house offers living accommodations for four.
Cal Poly: California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo From the team:
Cal Poly's interdisciplinary design and build team is stretching the school's 'learn by doing' philosophy by working through design iterations and full-scale testing together. The team sees the manufactured and prefabricated housing market as an untapped opportunity and architectural challenge. Its goal is to move beyond 'surface green' technologies (such as green materials and photovoltaics) to 'deep green' solutions that harmonize with design. Climatic-responsive design proposes buildings that perform in symbiosis with the climate instead of against it. The team therefore strives to design a house that can meet most if its heating, cooling, and lighting needs architecturally rather than mechanically by focusing on passive design principles, low-impact materials, user interaction, and high-efficiency support systems.
University of California, Irvine; Chapman University; Irvine Valley College; and Saddleback College From the team:
Casa Del Sol will mimic the California poppy, the state flower. Like the poppy, the house is drought-resistant and diurnal. Its passive solar features cause it to open up during the day, increasing the effective living area. At night, the house closes to maintain a comfortable temperature.This ultra-efficient house will embody innovation in energy and water management, home automation, and community interaction to adapt itself to its occupants' needs and use. In addition, the house will incorporate design and construction techniques that respond to a market lacking housing that is energy-efficient, affordable, and adaptable to the needs of a diverse and ever-changing demographic.
Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University From the team:
The team is creating Harmony House—a sustainable and efficient home for a lower-income family. With a traditional façade, wide front porch, open living space conducive to entertaining, and plentiful outdoor space, Harmony House is a modern interpretation of one of Tennessee's oldest architectural styles—the dogtrot house. The dogtrot house traditionally comprised two side-by-side log cabins connected by a center breezeway and covered by a shared roof. This breezeway, or "dogtrot," allowed breezes to flow through the home during hot summer months. Team Tennessee designed a modern version of the dogtrot using wide French doors in the center of the east and west walls that open onto porches to create a breezeway through the middle of the house.
The University of Texas at Austin and Technische Universitaet Muenchen From the team:
Environmental and economic affordability are the goals of the team's ExW-Unit concept. As a unit of production, the house will harness resources (such as solar energy, rainwater, and auxiliary water) that would otherwise be wasted and a burden on municipal infrastructure. Because lower-income families are more vulnerable to water and energy cost fluctuations, the ExW-Unit will increase occupants' independence while contributing to their long-term economic, environmental, and social stability.
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York From the team:
In support of food production, GRoW House features a glass-enclosed solarium that provides ample light for plants during the growing season and passively heats the house in winter. The solarium can be continuously tuned to the appropriate conditions for growing and living. In the summer, operable cloth shades on the roof and southern façades shade and cool while vents or windows allow heat to escape. Design features on the east and west sides will protect the solarium from the low morning and evening sun.
University of California, Davis From the team:
The design of the M-Power dwelling combines public and private spaces in three linear zones. Two climate-controlled living spaces are separated by an unconditioned, enclosed deck. These three zones act as climate buffers that maximize passive cooling in summer and passive heating in winter. The units act as a system of active and passive techniques of energy efficiency. The house's passive components allow maximum user adjustability, while active components adjust energy to residents' needs and learn from their daily rhythms.
West Virginia University and University of Roma Tor Vergata From the team:
STILE is a simple and compact house covered by an elegant, Roman-inspired arch. The arch creates a covered passage that guides visitors inside, shades the house, and supports the solar energy arrays. A patio occurs naturally as a result of the arch's shading effect.
Yale University From the team:
In the architectural design of Y-House, the Yale team had one purpose in mind: to transform what has previously been considered an enclosed envelope into a public, social space that constantly adapts to its ever-changing social environment. As such, the spaces of Y-House accommodate multiple functions and introduce freedom of movement beyond the walls. A cantilevered roof provides a connection between the interior and exterior. A space may at one moment be a quiet reading area and the next an open entertainment space. Only necessary private spaces, such as the bathroom and sleeping spaces, are blocked off. By challenging traditional notions regarding the use of space, the team will fuse the concepts of perceived space and physical space to redefine the very idea of bigness.
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Los Angeles transformed this alley in North Hollywood into a polka dotted pedestrian plaza

The first project in LADOT's People Street program has opened in a former alley near corner of Magnolia and Lankershim Boulevards in North Hollywood. The project, called NoHo Plaza, has been repurposed with cafe tables, chairs, umbrellas, a colorful surface treatment (which looks almost exactly like the dotted green and gold surface of Silverlake's Sunset Triangle Plaza), and perimeter planters. People Streets allows community groups to partner with the city to make public spaces. Each project type—including parklets, plazas, and bicycle corrals—offers a preapproved kit of parts containing packaged configurations to choose from. NoHo's kit of parts was supplemented by technical design (road marking, signage, signals, etc) from LADOT. According to LA Streets Blog, the park cost only $57,000. The plaza is managed and maintained by the NoHo BID. Two more plazas are about to open in Leimert Park and Pacoima, while four parklets are set to open this summer throughout the city. According to LADOT Assistant Pedestrian Coordinator Valerie Watson, all of People Streets' inaugural projects are running ahead of schedule.
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Breaking! Renderings and video of Bjarke Ingels' and Heatherwick's Google headquarters unveiled

Just two days ago, AN brought you word that Copenhagen- and New York–based Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and London-based Heatherwick Studio were teaming up to design the new headquarters for Google in Mountain View, California. At the time, it was only being reported that the complex would comprise "a series of canopylike buildings.” Well, now we know what those canopylike buildings will look like and a whole lot more. The Silicon Valley Business Journal first reported on the project design, publishing dramatic renderings and details on how the architects came up with their groundbreaking scheme. "Google—along with a team of prominent architects—has spent more than a year rethinking every assumption about office buildings, tech campuses, and how they relate to their neighborhoods," reported the newspaper. "The result? Four futuristic structures where basic building elements — floors, ceilings and walls — attach or detach from permanent steel frames, forming whole new workspaces of different sizes. With help from small cranes and robots ("crabots"), interiors will transform in hours, rather than months." Hear that? Crabots! A spokesperson at BIG declined to comment further on the design. These four structures will be draped in glass canopies and are scaled as entire city blocks. The overall campus would also reportedly "see wide swaths of land returned to nature, criss-crossed by walking trails and dotted by plazas, community gardens and oak groves." There would even be a walking path that cuts through a building "letting outsiders inside the Google hive." Joining BIG and Heatherwick on this massive project is the San Francisco–based CMG Landscape Architecture, which is working with Gehry on the Facebook campus. "Today we’re submitting a plan to redevelop four sites—places where we already have offices but hope to significantly increase our square footage—to the Mountain View City Council," David Radcliffe, Google's Real Estate VP writes. "It’s the first time we'll design and build offices from scratch and we hope these plans by Bjarke Ingels at BIG and Thomas Heatherwick at Heatherwick Studio will lead to a better way of working." Google further unveiled the project on its blog this morning, revealing the video above. "The idea is simple. Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas," Radcliffe said on the blog. The project totals 3.4 million square feet and includes four sites. Google reportedly wants to have the first of these sites, known as "The Landing," completed by 2020. But before construction can start, the city must approve Google's hugely ambitious plans.  
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Watch the last person in Los Angeles skateboard through abandoned highways and streets

abandoned-la-01 While Los Angeles is trying to shake its image as a city of cars, it sure has a lot of roads and highways. And unless you're behind the wheel, you probably won't be able to play in the middle of them (unless you're headed to CicLAvia). Then comes along filmmaker Russell Houghten, who captured an eerily abandoned LA in his short film, Urban Isolation. In the film, above, a lone skateboarder navigates the grossly out-of-scale streets, on ramps, and even major highways in LA. No cars or trucks are in sight and it feels like the film's hero could be the last person on earth. Urban Isolation was created for the competition and film festival REDirect, "a celebration of skateboard filmmaking between and" Take a look at the beautiful video above.
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Are you ready for some football stadiums? Los Angeles gets even more proposals for its yet-unsecured NFL team

Just when we thought Los Angeles' football stadium craziness had cooled down, the owners of the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders have unveiled plans for a 72,000 seat, $1.7 billion stadium on a 168-acre site in Carson—which should soon be on that city's ballot—while Inglewood City Council approved a measure to build a stadium for the (for now) St. Louis Rams, originally floated by Rams' owner Stan Kroenke. The firm behind the Carson stadium, MANICA Architecture, is also designing a new arena for the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco's Mission Bay. The architect of the Rams' stadium is HKS. That office's plan would include an 80,000 seat stadium and a 6,000 seat performance venue, both part of a mixed-use development on the site of Hollywood Park. Showing how serious it is about moving an NFL team to LA, the NFL has launched a "Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities," to "oversee the application of the relocation guidelines in the event that one or more clubs seek to move to Los Angeles. A half-dozen Southern California stadium proposals have been pitched in the past three years, although only the two most recent are attached to specific teams. Other proposals have been suggested for City of Industry, Downtown LA, Elysian Park, the Rose Bowl, and the Los Angeles Coliseum. The NFL has not had a team in Los Angeles since the Rams and Raiders both left after the 1994 season.
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Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick are reportedly designing Google's new headquarters

Presumably not wanting to be outdone by Facebook and its Frank Gehry–designed digs or Apple and its Norman Foster–designed doughnut, Google has tapped two architectural big hitters for its new Mountain View, California headquarters. According to the New York Times, the company is expected to announce that the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Heatherwick Studio are behind the yet-to-be-seen design, which given the two firms' portfolios, should be pretty dramatic. But all we know at this point is that the headquarters will be comprised of "a series of canopylike buildings." No matter what the building—or buildings—looks like, it will likely get some pushback from the community which feels that Google is overextending its footprint in Mountain View. "When Google moved here in 1999," wrote the Times, "it had a dozen employees and a search engine known only to computer aficionados. Now, its 20,000 local employees make it the biggest employer in a city that is bursting at the seams." Two of the most pressing issues that Google and the city will have to hash out moving forward are housing and traffic.
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Q+A> Thomas Heatherwick talks about architecture, being an outsider, and his new exhibition at the Hammer Museum

The new exhibition Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio opened Friday at Los Angeles' Hammer Museum. The show, curated by Brooke Hodge, explores the firm's creative process and the remarkable scope of its work, with a particular focus on public scale projects. AN West Editor Sam Lubell talked with Thomas Heatherwick about the exhibition, his outsider approach, and where he's heading now. Sam Lubell: There doesn't seem to be a category for your work. You're a designer and you're an inventor. Thomas Heatherwick: It surprised me, when I was growing up the word inventor was always connected to the word mad—mad inventor. And you couldn't study it. But the paintings we valued had an inventive move, the pieces of writing would have an inventive something in them. Sculpture, science, transportation. We're all curious about what the future will be, and the future is made from ideas. But you couldn't study that. The world of developing, evolving ideas was chopped up into these different things with titles. So I was quite surprised. I've always been motivated by where can you make a difference. In a way I'm a problem solver, that's what interests me. The thing is trying to find which problem, and your analysis of what a problem is and where it is. It's all problem solving. It's trying to work out the order to solve those in. You've called your firm "experts in not being experts." To me that's so fascinating. To not be stuck in the expected ideas of what you should be doing. It seems very challenging to maintain that. Especially when you get to be more of an expert in something.  Luckily the world is big. Life is relatively short. Projects take so long to actually do that I don't feel worried about it. My studio's been going for twenty years, but you're seeing photographs of our first completed building project in Singapore. (The UK Pavilion is technically a big bungalow.) I think within everything, why waste your time copying yourself or others? There's an attempt to try to hunt down what the solution is. To me with each project, I feel like not that we're generating a solution, but that we're trying to find it. Which means it helps it to be broader than just myself. It really is we're together trying to solve a crime somehow. Often we'll do development work knowing it's not right. But you're needing to eliminate from your enquiries a strand of your ideas to see if they'll teach you something that might work. You've moved from smaller work to buildings and bridges. What's the next frontier?  I feel I've barely scraped any frontier. This is going to sound very dull, but my grandmother at the end of her life was in a nursing home. We found the best nursing home we could for her, but it was a really poor environment. But the most alarming part of it was for the staff. We are all going to be that person one day who's there. I want to know society thanks them. I know I'll be old and rotting. It felt to me there's something really wrong in that. You feel you could make a real difference with relatively little resource. Another example is the prison system. Do you really want to hurt someone more and then they come out and sit next to you on the bus? Most people in British prisons have not had the benefits in their life that you and I have had. The notion of a prison as a learning place and not a hurting people more place is exciting. If there's a way to politically enable that to happen when the public wants to condemn. If you hurt them more it's not going to help you. You seem to have this spirit that anything's possible. People are resigned to these areas that you've mentioned. For you it's like no, it doesn't have to be that way. People are cynical, and you guys have this idealism that is really refreshing.  I think I've been lucky that for some of the early projects, there were people who supported them and allowed them to happen. That gives you more encouragement to keep going and to believe the best in people. I've trained around some really hard-bitten architectural characters, and you understand why. Because it's very hard to make a building at all, let alone one with any value or quality. And it's really easy to get downtrodden and bitter. I suppose I've very consciously put that in my brain and tried to protect that, and not fall into that trap. Because it's like an itch that's easy to scratch. And as soon as you start scratching, if you don't believe the best of the people around you, then they will conform to being the worst. I see there's a lot of that idea of protecting and not allowing in the forces of cynicism. We're in an interesting time. Particularly in America there's a culture of entrepreneurial optimism and societal improvement in entrepreneurship. So I don't feel alone, I feel particularly inspired by the extraordinary examples of people pursuing an idea and believing something can happen, and there's no reason something shouldn't. Not blaming the world for ideas not happening. Since you're willing to rethink these processes, sometimes people get rubbed the wrong way. There's been some backlash about your attempt to move up in scale. People saying "he's not an architect." How do you respond to that?  The studio has 120 architects, and it's a brilliant training. I'm very lucky to work with people who've trained in that way. There's always some friction in change. It would be very weird if there wasn't. The public area between all the private zones is the bit we all share. As we all know, some people are good at adapting to change and others are very fearful of it. You can't predict and control how people feel about things. But I'm very lucky to have this team, and I'm very lucky to have the support that I do. Any innovation I see happening is when people step outside their bubbles. And it seems like that's what you're willing to do.  I've never been in a bubble. Maybe I've deliberately protected that. But I've also tried to bring in people who have that expertise to work with us. These designs are very provocative and complex, but they're very human. They're always grounded and approachable and understandable somehow.  It's a very real interest. I'm very influenced by the Jane Jacobs book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. It almost made me fall in love with public-ness. With the bit we share together, and the subtle chemistry existing in the social interactions in public space. And William White, who analyzed public space so well in the 70s. Lessons that haven't been learned since. It's just re-tuning in to thinking that's already there, but trying to synthesize and bring that to bear on projects now. Do you think you have more interest now in the public realm than in doing projects for individuals?  I've always had that. In a sense you can make more difference. We already know peoples' private homes can be sensational and gorgeous and impressive and that things in art galleries can be stunning and wonderful and in fact you're positively disappointed if they're not. Whereas we have very low expectations of public space. People really don't expect much at all. Having scaled up, are there any major lessons you've learned from working with architects? I built my first building when I was 21 at university, so this isn't new territory. But it takes years to be trusted by cities and property developers and cultural institutions. To be an architect is an impossibly big job. A really good architect is a collaborator, and harnesses the brainpower and brilliance of others. And I feel a strong sense that my role is to try to harness the brilliance of others, and to synthesize and bring that together into projects that have some meaning. I don't see myself so much as an author, I see myself as a "bringer-togetherer" of things. It's deep in me, the passion for both the space and the materiality. And I'm lucky to work with such good people.
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Eavesdrop> Building Bruins: UCLA looks to build off Playa Vista success in Westwood

UCLA Architecture and Urban Design’s new campus at the Hercules Hangar in Playa Vista has been a great success. Now we hear from a source that the school is looking to design an addition to its Perloff Hall in Westwood. Whispers say that the designer will be the campus architect, which probably wouldn’t make the school’s talented architects very happy. Stay tuned for a potential gossip blockbuster.

Eavesdrop> Sunny Apple: Cupertino HQ makes a big buy for solar power We have given Apple flack for the suburban nature of its new campus in Cupertino. But we’ve been impressed with the company’s recent attempts to make things more eco-friendly, adding shuttles, bike lanes, a bus transit center, and walking paths. Now we hear Apple is purchasing 130 megawatts worth of energy a year from First Solar. The purchase will power the new HQ as well as all of its other California offices, a large data center, and the 52 retail stores in the state.
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New York City is losing the Aluminaire House

New York City is losing the 1931 Aluminaire House and its relocating to Palm Spring, California. The aluminum alloy and steel structure was created by the architect Albert Frey and A. Lawrence Kocher, managing editor of Architecture Record, and was commissioned by the Architecture League for the Allied Arts and Industry exhibition. In many ways the metal structure is pure New York, a temporary installation first built in the Grand Central Palace on Lexington Avenue between 46th and 47th streets (replaced in 1967 by a 47-floor skyscraper called 245 Park Avenue). The house has been unloved by the city since it was taken down. It stood for some years at the Islip campus of the New York Institute of Technology and a proposal to site in Sunnyside Gardens, Queens was sadly rejected by local residents and since that time has been stored in boxes. Aluminaire Foundation officials think it will need about $600,000 to bring it to Palm Springs and have it erected on a local site. A first effort at fundraising netted $150,00 and now, this weekend, as part of the city's Modernism Week, a second event will be staged at the Frey- (and Robson C. Chambers) designed Tramway Gas Station to raise funds for the foundation. Regardless of New York's apparent lack of desire to keep the structure, it makes some sense to bring it to the dry desert; the city loves modern architecture and Frey lived in the desert city for most of his life. New York, say goodbye to the Aluminaire!
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Richard Neutra gets the star treatment in Palm Springs

  Architects may not get much respect in most American cities, but in Palm Spring, California they're stars! Today Richard Neutra who designed the city's famous Miller House in 1937 and, ten years later, the Kaufmann House will have a star dedicated in his honor on the sidewalk of Palm Canyon Drive just in front of the Palm Springs Architecture Museum. star-chitects-01 The Austrian emigre will join other architects on the sidewalk including: Albert Frey, Donald Wexler, E. Stewart Williams (who designed the city's architecture museum), William Krisel, and just next to the star of his friend the photographer Julius Shulman. All of these figures were important contributors to the significant architecture culture of this desert city and here they are not only honored but revered. star-chitects-02
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On View> "Coop Himmelb(l)au: Dynamischer Raumplan" at SCI-Arc

  Coop Himmelb(l)au: Dynamischer Raumplan Southern California Institute of Architecture 960 East Third Street Los Angeles Through March 8, 2015 Environmental consciousness and energy conservation have overhauled the blueprint for urban planning. With efficiency at its heart, today’s back-to-nature paradigm will realize the potential of self-sufficient cities powered instead by clean, renewable resources including the sun, wind, water, and earth. The Dynamischer Raumplan is a spatial installation by Vienna-based firm Coop Himmelb(l)au that operates like a machine to visualize the energy lines that shape a city’s morphology.   A 21st century game-changer, the influence of energy conservation is as powerful and radicalizing as the advent of the automobile in the 20th century, which mandated all-new infrastructure. The installation can be read in several scales, from a city block to a city district to an urban region, in which the energy lines of an imaginary site are displayed one by one to show how they might converge and adapt according to the needs of the system “like the brain, like a cloud, like a city.”