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.
Posts tagged with "California":
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
The Vancouver-based New Buildings Institute (NBI) tracks energy efficient built work, and their 2014 update, “Getting to Zero”, provides a snapshot of the emerging U.S. market for net-zero buildings—those are structures that use no more energy than they can gather on site. In the United States, California leads in the number of low and zero energy projects with 58, followed by Oregon (18), Colorado (17), Washington (16), Virginia (12), Massachusetts (11), Florida (10), Pennsylvania (10), Illinois (8), North Carolina (8), and New York (8). NBI also compiled a database of all their buildings. They say architects and developers interested in pursuing net-zero design could find inspiration there, searching according to their local climate and/or building characteristics. The database includes energy-efficient and high-performance buildings that are not net-zero, as well. Though the trend has succeeded in garnering attention and excitement among many designers, true net-zero buildings remain elusive in the built environment. So far NBI has only certified 37 buildings as net-zero. That ranking is based on performance—each building underwent a review of at least 12 months of measured energy use data. If piece-meal projects aren't yet adding up to a groundswell of net-zero design, NBI is also pushing systemic change—rigorous energy efficiency standards recently adopted in Illinois took cues from the group's Core Performance Guide.
Oyler Wu Collaborative partner delves into jewelry design.Oyler Wu Collaborative partner Jenny Wu had long dreamed of designing jewelry—just as soon as she found some spare time. Last fall, she realized that she might wait forever for a break from her busy architecture practice. "At some point I decided, 'I'll design some pieces, and the easiest way to make it happen is just to 3D print them,'" said Wu. She fabricated a couple of necklaces, and brought them on her just-for-fun trip to Art Basel Miami Beach 2013. "I wore my pieces around, and I was stunned by the response I was getting," she recalled. "People kept coming up to me, literally every five seconds. After a while, I thought, 'Maybe I do have something that's unique, especially for a design crowd.'" Back home in Los Angeles, Wu began prototyping necklaces and earrings for retail sale under the name LACE. Though she originally planned to use 3D printing only to mock up her designs, she decided carry the technology through to her finished pieces. "I'd like to do more high-end, low-run pieces," said Wu. "Especially for jewelry, when you're making custom pieces, people are willing to wait for them. It just made sense from the production point of view for me to use 3D printing." Wu's next step was to design additional pieces and test materials. Typical 3D printing materials like nylon "might look great, but they're extremely fragile and brittle," explained Wu. "Especially resins—they don't have the right tensile quality. Like if you're wearing a necklace and someone hugs you too hard [it can break]." Wu's current line includes necklaces in an elastic nylon material. She also offers earrings and rings in polished nylon that takes advantage of selective laser sintering (SLS) technology, plus a premium cast-metal series that utilizes 3D-printed wax molds. Wu, who is collaborating with Stratasys on certain designs in addition to partnering with other professional 3D printing firms, aspires to use the technology as more than just a production expedient. "Pieces that push the technology are important," she said. "There's so much detail you can introduce in 3D printing, even in metals. You can create this nice edge detail—it's something I notice, but it isn't necessarily something you'd see in jewelry." Nor is the speed with which she can materialize a concept typical by jewelry-world standards. "I can make these chain-link pieces as part of one print, because the support material is something like powder that you can basically wash off," explained Wu. "That's what's amazing, where in the traditional jewelry-making process you'd have to make individual links that you'd eventually assemble." In a neat closing of the circle, LACE returned to Art Basel Miami Beach last week, this time in a pop-up shop at Aqua Art Miami. One year into her experiment, Wu is comfortable having one foot each in the worlds of jewelry and architecture. "If you look at the jewelry pieces, you see how they could relate to our architecture: our emphasis on line-based geometries, the interesting bundling and layering of material, and creating something very spatial, not graphic and flat," she said. "I don't see a separation between my architecture and my jewelry." As for the day-to-day reality of spearheading two creative businesses at once, that seems to be working, too. LACE is in Wu's name, but "the work's happening simultaneously with all the same people," she said. "While it may have its own identity, it's very much part of our office in terms of production. We like how it keeps things fun."
Forget "home is where the heart is." Home is where the art is—or so argues the latest show from the El Segundo Museum of Art (ESMoA). HOME isn't your typical art exhibition, just as ESMoA isn't your typical art museum. (In fact, ESMoA prefers the terms "experience" and "laboratory," respectively. ) The experience, which runs through February 1, 2015, invites visitors to re-evaluate their personal definitions of art, the home, and—most especially—art in the home. On the one hand, HOME offers a tutorial in creative collection."It's a little bit about the home being the first place people take art, decide to live with art and look at it in daily life," said curator Bernhard Zuenkeler. On the other hand, the experience suggests that art has the power to transform the spaces it occupies, and the people who adopt it. HOME is constructed as a series of rooms, each correlated to an area of the home, and each furnished with fixtures, wall coverings, and flooring. "We of course love to play with stuff, a big museum couldn't do that," said Zuenkeler, pointing out the crocodile-green floor in the "living room." "We have things that are not, from an art-historical point of view, totally correct. But we show that when you put art in your home, pieces always talk to one another—it's impossible to have a vacuum." Juxtaposition—of, say, works by Golden Age artists and Los Angeles up-and-comers—is a theme of the show, intended to convey the productive power of difference. Most of the artwork featured in HOME deals with home, or architecture, on some level. Jan van Goyen's painting of a 17th-century tavern is accompanied by work by Bernd and Hilla Becher, also depicting houses. Other works, like a conceptual piece by Flora Kao, point to the collapse of the American dream. In the show's log-cabin room, its walls covered in rough timber, a painting by Max Liebermann suggests a desire to escape the confines of home. Home security (and, more broadly, homeland security) is another motif. Cole Sternberg's reclaimed shooting targets occupy the entrance, near which stands a Honda CB750 motorcycle. "It's now a total classic," remarked Zuenkeler of the bike first manufactured in 1969. "But visitors today forget that when it was introduced, this motorcycle was a threat to the entire American industry. People at that time were totally afraid of the Japanese. Sometimes you have to trust what you let into the home." ESMoA's HOME acknowledges what Zuenkeler said too many art-world denizens are unwilling to admit. "For a lot of people who are not used to art, the question is: 'do I want to live with this piece of art?'" he said. "Often it starts with, 'Does this piece of art match my sofa?'" HOME offers an alternative path to building a personal art collection, said Zuenkeler, one that challenges the conventions of both museum curation and DIY home decoration. "I would rather say, 'Get the sofa redone according to your art.'"
Groundswell: Guerilla Architecture in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake MAK Center 835 North Kings Road West Hollywood, California Through January 4, 2015 The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 devastated the island nation, setting off a tsunami that destroyed over 300 miles of coastline, causing the failure of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, and leaving more than 20,000 people dead and 470,000 without homes. The severe damage from the catastrophe propelled architects to take action, swiftly and creatively, as illustrated in a new exhibit, Groundswell: Guerilla Architecture in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake. Faced with the slow moving bureaucracy of the government response, a number of architects—including Manabu Chiba, Momoyo Kaijima and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (of Atelier Bow-Wow), Senhiko Nakata, Osamu Tsukhashi, and Riken Yamamoto—decided to take matters into their own hands and work with local communities to rebuild, using a myriad of design solutions. Through this grassroots movement, the show explores how architects can jumpstart and participate in recovery efforts following a natural disaster.
Public Work, Lines of Desire: Peter Shire A+D Architecture and Design Museum 6032 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California Through January 31, 2015 The A+D Museum is displaying the public and private architectural commissions of Los Angeles artist Peter Shire in Public Work, Lines of Desire. Shire’s architectural work combines graphic forms and structural geometry with highly saturated colors in a meditation on the collision between popular culture and the visual language of design that explores the line between “fine” and “applied” art. The exhibition will cover everything from the Echo Park–native’s first public entry in the 1984 Olympics; to a 1990 sculptural installation commissioned by Sapporo Corporation in Hokkaido, Japan; to his most recent public art installation, 2012 River Park in Ventura County. On view will be architectural models and sculptural elements, ideation sketches, finished drawings and paintings, and various objects of inspiration that have functioned as source material and propelled Shire’s installations.
Palm Springs Architecture and Design Center will officially open on November 9 with its inaugural exhibition, An Eloquent Modernist, E. Stewart Williams, Architect. Williams is a member of the group of early post-World War II architects that landed in the Coachella desert and helped turn the resort into a fledgling center of modern design mostly for vacation and retirement homes but also of schools, commercial buildings, and civic monuments. Williams fittingly designed the building that houses the new museum as the Santa Fe Federal Savings in 1961. It has now been entirely renovated by Marmol Radziner and seems to easily work as an exhibition space with an uninterrupted, unified and open plan that both contains space and opens up to the beautiful landscape beyond. The glass and steel building has many of the design details like brise-soleil, terrazzo flooring, sliding grates, and grills and columns that mark high modernism in southern California but are not usually seen in commercial structures like banks. In fact, it works perfectly for a museum and exhibition space devoted to design and architecture. The 13,000-square-foot facility will also house an archive and design collection in its basement level that allows it to create an ambitious facility devoted to design. The Palm Springs Art Museum, the parent of this new architecture and design center named the Edward Harris Pavilion, has assembled a talented and passionate team to direct the future of the center. A museum devoted simply to architecture might be hard to program after the first few exciting years but the managing director of the museum, J.R. Roberts, will open up its programming to include fashion, automobile design and other design disciples. The Executive Director of the Palm Springs Art Museum, the historian Dr. Steven Nash, has announced that the museum has been able to raise the $5.7 million (including the building purchase) it needs to renovate the bank and support several years of programming that is critical to running any sort of cultural facility in the 21st century. Finally, this team includes the accomplished daughter-in-law of Stewart Willams-Sidney who wil be the new museum's head curator. There are virtually no models for an architecture and design museum in this country so it will be fascinating to watch this facility in the next decade as it grows and develops.