Posts tagged with "Downtown Los Angeles":

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A temporary installation helps make L.A.’s Pershing Square cool again

Pershing Square, a 150-year old park at the center of Downtown Los Angeles, is currently slated to be demolished in lieu of a more pedestrian-friendly iteration by French landscape architects Agence Ter. Although the current park has seen more yesterdays than tomorrows, it managed to draw an unusual number of visitors this August for Liquid Shard, a temporary sculpture installation that enlivened the forlorn park.

The installation is the result of a collaborative public art project among Architectural Association Visiting School Los Angeles (AAVSLA) summer program directors Eulalia Moran and Devin Gharakhanian, their students, and L.A.-based artist Patrick Shearn of Poetic Kinetics. Moran and Gharakhanian led a design class for visiting international students aimed at tackling music festival installation pieces, in which students were asked to design an installation for a music festival of their choosing. After the initial design studio, a prototype was chosen, fabricated, and installed by the students in Pershing Square. Gharakhanian said: “We intentionally chose a hyper-deactivated space in L.A.—no one goes there and it isn’t functioning the way it’s supposed to. But this project is a good example of art meeting architecture to have a positive impact on the city. Liquid Shard went viral and now there’s interest from other cities that are looking for similar types of public art. It’s important that municipalities and politicians are seeing that there is power behind art and architecture.”

Shiny and mesmerizing, the 15,000-square-foot installation is made of holographic mylar connected with monofilament, creating a billowing, fluttering wave of movement that gets caught in every breeze. The sculpture is made up of two such layers, each of which moves independently of the other, suspended between 15 and 115 feet above the square. The work, according to Shearn, is inspired by the so-called swarm behavior that schools of fish and flocks of birds engage in when they move in unison.

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Herzog & de Meuron unveils 58-story tower along future L.A. light rail line

  Irvine, California-based developer SunCal has released details for a Herzog & de Meuron-designed, $2 billion development plan that aims to jumpstart the creation of a new skyscraper district on a 14.5-acre site at the southern edge of Downtown Los Angeles. The project, dubbed 6AM after its location on 6th Street, between Alameda and Mill Streets, would bring roughly 2.8-million square feet of mixed-use development to rapidly growing corner of L.A.’s booming Arts District. According to The Downtown News and Urbanize LA, the proposed development would entail 1,305 apartments and 431 condominiums in an area rapidly transitioning from low-rise industrial and DIY art gallery functions to something much more akin to a traditionally-developed, contemporary urban area. The project, which would be located directly on a proposed light rail extension running along Alameda from Union Station in Downtown L.A. to the south Los Angeles County community of Artesia, would mirror the intense, high-rise growth currently ongoing in the areas surrounding Downtown L.A’s rapidly-growing transit system, like those along the Expo Line corridor and on the northern edge of South L.A. between the Expo and Blue Lines. The development of the Artesia line would be contingent on the passage of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Agency's Measure M ballot initiative this fall. Notable aspects of the project include a 430,000-square-foot hotel, 250,000 square feet of office space, a 29,000-square-foot school, 23,000 square feet of gallery space and 128,000 square feet of commercial space. Although the final configuration of the program and site are years away from being built, the addition of the educational and gallery components of the program mark a shift in tenor for the Downtown area, which has mostly seen an increase of luxury housing and associated commercial spaces in recent years. The addition of educational program could signal a transition toward a more holistic, neighborhood-style vision for the area separate from the consumption- and lifestyle-oriented developments that have marked Downtown L.A.’s recent development. Released information for the plan does not detail whether any of the housing units in the development will be affordable, however. The project itself is articulated as a grouping of parallel bars of mid-rise apartments, offices, and hotel blocks, much of which is lifted roughly forty feet above street level on a raised platform whose upper surface will be level with the cornice lines of nearby industrial buildings. Areas between the ground floor and this pedestal will contain commercial spaces services by exterior walking paths and leisure courts. The most daring aspect of the proposal entails a cluster of seven housing towers aligned along the length of Alameda, with the highest tower climbing to around 58-stories and a height of roughly 700 feet. Mia Lehrer & Associates will be providing landscape architecture services for the project, while AC Martin will serve as executive architect. 6AM is expected to be built in three phases starting around 2018. This story was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
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L.A.’s Grand Park gets new paper airplane–shaped shade structure

Downtown Los Angeles has a new public park art piece and shaped like paper airplanes. Big ones. The new, semi-permanent shade canopy installation, Paper Airplane, consists of a steel armature-supported canopy populated by eleven large-scale "paper" airplanes made out of canvas. The piece was designed by local artists Elenita Torres and Dean Sherriff. Located in Grand Park, itself designed by Rios Clementi Hale Studios in 2012 to much fanfare, the installation marks the latest addition to the city’s public space boom. Dubbed by city officials as “The Park for Everyone,” Grand Park spans the blocks between the steps of City Hall and those of the Music Center and Disney Concert Hall complexes; it sees roughly one million visitors each year. The installation is the by-product of A Cooler Grand Park, a semi-public design competition held by the Music Center concert hall that sought to bring additional shading to the park’s Olive Court which spans between the Los Angeles Chief Administration Office and the Los Angeles Courthouse. Paper Airplane runs the length of the broad promenade between the two buildings and also acts as the edge of a fountain and splash pad area popular with children.  For the competition, the Music Center invited local visual artists with at least three years of experience working in their field to submit designs for a new installation. The winning proposal by Torres and Sherriff was selected via public vote with input also provided by a selection committee organized by the center. Construction and installation of the project were funded by Goldhirsh Foundation’s LA 2050 Grants Challenge, a prolific public arts program in the city. The installation adds to a banner year for parks in L.A, with recent months also seeing the selection of design teams for two new Downtown L.A. parks as well as stretches of the Los Angeles River redevelopment. The city’s Bureau of Engineering revealed in June its choice of Mia Lehrer Associates and OMA as the design team for the new Grand Park-adjacent FaB Park at the corner of First and Broadway. In April, Pershing Square Renew selected a proposal from French landscape architecture firm Agence Ter and local landscape architects SALT for the latest iteration of Pershing Square. Lehrer’s office was also selected this summer in conjunction with architecture firms Gruen Associates and Oyler Wu Collaborative to work on a 12-mile bike path along the L.A. River in the San Fernando Valley.
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First look: Bureau Spectacular designs flagship store for L.A.’s Frankie

Bureau Spectacular has designed the 2,000-square-foot flagship store for the Los Angeles–based Frankie, a high-end, ready-to-wear fashion house in L.A.’s Arts District. The retail space, which debuted Friday night with a red carpeted opening party, is the first store for the recently-rebranded label and is billed as a collaboration between Frankie's founder Kevin Chen and Bureau Spectacular's founding partner Jimenez Lai. For starters, Lai designed the store’s exterior facade, a black and white geometric abstraction spanning the post-industrial brick structure’s primary exterior wall. Bureau Spectacular also designed the store’s spartan interior, populating the space with one of the firm’s trademark "Super Furniture" pieces. The piece, when assembled into a single object, takes the shape of an eight-foot-tall staircase with a footprint of roughly 28 feet by 10 feet. This object is composed of nine geometrically complex components that are exploded across the store. Each piece houses some of the store's functional components, such as display areas for art books and trinkets, enclosed fitting rooms, storage spaces, and point of sale consoles. The project features the platonic geometries characteristic of Bureau Spectacular’s earlier work but marks a sharp shift for the designers—who are typically known for their designs' bold colors and graphic qualities—with its stark white material finish. Lai explained to The Architect's Newspaper (AN) that the monochromatic turn was a recent one for the firm, with Frankie and the recent Tower of Twelve Stories installation from this year’s Coachella music festival encompassing opposite ends of a new line of architectural inquiry. The Coachella project, with its stacked mass of tumbling geometric shapes collected over two pairs of pilotis, was also painted completely white but features an alternating array of colored lights projected onto it. With the firm’s Frankie piece, color is completely absent. Lai told AN via telephone, “In Southern California—or Los Angeles, anyway—when you paint something over with white, [the paint] deletes the materiality behind it. In both The Tower of Twelve Stories and Frankie, we are working with the idea behind ‘white.’” Lai described the contrasting geometric compositions of the pieces as embodying a tension between, “a ‘nice fit’ versus that of a ‘not very nice fit,’” with the visually dynamic Tower ascribing to the latter quality while Frankie, with its ability to explode and recombine back into a coherent form, aiming into the former. Lai summed up the project, saying, “[With Frankie], we are talking about a ‘nice fit.’”
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A dazzling, wind-driven sculpture takes over L.A.’s Pershing Square this week

Pershing Square, the five acre park at the center of Downtown Los Angeles, has been in the news quite a bit recently. The 150-year-old park has been seen as an eyesore in the area, an underused and dislocated public park isolated from the city’s growing street life, elevated atop a subterranean parking garage. Pershing Square’s reputation had fallen into such ill repute that in 2015, residents and business people came together to draft a plan for replacing the park with something new. That process culminated this Spring, when French landscape architects Agence Ter were selected as the winners of a public competition held to replace Pershing Square with a new park. The firm’s proposal for the city’s most historic open space aims to “get rid of trendy design approaches” that have plagued the park’s prior redesigns and provide, as Agence Ter partner Henri Bava declared at the announcement ceremony, a “timeless design able to change with the neighborhood.” Which is why you might be a bit surprised to learn that this week, Pershing Square is playing host to Liquid Shard, the latest collaborative public art project by L.A.-based artist Patrick Shearn of Poetic Kinetics. His work, a collaboration with students attending the Architectural Association Visiting School Los Angeles (AAVSLA) summer program, under the direction of Eulalia Moran and tutor Devin Gharakhanian of SuperArchitects, the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, and the arts organization NOW Art L.A., takes the shape of a mesmerizing, iridescent wind-activated sculpture. The 15,000 square foot installation is made of two layers of holographic mylar connected with monofilament that flitter in the wind, creating a dazzling and otherworldly atmosphere in the park. The installation’s layers, hovering between 15 and 115 feet above the square, give the impression of a million tiny things moving in unison. Shearn told AN over telephone that the inspiration for the piece came from murmuring, the swarm behavior schools of fish and flocks of birds engage in as they move in unison. Shearn, who is well-known on the music festival circuit as the artist behind the giant, fully animatronic astronaut sculpture showcased at the 2015 Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Coachella Valley, California, developed the installation with AAVS students as part of a summer seminar. During the course, students produced their own versions of the installation, with the class coming together in the final weeks to work on a full-scale version developed by Shearn for Pershing Square. The project will be on view until at least August 11th, but potentially for longer.
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L.A.’s Westside loses its Santa Monica Museum of Art

In the nine months that saw the opening of a relocated Architecture and Design Museum as well as the new Broad Museum and Hauser Wirth’s West Coast outpost, Downtown Los Angeles residents can once again boast about the addition of yet another high-caliber contemporary art institution in their neighborhood: Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA). Exciting news for Downtown, but it is not without controversy. That’s because ICA LA is not a new art museum at all, it is the relocated, renamed, and rebranded remnants of the Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMoA). After a year-long struggle with its landlords at Bergamot Station, the museum’s home since 1998, SMMoA’s board of directors decided to pack up and head east. Such a drastic move would be difficult for most major art institutions, except that SMMoA operated as a European-style kunsthalle, with no permanent collection tying it down. Now, ICA LA is in the early stages of a capital campaign to fund its relocation to a 12,700 square foot space at 1717 East 7th Street to be designed by Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY. Scheduled to open spring 2017, ICA LA’s new location will continue to operate as a non-collecting museum with 7,000 square feet of dedicated gallery space. The new location is expected to boast “ample public programming facilities” as well as an experimental kitchen-cafe, and other retail space. In a press release announcing the relocation, ICA LA Board of Directors’ President, Laura Donnelley said, “Throughout our history we have served our communities in greater Los Angeles through exhibitions, programs, and outreach, but have now chosen to move to Downtown LA to reinvent and redefine our organization the way that only a non-collecting museum focused on innovation, diversity, and discovery can. We are delighted to welcome these timely changes of venue, additions of leadership, and to move forward in further defining ICA LA’s role within our city and our collective place in the ever-expanding international dialogue of art and culture.”
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Here’s a First Look at the Finalists Vying to Redesign Downtown LA’s Pershing Square

Here’s the first look at the four final designs by Agence Ter and team, James Corner Field Operations with Fredrick Fischer and Partners, SWA and Morphosis, and wHY and Civitas for LA’s Pershing Square. Angelenos are being invited to comment on the finalists’ proposals over the next few weeks as Pershing Square Renew, a collection of designers, business leaders, and officials civic leaders, seeks to redevelop the centrally-located, five-acre square at the heart of Downtown LA. The teams of finalists hail from an original pool of ten groups that presented work to the nonprofit in October of 2015. That grouping was reduced to four teams in December, with those finalists' final submissions are now vying for the final selection, to be announced in May. The proposals are shown below and will be formally presented to the public at the Palace Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles on April 28th at a sold out event. See Pershing Square Renew’s website for updates on further public viewings.
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New renderings revealed for Kava Massih Architects’ 472 unit, mixed-use development in L.A.’s new Arts District

There’s a fresh set of renderings for an under-construction, mixed-use development in the new and upcoming Arts District (AD) in downtown Los Angeles (or DTLA). L.A., like other west coast cities such as Portland, Oregon's Pearl District or Seattle's Georgetown is now converting defunct warehouses into galleries, exhibition areas, restaurants, and living spaces. In L.A., the 400,000-square-foot housing and retail development is set to include 472 units—studio, one, and two-bedroom loft and flat style apartments. "[T]he development has been in the works for a few years, but recent designs for the project drew criticism from locals, who deemed it monolithic and worried about its car-focused layout," reported Curbed Los Angeles. "In response, parking was reduced from 922 spots down to 744 and a public walking path (which appears to be featured in the renderings) was inserted to connect Third Street to Traction Avenue." There are seven apartment buildings, some five stories high, and others six stories, oriented around a courtyard featuring a dog park and swimming pool, among other amenities. A "social club" features a library, lounge, and stalactite chandelier to illuminate the double-height space. Upper story walkways will connect the buildings together. Of the 400,000 square feet, 22,000 square feet will become retail planned at ground level. Berkeley, C.A.–based Kava Massih Architects is designing the project with local L.A. interior design firm House of Honey. The project reportedly costs $215 million. Phase one completion (a little over half of the units) is slated for December 2017.
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Wilshire Grand Tower tops out over Downtown Los Angeles

AC Martin is one step closer to completing L.A.’s newest and tallest tower. As workers and business executives in hardhats scribbled optimistic phrases like “we did it!” and “one year left to go” onto a massive wide flange beam, Wilshire Grand Tower, LA's soon-to-be tallest spire, topped out Tuesday afternoon at a gregarious ceremony hosted by Turner Construction and AC Martin, the tower’s chief contractor and architect, respectively, and Korean Air, developer of the project. Crew members cheered as cranes lifted the final beam into place, 892 feet up, completing the structure’s core and leaving only the tower’s top floors and spire to be constructed. The ceremony, attended by many of the 800 workers rapidly assembling the west coast’s newest homage to high strength concrete and glass, included a barbecue lunch prepared on site that filled the surrounding business district with the wafting scent of mesquite. The event was celebratory in nature, with team members, executives, and elected officials posing for photos as journalists surveyed the cavernous rib cage of the building’s future shopping plaza along Figueroa Street. According to Turner Construction’s website, when completed, Wilshire Grand will host 20 floors of Class A office (400,000 square feet) and a 42 story hotel consisting of 900 suites. The aforementioned 400,000 square feet of podium along Figueroa is set to include ballrooms, meeting halls, pedestrian-oriented retail, and a 1,250-spot parking garage. The structure is the first building to rise since L.A.’s City Council overturned a 40 year fire safety rule mandating flat-topped skyscrapers in the city. Wilshire Grand Tower, rising to 1,099 feet in height, will also the first to employ a concrete core instead of a prototypical steel frame. This novel (for Los Angeles) roof shape will contain a sky lobby, observatory, sky pool deck, and restaurants. The building, set to rank as the second tallest building west of the Mississippi River upon completion (taller than San Francisco’s Salesforce Tower, but shorter than Seattle’s 4/C Tower), is due to finish construction in early 2017.
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Four competing schemes for Downtown Los Angeles’ First & Broadway Civic Park

First there was the Grand Park, then Pershing Square decided to spruce things up with a design competition, and now four competing schemes for a third Downtown Los Angeles park were presented to the city in a public meeting this week. The proposals were from teams lead by AECOM, Brooks + Scarpa, Eric Owen Moss Architects, and Mia Lehrer + Associates with OMA and IDEO. The two-acre First & Broadway Civic Park will take over a full block in the heart of the L.A.’s Civic Center near City Hall and the Gordon Kaufmann’s Art Deco Los Angeles Times building. The overall greening of Downtown Los Angeles is consistent with its ongoing renewal. As such, each of the teams provided ample amenities in the park—canopies, cafes, music venues, movie screens—in addition to the standard fare of gardens, trees, and benches. AECOMmodel AECOM’s proposal takes iconic modernist landscape architect Garrett Eckbo’s 1946 Landscape for Living as a starting point, and then updates his California dream to be a collective experience. Hints of fifties modernism show themselves in the irregularly shaped lawn, which is framed by “The Wingnut,” which houses a gallery, and a 200-seat restaurant “The Paper Plane.” Undulating ribbons—green space above, amenities underneath—define Brooks + Scarpa's plan. The team suggests that the scheme is ecological with drought-minded plantings and integrated terraces and cisterns that lead to an expansive dry well. Hidden within the proposal is some programming sure to excite the design community: the Architecture and Urbanism Festival, a possible 3-month long curated event that would include temporary installations and public programs. Eric Owen Moss Architects, never a firm to shy away from odd forms, proposed a large cocoon-like structure dominates a rolling and grassy green space. Ready to compete with the nearby crowning towers of City Hall and the Times, EOM’s event pavilion seems equipped to screen films and host events. Mia Lehrer + Associates powerhouse team also includes OMA, IDEO, and Arup, among others. Their proposal takes food as its design driver. While the scheme shows a central paved plaza and side gardens lush with alien-ish shade canopies and mature trees, the main emphasis is on a multi-use pavilion building that includes a beer garden, a test kitchen, a restaurant, and an amphitheater. Presentation boards and models of the designs are on public display at the Department of Building and Safety at 201 North Figueroa.
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Four finalists selected to redesign Pershing Square in Los Angeles

Pershing Square Renew just announced the four finalists of the Pershing Square design competition: SWA with Morphosis, James Corner Field Operations with Frederick Fisher & Partners, Agence TER with SALT Landscape Architects, and wHY with Civitas. These teams will now develop fully fleshed out proposals for the five-acre park in Downtown Los Angeles. The finalist concept boards offer clues as to what to expect from the final proposals: SWA and Morphosis identified four strategies for their reorganized park: ecology (native trees and a drought-friendly water feature), mobility (a road diet along Olive Street and better Metro connections), programing (a market and a day/night event venue), and sustainable business (reworked parked concession, food vendor, and retail spaces.) James Corner Field Operations with Frederick Fisher & Partners held off at hinting at a design. Their concept boards show increased porosity between the park and the both the surrounding neighborhood as well as the cultural life of all of downtown and the Arts District. Expect the design to engage both in the park and along the adjacent streets and sidewalks. Agence TER with SALT Landscape Architects’ boards depict a boldy understated proposal. They envision Pershing Square as a giant lawn with several atmospheric gardens: a foggy garden, a scent garden, a dry garden, a wind garden, and an edible garden. Services are discretely tucked under a large shade canopy. wHY with Civitas landscape architecture group’s concept boards was also slim on design details. Although the proposal echoed some ideas seen in other team proposals, such as connections to the surrounding neighborhood, an emphasis on natural ecology, and food/market vendors, it uniquely suggested that the park offer education programming as well as something that could be digital connectivity entitled “Syncing Urban Hardware and Software.” The four finalists will develop their proposals over the first quarter of 2016, leading to another round of jury interviews and a public presentation in March. It’s unclear how and when the design will be built, since at moment the only funding for the project seems to be the $2 million pledged to by the Department of Recreation and Parks and MacFarlane Partners, who each chipped in one million. The Pershing Square Renew jury is: Janet Marie Smith (Jury Chair) SVP, Planning and Development, Los Angeles Dodgers José Huizar, Councilmember, 14th District, City of Los Angeles Donna Bojarsky, Founder and President, Future of Cities: Leading in LA Simon Ha, Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council and Downtown LA Resident Mary McCue, Founder, MJM Management Group Rick Poulos, Principal, NBBJ Janet Rosenberg, Founding Principal, Janet Rosenberg & Studio Michael Shull, General Manager, Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks Michael Woo, Dean, Cal Poly Pomona, School of Environmental Design
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Pershing Square Renew wants your input on Semi-Finalist Concept Boards

In October, Pershing Square Renew selected 10 teams as semi-finalists for the redesign of Downtown Los Angeles’ oft-maligned urban space. The international design competition drew hundreds of entries and the two-handfuls selected represent both local and global practices. Reviewing the initial presentation boards, there’s common interest in opening up Pershing Square to the surrounding urban blocks, a porosity currently lacking in Legoretta’s scheme. The teams’ approaches are split between active and passive landscapes with some concepts showing large lawns and water features meant for calm reflection and light recreation, others packed the square with programming: dog parks, cafes, yoga zones, performance venues, etc. Pershing Square Renew posed the concept boards on their website and are now asking the Los Angeles community to weigh in with comments for the jury. Soon, the organization will select four top teams out of the field of semi-finalists and have them each develop a more comprehensive final design. Until then, have a gander at the boards below.