Posts tagged with "California":

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Los Angeles' sustainability chief talks going green in SoCal

Thanks in no small part to the local AEC industry, Los Angeles is a leader in sustainability in several areas, notably green building. But there is still room for improvement, said Matt Petersen, former president and CEO of Global Green USA. Petersen would know: he's the city's first Chief Sustainability Officer, appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti as part of a broader administrative overhaul. "The mandate the mayor gave me was to build on the great things Los Angeles is already doing, and to put forward a vision for sustainability in the city," explained Petersen. Petersen, who will represent the city at Facades+ LA in early February, has spent the last year preparing Los Angeles' first ever comprehensive sustainability plan. "We're headed toward the finish line as we speak," said Petersen, who expects to deliver the plan to the mayor's office within the next several weeks. "It's been an extensive process of engagement both internally and externally." Water conservation is one of Petersen's top concerns, especially in light of the ongoing drought. In an executive directive released last year, Mayor Garcetti set the ambitious goal of reducing water usage by 20 percent. "The biggest source of water use is outdoor landscaping," noted Petersen. "How do we get Angelenos to replace ornamental lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping?" Architects and landscape architects can play a critical role in encouraging the shift, he said. "Landscape architects have a rich history [of working with drought-tolerant landscaping] in Los Angeles—they've done a lot already." As for non-residential projects, said Petersen, "we're really thinking about how to reuse water or divert it before it goes into a storm drain. How do we start to break from the tradition of moving water as quickly as possible from the building site?" Energy efficiency is another area in which Petersen's priorities overlap with AEC industry goals. "Los Angeles was a little behind for about a decade, because the utility was historically not investing in energy efficiency," admitted Petersen. His office has set a goal that the utility meets 15 percent of its needs through efficiency measures—the highest such standard in the country. On the positive side, Los Angeles already boasts both more Energy Star buildings and more installed solar than any other city. "Can we build on our leadership and expand the number of LEED-certified buildings, not just to have plaques on the wall, but to encourage an integrated design process?" asked Petersen. "An integrated design process, when done right, can deliver so many benefits. We hope that the design and construction community helps us [get there]." To hear more from Petersen, join the movers and shakers of high performance building envelope design and construction at Facades+ LA. For more information and to register, visit the conference website.
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Eavesdrop> Study shows Angelenos hard up for rent

Forget about San Francisco being the hardest place to rent in California. According to a story in the New York Times (citing zillow.com), Angelenos spend 47 percent of their income on the median rent. That’s the highest in the country, and significantly higher than San Francisco, which ranks sixth on the list at 40.7 percent. And the problem appears ready to get worse as new supply struggles to keep up with demand in the overcrowded city. Maybe we’ll all have to move to Bakersfield.
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On View> Sink or Swim: Designing for a Sea Change

  Sink or Swim: Designing for a Sea Change Annenberg Space For Photography 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles Through May 3, 2015 Sink or Swim: Design for a Sea Change, at the Annenberg Space For Photography, examines worldwide resiliency strategies in architecture and design for the new challenges brought about by climate change and sea level rise. Composed of photographs from the likes of Iwan Baan, Stephen Wilkes, Paula Bronstein, Jonas Bendiksen, and Monica Nouwens, the show focuses on efforts that include coastal flood mitigation in the Netherlands, seawalls in Japan, floating schools, and temporary relief housing. The photographs are not glossy—they depict raw human responses along with un-staged images of contemporary design, creating a critical dialogue on the subject. The varied ecological and social contexts on view seek to provide starting points for discussions on nature, culture, and climate change in densely populated coastal regions.
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December's Top Five: Here's what you read most on the AN Blog

With 2014 quickly receding into history, here's a look at what blog posts AN's readers clicked on most last month. Big international stories, many with starchitects attached, abounded in New York, London, Los Angeles, Helsinki, and Rio de Janeiro. All of December's top stories point toward the future, with many under-construction projects that will be sure to dominate additional headlines this year. Here's a glimpse at what was in the news. 1. Here’s how Santiago Calatrava’s New York City transit hub got its enormous $4 billion price tag. With the final rafter installed on Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transit Hub the New York Times has done a deep-dive on how, exactly, the long-delayed structure ended up costing close to $4 billion. Read more. 2. Bjarke Ingels joins Foster and Gehry for Battersea Power Station redevelopment. Bjarke Ingels is slated to join elder architectural statesmen Norman Foster and Frank Gehry at the Battersea Power Station in London. The multi-billion dollar, mixed-use redevelopment was originally master planned by, yes, another starchitect, Rafael Viñoly. Read more. renzo-piano-darth-vader-award 3. LA’s Westside Urban Forum hands Renzo Piano, Peter Zumthor Darth Vader Awards. It’s good to see some good old-fashioned roasting, and that’s what the Westside Urban Forum’s WUFFIES awards are all about. Read more. 4. One of these six firms will design the new Guggenheim Helsinki. Over 1,700 proposals were submitted in the Guggenheim Foundation’s open-call competition to design a new museum in Helsinki—and now, just six teams remain. Read more. Zaha_4 5. Zaha Hadid’s first Brazilian project ups the level of luxury on Rio’s beachfront. Zaha Hadid will lend her futuristic style to the strip along the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, with an 11-story luxury condo building, dubbed Casa Atlântica—the first project in Brazil for the London-based architect. Read more.
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Eavesdrop> Expo Line’s First Riders? Unexpected patrons swarm Santa Monica

There’s been a lot of sunny news revolving around the incoming Expo Line in Santa Monica, which is scheduled to open sometime in 2016. But with all the feverish construction, it appears some unwelcome guests are coming out of the shadows (or actually, the ground). Several businesses around the construction—including those of architects—are reporting increased numbers of cockroaches making their way into their offices. Some have even called it an infestation. Who knew mass transit would attract such a wide ridership?
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Designing Facades for a Changing Environment

When it comes to responding to climate change, said Stacey Hooper, senior associate at NBBJ, architects have tended to be more reactive than proactive. "Our industry is so insular," she explained. "As a profession, we're really interested in the coolest, newest thing—not necessarily how we're going to support these bigger global challenges." Hooper had this in mind when she sat down with co-chair Luke Smith (Enclos) and the rest of the planning team to lay out the inaugural Facades+ LA conference, taking place in February in downtown Los Angeles. "We were talking about, 'Who are the influencers?'—not just in the building industry," recalled Hooper. "Where will real influence come from?" Hooper, who has practiced in California for more than a decade, includes government regulations high on the list of changemakers. "The state has been pecking away at energy consumption standards for 40 years," she noted. At the local level, Los Angeles has struggled to push through energy measures, water standards in particular. A representative from city government will deliver an introductory address on day 1 of Facades+ LA. "It seemed like a good introduction to a conference here to bring in a government body to talk about the necessity [of energy standards]," said Hooper. The tech industry has also made an impact, especially in California. "At NBBJ we see the influence of things like Silicon Valley; industry-driven change," said Hooper. "There's a need for high-tech workers, and they're being very demanding about what their environment is. That's a good thing because that demand drives change." Then there are the individual examples. Hooper mentions the Historic Green Village on Anna Maria Island in Florida, which achieved LEED Platinum and Net Zero Energy for its first 18 months of operation. "You have these smaller influencers that build into something big," she observed. "These are all great role models for the profession. The client is another piece of the environmental puzzle. Hooper recalls working on ZGF's Conrad N. Hilton Foundation building in Agoura Hills, California, designed to exceed LEED Platinum Certification. When the mechanical engineer told the team  that direct sunlight could harm the building's passive mechanical system, the architects followed up with a series of digital studies before importing an exterior system from Germany. "That's my benchmark I'm thinking about now," said Hooper. "When I get asked, 'Where's curtain wall going?' I say, "'It's not doing enough; let's start thinking about things in a different way.'" Thinking about things in a different way is where the architect comes into the picture, said Hooper. "It's a great privilege and a real challenge," she explained. "You need to be able to leverage design thinking to really serve the environment, and serve humans at an individual scale. That's what I love about working on envelopes: it starts at this big citywide level, then it manifests in these finite details in our built environment." To learn more about Facades+ LA or to register, visit the conference website.
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Winner chosen for another billion dollar addition to LAX

Last year LAX opened its soaring new Tom Bradley International Terminal addition. But that was just the beginning of changes at Los Angeles' woefully-out-of-date airport. The biggest news: Last week the LA Board of Airport Commissioners awarded Turner|PCL (a joint Venture with Corgan/Gensler) a contract to design and build a $1.25 billion Midfield Satellite Concourse (MSC) North Project. The 800,000-square-foot, five-level concourse will be located about 1,300 feet west of the new Tom Bradley, containing 11 new gates spanning a length of about 1,295 feet. It will be connected to that terminal via an underground tunnel. As for the rest of LAX, let's just say it's about time. We first learned via Curbed LA about the just-passed Landside Access Modernization, which includes a new Automated People Mover (called the LAX Train), Intermodal Transportation Facilities (with links to light rail!), and a Consolidated Rent-A-Car Center. Beyond that, the LAX Modernization Program, which began in 2006 and continues through 2019, consists of 20 projects, including renovations to most terminals, circulation improvements, curbside upgrades, and much more. It's one of the biggest public works projects in LA's history. Our theory is proving to be on-target: LA is going to be one heck of a place in 2020.
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Eavesdrop> LA's Westside Urban Forum hands Renzo Piano, Peter Zumthor Darth Vader Awards

  It’s good to see some good old-fashioned roasting, and that’s what the Westside Urban Forum’s WUFFIES awards are all about. This year’s event, held earlier this month at the Los Angeles Times of all places, was full of the usual snipes on botched RFPs and difficult County Supervisors. But it also got in some good jibes at architecture’s expense. Our favorite: the Darth Vader Award, which went both to Peter Zumthor’s foreboding, jet black LACMA expansion and to Renzo Piano’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum with its helmet-looking theater bulging out of the old May Company Building.
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Pictorial> Dramatic new pedestrian bridge design chosen for Palo Alto

A team made up of HNTB (which is also leading the 6th Street Viaduct in Los Angeles), 64North, Bionic Landscape Architecture, and Ned Kahn have won a competition to design a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge spanning the 101 Freeway in Palo Alto at Adobe Creek. The winning proposal for the Adobe Creek Overcrossing, called Confluence, is highlighted by a multi-story, leaning steel arch integrated with an intricate web of cables and floating steel disks. The bridge's sinuous form was "drawn from the trajectories of the cyclists moving along it and the sinuous waterways of the Bay," according to the team's proposal. Storm water will be captured from the crossing and re-routed to a new basin, designed to adapt to changing seawater rise. The team beat out shortlisted teams led by Moffatt and Nichol and Endrestudio in a competition that elicited 20 responses. The plan will go before City Council in February for review and possible approval.
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Time Inc. sells Cliff May's midcentury modern Sunset campus in Menlo Park

After weeks of rumors, Time Inc. earlier this week announced that it had sold Sunset's Cliff May–designed, seven-acre campus in Menlo Park, CA to real estate investment firm Embarcadero Capital Partners. Sunset, which has been published in some form or another since 1898, moved into the classic midcentury campus in the 1950s. They will stay through the end of next year. The company has expressed a desire to remain in the Bay Area (in a letter to employees, Time Inc. Executive Vice President Evelyn Webster wrote, "we will be working together with the Sunset team on a thoughtful search for a new home for our operations after the New Year"), but have not clarified where they will go next. Sunset Editor-In-Chief Peggy Northrup stresses that the move is less indicative of the company's financial struggles than of a change in priorities. "You have one of the hottest real estate markets in the world just outside our door. It makes more sense to sell this extremely valuable real estate that’ s not core to our operations and invest that money in our operations," she said. She listed another reason for the change: "Right now the story of The West is that people are moving into cities. It’s really up to us to follow our readers and not just pretend to live the life that we’re living." The campus is an ideal example of 50's California home and garden interaction, with May's modern ranch house vernacular merging seamlessly with an expansive landscape (including a 1.2 acre colonial bent grass lawn) and informal patios by Thomas Church. The facility has its own kitchen for testing recipes, and the ever-blooming gardens exhibit species from varying climate zones—ranging from coastal redwoods to southwest chaparral. The Sunset gardens, by the way, are still open for self-guided tours from 9:00a.m. to 4:00p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Northrup said she didn't know how Embarcadero Capital planned use the campus (they could not be reached for comment), but stressed that, "they have a reputation for doing very very nice renovations and really beautiful office developments." "It’s all about looking forward," concluded Northrup. "It’s a new phase for the magazine and it is a much more outward looking phase."
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Larry Scarpa on Los Angeles and the Building Envelope

With its combination of warm temperatures, low humidity, bright sun, and vulnerability to earthquakes and fires, Southern California presents a unique set of opportunities and challenges to facade designers and builders. "It's way more forgiving here than in most places," said Larry Scarpa, principal at Los Angeles-based Brooks + Scarpa. "I've been on design reviews in various parts of the country where you have to do things much differently with the building envelope. In Southern California you have a lot of freedom to explore things that you don't in other parts of the world." Scarpa and other AEC industry movers and shakers will gather in early February at Facades+ LA to discuss possibilities and trends in building envelope design, both in Los Angeles and beyond. Scarpa, who will deliver the afternoon keynote at the Facades+ conference series' Southern California debut, says that Los Angeles' temperate climate allows architects to simplify building envelopes, shifting resources from insulation and humidity control to lighting and materials. "Condensation is a big concern, but it's less of an issue here," he explained. "Generally speaking, we can be a lot less high tech with the actual wall construction. We then tend to spread it out: you still make it perform, but in a way where it's more like a rain screen." Southern California architects need not incorporate large thermal cavities, as at Herzog & de Meuron's Walker Art Center, in Minneapolis. The attendant freedom "becomes a way to deal with light in a much more significant way—how facades harvest light, or shade the building, or how you can make them function as public or private," said Scarpa. Brooks + Scarpa also use the flexibility engendered by their location to experiment with materials. "The materiality is a big thing for us," explained Scarpa. "We tend to use a lot of non-traditional building materials." The firm's Broadway Housing project, for instance, features a building skin partially clad with building blocks made from recycled aluminum cans. Benchmark Builders Showroom similarly incorporates an outer wall constructed from industrial brooms. "Because we have a certain amount of freedom here, we look to use ordinary materials in a way we're not used to seeing them," said Scarpa. Of course, Los Angeles is not all sunshine. Multiple active earthquake faults in the region place constraints on architects and builders. Earthquake codes require particular structural systems, which in turn impact the buildings' facades. "You wind up with large amounts of columns or moment frames. If you have glass or curtain walls, they're going to be exposed—you're going to see it. It's very hard to conceal it in a wall." To learn more about designing and building high performance facades in Southern California and worldwide, register now for Facades+ LA. More information, including a list of speakers and the complete lineup of hands-on dialog and tech workshops, can be found on the conference website.