Posts tagged with "Downtown Los Angeles":

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.”

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.

A Porous Building Skin for Downtown Los Angeles

The veil functions both as the primary facade and the daylighting system, providing a sense of connection between the gallery spaces and the city.

The Broad Museum will open its doors to the public on Sunday, 5 years after after Diller Scofidio + Renfro won a small invite-only design competition to design a space for Eli Broad’s immense contemporary art collection. All of the public spaces in the museum are created between the building's two enclosure systems, coined the “vault and veil” by DS+R. The veil, a daylight-absorbing concrete exoskeleton balances performance with fashion, while an interior vault protects a nearly 2,000 piece art collection. Visitors move over, under and through the vault, which consumes almost half of the 120,000 sq. ft., 3-story building. The exterior facade assembly consists of a steel frame clad with 2,500 glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) panels which were precast on custom CNC formed molds. Evidence of the GFRC's digital fabrication process can be prominently seen on the main elevation where a large dimple provides a smooth undulation in the facade. Kevin Rice, Project Director for DS+R, explains this formal move was a deliberate reaction against the repetitiveness of the elevation: “We were studying the capabilities of digital fabrication and wanted to move the design of concrete facades beyond the brutalist facades of the 60s and 70s.” To construct the interior portion of the facade panels, seen below, the project team worked with Kreysler & Associates to develop a lightweight alternative to the exterior cladding. Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) panels were fabricated with a finish to match the adjacent GFRC panels.
  • Facade Manufacturer seele GmbH / Willis Construction (GFRC Manuf.)
  • Architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro (Design Architect); Gensler (Executive Architect, Museum)
  • Facade Installer seele GmbH
  • Facade Consultants Dewhurst MacFarlane, Anning Johnson (Vault Plaster and backup)
  • Location Los Angeles, CA
  • Date of Completion September 2015
  • System Glass fiber reinforced concrete cladding, metal & glass curtain wall, and exterior plaster over a post-tensioned concrete structure with steel plate girder roof
  • Products GFRC Cladding; Metal/glass curtain wall; Grace Perm-a-Barrier (Moisture Barrier); Parex OmniCoat (Exterior Plaster); Sarnafil (Built-up roofing); Parex OmniCoat (Interior Plaster); Moonlight Molds (Skylight GFRG)
Galleries on the third floor sit under 328 skylights supported from a 200’ long span structure composed of 6’ deep plate girders. The skylight monitors are designed to encapsulate the structure of the roof, the lighting system (a combination of daylight and LED), the waterproofing and drainage system, and the fire & life safety systems. All of these functions have been coordinated by DS+R to fit seamlessly within the language of the vault. Rice speaks of the benefits to this rigorously designed roof system: “The skylights are designed to maximize the reflected light from the north sky while eliminating all direct sunlight from entering the space. This allows for the tight conservation controls for the art while eliminating the need for electric light for much of the day.” The building’s siting across the street from Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall notably had an influence on the aesthetics of the facade. Elizabeth Diller said she wanted the building to be strikingly different from Gehry's building: "We realized it was just useless to try to compete – there is no comparison to that building," Diller said. "We just had to do something that is mindful and that knows where it is […] Compared to Disney Hall's smooth and shiny exterior, which reflects light, The Broad is porous and absorptive, channeling light into the public spaces and galleries." What results is a wall system which functions both as the primary facade and the daylighting system, providing a sense of connection between the gallery spaces and the city.

Hennessey +Ingalls to move from Santa Monica to Michael Maltzan’s One Santa Fe in 2016

Hennessey + Ingalls is a rarity in an age when bookstores that survived the rise of Amazon are often indistinctive superstores or exercises in hipster curation. Los Angeles’ long-established mecca for art and architecture is neither. Fans were nervous when the store shuttered its Hollywood annex in Space Fifteen Twenty last spring. While the Santa Monica store on Wilshire and 2nd will close at the end of the year, it will reopen in a new space at One Santa Fe, the mixed-use development complex designed by Michael Maltzan Architecture. When Reginald Hennessey first set up the store in 1963, it catered to an up and coming community of artists, architects, and art enthusiasts. The tradition of stocking its wooden shelves with rare, sometimes out-of-print books has continued to enthrall readers from around Los Angeles and has even managed to attract the attention of design institutions from all over America. The family owned store was passed down from Reginald to his son and finally grandson, Brett, who now runs the business. He was responsible for computerizing the operations and increasing the store’s online presence. Initially based out of Santa Monica with a branch in Hollywood, the business had to close down the latter due to an increase in rent and a smaller customer base. The store, currently 8,000 square feet, is downsizing to a smaller, but better-located 5,000-square-foot location in the Arts District. “We were focusing on Downtown L.A. and crossed paths with Michael Maltzan. It just turned into a really good partnership because One Santa Fe is right up our alley. The curation of businesses there are kind of what we like most about it,” said Brett Hennessey. The bookstore anticipates a bigger customer base at its new location, located right across the street from SCI-Arc, a few minutes away from FIDM, and even close by to the University of Southern California. “People can drive in from 360 degrees around us. The problem with Santa Monica is that only half the side can drive to the store” quipped Hennessey. Hennessey + Ingalls will celebrate the last holiday season out of Santa Monica and will open its doors again in February 2016. This time in DTLA.

Behind the Veil: The Broad opens September 20

When The Broad opens to the public on September 20, Angelenos will finally get to see how Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s design compliments philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad’s powerhouse collection of 2,000 pieces of contemporary art in their eponymous museum. Works by Ed Ruscha and Cindy Sherman will hang in the 35,000-square-foot, column-free gallery space lit by some 300 skylights. Expectations are high for the $140 million dollar building, but from what we’ve seen and heard, the architecture is refined and detail-oriented. Or, as DS+R architect Kevin Rice said of Eli Broad, “I’ve never worked with another billionaire so interested in bathroom fixtures.” While the opening of a new building is always a thrill, AN has been tracking this feat of design, engineering, and curatorial might almost since its inception and we thought we’d share some of the highlights along the way. Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 3.06.06 PM Q+A> KEVIN RICE Architectural journalist Sam Lubell spoke with DS+R's Kevin Rice and got a behind-the-scenes preview of the museum. He asked Rice about design goals for the adjacent public space. “The last thing we wanted was another dead corporate plaza that gets filled at lunchtime and has tumbleweeds flying around the rest of the time,” said Rice. “We wanted something that people would want to come back to throughout the day.” director talks Q+A> BROAD ART FOUNDATION DIRECTOR TALKS ARCHITECTURE, OPENING DATE FOR DS+R’S LOS ANGELES MUSEUM Late last year, AN talked with Broad Art Foundation Director Joanne Heyler to learn how the arts community was reacting to the new architecture. “The building is very sculptural because the Vault form [which contains the museum’s collection] creates the heart of the building,” said Heyler. “I’ve taken artists to see the collection inside and gotten an incredibly enthusiastic response.” rendering COMMENT: ARCHITECTURE IS NOT ENOUGH AT GRAND AVENUE “No amount of architecture will transform Bunker Hill,” said architecture critic and curator Greg Goldin in his comment that drew attention to the lackluster urban condition along Grand Avenue. While Eli Broad has an ambition to make the street into a boulevard, Goldin questions redevelopment efforts going back decades that have wiped out topography and displaced population. “Broad’s obsession with having architects strut their stuff has obscured the need for a considered response to the city itself—with varied program and a welcoming streetscape—not one street-top civic center,” he wrote. rem HERE’S REM KOOLHAAS’ “FLOATING” RUNNER-UP PROPOSAL FOR LOS ANGELES’ BROAD MUSEUM Lastly, why not show OMA’s similar, but not winning proposal? Rem Koolhaas’s firm proposed a “floating” box covered in a lacy-patterned metal screen and cantilevered via steel brace frames above Grand Avenue.

On View> Arik Levy reflects on design with his new exhibit at Los Angeles’ Please Do Not Enter gallery

The announcement for Arik Levy: Intimate Formations, the inaugural exhibition at Please Do Not Enter that just opened in Downtown Los Angeles, reads Levy is an “artist, technician, photographer, designer, video artist.” The multidisciplinary list begs the question: How does anyone operate across so many practices? Does Levy flip a switch from “designer” when he’s working on furniture, lighting, and interiors, to “artist” when he’s working on sculptures and paintings? “I separate them,” Levy said, taking a moment to talk amid artwork and wooden crates in various stages of unpacking and installation. “When I make a chair, I make a chair. When I make a sculpture, I make a sculpture.” The distinction between these disciplines is apparent to him, and it’s a defining characteristic of how he identifies his practice.“I don’t know many other people who operate or work this way,” he said. “But one enriches the other. But when I make a painting I know it’s not graphic design, and when I make a logo I don’t pretend to make a painting. So I’m not here or there.” His first West Coast solo exhibition, Intimate Formations, installed at the small gallery and storefront in Downtown Los Angeles is comprised of 25 works, including freestanding and wall-mounted pieces, large-scale sculptures, neon sculptures, and paintings. Born in Israel, trained as an industrial designer in Switzerland, and operating out of Paris, Levy said the works on view, which make use of reflective surfaces and abstracted geometrical structures, emerge from an exploration of social sciences, genetic sciences, and biology. Still, Levy acknowledges that his background in design plays a role in the formal outcomes of his work. “The culture of design has brought a lot of perfection into the artwork because I understand engineering,” he said. “I understand packing. I understand logistics.” Coming off the flurry of attention that Please Do Not Enter generated last month when it presented Vincent Lamouroux’s seemingly made-for-social-media installation, Projection, which covered a vacant Sunset Boulevard motel in a whitewash of lime, Intimate Formations continues the discussion about the spaces that mediate art’s interaction with the public. If Lamouroux’s Projection was about bringing a gallery experience outdoors, Intimate Formations is exactly the opposite. “We brought what is almost a public art piece inside the gallery, inside a closed space,” said gallery co-founder Nicolas Libert, discussing how large-scale outdoor work from Levy’s RockGrowth series found its way into a small new storefront space on Olive Street across from Pershing Square. Inside the gallery, Levy’s pieces take on architectural ideas: transparency, framing, and the thresholds between interior and exterior. “These reflecting pieces play with the surroundings, and reveals what’s around,” Libert said about Levy’s work. "It’s amazing for people to interact with the artworks.” For Levy, the public’s reaction to the work is another opportunity to draw a distinction between his practice as a designer and his practice as an artist. “In contrary to the design business, in art, I don’t know if a piece will be or will not be successful,” he said. “Will it be appreciated intellectually, emotionally, or will somebody buy it?” “It’s all unknown.” Arik Levy: Intimate Formations is on view through July 11, 2015 at Please Do Not Enter, 549 South Olive Street, Los Angeles.