Posts tagged with "Downtown Los Angeles":

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Eavesdrop> Downtown LA, You’re Nuts: Soho House, swanky international development remaking the urban core

The swanky meter is getting dialed to 11 in Downtown Los Angeles. Rumor has it that the rarified Soho House club will be opening its second LA location in a six-story warehouse in the area’s Arts District. The facility will include the usual boojie facilities as well as a rooftop pool and artist studio rooms where guests can stay for weeks and months, as if they were staying at the Chateau Marmont. Meanwhile it’s a great time to be a Chinese developer in nearby South Park. Beijing-based Oceanwide and Shanghai-based Greenland Group are already building two of the largest projects in the city. Now Shenzhen-Hazens Real Estate Group has announced plans to build a $700 million project including three towers across from LA Live. Eavesdrop better start practicing its Mandarin.
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Honors> AIA / LA hands out its annual roster of awards

I love going to Downtown Los Angeles. It’s changed. A lot. And what a fantastic way to celebrate the AIA/LA Design Awards: down on Broadway, choreographed by the Awards Committee to triangulate the historic Million Dollar Theater, the iconic Bradbury Building, and the revamped Grand Central Market for the closing party. In fact, it was so well-choreographed that it was difficult to pull people from the Bradbury (all those fantastic wood, iron, and marble details were lit up in the vertigo-inducing atrium like some movie set) to the actual theater and get them in their seats for the awards presentation. That was the vibe. It was a good time, spilling and tripping out into the street from one venue to the next. The program included members of the LA art world: Getty Center CEO James Cuno, who introduced the Design Awards, and Ann Philbin, director of the Hammer Museum, who introduced the Next LA Awards.  A total of 21 firms and 14 Presidential Honorees received awards. Presidential Honorees included Adele Yellin, the owner of Grand Central Market credited with bringing it back to life, and Tibby Dunbar, executive director of the A+D Museum. The A+D also won the Community Contribution Award. The Twenty-Five Year Award went to Thom Mayne and Michael Rotondi for Kate Mantillinni, one of early Morphosis’ first realized projects. Writer Michael Webb, author of 26 books on architecture and design, won the Design Advocate Award. Educator of the Year went to Norman Millar, dean at Woodbury School of Architecture. Platform for Architecture Research (PAR) won the Emerging Practice Award. And the award for Building Team of the Year went to Morphosis and its team for giving Emerson College something quite different for its LA campus. By the time the last award, the Gold Medal Award, was presented to Christopher and David Martin for their achievements, the story was complete. Everyone was sitting in the theater their grandfather had designed, a 100-year-old AC Martin project. What a story that is, for them, as leaders of one of the city’s legacy firms (AC Martin was founded in 1906), and for the city itself. See images of the Design Award–winning projects below.
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Los Angeles Convention Center releases competition shortlist

The Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering's competition for a $350 million expansion and renovation of the LA Convention Center has been narrowed down to three final teams. And they are: AC Martin/LMN, Gensler/Lehrer Architects, and HMC/Populous. According to the project's Task Order Solicitation (PDF), the teams will each receive $200,000 to “develop and present conceptual designs,” including models, renderings, plans, cost estimates, phasing plans, etc. Designs are due on December 8. According to Bud Ovrom, the Convention Center's Executive Director, the plans would center on rehabbing the center's oldest building, the West Hall, which has become particularly out of date, "filling the void" between the West and South halls, adding plans for at least one" 1,000-room hotel, and upping the facility's amount of usable space to over one million square feet. Ovrom said his team recently looked at 11 competitive convention centers, and LA's ranked 9th in square footage. "We're significantly smaller to start and the competition is upping its game," he said. The city is still under contract with AEG to build a football stadium on part of the site, but that contract expires on October 18, and it doesn't look like the city will get an NFL team before then. Ovrom said the stadium is still the city's first choice, but argues that a renovation and expansion "makes more economic sense" for the convention center. One of the competing design team members, Populous, proposed a plan for the convention center with developer AEG back in 2012 linked with the football stadium. Another firm on the list, Gensler, designed that stadium, Farmers Field,  with a dramatic winged structure. Both may soon join the ranks of the city's Never Built.
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Eavesdrop Grab Bag> The latest gossip from the west coast

Word has it that Art Center, which seems to already own all of Downtown Pasadena, has just bought the area’s massive Jacobs Engineering Building. Also on the move, USC Dean Qingyun Ma has relocated his firm’s offices to none other than Downtown LA’s Bradbury Building. How’s that for pressure? And we’ve learned of the initiation beverage of our favorite architecture-related women’s drinking and discussion group: Denise Scotch Brown. What group would Venturi inspire? We shudder to think... Something about Vermouth?
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Los Angeles’ grand Spring Arcade coming back to life

Another symbol of downtown Los Angeles' transformation is the ongoing renovation and rebranding of the Spring Arcade Building. Modeled after the great Beaux Arts arcades of Europe, the space has long been a grubby home for non-distinct shops. The Arcade—actually two 12-story towers connected by the skylit, glass roofed, three-level arcade—was built in 1924 by architects Kenneth McDonald and Maurice Couchot. With its Spanish Baroque entryway, it originally contained 61 shops, and later added a Venetian-style bridge across its center. It now contains space for 21 shops and restaurants and still contains the landmark KRKD radio towers on its roof. Developers Downtown Properties have cleaned the arcade's glass roof, which had been opaque with grime, and they're bringing in notable retail like Guisados tacos (which just opened on Monday), ULI Gelateria, Royal Claytons Pub, and Bier Beisl Austrian foods. Above the arcade, apartments in the structure range from 590–1,600 square feet. The new shops and residents raise the continuing specter of gentrification, particularly with anchors like the Ace HotelUrban Outfitters, and Acne nearby. But just walking down the long-neglected, shabby street is evidence that it's still a little ways off.
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After Record-Breaking Concrete Pour in Los Angeles, Wilshire Grand Reaches for the Sky

The Wilshire Grand, a 73-story tower under construction in downtown Los Angeles, hasn’t yet risen out of the ground, but it’s already in the Guinness Book of World Records. That’s thanks to a February 15–16 event promoters called the Grand Pour, in which construction crews poured 21,200 cubic yards (82 million pounds) of concrete in 18 hours—the largest continuous concrete pour in history. Why all the fuss? The idea for the event originated with AC Martin's design itself. Unlike most of Los Angeles’ other high rises, the Wilshire Grand will be built around a concrete core rather than a steel frame. “As we worked through all of those things,...[AC Martin CEO Christopher Martin] realized this was going to be an absolutely huge technical event. It involves a lot of coordination and almost theater in terms of getting [the trucks in and out],” said design principal David Martin. “Then everybody really got behind that [and said], ‘let’s get a marching band and have a parade with the concrete.’” “There was really a buzz downtown about the whole thing,” added project manager Tammy Jow. The parade included 100 members of the USC marching band, representatives of the building’s owners, Korean Airlines, and, of course, the concrete trucks. “Whenever you have the Trojan marching band there you can’t go wrong, they’re all about the party,” said Jow. “What was really incredible [was that] as it got dark there were these huge spotlights, and it almost looked like a stage set,” said Martin. “So we were all having this huge party in the plaza next door, and these big trucks would go through the background.” The Grand Pour was only the beginning of the Wilshire Grand story. “I think what comes next is even more exciting,” said Jow. “Now that the mat is successfully in place we’re going to start seeing vertical.” At 1,100 feet in height, the $1.1 billion building is projected to be the tallest skyscraper west of the Mississippi River. Its office and hotel floors will be covered in floor-to-ceiling glass, another feature that sets it apart from its granite-clad neighbors. For the skyscraper’s crowning sail, as well as on portions of the east and west facades, AC Martin will use an ultra-clear, low-reflectivity glass. On the north and south sides, a radiant coating will boost performance and give the facade a more mirror-like aspect. The designers experimented with new coating technologies to ensure that hotel guests will be able to see out at night without glare from interior lights. The building’s other highlights include its unusual roofline, which was made possible by negotiations with the fire department regarding helipad requirements. “That allowed this building to be different, and hopefully will leave a legacy so that buildings can get back to being more interesting,” said Martin. The designers also worked to maximize the connection to the outdoors, and to tailor the mechanical systems to Los Angeles’ hospitable environment. Finally, the Wilshire Grand prioritizes urban design. “The lower parts of the building reach out and really embrace the city,” said Martin. “There’s a lot of ballrooms and big windows and terraces that reach out to the city.” For Jow, one of the best parts of working on the Wilshire Grand has been the people involved. “We were able to create a team in our office of fresh talent out of school, with skills some of us older people couldn’t dream of.” She pointed to the design of the tower podium, which was generated parametrically using Rhino and Grasshopper. The younger architects’ digital prowess meshed well with the older designers’ experience in construction, said Jow. “We’re able to work together and rationalize forms to make it affordable and buildable.”
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Skyline Festival Invading Downtown Los Angeles Thursday

Some people say Los Angeles is run by the entertainment business, but starting this Thursday the city will belong to artists and architects. Well downtown will at least. As part of the first-ever Skyline Festival (February 13-22),  local designers will be mounting ten installations within a 10-block radius in the city center. The event is sponsored by LA-based LERATA, which stands for Laboratory for Experimentation and Research in Art, Technology, and Architecture. As you wander around, you'll be able to see architect Filipa Valente's Liminoid Garden, a "bouquet" of mechanisms equipped with electronic controllers that receive readings of light, temperature and pollution and reinterpret them into movements and light changes located in the penthouse of the Cooper Design building. Another stop, inside the Palace Theater on Broadway, will be Guvenc Ozel's Cerebral Hut, a wood frame truncated icosahedron covered in stretchy fabric and moving subtly with the help of plastic pistons. Inside 724 South Spring Street (AN's new home), Behnaz Farahi will present Living Wall, a 3-D, interactive wall that can change shape in response to visitors. And inside the Alexandria Apartments on Spring Street you can visit Juan Azulay and Benjamin Rice's The Passenger, described by the artists as a "celestially enabled interactive micro-planet that engages passing-by inhabitants through releasing its own moody mediated weather system for an experience of immersion and communication with a new planetary logic." We never said the pieces wouldn't be weird, did we?
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Stalled No More? Downtown Los Angeles Developments Could See New Life

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