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.
Posts tagged with "California":
“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.”
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 design, Allied Works Architecture, Aidlin Darling Design, Jensen 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Hell Yeah! We hear from a little birdie that our friend Tom Wiscombe (pictured) may be designing a new museum in downtown Los Angeles dedicated to Los Angeles art. The details are still left to resolve, but we’ve been told he likens the place to a “zombie hive.” You had us at zombie, Tom. (Photo: Courtesy Tom Wiscombe Design)
In November, the Los Angeles City Council named Armet & Davis' Johnie’s Coffee Shop, the restaurant at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax, a historic cultural landmark. That’s a win for preservationists concerned with the legacy of the Googie style, the auto-oriented, steel-and-neon aesthetic that spawned diners and coffee shops across Southern California from the 1940s through the 1960s. It might also give a leg up to locals interested in seeing Johnie’s returned to its original use. Because Johnie’s Coffee Shop isn’t a coffee shop, and hasn’t been for over a decade. Since 2000, it’s been closed to the public and used exclusively for filming. The restaurant’s film credits, both before and after its conversion to a 24/7 theatrical set, include The Big Lebowski and Reservoir Dogs. But while the best use for a building like Johnie's might have a stronger community orientation, in the meantime its co-optation by the film industry isn't all bad. When it takes over a building, the film industry buys time for preservationists and others hoping to breathe new life into an under-used landmark, Adrian Scott Fine, Director of Advocacy at the Los Angeles Conservancy explained. "It's kind of an advantage that Los Angeles has over other cities," he said. In addition, "People discover buildings through film," Scott said. "Johnie's, some of the films it's been in, it's clearly the star of the film." Approximately two years ago, the Los Angeles Conservancy honored Mad Men and its creator, Matthew Weiner, for the way in which it showcases midcentury modern architecture. Weiner has been active in efforts to preserve Los Angeles landmarks, Fine said, and the show has featured preservation-themed plot lines, including the demolition of New York's Penn Station. This all got us thinking: what other LA architectural landmarks are now used primarily as stage sets? The answer, it turns out, is quite a few. From one of Julia Morgan’s earliest Hearst commissions to a 1958 Pereira & Luckman high-rise, here’s our list of Los Angeles masterworks currently in the hands of the film industry. Herald Examiner Building (Downtown, Broadway and 11th Street) Media magnate William Randolph Hearst commissioned 2014 AIA Gold Medal recipient Julia Morgan to design a new headquarters building for the Los Angeles Examiner newspaper in 1913, ten years after the paper’s founding. When the Herald Examiner, the Los Angeles Examiner’s successor, went under in 1989, the Hearst Corporation held on to the structure. In 2008, Brenda Levin (who cites Julia Morgan as her role model) was set to renovate the building—but then the economy tanked. Plans to rehabilitate the building, and build two Morphosis-designed residential towers adjacent to it, were put on indefinite hold. Today, the Herald Examiner building is used exclusively for filming. Scenes in The Usual Suspects, Dreamgirls, Spider-Man 3, Zoolander, Castle, Bones, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, plus music videos by Eminem, Shakira, and Christina Aguilera were shot there. Interior location sets include an apartment, bar, jail, and police station. Park Plaza Hotel (Westlake, 607 South Park View Street) Art Deco and Corporate Moderne architect Claud Beelman designed the Park Plaza Hotel as Elks Lodge No. 99 in 1925. During the 1932 Olympics, the building hosted several indoor swimming events. The Park Plaza, which is listed as a Los Angeles historic-cultural landmark, features four ballrooms: the Grand Ballroom, whose decorated ceiling beams were modeled after a palace in Florence; the Art Deco Terrace Room, formerly the Elks Lodge meeting room; the Bronze Ballroom, distinguished by its copper-gilded columns; and the smaller Gold Room, named for the gold-leaf detail on its Corinthian columns. Both indoor and outdoor spaces, including the Tuscan Patio, can be rented for filming, weddings, and other events. Greystone Mansion (Beverly Hills, 501 Doheny Road) The lavish Beverly Hills estate known as Greystone Mansion was designed by Gordon B. Kaufmann beginning in 1925 for Edward Laurence Doheny, Jr., son of Los Angeles’s original oil magnate. Kaufmann, who would go on to design both the Hoover Dam and the Los Angeles Times building, designed the fifty-five room mansion in the Tudor style. The estate gained notoriety soon after construction finished, when Doheny, Jr. was found dead of an apparent murder-suicide. The City of Beverly Hills purchased the property in 1955, and built a reservoir on the site. The grounds of the mansion are open to the public, while the interior is available for filming and events. Greystone Mansion is featured in movies including The Muppets, The Social Network, What Women Want, Air Force One, and Ghostbusters. Los Angeles Theatre (Downtown, Broadway and 6th Street) In the ultimate Hollywood irony, the Los Angeles Theatre now just plays one on TV. The film palace was designed in 1931 by S. Charles Lee, after the Fox Theatre in San Francisco. A popular theater designer, Lee’s other Los Angeles buildings include the Alex Theatre, the Saban Theatre (formerly the Fox Wilshire), the Star Theatre, and the Tower Theatre. The Los Angeles Theatre, which the Los Angeles Conservancy calls “[t]he most lavish . . . of Broadway’s great movie palaces,” features a six-story lobby with a Louis XIV-inspired sunburst motif, plus a glass-ceiling ballroom and a nursery decorated with a circus theme. The building is available for rent as a film location, and for special events, live stage performances, and film screenings. "[The film industry] has certainly been instrumental in keeping the theaters going, where historic theaters are certainly one of the most difficult [building types] to adapt," Fine said. "I'm not sure, if you look at other cities with historic theaters, if we hadn't had the filming industry doing things, we probably would have lost them." Los Angeles Center Studios (City West, 1501 W. Fifth Street) When the Los Angeles Center Studios’ original tower, designed by Pereira & Luckman, was completed in 1958, it was the tallest structure in downtown LA. Hexagonal in shape, the International Style building is entirely unornamented, except for the aluminum sunshades at the base of each window. By 1998 the building, which was originally designed as part of Union Oil’s headquarters, was threatened with demolition. A group of developers bought the complex and converted it into a full-service TV, film, and commercial production studio. The Pereira & Luckman tower is now dedicated to entertainment and creative office space.
Architect Elena Manferdini Completes the Colorful, Laser-Cut "Nembi" Installation in South Los Angeles
Until recently, talented Los Angeles–based architect Elena Manferdini had practiced all over the world, but barely in her own city. That has definitely changed. Earlier this year she worked on two shops in Venice, and her latest project is an art installation at the entry way of the Hubert H. Humphrey Comprehensive Health Center in South Los Angeles. The colorful project is part of the LA County Art Commission's Civic Art project, a one percent program for county facilities. Italian for “clouds,” Nembi wraps the entry's concrete wall, folds back onto the ceiling, and then folds onto the front facade. Made up of laser-cut, powder-coated aluminum panels over an aluminum frame, its colorful bands riff on the green strip on the building's facade; and its cloud-like shapes were inspired by the county's desire to lift peoples' spirits in a place that can often be depressing. The forms themselves emerged from a series of drawings produced by a script tracing and linking variable radii. Areas of the artwork were perforated to filter the light coming from the existing light fixtures. Manferdini is continuing with her LA momentum. She's now working on Inverted Landscapes, a set of two larger installations for the San Fernando Valley Family Center. "I’m quite happy about working in LA," she said. "All of my projects were so far away; I never got the chance to nurture them."
San Diego’s New Central Library, which opened earlier this fall, was a long time coming. The project has been in the works since at least 1971, when the first of 46 studies on the subject of a new library building was published. Rob Wellington Quigley, FAIA, who designed the $184.9 million structure with Tucker Sadler & Associates, came on board in 1995. Why did he stick with it so long, through budget problems and four site changes? “It’s in my backyard,” Quigley said. “It was just too important a project, culturally, to the city, and to all of us...though it was very difficult, economically, to withstand all the stops and starts.” The centerpiece of the New Central Library is its steel-mesh dome, which, Quigley explained, is actually a composite of eight three-point arches. “It’s all about buoyancy,” Quigley said. “It feels like it’s lifting off the building, as opposed to a traditional dome, which is weighing the building down. It’s sort of the anti-dome, really.” The dome’s steel-mesh sails serve both practical and symbolic ends. On a pragmatic level, the latticework protects the library’s collections from sun damage while allowing some natural light to filter through, mimicking the experience of reading under a shade tree. At the same time, the dome is a metaphor for self-improvement. “Visually the dome is not complete. It’s clearly in the act of becoming a dome, becoming something,” Quigley said. Quigley’s vision for the library remained remarkably consistent throughout its long gestation. The architect credits the residents of San Diego, who articulated their priorities in a series of public workshops. At the top of the list was their desire for an iconic building—hence the dome. The workshop attendees also asked for a formal reading room, in addition to the series of intimate work spaces favored by contemporary library programmers. “What the community understood is that reading rooms aren’t just about library science, they’re about community,” Quigley said. “The library is kind of the last bastion of equality: everyone’s equal, everyone can come, no ticket required.” The reading room and the library’s other public spaces—including a topiary sculpture court, auditorium, meeting room, and art gallery—are clustered at the top of the building. Typically, Quigley said, public areas are relegated to a library’s lowest floors, to facilitate access. But at the design workshops the architect organized, residents pointed out that rooftop views are usually restricted to those who can afford a penthouse apartment. “If an architect had suggested it, they probably would have revoked our license,” Quigley quipped. But the New Central Library wasn’t just the work of an architect. It was a product of decades of public debate and reflection, according to Quigley. “In my mind a building that does not function emotionally is not utilitarian. This is what we needed, permission from the grassroots,” he said.