Posts tagged with "California":

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Among the Sequoias, a 3D-Printed Refuge by Smith|Allen

Smith|Allen's 3D-printed forest refuge is inspired by the site's patterning and historical cycle of deforestation and regeneration.

When Brian Allen and Stephanie Smith first visited the sequoia forest in Gualala, California, they saw patterns everywhere. “We were really intrigued by patterning at many scales, from bark on the trees to light through the trees and also, at a micro scale, [the cells of] the sequioas,” said Allen. Two months later the pair was back, this time with 580 sculptural bricks forming the world’s first 3D-printed architectural installation. Translucent white and 10 by 10 by 8 feet in size, Echoviren resembles a cross between a teepee and a tree stump, a mass made light by the organic porosity of the bricks. Echoviren is intimately tied to its site on the grounds of Project 387, the residency in which Smith|Allen participated last fall. Besides the sequioas’ patterning, the designers drew inspiration from the primitiveness of their surroundings. “The overall form was driven by what is the most basic space we could make,” said Allen. “It turns [out to be] just a small oblong enclosure with an oculus, a small forest hermitage.” The oculus draws the eye up, to the natural roof formed by the sequioas’ branches. In addition, Smith|Allen address the history of the site as a place where regrowth followed the trauma of deforestation. Built of bio-plastic, Echoviren has an estimated lifespan of 30-50 years. “The 50 year decomposition is a beautiful echo of that cycle” of deforestation and resurgence, said Allen. Smith|Allen took a flexible approach to Echoviren’s design, alternating between analog and digital tools. They used tracing paper to extract patterns from photographs of sequoia cells, then trimmed and propagated the patterning by hand. “We initially tried to do it parametrically in Grasshopper, to replicate that cell structure as a generative tool, but we weren’t getting good results,” explained Allen. “For us, the parametric tools were more of a tool set than a generator.” 
  • Fabricator Smith|Allen
  • Designers Smith|Allen
  • Location Gualala, California
  • Date of Completion August 2013
  • Material plant-based PLA bio-plastic, silicon adhesive
  • Process drawing, tracing, 3D printing, Illustrator, Rhino, Grasshopper, KISSlicer, snap fit, gluing, digging
Smith|Allen used KISSlicer to estimate the time required to print Echoviren, 10,800 hours in all. The designers ran seven consumer-grade Type A Machines Series 1 desktop 3D printers for two months straight. They used plant-based PLA bio-plastic, which in addition to being biodegradable, is also readily available. “We wanted to use something commercially available and easy to get our hands on,” said Allen. “The project was not about using inaccessible materials; accessibility gave us the tools to do this.” On-site assembly took four hours. Echoviren is a snap fit system, with dovetail joints in the XY and a pin and socket in the Z. Silicon adhesive secures each layer of bricks to the next. The bottom ring of bricks nestles within a hand-dug trench. Pyramidal in section, Echoviren is a compression structure. Its components vary in thickness from 6-8 inches at the bottom to less than an inch at the top. For Smith and Allen, the magic of Echoviren is twofold. First is the anticipation of the future, of the way the form will change as it decomposes. Just as important is how the installation came to be, how the technology of 3D printing enabled a firm of two to build Echoviren in less than a season. “As young designers, we struggle with getting our work out there and getting it built,” said Allen. “Using 3D printers, we’re able to really increase the amount of stuff we can do in a given time and transition it from a tool of prototyping and model building into real things.”
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Giant Pixel’s Binary Star Wars Canopy

A software developer gets a subtly intergalactic theme for its new San Francisco headquarters.

For the Giant Pixel corporation’s new headquarters, Studio O+A evoked the feel of a sophisticated galaxy far, far away in a renovated San Francisco workspace. With the help of Chris French Metal, Nor-Cal Metal Fabricators, and Seaport Stainless, O+A designers Denise Cherry and Primo Orpilla designed an interior environment that invokes themes from the client’s favorite movie, Star Wars, without delivering a set design for the Spaceballs parody. One of the office’s most notable features is an entry canopy constructed from ¼-inch hot rolled steel plate with laser-cut perforations that sets the office theme with a binary translation of the trilogy’s opening crawling text. “The Star Wars theme placed subtly throughout the office was what the client wanted,” Orpilla, who is one of the firm’s co-founders, said. “With the screen, they also found a way to vet job applicants and collaborators.” Doubling as a puzzle for visitors to the office, the software development company’s founders built an application that converted the film’s opening text crawl into binary code that could be visually translated for fabrication.
  • Fabricator Chris French Metal, Nor-Cal Metal Fabricators, Seaport Stainless
  • Designers Studio O+A
  • Location San Francisco
  • Date of Completion December 2013
  • Material ¼-inch hot rolled steel plate, steel bar stock, mechanical fasteners, flush socket cap screws, threaded rod, custom hanger clips, black silicone, single-pane glass, VHB tape, custom doors
  • Process custom scripting, Adobe Creative Suite, AutoCAD DXF, laser cutting, welding, hanging, screwing
According to Cherry, the ones and zeros from Giant Pixel’s software were translated to a computer punch code series. In an AI file, letters represented by zeros are punched out, and letters translated to ones were left solid, which was then exported to a DXF that fed the cutting machine. Each panel measures three feet by eight feet, so the character text fits well across most sections, though the blocking bleeds words across lines in a few places. The canopy had to be framed for stability, so Chris French Metal fabricated a from cold rolled steel flat bar and mechanically attached the canopy panels, said Jamie Darnell, project manager and designer for Chris French Metal. For the vertical portion, flush socket cap screws affix the frame to the floor. For the canopy, threaded rod and custom hanger clips suspend five panels from the rafters. To expedite installation, a tooth-like detail locks the panels together and aligns the edges. Less than one year after completing the interiors, an update to the storefront called for a variation on the pixelated theme from the interior. Within the brick and stucco façade, three openings were filled with an oversized version of the binary code that reads as a direct interpretation of the Giant Pixel brand. Eight-and-a-half-inch apertures—filled with tempered single-pane glass and sealed with VHB tape and black silicone—are bookended by two custom pivot doors weighing 800 pounds each. “We push to get in early on projects with the hope of developing collaborative relationships with the designers,” explained Darnell. “It’s more fun that way and the process and end product are usually more interesting in a collaboration than in a traditional design-bid-build process."
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Event> Blueprints, Blue Jeans & Bluegrass in San Francisco

cca-blue-01   The California College of the Arts (CCA) was founded in 1907 by Frederick Meyer, a German arts and crafts cabinetmaker and did not have an architecture program until the 1980s. However it has been making great strides in the past 10 years to become more of a presence on the international art and design stage. But like all schools it struggles with rising fees and costs to educate young people so it has come up with Blueprints, Blue Jeans & Bluegrass, a fundraiser that will take place in its fantastic San Francisco campus. The party will honor Art Gensler the founder of the San Francisco firm that bares his name. All net proceeds from the gala will go to scholarships for talented and deserving students at CCA. The event takes place on March 26 and features a complete dinner, fancy cocktails and Bluegrass music. I want to fly out to San Francisco just to attend the Blueprints.
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Architect Andrew Wolfram Joins TEF in San Francisco

andrew-wolfram-tef-sanfrancisco-archpaper Up in Northern California, Andrew Wolfram has bolted Perkins + Will’s San Francisco office to become a principal at TEF (Tom Eliot Fisch). Wolfram was project architect for the SF Ferry Building, and also worked on the renovation of 140 New Montgomery, Timothy Pflueger’s art deco skyscraper for Pacific Telephone. (Photo: Courtesy Andrew Wolfram)
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Rios Clementi Hale and LPA Win West Hollywood Park Commission

Last month we revealed three shortlisted schemes for the new West Hollywood Park, adjacent to the city's new library off La Cienega Boulevard. Last week the city announced that LPA and Rios Clementi Hale has won, beating out other finalists Frederick Fisher and Partners with CMG and Langdon Wilson. The scheme puts a strong emphasis on the connection between the park itself and its new recreation center and "resort style" rooftop pool (with cabanas and a view terrace). The rec center, clad with vertical green screens, will contain  a park-like podium and a large grand stair leading from to the park. The sprawling public space would be divided into a hard-edged  “public park,” programmed for larger events and athletics, and a sinuous “neighborhood park,” set for passive activities. The $80 million project is set for completion in 2017.
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Across the Los Angeles River, A Statement in Steel Reconnects the City’s Urban Fabric

“We got very attracted to the project, and to the idea of making something that reconnects Los Angeles,” Zoltan Pali said of Taylor Yard Bridge, the pedestrian and bicycle bridge designed by his firm, Studio Pali Fekete architects (SPF:a). Originally introduced as part of a mitigations package twenty-two years ago, the bridge, which will span the Los Angeles River between Cypress Park and Elysian Valley, should be completed within two years at a cost of $5.3 million. “Frankly bridges are a very interesting topic,” Pali said. “It’s also one of those types of things that you can design ten bridges in ten minutes, there’s so many different ways of looking at it.” In the case of the Taylor Yard Bridge, the designers faced a unique set of challenges. Large power lines on the Taylor Yard side of the 360-foot span limited the height of the bridge. Also on the Taylor Yard side is a maintenance road, hampering access to the riverbank; on the opposite side is a narrow bike path. Finally, the two banks are about ten feet apart in height, necessitating a 3 percent grade. “[We] had a lot of issues we had to deal with from the standpoint of geometry,” Pali said. To deal with those concerns, and to minimize construction time, Pali and his colleagues chose a lightweight steel construction that eliminated the need for supports in the river bed. The body of the bridge is a 30-foot-by-30-foot box truss, painted orange. A DWP recycled water pipeline, painted purple, will provide a contrasting splash of color. The 17-foot-wide road platform, designed with lanes for pedestrian and bicycle use, “kind of floats, almost seems as if it’s suspended” within the truss, Pali said. The Taylor Yard Bridge is more than just a solution to a set of practical problems. It’s also Pali’s way of pushing back against over-the-top bridge designs. “Truth be told, we really wanted to have a counterpoint philosophically and architecturally from the sort of heroics that lots of folks go through to make bridges,” he explained. The designers aimed for “simplicity, elegance. We wanted to refer to those really beautiful, utilitarian bridges you see around the world, plus the railroad bridges that used to span the LA River. Just do what you need.”
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Stunning Site and Stunning Shortlist at UC Santa Cruz

For weeks we've been hearing murmurs about the hottest RFQ in California: the UC Santa Cruz Insitute of Arts and Sciences, a hilltop museum, research center, and innovation hub on one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. Finally the shortlist has been announced, and it features a group of very heavy hitters from around the country. The shortlist includes Steven Holl with TANNERHECHT; Tod Williams Billie Tsien with TEF; wHY designAllied Works ArchitectureAidlin Darling DesignJensen Architects with Ann Hamilton; and Fong & Chan with Patkau Architects. The list was culled from a group of 39 companies, and will be further slimmed to three by April. "We were delighted in the quality and the range of firms," explained the Institute's director, John Weber, who noted that the school was looking for design teams of varying scales and sensibilities. "We want to find the right partner to push us on how the building can respond to the mission of the Institute," Weber said. "The desire to have something like this has been around for a very long time, but it came into focus in the last couple of years," said Weber. The Institute's museum will contain interactive exhibits on topics ranging from climate change to cancer research, and the facility as a whole, measuring 27,000-31,000 square feet, will contain research and teaching facilities, seminar and conference spaces, study areas, a cafe, and more. "The vision is to engage the issues of our time through the arts, sciences,  humanities and technology based on research here at UC Santa Cruz and bringing in material that complements and pushes what’s going on here," said Weber. The  site, he added, is "really spectacular," wedged between a forest of Redwoods and Ancient Oaks above and a grand meadow overlooking the Pacific below.  There will be a public presentation of the final three teams' schemes on April 3 at UCSC. The $32-40 million project's completion date will depend on ongoing fundraising, added Weber.
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Record Breaking Debut For Inglewood Forum

After a long hiatus, Inglewood's Great Western Forum—now called the Forum Presented by Chase—is back with a $100 million renovation by BBB Architects and Clark Construction.  To celebrate the moment, the venue's owner, MSG, has ordered up one of the more unusual promotions we've ever seen: the world's largest vinyl record topping its roof, by New York company Pop2Life. The record—a replica of the Eagles' Hotel California album—was made out of 250,00 square feet of printed vinyl (nearly 4.5 football fields' worth), 5,000 nuts and bolts, and 2,000 linear feet of curved aluminum, all built in 10 days. The thing actually spins at 17 mph. Meanwhile, the Forum itself, which opened on January 15, has been fitted with a modernized seating bowl (which can flex from 17,500 seats to 8,000), new hospitality offerings, and a revitalized 40,000 square foot outdoor terrace. The exterior has been repainted "California sunset red." By the way, the Forum (1967) was originally designed by Charles Luckman, who also designed MSG's Madison Square Garden.
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Stalled No More? Downtown Los Angeles Developments Could See New Life

Speaking of zombies, two of Downtown LA’s most long-stalled projects appear to be rising from the dead. The mixed-use project revolving around Julia Morgan’s beautiful Herald Examiner Building on Broadway is apparently finally getting underway, now developed by Forest City, and no longer designed by Morphosis. The designer has yet to be revealed. Also Metropolis, a multi-building megaproject designed at one point by Michael Graves back in the 1990s, is apparently being brought back by Gensler. Of course downtown giveth and downtown taketh away. We hear that Johnson Fain, who were previously designing the Bloc development, a makeover of the former Macy’s Plaza, is no longer on the project. Studio One Eleven are now, according to a project spokesperson, “moving forward with implementation.” Johnson Fain had been “engaged to assist with the development of the concept and to oversee the schematic design phase of the Bloc.” Too bad they couldn’t finish the job.
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The Inside Scoop from the West Coast

Gossip about new projects is back! First we hear that Steven Ehrlich and Fred Fisher are teaming up for a major renovation of the Otis campus, on Los Angeles' West Side. Next we hear a shortlist is close to being named for Metro’s West Side expansion subway line. We’re all waiting with bated breath to see the renderings of LA firm Johnston Marklee’s addition to The Menil in Houston, which is now set to be unveiled this month. And then there’s the expansion of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s La Jolla campus. A shortlist has indeed been chosen, but museum spokesperson Leah Straub told AN, “We don’t want to damage anyone’s reputation should they not be selected.” Wow, who knew being on a shortlist could be damaging?
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On View> “Tacita Dean: JG” at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles

Tacita Dean: JG Hammer Museum 10899 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles Through January 26, 2014 JG, the latest work in film from British-born, Berlin-based artist Tacita Dean, is inspired by her correspondence with British author J.G. Ballard and the connections between his short story, “The Voice of Time,” and Robert Smithson’s landmark earthwork, Spiral Jetty. Shot entirely on 35mm anamorphic film, JG utilizes Dean’s patented system for aperture gate masking. The labor intensive, decidedly analogue process allows the artist to expose and re-expose negatives, live on location, for a meditative, collage-like effect that melds images of the barren Utah and Central California landscapes with forms of mountains, planets, pools and Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. Spoken text, drawn from Ballard’s written work and correspondence between Dean and the author, accompanies the film. Dean’s films have been exhibited since the mid 1990s. They focus on subjects such as artists, architecture, and landscape, and are characterized by long, static shots, stillness, and a contemplative evocation of place. JG is being shown at the Hammer Museum’s video gallery in Los Angeles through January 26.
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Arup and Buro Happold Join Downtown LA Rush

Maybe it's because AN moved our West Coast offices here? Or maybe (more likely)  there's finally a critical mass of talent, clients, and opportunity? Either way, it seems like Downtown Los Angeles is becoming the place for architecture and engineering firms these days. Recent moves there include Gensler, SOM, SAA, LeanArch, SDA, Freeland Buck, Nous,  MADA, and Ahbe Landscape Architects, to name a few. Now these firms are being joined by two engineering giants: Arup and Buro Happold. Arup just opened a 2,500 square foot facility at 811 Wilshire, designed by Zago Architecture. The 25-person space, which will supplement its Culver City offices, will contain flexible work stations that allow workers choose new seating each day, and large open areas for meetings and workshops. Desks, also by Zago, alternate between sitting and standing heights, and look, as office leader John Phillips put it, "like a crashed airplane." The facility will allow employees to be closer to important clients like Metro, Gensler, and NBBJ, said Phillips. "We were reaching the limits of our space and spending most of our time on the freeway," said Phillips, summing up a couple more reasons for the move. Meanwhile Buro Happold  moved its entire Los Angeles operations to 800 Wilshire Boulevard on December 30. Their open, 12,500-square-foot LEED Platinum offices includes 40 feet of floor-to-ceiling grow walls, 90 percent natural lighting, and energy-storing phase change materials. Designed in-house, the office will hold 80 Buro Happold employees, and improve connectivity to clients and to Los Angeles in general. All employees have been given year-long TAP metro cards to encourage public transit use. "As downtown has become the epicenter of our Southern California Business we wanted to locate our new space in a central location that encompasses our philosophy—transparent and creative, with a touch of magic," said managing principal David Herd. Did we mention they have a large balcony overlooking the city? Now these downtown moves are making even more sense.