Posts tagged with "Frank Gehry":

Placeholder Alt Text

Famed L.A. artist Ed Moses passes away at age 91

The noted and influential Los Angeles artist Ed Moses has passed away. A fixture on the L.A. art and architecture scene for over 70 years, Moses died of natural causes at his Venice, California home at the age of 91 on Wednesday, January 17, 2018. Moses was widely-celebrated for his ever-changing and provocative style of painting and was well-known among the L.A. architects of the 1970s and 1980s who gravitated toward the city’s then-burgeoning visual arts scene. Moses was also member of the so-called “Cool School” group of artists, a motley mix of contemporary visual artists that took root in the 1950s in L.A. and set a trailblazing path in the realm of Pop Art. The group was heavily associated with Ferus Gallery in L.A. and included Craig Kauffman, Billy Al Bengston, Robert Irwin, Edward Kienholz, Ken Price, Ed Ruscha, Larry Bell, John Altoon and Wallace Berman among its members. Moses was also a mentor and friend to architect Frank Gehry, who told The Los Angeles Times, “He opened a lot of doors for me, doors of thinking, to a way of looking at life, of thinking about work and creativity and freedom and expressing oneself—taking chances.” Gehry added, “He was the first person that was in that world that sort of took me under his wing. He was very supportive. I think he influenced others by his sense of freedom, his personality, his willingness to step into the unknown. He epitomized that … I think of him as my north star.” Moses is survived by his wife, Avilda, his sons Cedd and Andy, daughters-in-law Pamela and Kelly, and grandchildren Maxwell and Violette.
Placeholder Alt Text

Roof of early Frank Gehry concert venue collapses in Maryland

One of architect Frank Gehry’s earliest public buildings collapsed this month as it was nearing the end of a five-year, $55 million renovation, forcing the owners to revise their plans. The roof of the Merriweather Post Pavilion, a 19,000-seat open-air concert venue in Columbia, Maryland, crashed down in the middle of the night on Saturday, January 13, burying the seating below. No one was injured. Designed by Gehry, Walsh and O’Malley, and opened in 1967, the concert pavilion was being renovated to help it compete with other performing arts centers. The design team, led by JP2 Architects of Baltimore, opted to keep the original roof because it was a defining element of Gehry’s design. But the designers also wanted to raise it to improve sightlines.  Gehry, now head of Gehry Partners, is not part of the design team, but had been briefed on the project and toured the site several years ago. The roof collapse makes the concert pavilion one of the first major Frank Gehry buildings to be substantially lost or altered -- despite the owner's efforts to retain its architectural integrity throughout the renovation. The roof was in the process of being raised on hydraulic lifts 20 feet above its original height when it collapsed. The pavilion’s operators said this week that they intend to build a new roof in time for the summer concert season, and that it will be at the 51-foot height to which the original roof was being moved. Investigators have not disclosed a cause for the collapse, but there has been speculation that wind was a factor. The chairman of the pavilion’s operating company, Seth Hurwitz of I. M. P., alluded to that possibility in a message on Facebook. “The winds of fate prevailed and decided that, instead of simply raising the roof, we should just go ahead and build a new one,” he wrote. “Was not our decision but the bright side is all the money we save on imploding.” Hurwitz added that “everything will be ready for season opening,” with the first show scheduled for July. One of the first buildings to open in Columbia, the 50-year-old concert pavilion is now a key element in a multi-phase expansion of the unincorporated city led by its master developer, the Howard Hughes Corporation. Hughes transferred ownership of the pavilion in 2016 to a nonprofit group, the Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission. Gehry had an office in Baltimore when he designed the pavilion, one of four structures in Columbia that he worked on for developer James Rouse. Another one of his commissions, the former Rouse Company headquarters, has been converted to a mixed-use development with a Whole Foods Market as its anchor tenant. Gehry could not be reached for comment about the roof collapse.
Placeholder Alt Text

Frank Gehry halves Santa Monica hotel to meet height restrictions

Gehry Partners has released a new batch of renderings of their mixed-use tower on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, California, nearly five years after initially announcing the project. What was once a 22-story tower has now been cut down to 12, after the Santa Monica City Council imposed wide-ranging height restrictions on new construction in the city’s downtown in April of 2017. When AN last wrote about the Ocean Avenue project in 2013, Gehry’s tower-on-a-base was still 22 stories and 244 feet tall, and destined to sit in a major 1.9-acre redevelopment at the corner of Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. The $72 million mixed-use tower would have housed 22 condos, 125 hotel rooms, two stories of restaurants and retail, and a 36,000-square foot art museum with a glassy facade nearby. After years of legal battles stalled out development at the site over the tower’s height, Gehry’s rippling building could finally be on the rise following a City Council meeting on January 11th. While the overall massing and white-paneled, rippling façade of the revised tower still resembles the original plan, Gehry’s team has implemented sweeping changes. The project will now top out at 130 feet at its peak, with an average height of 44 feet across the tiered building. According to the Ocean Avenue Project website, the floor area ratio (FAR) has been reduced from 3.2 to 2.6, all condo units have been removed, the number of residential and affordable units has been increased, and Gehry has tried to improve integration with the street. A more concrete timeline for the project’s construction will likely become available following the upcoming City Council meeting.
Placeholder Alt Text

Lower L.A. River revitalization plan finally revealed

Los Angeles is a vast, complicated place, and so is its 51-mile river. While the city’s Draft L.A. River Revitalization Master Plan, outlining a transformation of the river and the areas around it,  was launched back in 2007 (laid out by a team including Studio M-LA and Tetra Tech)  the many cities and towns south of the city have, ten years later, finally unveiled their own, set for the largely industrial 19-mile stretch between Vernon and Downtown Long Beach. The Lower Los Angeles River Working Group, a collection of officials, non-profits, and community members launched in 2015, has laid out improvements to the river that include vegetated terraces, access ramps, dams, public art, underground water retention systems and wetlands. They've also called for upgrades to almost 150 nearby properties, as well as parks, streetscapes, bridges, boardwalks, viewing platforms and pathways. To paint a picture of what could be, the working group, along with Tetra Tech and Perkins + Will, have laid out close to a dozen case studies. These include a plan for the Cudahy River Park, in the city of Cudahy, calling for new bridges, access ramps, levee terracing, and riverbank green space, as well as public art installed along the river bed itself and affordable housing rising alongside the new park. About eight miles south, the Compton Creek Confluence Area would include a new green terracing along the riverbanks, a new community center, picnic stations, and even water recreation thanks to a new rubber dam and stormwater treatment plant. Things are moving quickly on the 11-mile stretch of River between Downtown L.A. and Elysian Park: dozens of parks and trails have sprung up, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers preparing a $1 billion dollar revitalization, and AECOM wants to add 36,000 housing units.  But the south L.A. working group is still identifying funding for its endeavor, from local, state and federal sources. The group is also working to curb gentrification in these vulnerable neighborhoods, which accounts for, among several plans, the increase in affordable housing, rather than market rate proposals. The scheme, when finalized, will be incorporated into the overall Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan. Both will likely incorporate the wide-reaching approach being developed by Frank Gehry, Olin and Geosyntec on behalf of the non-profit L.A. River Revitalization Corp, or River LA.  It could be decades before the changes are completed, but if you look at the many small projects already completed further north, it's clear substantial progress could take place in the next couple of years.
Placeholder Alt Text

Gluckman Tang reveals Heritage Park master plan linking Gehry and Nouvel designs

New York-based Gluckman Tang Architects has released their master plan for Western Gateway Heritage State Park (Heritage Park), an integral piece of the larger redevelopment in North Adams, Massachusetts. The proposal links the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), the restored waterfront, Main Street, and the site of Frank Gehry's future Extreme Model Railroad Museum (EMRCAM). The project is part of a larger "cultural corridor" that ultimately hopes to bring the Bilbao effect to this corner of Massachusetts. The plan breaks up Heritage Park into three distinct plazas connected by walking paths. Each area revitalizes the historic industrial buildings within while better connecting to other parts of the city. The North Plaza will contain a new amphitheater, while the Central Plaza will hold a grove of birch trees and outdoor seating. The South Plaza will help orient visitors to Gehry's railroad museum. Originally slated for a 14,000-square-foot, 19th century warehouse inside the park, the Gluckman Tang-designed EMRCAM was scrapped for a 75,000-square-foot Gehry design elsewhere. Featuring architectural dioramas by Gehry himself and Zaha Hadid, the new museum will be located across the street from the MASS MoCA. Gluckman Tang will be converting the original park building into a Museum of Time and add another 6,000 square feet, a glazed entryway and a steep butterfly roof. Other than the museum, Gluckman Tang has also proposed converting a 3,250-square-foot coal hopper into a distilling hall, complete with a new 4,000-square-foot retail space and tasting room. “In addition to improving the experience for visitors to North Adams, our master plan will enhance the central role of the city in the Cultural Corridor and its anchor institutions, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) and The Clark Art Institute,” said Gluckman Tang principal Richard Gluckman. One question left unanswered is how Jean Nouvel will factor into the evolution of North Adams. The French architect was reportedly in consideration to master plan the city as of last year, but news of his involvement has been scant since then. Leading the redevelopment initiative and museum complex is Thomas Krens, former director of the Guggenheim Foundation. Krens has a storied history with Nouvel, and it seems the architect’s ideas will make it into the master plan in one way or another.
Placeholder Alt Text

Gehry to design new home for L.A. Philharmonic Youth Orchestra

To celebrate the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s centennial, the organization has announced that Frank Gehry—famed architect and designer of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, where the philharmonic performs its winter time showcases—will design a new permanent home for the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA) in Inglewood, California. For the project, Gehry will transform a 17,000-square-foot structure into a new community center and music academy. The facility, named in honor of donors Judith and Thomas L. Beckman, is expected to serve up to 500 aspiring music students from throughout the Los Angeles area, including the South L.A., Rampart District, Westlake/MacArthur Park, and East L.A. neighborhoods, according to a press release issued by the Philharmonic. The complex will contain rehearsal and educational spaces as well as a performance venue for the youth orchestra. YOLA currently serves over 1,000 students across the region and is conducted in partnership with EXPO Center, Harmony Project, Heart of Los Angeles, and Camino Nuevo Charter Academy. Gustavo Dudamel, director of the L.A. Philharmonic, said in a statement, “The Beckmen Center will take [our] core beliefs … and turn them into something tangible for the children of L.A. and help ensure a brighter future for them and for all of us.” Dudamel added, “We commit ourselves as an organization to a better life for our inheritors—[this] amazing facility will ensure that.” In the same statement, Gehry added, “The L.A. Philharmonic is the first orchestra anywhere to take such an enormous step for the future of its community. Thanks to the time I’ve spent with [Dudamel], I’ve seen the difference that YOLA makes in young people’s lives. I’m proud to play my part by making spaces where the kids can feel inspired, and YOLA can open up the whole world of music to them.” Designs for the structure have not yet been released, but it is expected to open by 2022.
Placeholder Alt Text

Gehry says transformation of L.A. River into a green oasis will “never happen”

At the recent Urban Land Institute (ULI) Fall Meeting in Los Angeles, architect Frank Gehry made surprising remarks concerning the future of the Los Angeles River in a wide-ranging interview with Frances Anderton, host of KCRW's DnA: Design and Architecture. During the discussion, Gehry told Anderton, “You can’t build habitat and you can’t build space for recreation in the river,” meaning the removal of the river’s concrete-lined bottom. He emphasized his statement, adding, “I can tell you it will never happen,” before explaining that removing the concrete lining at the bottom of the river—as has already been done along a three-mile-long section surrounding Griffith Park—would drastically reduce the channel’s ability to safely carry away storm waters from L.A.’s periodic downpours. Gehry explained that removing the concrete would only be possible if the channel itself was made much wider, saying, “If there’s grass at [at the river’s bottom] you’d need to make the river seven times wider.” Gehry pointed to the Army Corp’s analysis, which is focused predominantly on the channel’s ability to handle massive storm surges, as the main reasoning for this statement. The comments cast doubt on the ever-growing list of L.A. River-related restoration that see ecological and recreational use as being central to the future of the river. Up and down the length of the 51-mile-long river, various local agencies, landscape architecture, and architecture firms are working on proposals envisioning a lush, socially-activated river. At least three new bridges are in the work, as well as several new housing developments, parks and even, a plan to bring 36,000 housing units to areas surrounding the river. Gehry’s comments raise the question—Is L.A.River in danger of finding itself up the creek without a paddle?
Placeholder Alt Text

Gehry Partners to design Extreme Model Railroad Museum in Massachusetts

The proposed Extreme Model Railroad Museum in North Adams, Massachusetts, will be designed by Gehry Partners and developed on a new site in the town. The original design by Gluckman Tang Architects sited in the town’s Heritage State Park will instead become a new Museum of Time based on the New York architect's design. The Berkshire Eagle initially revealed the appointment, and the museums have confirmed the news with The Architect's Newspaper (AN). AN has learned that Gehry is designing the train museum, adding that the project has increased from 32,000 square feet to 75,000 square feet.  In addition, the project is moving out of Heritage State Park and across the river to a different site. The projects, located on an 83,000-square-foot parcel on Christopher Columbus Drive, will be located just down the street from MASS MOCA, for which Gehry provided initial designs in 1987. Gehry has collaborated several times with the director of the new museums, Thomas Krens, former director of the Guggenheim Museum. Their most notable partnership came with the Guggenheim Bilbao in 1997. Gluckman Tang’s designs had called for large, pitched-roofed, warehouse-like spaces marked with sawtooth skylights. Gehry’s designs are still forthcoming.  The Architecture Museum will display large-scale art and architecture works and installations that would never fit in museums in cramped urban contexts. The Extreme Model Railroad Museum will feature scale model trains moving through architectural dioramas created by the likes of Gehry and Zaha Hadid. According to the Eagle, the current plans will cost about $65 million, and fundraising is ongoing. Krens—always ambitious—is also proposing to build the Massachusetts Museum of Time and a distillery in the area, and he’s suggested that Jean Nouvel design the city’s master plan. In addition, Gluckman Tang is doing a master plan for the city's Heritage Park and designing the new Global Contemporary Art Museum on the grounds of the local airport. William Menking contributed reporting. 
Placeholder Alt Text

Getty Research Institute acquires Frank Gehry archives

The Getty Research Institute (GRI) has acquired a major archive of work by Frank Gehry. The collection—known as The Frank Gehry Papers—contains material spanning over 30 years of the architect’s work and was acquired by the GRI through a combination of gifts and purchases. Thomas Gaehtgens, GRI director, touted the acquisition in a press release: “This extensive archive, covering the first three decades of his illustrious career, offers an in-depth look at the genesis of Gehry’s distinctive style and includes many of the projects for which he is internationally known.” The archive spans work produced during a period from 1954 to 1988. With the acquisition, the GRI is increasing its already expansive array of modern and contemporary architecture collections. The Gehry archives will serve to “connect with threads” between GRI’s expansive modern and contemporary architecture collections, according to Gaehtgens. The archive contains a combination of presentation and study models, project drawings, correspondence, photographs, slides, and sketches relating to 283 projects, roughly spanning the period between the Romm House and the competition entry for the Walt Disney Concert Hall. This era encompasses work on some of the architect’s most groundbreaking buildings. The archive contains roughly 1,000 sketches, 120,000 working drawings, 100,000 slides, and hundreds of boxes of records. There are also 168 working models and 112 presentation models in the collection. Importantly, the collection also includes various digital collections, including files pertaining to early designs for the Vitra museum from 1989, the Disney Concert Hall, and the perhaps soon to be realized Grand Avenue project. Certain works from the archive will be on view at the upcoming GRI exhibition Berlin/Los Angeles: A Space for Music that opens April 25. Maristella Casciato, senior curator of architectural collections at the GRI added that Gehry’s work during this period serves as an important bridge between the high modernism and early postmodern eras, saying “Gehry was a powerful figure in this evolution. He contributed to the essential concepts which put Los Angeles and its particular architectural vision at the center of the global architectural discourse.” In announcing the acquisition, Gehry stated, “I’m honored by the attention of the Getty Research Institute delving into the history of my work, my beginnings, and other things that I never thought anybody would be interested in” adding, “I’m very moved that this great institution, with its resources to search for the best examples of creativity in our world, has found me an interesting party. I will be forever grateful.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Frank Gehry to teach “The Future of Prison” course at SCI-Arc

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) announced last winter that architect Frank Gehry would be teaching one of the school’s elective vertical studios for the spring 2017 semester. According to an image promoting the studio on the university’s Instagram, the studio is titled “The Future of Prison” and “calls on emerging architects to break free of current conventions and re-imagine what we now refer to as ‘prison’ for a new era.”

Could Gehry and his students re-imagine the carceral system the way his firm did with tourist-driven arts destinations? Perhaps the class could propose new designs for the Metropolitan Detention Center in Downtown Los Angeles, the 757-bed jail located just one mile from the SCI-Arc campus. The jail is due to be replaced sometime between 2027 and 2030 under the auspices of the city’s new Civic Center Master Plan. If rebuilt elsewhere, planners would be wise to look to Gehry’s SCI-Arc studio for ideas and inspiration.

Placeholder Alt Text

Is the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi dead?

  In a podcast posted on March 21, former Director of the Guggenheim Foundation, Thomas Krens, cast doubt on the near-future hopes of building the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, a project he helped set into motion in 2006. The museum, designed by Frank Gehry, was originally scheduled to open in 2012 and would be the largest branch of the Guggenheim to date. The project was one of several cultural institutions designed by the likes of Foster and Partners, Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, and Tadao Ando as part of a larger plan for Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. Construction of the Guggenheim has been delayed several times and, as of 2017, only Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi is near completion. In his podcast interview with In Other Words, produced by the art advisory firm Art Agency Partners, Krens states that he believes these delays are intentional to help the city gauge the reaction of locals to the new development. Because the plans for this new cultural hub were drawn up in more “naïve” times, Krens thinks this type of development is just something that can’t happen in the current climate. “The world financial crisis and the Arab Spring has changed the equation radically,” said Krens in the interview. “It may not be such a good idea these days to have an American museum…with a Jewish name in a country [that doesn’t recognize Israel] in such a prominent location, at such a big scale.” The potential for the museum to be seen as a target for terrorism was a fear that the Guggenheim team addressed from the beginning of the project, and something Krens views as more worrisome now. “If I were them [Abu Dhabi local authorities], I would say we’re not abandoning our mission… to building these institutions, but we don’t need all five of them up and running at the same time,” said Krens in the interview. He also alludes that perhaps, in the future, there may be a better opportunity for the development and for further “cooperation and coordination.” For now, it seems the project is still on hold, although not without hope. In a statement to The Art Newspaper, a representative from the Guggenheim reiterated their support for the project and their continued work to make it happen: “The Guggenheim Foundation remains committed to the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and its transformative potential as a catalyst for exchange and for expanding the narratives of art history.” To find more information about the Saadiyat Island development, you can visit their website here. UPDATE 4/4/2017: The Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority has provided this comment:
Abu Dhabi remains committed to developing an innovative cultural destination on Saadiyat Island for Abu Dhabi's residents and visitors. Louvre Abu Dhabi is set to open this year, and together with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, we are unquestionably progressing with the development of Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The programme and collection of the Museum have been progressing for the past years and we have recently launched The Creative Act: Performance, Process, Presence, the second exhibition of artworks from the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection. Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority is continuing the development of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi's curatorial narrative, collection and educational outreach with the expertise of the curatorial team to bring this museum to life.
Placeholder Alt Text

Gehry Partners breaks ground on 80,000-square-foot L.A. office complex

Los Angeles–based architects Gehry Partners and real estate developer NSB Associates have quietly started construction on an 80,000-square-foot creative office building in Los Angeles’s El Segundo area, establishing a new foothold for the region’s burgeoning Silicon Beach area. The new open-office structure is modeled on the traditional warehouse typologies that are typically being converted to office uses in other parts of the city, including the Arts District downtown. Instead of being organized in a typical manner with a sea of parking lots surrounding the warehouse structure, the project—named Ascend by the development team—is designed to be vertically-stacked, with office uses located above a covered parking structure. The complex is also designed with a large degree of exterior glazing, in contrast to many of the existing, often masonry construction warehouse structures being converted into office spaces. The complex is studded with large, floor-to-ceiling windows and 24-foot tall interior volumes. Sam Gehry—Frank Gehry's son who is also an architect—described the outdoor areas in a promotional video for the project, saying, "We're able to maximize the buildable area of the lot [by stacking the office above parking] to create this large floor plate building. Part of what that allowed us to do architecturally... [is to create] entries at four points on the podium level that [also] become nice outdoor amenities and outdoor space." The building will also contain roughly 16,000 square feet of private outdoor space accessible to the office areas that will double as circulation cores for the parking structure. The complex is to be located a short walk from the Green Line light rail line and is expected to be open for occupation by the fourth quarter of 2017. For more information, see the Ascend website.