Posts tagged with "Downtown Los Angeles":

Placeholder Alt Text

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.”
Placeholder Alt Text

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.
Placeholder Alt Text

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.
Placeholder Alt Text

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.
Placeholder Alt Text

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.
Placeholder Alt Text

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
Placeholder Alt Text

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.
Placeholder Alt Text

The Triforium Project wants to restore “polyphonoptic” sculpture in Downtown Los Angeles

For four decades the Triforium, a six-story, 60-ton public artwork by Joseph Young, has stood in Fletcher-Bowron Square in the shadow of Los Angeles City Hall. The piece is a hallmark of technology, a “polyphonoptic” kinetic sculpture that when designed included 1,494 multicolored Murano glass cubes that were intended to glow in synchrony to music from a 79-note glass bell carillon. https://youtu.be/Itnre5GshZc But like so many future-minded ambitions, the realization fell short of the dream: the computer installed in 1975 to control the bells and lighting effects was glitchy from the start, the bulbs are now burnt out, and the whole structure is in disrepair. The artwork, which cost close to $1,000,000 at the time, was supposed to draw visitors to the Stanton & Stockwell–designed Los Angeles Mall. It was the city’s attempt to compete with private developers and also make the civic center appealing after hours. They hoped an interactive artwork that played both classical and rock music while lights flashed would be a beacon to bring people Downtown Los Angeles. It didn’t work. Critics were colorful in their barbs launched at chromatic design, calling it “Trifoolery” and “the Psychedelic Nickelodeon,” according to Young’s 2007 obituary in the Los Angeles Times. That remembrance included a quote from 1996 interview with the artist. “I get very upset when I see it,” he told the paper. “It's like a baby who was never born.” Enter the Triforium Project, an eight-person group ready to bring the public artwork back to its original glory. Founded by Tom Carroll of “Tom Explores Los Angeles,” and Claire Evans and Jona Bechtolt, members of the band YACHT, the group hopes to raise the fund to restore the artwork and upgrade the technology. They are starting with a 40th birthday party for the Triforium on Friday, December 11 from 4:00–8:00p.m. at the Los Angeles Mall. Historian Daniel Paul will be on hand at the party to speak about the sculpture’s importance and legacy. Young’s sculpture was meant to be democratic and convey the three branches of government. “He was interested in chromatism, where people would hear music and see color—he wanted to convey the language of music through visual means,” noted Paul. “People from city hall could look out from the buildings and see what song is playing.” Unfortunately, in the day it was difficult to see the lights and judges started to complain about the music. “It was sculpture that was ridiculously ahead of its time, and its time seems to be now,” said Paul.
Placeholder Alt Text

Eavesdrop> Grrrl Power: Los Angeles has a ways to go for women’s equality in architecture

We live in a listicle age. Why write an article when you can clump a few names together and call it a trend? So when Los Angeles Magazine listed six women who have changed the face of Los Angeles architecture, which included one dead AIA Gold Medalist and two New Yorkers, it was bound to create outcry. Brava to the three local gals who made the cut, but let’s celebrate all the women of the L.A. architecture and design scene. When local schools put one lady on the lecture series and pat themselves on the back, we know more needs to be done for gender equity.
Placeholder Alt Text

Semi-finalists Announced for Pershing Square Competition

A shortlist was announced for the Pershing Square Renew competition. Ten teams were selected to have a chance at a crack at redoing Ricardo Legorreta's scheme. The five-acre park is seen as the centerpiece of a revitalized Downtown Los Angeles and the competition, a public-private partnership backed by councilmember José Huizar, is a critical step toward that effort. The ten semi-finalists are global, national, and local—and often in combination. They include: Paris-based Agence Ter with SALT Landscape ArchitectsSnohetta, James Corner Field Operations and Frederick Fisher and Partners, New York-based W Architecture, San Francisco-based PWP Landscape Architecture with Allied Works Architecture, Mia Lehrer Associates with NYC’s !Melk, Peterson Studio + BNIM, Rios Clementi Hale with OMA, SWA with Morphosis, and wHY Architecture These teams will continue to develop designs, which will be reviewed later this fall and a group of four finalists will be announced in December. Pershing Square Renew will select a winner in February 2016. On bets as to who might emerge from the pack, it seems that the organization is looking for details over gesture. “Their challenge isn’t to win awards; it’s to win over hearts,” said executive director Eduardo Santana. “More than anything else, these groups need to focus on the experiences their design will inspire and the memories the Square will create.”
Placeholder Alt Text

SOM’s gravity-defying floating glass cube in DTLA

The building's pleated glass envelope contains 1,672 energy efficient panels that uniquely responds to its location.

SOM has floated a glass cube above a large stepped civic plaza negotiating a sloped site in downtown Los Angeles for their United States Courthouse project, scheduled to open July, 2016 with an anticipated LEED Platinum rating. The 633,000 square foot, 220 foot tall facility includes 24 daylight-filled courtrooms and 32 judges’ chambers. José Luis Palacios, Design Director at SOM Los Angeles, says this structural configuration was integral to the success of the project: “Our challenge was how to make a transparent building, both metaphorically and structurally.” The project is being labeled as one of the nation’s safest buildings in regards to bomb threats and earthquakes due to an innovative structural engineering concept which allows a large volume of building to “float” over a stone base protected with hardened-concrete shear walls. The outer 33 feet of cantilevered building is suspended from a three-dimensional steel “hat truss” system, freeing the need for columns at the perimeter and ground level. The trusses are efficiently designed through an optimization process which resulted in a material savings of over 13 percent when compared to conventional trusses.
  • Facade Manufacturer Benson Industries, LLC
  • Architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
  • Facade Installer Benson Industries, LLC
  • Facade Consultants Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Clack Construction Group (client/construction manager)
  • Location Los Angeles, CA
  • Date of Completion July 2016 (projected)
  • System High-performance unitized glass panels
  • Products Viracon Glass
The facade is comprised of a unitized 6’ wide by 20’ tall panel, organized into a ‘pleated’ zigzagged surface. By reconciling the downtown Los Angeles street grid, which runs 38 degrees east of true north, with optimum solar angles, the facade managed to reduce solar heat gain, harvest natural daylight, and maximize views into and out of the building. The pleating of the facade allows for a reduction in the radiant heat load of the building by 47 percent compared to a flat surface. Signage to the building is applied as a ceramic frit pattern to the glass of the pleated facade. The two-dimensional graphic, the ‘Great Seal of the United States,’ is projected onto the three dimensional facade, reinforcing the civic plaza and a frontal approach to the main entrance. As a result of the pleating, facade panels were broken down into two types: a “hot panel” and a “cold panel” side. Additional variation was introduced through internal program requirements, such as the Broadway and Hill Street facades where courtrooms consists of three internal layers of shades help to manage daylight from both sides of the courtroom. The modular, shop built assembly of panels is something Palacios says SOM is incorporating into an increasing amount of their projects today: “This gives us long-term durability, and seismic responsiveness: a great flexibility and resiliency.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Adam Sokol’s tall and skinny hotel revealed on Los Angeles’ Spring Street

aerial-night A skinny hotel is set to rise in Downtown Los Angeles’ historic core. Designed by Buffalo, New York–based Adam Sokol Architecture Practice (asap) for developer Lizard Capital, the new Spring Street Hotel will tower 325-feet over the street and feature 176 guest rooms. At 28-stories, the design introduces tallness to an area that's currently mid-rise area, but not for long. Renderings of the project, which was recently submitted to the Los Angeles Department of City Planning, shows a tower sandwiched between two historic structures. The design offers a conservative grid up until the halfway point. Things get squirrely once the building clears the height of the adjacent buildings: the facets appear and the geometry opens up to reveal large interior volumes, which could associated with the planned 3,310-square-foot rooftop bar. Other amenities include a 6,100 square restaurant, 1,570 square feet for retail, and a 1,250 square feet conference center. The Spring Street Hotel is expected to break ground late next year and is aiming for a 2017–18 opening.