Posts tagged with "Frank Gehry":

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L.A. Conservancy sues City of Los Angeles over Frank Gehry project

The Los Angeles Conservancy is suing the City of Los Angeles for “blatantly disregarding environmental law” and violating the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by approving the Gehry Partners—designed 8150 Sunset development last month. The $300 million mixed-use project has faced community push-back from all sides, especially from wealthy neighbors who contested the project’s height, density, and parking provisions, even though the project is located on the Sunset Strip commercial corridor. Those partisans won out over the course of the approval process, as developers and even Frank Gehry himself, in an in-person testimonial before the Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM), pledged to rework the project to ameliorate community concerns. At that meeting, the starchitect said, “I’m going to make it, as best I can, something special for the community. Something that we would all be proud of.” The development was ultimately approved by PLUM and, later on, the L.A. City Council, but with a few caveats. In a nod to the neighbors’ concerns, the project’s residential towers were approved with a 56-foot height reduction, an additional number of affordable housing units, and increased number of parking stalls. Overall, the project will contain 229 market rate units, including 38 affordable units, 65,000 square feet of commercial space, and 494 parking spaces in a group of rumpled towers located on a site featuring multiple public plazas and ground-floor retail. But one point the designers and developers behind the project would not flex on—and that neither PLUM nor the L.A. City Council were eager to emphasize—was whether to save the historic, modernist-style Lytton Savings bank building currently occupying a portion of the site from demolition. The iconic structure, which features a striking folded concrete roof and large expanses of glass, became a rallying point for preservationists who were not necessarily against the project, per se, but hoped the developers would incorporate the structure into the proposal. The bank building was designed in 1960 by Kurt Meyer and since plans were announced, a group of preservationists rallied around saving the structure. The structure was quickly nominated as a Historic Cultural Monument (HCM) status by Friends of Lytton Savings. HCM status offers some degree of protection against demolition, except that PLUM delayed the structure's nomination and the L.A. City Council was able to approve 8150 Sunset in the augmented form described above. The building’s existence is now in peril, and as a result, the Los Angeles Conservancy has filed suit to “force the City of Los Angeles’s compliance with (CEQA).” The Conservancy argues that under CEQA regulations, a project must “avoid significant impacts such as the demolition of a historical resource if the fundamental project objectives can be met without demolition.” The Conservancy’s logic stems from a series of development proposals incorporated into the Environmental Impact Report (found here) developed as part of the project’s approval process that called for reusing the structure as part of the commercial component of the Gehry Partners development (the building currently operates as a Chase Bank branch). Those alternatives, however, were shut out of consideration by the developers, who simply preferred to start with a blank site. Previously, Adrian Scott Fine, director of advocacy for the LA Conservancy, had told The Architect’s Newspaper that the Gehry project would “unnecessarily demolish a historic cultural monument,” and added,  “there’s a very clear way for this project to move forward while preserving the bank building.”  Friends of Lytton Savings founder Steven Luftman told The Architect's Newspaper via email that his group is "still proceeding with the Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument (HCM) application with the full support of Councilmember David Ryu. The application goes to a vote with the LA City Council on Wednesday December 7th."  When asked whether the group would support relocating the endangered structure as part of a comprehensive preservation approach, Luftman replied, "We continue to believe the best solution is for the building to remain at its current site. Incorporating this city's rich architectural past with the new project can lead to an exciting and vibrant development," adding "(Lytton Savings) functions beautifully as a bank and it has wonderful potential for adaptive reuse. Once the alternatives are appropriately explored, as a last resort we would consider a sincere commitment by the developer to relocate the building." For now, however, the Lytton Savings bank stands imperiled as part of a long line of Modernist structures falling to the wrecking ball and the project stands to move forward as approved.
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Maya Lin and Frank Gehry to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Two designers are among the 21 Americans chosen this month to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. President Barack Obama selected architect-artist Maya Lin and architect Frank Gehry to receive the medal, presented annually to individuals who have made “especially meritorious contributions” to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. The medals will be presented at the White House on November 22. “The Presidential Medal of Freedom is not just our nation's highest civilian honor—it's a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better,” Obama said in announcing the recipients. “From scientists, philanthropists, and public servants to activists, athletes, and artists, these 21 individuals have helped push America forward, inspiring millions of people around the world along the way." Lin was cited in the White House announcement as “an artist and designer who is known for her work in sculpture and landscape art. She designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. and since then has pursued a celebrated career in both art and architecture. A committed environmentalist, Lin is currently working on a multi-sited artwork/memorial, What is Missing? bringing awareness to the planet's loss of habitat and biodiversity.” Gehry was described as “one of the world’s leading architects, whose works have helped define contemporary architecture. His best-known buildings include the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Dancing House in Prague, and the Guggenheim Museum building in Bilbao, Spain.” Obama’s 2016 list includes 19 living Americans and 2 who have died, and is heavy on figures from the entertainment and sports industries. Others joining Lin and Gehry include: Ellen DeGeneres, Robert De Niro, Robert Redford, Lorne Michaels, Diana Ross, Vin Scully, Bill and Melinda Gates, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Bruce Springsteen, Cicely Tyson and Tom Hanks/David S. Pumpkins.
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Yours for $150,000: this lead fish sculpture by Frank Gehry

Up for auction at Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) is a 44-inch long, 14-inch wide, and 12-inch high lead fish. Made by Frank Gehry between 1987 and 1988, the untitled sculpture was a custom commission for the Toronto offices of advertising agency Chiat/Day. The work also comes complete with a white enameled bathtub; the fish rests on glass that mimics water. Mark Linder, author of Nothing Less than Literal, studied Gehry's fascination with the figure of the fish. Linders detailed how fish have been prevalent in Gehry's life since he was a boy. When living in Toronto, Gehry's grandma, Lillian Caplan, would keep live carp in the bath, using them to make gefilte fish for traditional Jewish Sabbath suppers. Perhaps that was the inspiration for Gehry's lead creation? Speculation may, however, may be all we can do—the end of the line (pardon the pun). Speaking in the Globe and Mail, Gehry rubbished any fishy connections between Caplan's carp and his architecture, saying that they have "nothing to do with that house, nothing to do with the fish in the bathtub."

According to Linder, though, Gehry viewed the fish as an "empty signifier." Being "architecturally dumb," the fish's abstraction from architecture allowed the celebrated Canadian architect to "rethink architectural forms" from a withdrawn perspective. The fish was "anti-architecture" and "anti-humanist." Gehry played with these ideas at a time when referencing history and humanist themes were prevalent postmodern qualities in architecture.

Peter Loughrey, director of Modern Design & Fine Art, said in a press release:
Probably more than any architect, Gehry liked to incorporate fine art and sculpture into his work. More freedom was available to him as an artist than with buildings. In 1970s he liked cardboard because it’s a material where you go from concept to prototype to finished product in one day. Gehry identifies as a an artist more than any other architect.
The fish and bathtub is currently estimated at $100,000-$150,000. Bids can be made online here.
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Gehry complex on Sunset Strip approved with affordable housing component

A tweaked configuration for Gehry Partners’ $300-million design for 8150 Sunset was approved by the Los Angeles City Planning Commission (LACPC) this week, marking a big step forward for what could be one of L.A.’s newest architectural icons. As part of the approval, Gehry’s 249-unit, mixed use project, containing 65,000 square feet of retail space, will need to include 37 units of affordable housing, instead of the 28 originally proposed. The increase, requested by the LACPC, comes out to about 15% of the overall unit count, a lower percentage than is typical in area municipalities that have an inclusionary housing mandate. The City of Los Angeles itself does not have an inclusionary housing requirement, though one is potentially in the works. The 8150 Sunset Boulevard complex, developed by L.A.-based Townscape Partners, has fanned the type of neighborhood discontent that has become par-for-the course in the housing-deficient region, with a local councilperson and aggrieved area residents decrying the size, height, and potential traffic implications of the 334,000 square foot mixed use project. Organized as a rumpled mish-mash of layered, vertically-oriented facade panels and bulging volumes with punched openings, the complex rises to various heights in a medley of configurations, typically between five and 15 stories above the city’s famed Sunset Strip. The project’s site will be carved up into various tree-lined public plazas, including a monumental staircase on the corner facing the famed Chateau Marmont. Though the project has been cleared by the LACPC, it’s not totally out of the woods yet. An iconic mid-century structure on the site, currently housing a Chase Bank branch, has been nominated as a local historic cultural monument in efforts to save the structure from demolition. If the structure is indeed approved as a landmark during a hearing scheduled for August 18th, its demolition could face challenges, complicating the viability of Townscape Partners’ proposed project. A California Environmental Impact Report submitted for the project details a scheme that incorporates the structure’s reuse by reducing the overall retail component of the project and increasing the overall unit count to 291 dwellings.
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The Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid exhibits at the Venice Biennale

The Venice architecture biennale has released a list of 19 official collateral events taking place around the city during the biannual (in even years) event. It’s a fascinating list of projects, installations, national design programs, and it’s diversity shows why this is still the best event in the architecture calendar. But there are also dozens of unofficial events worth checking out. Here are two: Building in Paris by Frank Gehry at the Esapce Louis Vuitton (Calle del Ridotto 1353, 30124 Venezia) and Zaha Hadid at the Palazzo Franchetti on Campo Santo Stefano. The Gehry exhibit claims to “retrace the story of Frank Gehry’s dream through a selection of scale models themed by program, project design, interior spaces, “icebergs,” and glass sails. This exhibit also features an installation by Daniel Buren that incorporates the glass roof of the Esapce Louis Vuitton. The Zaha Hadid exhibit is a retrospective of the late, spectacular architect and was quickly assembled by Patrik Schumacher as a memorial. Both of these are on view through the run of the biennale, November 29th. Building in Paris May 27 – November 26, 2016 Monday – Saturday, 10:00am - 7.30pm, Sunday, 10.30am - 7.30p Espace Louis Vuitton Venezia, Calle del Ridotto 1353, 30124 Venezia #FondationLouisVuitton Zaha Hadid May 27 – November 26, 2016 Monday– Sunday, 10:00am - 6:00pm (10 euro entry fee, group rates available) Palazzo Franchetti
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Daniel Buren's "Observatory of Light" set to open at Fondation Louis Vuitton

Starting on May 11 this year, Frank Gehry's Fondation Louis Vuitton building in Paris is set to host a dazzling glass installation by French conceptual artist, Daniel Buren. Titled L’Observatoire de la lumière (or Observatory of Light) the installation will see some 3,600 tiles of glass alongside a series of colored filters, broken up at regular intervals by alternating vertical white and blank stripes. The articulation of light and interplay of color spans across the building's twelve classic Gehry-style volumes, known as "sails," working in sync with the Gehry's design which, until now, employed a colorless paneled facade. Making use of thirteen different colors, arranged to create the illusion of forms disappearing at different times during the day, light entering the building through these filters will enhance the interior spaces, changing their spatial qualities. Bernard Arnault, President of the Fondation Louis Vuitton said “Daniel Buren has designed a grandiose project, pertinent and enchanting, the result of a real dialogue with Frank Gehry and his building.” "The transparency and quality of a colour projected by means of a coloured filter, as I see it, make it much more alive than painted colour covering a surface” said Buren in a Press Release. “There is a quantity of mirror effects here at the Fondation that actually don’t come from mirrors but from the windows. Almost everywhere something is reflected (...) through the coloring of the sails, all those reflections will become more and more present and will awake those sleeping mirrors that are everywhere. I think that this will enable visitors to further understand and enjoy the singularity of this architecture,” continued Buren. To commemorate the installation opening, a catalogue, designed in collaboration with Buren, will amalgamate works touching on color, transparency, light, translucency, and projection all created since the 1970s. Alongside L’Observatoire de la lumière, a theatrical piece will be shown from June 2 to 4. BurenCirque: 3 times another Hut revolves around three fairground inspired huts. Again using light as a key theme, the huts will become "translucent and mysterious lanterns at night." The piece was conceived in the early 2000's by Buren working with brothers Dan and Fabien Demuynck. Children visiting the Fondation Louis Vuitton will also be able to appreciate and engage in Buren's light spectacle. Aimed at children aged six to ten, The Light Trap lets the projections and reflections of color within the building form a giant kaleidoscope. A workshop will then allow the children to explore different opacities and discover how light can alter space perception. The Light Trap will run from May 28 to August 28, every Saturday and Sunday, from 2:30–5pm.
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Eavesdrop> Gehry Over Greek

If elected, can we expect a deconstructivist foreign policy from Hillary Clinton? Apparently so!

In Benjamin Bratton’s newly released book The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty, he recalls when Clinton, in a recent address to the UN Security Council, evoked Frank Gehry’s work as analogous to contemporary, decentralized global politics, stating: “We need a new architecture for this world, more Frank Gehry than formal Greek... Where once a few strong columns could hold up the weight of the world, today we need a strong mix of materials and structures.”

Getting way ahead of the criticism a pluralistic Clinton foreign policy might evoke, she went on the clarify some of the fundamental aspects of the architect’s oeuvre, explaining, “Some of his work might appear haphazard, but in fact it’s highly intentional and sophisticated.”

Send haphazard political positions and angry tweets to eavesdrop@archpaper.com

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Sam Fox architecture students build expanding foam boat prototype

Ten architecture students at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis have produced a working boat prototype, using expanding polyurethane spray foam as their primary material. The master’s students are following in the steps of the likes of Frank Gehry, Greg Lynn, and Zaha Hadid, who all have recently designed custom yachts. Paired off in twos, teams designed and tested a half dozen smaller prototypes, which they tested in the Grand Basin in Forest Park near the Washington University campus. Two of the prototypes were chosen to move forward to further development and a full size prototype. The goal of the project was to test the material possibilities of a product that is easily found in typical hardware stores, and usually used for housing insulation. The expanding foam for the project was provided by Fenton, MO–based manufacturer Convenience Projects. “The first half of the project was about learning what the material can do. What are its capacities?” Master’s candidate Benjamin Newberry, told WUSTL’s campus journal. “How do you convert it into something that floats?” https://youtu.be/XuG6f3jldh4 Frank Gehry, an avid boater, recently finished FOGGY 2.0, an 80 foot long sailboat he designed for his friend, real estate investor Richard Cohen. In 2013 Zaha Hadid unveiled plans for a 420-foot superyacht prototype which is being used a base design for further investigations by Hadid and Hamburg-based shipbuilders Blohm+Voss. Greg Lynn launched his own carbon-fiber 42 foot racing yacht last year. Lynn used the sailboat as a means of investigating the possibility of monocoque construction with composite materials.
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Frank gehry replaced by Haworth Tompkins on massive waterfront project on Britain's South Coast

Sports specialists LA Architects and former Stirling Prize winners, Haworth Tompkins Architects, are to replace Frank Gehry in designing a leisure center in Hove on Britain's South Coast. The complex will also feature residential towers up to 18 floors high. As romantic as "from Bilbao to Brighton" may sound, Gehry's scheme was not to be. The project had garnered mixed reviews from locals. Supporters hailed it as Britain's Guggenheim while others described it as "tin can alley." The audacious twin-tower scheme, designed in conjunction with HOK, would have brought 750 homes to the vicinity (compared to the concurrent 560). News of the project's abandonment prompted Brighton-born Piers Gough, Gehry's friend, to say: "It's a heartbreak, and a loss for Britain." Brighton and Hove Council chose to appoint the two new firms after the $422 million scheme, commonly known as, "wonky towers" was ditched 2008 after developer Karis failed to provide funding plans. Previously Dutch Bank ING had pledged to finance the project. "We are redeveloping the King Alfred site to create a modern new sports centre," said the council. "The current center no longer meets modern expectations and it is expensive to operate and maintain." Now the scheme will be seven times cheaper than Gehry's, costing around $58 million with $11.7 million coming from the council. The council has said those funds will come from the "improved financial performance of the new centre compared to the old centre." Haworth Tompkins will masterplan the project while LA Architects will finalize its sport center design. All in all, the scheme is set to include 560 dwellings, 120 of which will be affordable homes. Also included will be:
  • An eight lane (Olympic half-size) swimming pool with moveable floor and 352 spectator seats
  • Teaching pool with moveable floor and a 4,305 square-foot leisure pool
  • Sports hall, the size of eight badminton courts and multi-purpose hall
  • 120 station gym, bike spinning room, workout studio, quiet activity studio and a sauna suite
  • Gymnastics centre
  • 3 rink indoor bowls hall
  • Martial arts dojo
  • Café
  • Public square
  • Communal art space
  • Crèche and soft play room
  • 200 space car park for sports centre users.
It's fair to say that the new design's towers certainly aren't wonky. However, that's not to say that they haven't come under scrutiny. Already it has been labeled by some as "bland and predictable" and "Croydon-esqeue" with one commenter remarking how the scheme is a dated '70s throwback. Haworth Tompkins spoke of their joy in being given the project: “We are delighted to have now been selected by the council to carry out that task, and along with The Starr Trust, Crest Nicholson and LA Architects we are very much looking forward to re-engaging with the Hove community as we prepare to submit a planning application later in the year.” When finalised, the project will plug the two-mile long gap along Brighton and Hove's seafront stretching from as far back as Brighton’s Palace Pier. Planning will be submitted next year. https://youtu.be/JoxJupDJxrU
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Going green at ULI's VerdeXchange: The L.A. River, development, and the future of Los Angeles

If words were water, the Los Angeles River would be overflowing its banks. If pronouncements were viable projects, a very green sustainable Southern California is in the offing. There certainly were a lot of words and pronouncements at the industry heralded “FutureBuild” convocation in L.A. this week, staged over two days by the venerable VerdeXchange conference with the Urban Land Institute. Attending were an estimated 700 people described by the sponsors as “public and private sector market-makers who buy, manufacture, sell, finance, endorse, and legislate green technologies, products, innovations, infrastructure, and sustainable services.” It was very much a design and development crowd. Of major interest was a keynote session entitled “A River Runs Through It: Reimagining L.A.’s Water Way,” with opening remarks by the city’s personable Mayor Eric Garcetti, to be followed by a widely promoted panel prominently featuring celebrity architect Frank Gehry. Garcetti was his smooth self, reviewing the rise and fall of the river’s prominence through the city’s history, touting its present planned revitalization by a concerted community effort, and its critical importance to the future of the city. It was a variation on a speech the mayor has been delivering for several years. However, it did not assuage the announcement that Gehry had bowed out of the event at the last moment. His appearance had been anticipated as an opportunity for him to reply to the skepticism surrounding his appointment by the mayor’s L.A. River Revitalization Corp. to master plan the 51-mile waterway. Instead of being viewed as a second coming, the selection roiled river advocates who had been involved in various long term and long suffering efforts, marked by team planning and transparency. They charged that Gehry, with little landscape experience, has come late to the party, attracted by the publicity it is generating and a $1.4 billion price tag. Gehry has been sharply dismissive of any criticism, while his fans, including the mayor and his minions, have been hinting at the architect generating concepts that will catapult the city to prominence and also enhance its bid for the 2024 Olympics. They will have to wait a little longer, according to Tensho Takemori, Gehry’s surrogate, who said the office was still gathering information while working on a 3D model of the river. “We are not holding our breaths,” commented architect Gerhard Mayer. Indeed, in addition to the one on the L.A. River, the sessions covering every shade of the rising “green” consciousness, from energy to infrastructure, were mostly standing room only. Said an architect trading candor for anonymity, “We’re here not for Frank, nor really for the presentations, but for the networking.” Green is hot.
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For his 87th birthday, Frank Gehry embraces yacht life with a sailboat of his own design

For his 87th birthday, avid boater Frank Gehry will be living the yacht life. He will receive FOGGY 2.0, the 80-foot-long sailboat he designed for his friend, real estate investor Richard Cohen. https://twitter.com/paulgoldberger/status/288115396186353664 Though a longtime sailor, this is the first boat that Gehry has designed. In 2013, architecture critic Paul Goldberger was caught tweeting off the California coast aboard FOGGY, Gehry's Beneteau sloop. Goldberger, Gehry, and architect Greg Lynn were out for a Sunday sail of the coast of Los Angeles. FOGGY's name derives from Gehry's initials, F.O.G. (the "O" is for "Owen"). FOGGY 2.0 met water for the first time this past summer, off of Martha's Vineyard (see pictures of that voyage here). According to the New York Post, it sailed to Cuba, where its designer was honored by 150 architects. Foggy 2.0 will replace the sloop, which now docks in Marina del Rey. In addition to his weekend voyages, Gehry will use the yacht for sailing fundraisers to support Turnaround Arts, his education charity. Gehry isn't the only architect fond of the seas. Greg Lynn designed and built his own carbon fiber racing boat (pictured under construction, below) that set sail January 2015.
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Henning Larsen selected to design University of Cincinnati business school

The team of Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen Architects and Cincinnati-based KZF Design have been selected by University of Cincinnati to design and construct the new $100 million Carl H. Lindner College of Business. The project will consist of 250,000 square foot of class rooms and facilities and will sit on the site of the current Russel C. Myers Alumni Center. The team was selected from a shortlist of three offices that also included London’s Foster+Partners and Bath, U.K.–based FCB Studios International. The process of picking international firms for the project is part of the University’s Signature Architecture Program, a campus planning program which has brought world renounced architects to the University of Cincinnati to design campus buildings for the past 15 years. Henning Larsen will join Frank Gehry, Michael Graves, Peter Eisenman, and Thom Mayne, among others, in having a project on the Uptown campus. KZF Design will act as the local architect of record on the project. The interdisciplinary firm provides architecture, engineering, interiors, and planning, throughout the United States, and has worked on the University of Cincinnati campus in the past. Previously KZF worked with Thom Mayne as part of the Signature Architecture Program on the UC Campus Recreation Center. Founded in 1959, Henning Larsen Architects is known for its civic and cultural work, including the crystalline Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavik, Iceland and the more recent Kolding Campus at the University of Southern Denmark. With work throughout Europe and the Middle East, this project will be Henning Larsen’s first major project in the United States. Drawing on the traditions of Scandinavian design, their work often focuses on the control of natural light and the making of central communal spaces.