San Jose Mercury News columnist (and frequent AN contributor) Alan Hess took on HNTB's Levi's Stadium, the new $1.3 billion home of the San Francisco 49ers. Hess compares the "starkly utilitarian," 68,500 seat stadium to Silicon Valley's high tech environments, and even to its high-end gadgets. The building "translates the high-def experience of a game we see on TV—the roaring crowd, the superhuman action of the players, the intense color of the grass under the TV-studio lighting, the camaraderie of loyal 49ers fans celebrating (or commiserating) en masse—into an enormous three-dimensional architectural spectacle," Hess wrote. Innovations include club seats (including 170 luxury suites) separated from the rest of the stadium bowl (and a lacy steel skeleton) to bring everybody closer to the field; food service via every smartphone; and a variety of viewing environments, including nine clubs. Of course it's all located inside Santa Clara's Great America Parkway, a "multiuse city of workplaces, entertainment, theme parks, convention center, schools and hotels, stitched together with light rail and cars." Other outlets seem to be equally impressed, at least with the stadium's novelty and gizmos. Time magazine called the stadium the "most high tech sports stadium yet," illustrating partnerships with tech companies like Sony, giant LED displays in both end zones, and wifi and 4G access for all fans. USA Today called it "massive and luxurious," a shiny new antidote to "grungy" Candlestick Park, the Niners' former home, with its "wide concourses and expansive views of the South Bay." And SFist, a little bothered by the lack of shade, liked the solar panels that will power the stadium for all of its home games. But the same reporter, Daisy Barringer, had an interesting comment. Unlike Candlestick Park, which had a decidedly unique mid-century character (and flaws), the new stadium feels a little more, well, normal. "It's just another NFL stadium," said Barringer. Click here for a live view of the stadium.
Posts tagged with "California":
George Lucas is making architectural waves again. And it has nothing to do with a museum. In 2012 AN reported that Lucas had torn down 3389 Padaro Lane, a 1981 Modernist masterpiece on the beach by sculptor and architect Sherrill Broudy in Carpinteria, just east of Santa Barbara. Now he's finished the replacement—designed by Appleton & Associates. And let's just say it's less of a masterpiece. Featuring colonial detailing and a wrap around porch, it looks like it would be more at home on the East Coast than on the West. Los Angeles architect Tom Marble (who previously wrote about the house for AN) described Lucas's new abode as "Cape Cod Light, an invasive non-native systematically destroying a strain of modernism that evolved in this part of Carpenteria." Built in 1981, 3389 Padaro—known in the area as the best house on the beach—was one of just a few buildings designed by Broudy, who had initially worked as a sculptor. That background allowed him to create wood and copper detailing that gave the compound a warm, and somewhat Asian aesthetic. His excellent eye extended throughout the site, where he laid out a gym, an art studio, and a lap pool in such a way as to create a tropical oasis. Appleton has not yet posted the home to its web site, which is unusual since it's shared homes by David Zucker, Mitch Glazer, Phil Gersh, and other Hollywood A-listers. Lucas is busy talking with much more contemporary-style architects for his Chicago endeavor, including MAD and Jeanne Gang.
Hudson Pacific Properties is banking on the continued appeal of Hollywood office space with its Icon at Sunset Bronson Studios, a 14-story tower designed by Gensler. Targeting creative professionals, Icon reconfigured the suburban campus typology for an urban setting. Gensler associate Amy Pokawatana called the development a "vertical campus," blending "work, relaxation, and recreation." Part of a $150 million studio expansion, the project takes its cue from a six-story building the developer finished on the Sunset Gower Studios lot in 2008. The building features five rectangular, stacked volumes, offset horizontally to create exterior terraces. The high-performance envelope alternates between glass curtain wall and precast panels to break down the scale and frame views to downtown LA, the Hollywood sign, and the Santa Monica Bay. In addition to providing outdoor green space on multiple floors, the design incorporates flexibility and connectivity. Large floor plates and connections between floors allow for both open and traditional office layouts, said Pokawatana. Icon is located near several historic Hollywood buildings, including its next-door neighbor, the Executive Office Building (EOB), once the headquarters of Warner Bros. The design is set back from Sunset Boulevard to provide views to the EOB, while the height of the tower’s first volume coincides with the older building’s eave-line. In addition, said Pokawatana, “White, precast, freestanding columns that front the tower are a modern nod to the historic colonnade on the EOB facade. Punched windows in the precast facade mimic the simple rhythm of the windows at the EOB.” Pokawatana is confident that her firm’s vertical campus concept answers the needs that once drew creative and tech offices away from the city center, combining the best of urban and campus buildings. “There is a shift in the way companies work today, and we are designing a building that can inspire, promote, and nurture this new paradigm," she said.
Beverly Hills gained a vacant lot this week as crews demolished the former Robinsons-May department store at 9900 Wilshire Boulevard. The four-story, marble-clad building, designed by Charles O. Matcham, Charles Luckman, and William Pereira in 1952 with interiors by Raymond Loewy and Associates, was retailer J.W. Robinson’s first store in suburban Los Angeles. The fate of the site, which is for sale for the fourth time since Robinsons-May closed in 2006, remains uncertain. The first developers to take control of the property, New Pacific Realty, commissioned Richard Meier to design two 14- to 16-story condominium towers to replace the mid-century modern store. Subsequent owners Christian and Nicholas Candy promised to fulfill some version of Meier’s plan, but they defaulted on the project in 2008. Hong Kong firm Joint Treasure International purchased the site and the Meier design in 2010, but nothing happened until this month, when they decided to go ahead with demolition despite having listed the property for sale. Preservationists are mourning the demise of yet another Beverly Hills landmark. “The razing of the Robinsons-May building is a tragic loss for Beverly Hills,” said Beverly Hills Heritage’s Robert Switzer. “Not only was it a superb example of mid-century architecture, it stood as an elegant gateway structure at the west boundary of the city, beautiful in its own right without distracting from the view of another important building of the same period immediately adjacent to it, the Beverly Hilton hotel.” Beverly Hills, previously without preservation laws of any kind, adopted an historic preservation ordinance in 2012, too late to save Robinsons-May. “Had Beverly Hills enacted its preservation ordinance before a demolition permit for Robinsons-May was filed, I suspect that the City would have made every effort to save the building,” said Switzer. “Sadly, permits issued before the ordinance’s enactment could not be revoked. Moreover, the approval of the permit and redevelopment plans were transferable to the new owner, who chose to act on it.” Switzer worries that a contemporary high-rise development would disrupt the community’s urban fabric. “While it remains unclear whether the Richard Meier design will be constructed, any tall buildings on this site will be a jarring break in the smooth height transition that existed from the golf course on the west, past Robinsons-May to the Beverly Hilton,” he said. “It will be a less welcoming entrance into Beverly Hills.”
One of the insider landmarks of Beverly Hills is the Tower of Hope, an art-covered oil derrick that sits at the edge of Beverly Hills High School, clearly visible from Pico Boulevard. Covered with fabric panels painted with colorful flowers by young hospital patients, the 155-foot-tall tower is a remnant from the days when the area was covered with oil fields (the high school once contained almost 20), and it's become a popular visiting spot. It also still pumps oil, for Denver-based Venoco, with some of the proceeds going to the school. But Beverly Hills High's major expansion plans call for removing the well altogether. The school's new campus, designed by DLR Group, will include a renovation of the original 1928 buildings (including administrative, library, dining, and auditorium spaces), improvements to the playing fields, a new athletic building, and a modernization and re-skinning of its less attractive 1960s era one, which contains classrooms. The 510,000 square foot, $150 million project will be brought together with green spaces, plazas, and pathways, replacing a street that once ran through the campus. "The school board wasn't happy with how the old and new buildings used to have no dialogue at all," said DLR Group Principal Brett Hobza. The renovation plan will not, most likely, contain the tower, which was conceived in 2000 by local artist and writer Ed Massey. Site plans now include a new softball field on the site, said DLR Group principal Brett Hobza. Venoco's oil field lease is up in 2016, and at that time it will revert back to Beverly Hills Unified School District. The district would not comment on what they have called a "politically charged" issue. Venoco spokesperson Steve Greig acknowledged that if the oil field lease (which Veneco has held since 1994) is not extended then the tower will be torn down. He added that if that happened the city and the district would lose a "significant percentage" of the revenue from its wells. Over the last ten years Veneco has paid over $30 million in revenues to Beverly Hills. Roger Sherman, an LA architect and the author of L.A. Under the Influence: The Hidden Logic of Urban Property, calls the tower an "accidental landmark," a public anomaly forged through the resolution of conflict. (Its exterior panels were originally installed to minimize drilling sounds.) Several similar LA icons, "lessons in how the urban realm gets built," have also been lost in recent years. He described their loss as symbols not just of NIMBYism, but of a city that seems to want to ignore or whitewash its idiosyncratic history in favor of a "falsified version of its past," like the Grove or other Rick Caruso developments.
Net zero energy, LEED Platinum project raises the bar on eco-friendly office design.For its new headquarters in Los Altos, California, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation put its building budget where its mouth is. The philanthropic organization, whose four program areas include conservation and science, asked San Francisco-based EHDD to design a net zero energy, LEED Platinum building that would serve as a model of cutting-edge green building techniques. “They wanted to achieve net zero in a way that was replicable, and that showed the path forward for others to follow,” said project manager Brad Jacobson. “It was not just a one-off thing, not just a showcase.” The building’s facade was fundamental to its success as an example of sustainable design. “We were surprised at how significant the envelope is, even in the most benign climate,” said Jacobson. “Pushing the envelope to really high performance made significant energy and comfort impacts, and could be justified even on a first-cost basis.” EHDD began by considering the building’s siting. Because the street grid in Los Altos is angled 40 degrees to the south, orienting to the street would result in a long southwest elevation. The architects asked daylighting consultants Loisos + Ubbelohde what penalty this would entail. “They said you have to keep all solar gain out of the southwest facade; if you do that, the energy penalty will be in the realm of less than five percent,” recalled Jacobson. “But you really have to do an excellent job on sunshading. That was our mission.” EHDD designed deep overhangs over much of the facade’s southwest face, and added balconies and shade trees for additional protection. Where the glazing remained exposed, they installed external movable blinds from Nysan that operate on an astronomic time clock. “The blinds worked really well,” said Jacobson. “We were surprised how easy they were to commission and get working, and how relatively robust they are.” Thermal bridging was another area of concern for the architects. EHDD worked with Atelier Ten on thermal modeling of the wall, and discovered that any metal stud wall would sacrifice performance. They opted instead for wood stud construction, and switched to 24 on center framing to reduce thermal bridging through the framing structure. For insulation, the architects added one-inch external mineral wallboard from Roxul. On advice from structural engineers Tipping Mar, they installed FRP plates to separate external elements like balconies from the main structure. Because of the building’s location, EHDD did not initially consider triple glazing for the Packard Foundation offices. “We wrote it off at first,” said Jacobson. “We thought, that can’t be cost effective in this climate.” But Integral Group’s energy analysis convinced the design team otherwise. The improvement in comfort allowed by triple element windows from Serious Materials (now Alpen HPP) was such that the architects were able to eliminate a planned perimeter heating system, resulting in an estimated savings of twice the cost of the glazing upgrade. “It’s a really good envelope,” said Jacobson. “We did heat sensor testing of the building, and you can really see that it’s working as it’s supposed to. You don’t see the studs, and the windows are not leaking a lot of heat, so that’s been a real success.” The architects clad the building in local and sustainable materials, including FSC-certified western red cedar, stone sourced from within a 500-mile radius, and architectural copper. “Architectural copper is a really interesting material,” observed Jacobson. “It’s actually about 80-90 percent recycled because it’s valued. It doesn’t need refinishing and it patinas nicely. For a building being built to last 100 years, it has a good shot at never needing to be refinished or replaced.” Jacobson summarizes his firm’s approach to the design of the Packard Foundation headquarters as “Passive House light.” “At the same time we were doing a Passive House for a climate science researcher we’d worked with in the past,” he said. “We were working on both and learning from each. It’s a different type of building, but a lot of the same principles apply: good air sealing, eliminating thermal bridging, and pushing the envelope further than you think makes sense.”
Known for his political activism and for art that spans east and west, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei will hold an exhibit on Alcatraz Island this September. The show will include seven works at the notorious former federal prison—with partners including the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the National Park Service, and the For-Site Foundation. The installations will be spread throughout Alcatraz, including the 1941 New Industries Building, where prisoners worked in manufacturing or did laundry for local military bases. The A Block section of the 1912 Alcatraz Cellhouse will also open. It included solitary confinement cells as well as ones that contained typewriters and legal reference books. There will also be installations in the hospital and the Dining Hall, according to Architect. Ai Weiwei is a prisoner of sorts himself. He will work on the exhibit from China, since the Chinese government has barred him from leaving the country since 2011. To help visitors understand more about Weiwei's installations, guides will be stationed throughout Alcatraz, to be funded by a currently-in-progress Kickstarter campaign. The exhibit will run through April 2015.
Sustainability and high design meet in Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects' affordable housing complex.Designing a sustainable building on a budget is tricky enough. But for the Merritt Crossing senior housing complex in Oakland, California, non-profit developer Satellite Affordable Housing Associates upped the ante, asking Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects to follow not one but two green-building ratings systems. "They wanted to push the envelope of what they typically do and decided to pursue not only the LEED rating, but also the GreenPoint system," said principal Richard Stacy. "So we actually did both, which is kind of crazy." Wrapped in a colorful cement-composite rain screen system punctuated by high performance windows, Merritt Crossing achieved LEED for Homes Mid-Rise Pilot Program Platinum and earned 206 points on the Build-It-Green GreenPoint scale. The building was also the first Energy Star Rated multi-family residence in California, and was awarded 104 points by Bay-Friendly Landscaping. Merritt Crossing’s 70 apartments serve low-income seniors with incomes between 30 and 50 percent of the area median. More than half of the units are reserved for residents at risk of homelessness or living with HIV/AIDS. Stacy explains that in the context of affordable housing, sustainability means two things. The first is quality of life for the residents, "the sorts of things that have a direct benefit to the people living there," such as natural daylighting and indoor air quality. The second is energy efficiency. "Both non-profits and [their] residents have limited financial capabilities," said Stacy. "The one time they have funding for that kind of thing is when they’re building a building. So we focused a lot on the building envelope in terms of energy efficiency. At the same time, we wanted to have ample daylight and controlled ventilation.” Finding themselves with unused contingency funds during construction Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects upgraded the exterior skin to a rain screen system of SWISSPEARL cement composite. "We worked pretty closely with the SWISSPEARL company," said Stacy, who noted that Merritt Crossing may be the first building in the United States to use the system. Though the panels are installed like lap siding they offer "the benefits of a rain screen in terms of cooling and waterproofing issues," he explained. To accommodate the thicker skin, window manufacturer Torrance Aluminum designed custom trim pieces, which "had the added benefit of giving us the appearance of deeply recessed windows," said Stacy. Insulation was a special concern for the architects, both because Merritt Crossing was built using metal frame construction, and to minimize air infiltration in keeping with the green ratings systems. The building’s exterior walls are wrapped in 1-inch-thick high performance polyiso insulation from Dow Corning with a Grace Perm-A-Barrier VPS vapor permeable membrane. "As a result we ended up with a very, very tight building from an air insulation standpoint, which means you have to pay more attention to air ventilation," said Stacy. To compensate, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects’ mechanical engineers designed a special air filtration system for the building’s roof, complete with built-in HEPA filters. The building’s southwest facade faces a freeway, presenting potential noise and privacy issues in addition to exposure to the western sun. "We did a highly layered facade on that [side] where the actual exterior wall is back three to four feet from another screen wall," said Stacy. The outer wall "is a combination of typical wall assembly as well as GreenScreen panels that form a webbing of open areas and solid areas that help with sunshading as well as acoustical [dampening] and privacy." Greenery in balcony planters will eventually grow up and over the screens. On the ground floor, the garage is also enclosed in GreenScreen trellising, to enhance pedestrians’ view without sacrificing ventilation. Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects’ Merritt Crossing proves that affordable housing does not have to look institutional. The facade’s vibrant colors—green on the northeast elevation, red on the southwest—and playful punched texture pay homage to the neighborhood’s patchwork of architectural styles and building uses. The first major building in the planned redevelopment of the area around the Lake Merritt BART regional transit station, Merritt Crossing sets the bar high for future developments.
After being sent back to the drawing board last fall, OMA's mixed use Plaza at Santa Monica appears to be moving ahead once again. Located on a prime piece of Santa Monica–owned real estate on Arizona Avenue between 4th and 5th streets, the development—part of a glut of new mixed-use projects in the city—will be OMA’s first ever large scale project in Southern California. They are partnering with local firm Van Tilberg, Banvard & Soderbergh (VTBS). At a recent Architectural Review Board (ARB) meeting, the OMA-VTBS team presented its original proposal at 148 feet high and an alternate the city had asked them to consider at 84 feet. “Overall, the Board was very pleased with the design ideas and the potential that it represents,” said Francie Stefan, community and strategic planning manager for the City of Santa Monica. She noted that the concerns raised by the board had to do with daylighting and ventilation strategies for such large floor plates. According to Santa Monica Special Projects Manager Jing Yeo, since OMA is still collecting input they have not yet started on such revisions. Regardless of building height, the board wants the major concept elements to be carried through, including the mix of vertical relationships and the multilevel landscaping that would be done by Philadelphia-based landscape firm OLIN. It remains to be seen if the building's green roofs stay in future renderings and just how much affordable housing can be jammed into the project. Both of these concerns were raised by the selection committee when it issued its recommendation to pursue negotiations with the development team. Since this was just an early concept review, the project will be back a number of times before it gets final approval from the ARB.
According to the Los Angeles Conservancy, yet another John Lautner building is in imminent danger. This time it's the architect's Crippled Children's Society Rehabilitation Center, now known as the AbilityFirst Paul Weston Work Center, in Woodland Hills. Current owner AbilityFirst and Oakmont Senior Living, the potential buyer, submitted for a demolition and new construction permit in February, hoping to build a new Eldercare facility on the site, and the project was presented at a city Zoning Administration public hearing this week. At the meeting the Conservancy stressed that the structure was identified through the city’s SurveyLA survey process in 2013 as eligible for listing in both the California Register and as a local Los Angeles landmark. But it was not identified by LA City Planning as a historic resource in the project’s environmental review. In a letter to LA City Planning the Conservancy said the review's conclusion that the new building will have "no impact" was based on "flawed analysis," and called for the city to reject its findings. The building, designed in 1979, was built on a unique circular, pie-shaped plan, with wings radiating from a central office. The conservancy is trying to stop it from joining Lautner's Shusett House (below) in Beverly Hills, which was torn down in 2010. The Conservancy is asking people to write to LA City planning about the building by Tuesday.
After traveling all over the Western Hemisphere to inspect built work by emerging architects from Canada to Chile, a team of judges awarded the first-ever Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize on Tuesday, bestowing $25,000 and an offer to teach at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) on Mauricio Pezo and Sofia Von Ellrichshausen for their poetic Poli House, perched above the Pacific Ocean on a cliff in Tomé, Chile. The inaugural MCHAP.emerge prize was directed by Wiel Arets, Dean of the College of Architecture at IIT, and IIT professor / Chicago architect Dirk Denison. Some 265 nominees vied for two prizes, each “recognizing the most distinguished works built in North and South America between January 2000 and December 2013.” The nominees for MCHAP were established designers, while MCHAP.emerge was meant for architects in the early stages of their careers. The later-career architects get their day in the sun October 22,w hen the $50,000 MCHAP award is announced. Four finalists were feted Tuesday at IIT, where they were congratulated by Denison, Arets, Rice University Architecture Dean Sarah Whiting, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Pezo von Ellrihshausen, a design firm based in Concepción, Chile, took home the MCHAP.emerge prize for their Poli House—a solid, earthquake-resistant concrete cube whose simple materiality and exterior form belies a series of intricately sculpted interior spaces. Occasional voids in the double-walled concrete perimeter punctuate the building’s rooms and passageways with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, which rumbles below the cliffside residence and art gallery. Another Chilean project, the Kiltro House in Talca, similarly celebrated its dramatic setting with floor-to-ceiling glass spaces jutting out over steep drops in elevation. Named for a Chilean crossbreed dog, the Kiltro House took its cues from a mishmash of architectural styles, according to designer Juan Pablo Corvalán. With Gabriel Vergara, he heads Supersudaca architects. A Farnsworth-esque glass box cantilevered from a hybrid of various residential styles—including a castle included for a client who fancied herself a princess, Corvalán said—lifts up a roof whose undulations reflect the underlying topography. Farther north, in Los Angeles, architects Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues won recognition for Maximilian’s Schell, a golden vortex that hovers above a formerly vacant lot in the Silverlake neighborhood. Inspired by the Disney flop "Black Hole" and the minimalist surfaces of architect/engineer Frei Otto, the installation creates “both an intimate experience and a spectacle,” Ball said, by transmitting geometric shadows and yellow-tinged pools of light on the ground beneath the canopy. Look up from beneath the eye of the black hole, as it were, and you get a glimpse of a “James Turrell moment,” Ball said, if the sky cooperates. Still farther north, Winnipeg, Canada’s 5468796 Architecture was asked to reactivate a downtown plaza, whose 1970s bandshell had fallen into disrepair. They went much further than a simple rehab, however, coaxing great versatility from what at first appears to be an illuminated mesh cube. Ringed by a flexible curtain of perforated metal, the cube conceals several possible performance and event spaces, as well as what has become one of the most popular spots for wedding photos in Winnipeg. Projections from inside translate to the exterior, an effect used frequently when the cube’s metal screen is pulled back to frame the stage with an elegance surprising for its metallic heft.
London has Borough Market. San Francisco has the Ferry Building. Seattle has Pike Place Market. And now Santa Barbara has the Santa Barbara Public Market. The 19,400 square-foot marketplace, put together by local architecture firms Cearnal Andrulaitis, Sutti Associates, and Sherry & Associates Architects, opened on April 14. It showcases regionally-sourced, artisanal foods in a downtown location. Part of Alma del Pueblo, a mixed-use development that includes additional retail and 37 condominiums, the Public Market is located on the site of a former Vons. “When I bought the land, I knew that I wanted to put a market back,” said developer Marge Cafarelli. “Santa Barbara . . . [has] such rich roots and traditions in agriculture, farming, food, and wine, that it made sense to put something back that made sense in this time. The Public Market is housed in an understated stucco shell, a streamlined take on the Mission Revival architecture for which the city is known. “It was very, very important to me that the building be very simple,” said Cafarelli. “Less can sometimes be more, that was very intentional.” One of the driving forces behind the design was the incorporation of an historic six-panel mosaic mural by Joseph Knowles, which the city of Santa Barbara required Cafarelli to preserve. The mural, which depicts the history of the town, had for decades fronted Victoria Street, the quieter of the two streets adjacent to the Public Market. “[We wanted] to get those panels off of Victoria Street, which will make it much more pedestrian-friendly, and move [them] to Chapala Street, which is much more vehicular oriented,” said Cearnal Andrulaitis’ Jeff Hornbuckle, project architect. Construction crews sawed the 10-ton panels out one at a time and used a crane to move them around the corner, where they were placed atop a freshly-poured concrete footing. Cearnal Andrulaitis designed the shell of the Public Market. Sutti Associates did the overall interior layout and Sherry & Associates Architects worked with the tenants—who include purveyors of coffee, juice, bread, cheese, meat, beer and wine, and gourmet groceries—on kitchen layouts. Though united by an industrial aesthetic, including a polished concrete floor and exposed ductwork, the vendor areas were given unique personalities through custom lighting and signage. Next door to the Public Market are Alma del Pueblo’s Mediterranean-style condominiums, intersected by a series of pathways, pedestrian bridges, and outdoor living rooms. The Arlington Theatre, which dates to the 1930s and features an elaborate Mission Revival facade and an art deco steeple, is adjacent to both the condos and the Public Market. The architects opened up views to the theater, Santa Barbara’s largest, from the Victoria Street side of the complex, including at the main entrance to the condominiums. “The idea was to create a paseo that framed the view of the Arlington,” said Hornbuckle. Cafarelli is aiming for LEED for Homes Platinum on the residential portion of the project and LEED for Core and Shell Gold on the Public Market. “What was important to me was to build something that was really in the vernacular of the historic district, but to create a really high performance building in addition,” she said.