Posts tagged with "FreelandBuck":

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FreelandBuck builds practice through descriptive geometry

The following interview was conducted as part of “Building Practice,” a professional elective course at Syracuse University School of Architecture taught by Molly Hunker and Kyle Miller, and now an AN interview series. On September 19, 2019, Biyun Zhang and Hao Zhou, students at Syracuse University, interviewed Brennan Buck and David Freeland, principals of the bicoastal FreelandBuck. The following interview was edited by Kyle Miller and AN for clarity. Biyun Zhang and Hao Zhou: Thank you for joining us today. A few of the practices we are interviewing are led by partners who live in different cities. We know that the two of you are split between Los Angeles and New York. How do the locations of your practice affect your work? David Freeland: My first impulse is to say it doesn't really affect anything, meaning that within the abstract geometric space of the digital model, there isn't an imbued context. Work in a virtual environment is not situated. But at the same time, it would be very short sighted for any architect to say that place or context is not a component of a project. There is a balance between the development of a project in abstract space and the way that context becomes inscribed into a model. We are always working on how to embed a physical context into a design developed in virtual space. With Stack House, for example, the complex topography of the site was incorporated into the digital model early on. We modeled critical contextual parameters that would constrain the project. Brennan Buck: Place or context as an idea has a long history within our discipline. Think of critical regionalism, an idea that Ken Frampton developed about the need for architecture to be specific to its geographic context. That is not an idea that we subscribe to. But cultural context is definitely important in our work. New York and Los Angeles have very different administrative and regulatory contexts for instance. You have to build differently in New York than Los Angeles. We are also a part of very different academic cultures at Yale and SCI-Arc. In that sense, we benefit from the distance between us. You’ve designed and built temporary installations, retail environments, restaurant interiors, and single-family residences. What do you think gives your work coherence? Is your approach to each project unique, or is there something that you bring to a project regardless of program or type? David: We constantly work between mediums. There are gaps that exist between two-dimensional mediums like drawings and images, and three-dimensional mediums like models, objects, and buildings. We’re really interested in interrogating the gaps and developing unique representational techniques that unpack two-dimensional and three-dimensional modes of communication. Artifacts we’ve made called “image-objects” are an example of this. Our critical approach to representation lends itself to multiple layers of engagement. We strive to produce work that can sustain the attention of a group of architects, as well as makes an appeal to a more diverse audience. There's accessibility at different levels and for different groups of people. The ambition to create visual and conceptual openness is something that guides our design strategies regardless of project type. Do you view models as simply representations of buildings during the development of your projects or do the models operate independently? David: In our recent projects, we’re really asking models to do many things for us. Models are sometimes representational and often times built at a particular scale. A model, by definition, points to something other than itself. But more recently, we’ve been creating models, or objects that point only to themselves. They have unique qualities and conceptual ambitions beyond scaled representation. We are intentionally undermining conventional categories of architectural representation to liberate drawings and models from mere reference. Many of our recent projects are conceptualized as built drawings, or three-dimensional drawings. These drawings fall into the category of conventional drawing with regards to the practice of architectural representation, but they are also full-scale constructions. Our ceiling installation, Parallax Gap, within the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian American Art Museum is an example of this. Our work intentionally confounds categories of representation, and, in doing so, hopefully opens up other possibilities for architectural representation. In addition to your built works and the image-objects you just mentioned, you have completed many drawing projects. How does the work that’s constrained to two-dimensions relate to or inform your three-dimensional works? David: In our earlier conceptual projects we were interested in creating drawings that used abstraction to produce effects rather than simply serve as representations of other things. I’m thinking of our Slipstream drawing series. But where these drawing projects operated more autonomously—independent from cultural reference and engagement—our newer drawing projects try to do much more. This is related to my previous answer, where I described our interest in building drawings. In general, we are interested in moving away from complex digital techniques and transformations as a primary focus towards engaging a larger cultural audience. We are invested in geometry and form making as well as creating images, objects, and buildings that have broad appeal. Brennan: Almost all of our recent projects are attempts to do both; to operate through abstraction and elicit engagement through visual association and illusion. This duality is something that we struggle with. People engage architecture in states of distraction; architecture is rarely something the general public stops to think about, and it largely informs their activity through affect, and subtle things like color, temperature, and spatial relationships, rather than through direct attention. That said, there are a couple of reasons that we've looked beyond abstraction to association and reference. First, distraction has become our default state of mind in everyday life; focused attention now feels rare. We have also realized that narrative and association is a way of appealing to a broad audience. In the Renwick Gallery project, all of the elements in the installation reference relatively well-known Victorian-era ceilings. The installation both produces an abstract array of lines and colors and also reproduces familiar architectural elements, such as the ceilings in Cincinnati Union Terminal and the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. We now realize that we can produce work that is abstract and open to interpretation and also engaging for people who stumble into the gallery and are more interested in a narrative about the history of different buildings across the country. This is a powerful thing that some of our earlier work didn't tap into. You both pointed to an ambition to make your work accessible and engaging. Does a desire to be popular factor into this ambition? Brennan: It doesn’t. Popularity may be good for business, but being popular is not our primary motivation. Our goal to realize projects that are accessible and engaging is related to an ambition to have a positive effect on the world and to make spaces that are useful and stimulating. Let me go back to our Renwick Gallery project. The Renwick project was about a very old architectural tradition… about drawing and illusion. But it was also about capturing the visual effects of beloved buildings scattered across the country. There was a direct connection between the content of the installation and familiar architectural references. It wasn't just a narrative that people could read in the wall text. It was more of an optical puzzle. That's one way we talked about it—a visual riddle for people to solve. They might read the wall text and try to find all of the different projection points where the three-dimensional drawings are projected from. We tried to produce a narrative that would pull people into the space and allow them to experience the effects of the installation rather than just read about them. David: The desire to create work that is accessible and engaging is also another way to be inclusive. The disciplinary issues that fuel us are not necessarily accessible to most people. So, we believe we have a responsibility to explore the potential of these disciplinary issues to affect a broader audience and produce broader cultural effects. We have a question about the project we’ve been studying, Second House… and in relation to the idea about positive impact. Do you think that the clients of Second House experience the house as you intended them to?  Do you think that they acknowledge and appreciate the complex formal, spatial, and visual effects that you were pursuing in that project? Brennan: We are suspicious of anything universal or assumptions that anyone will experience something the same way we do. In Second House, we were exploring ideas about alternation and contrast. We had alternating spatial zones—a checkerboard pattern of interior spaces and exterior spaces, and corresponding floor materials. The ceiling heights move up and down to reinforce the idea of contrast or difference. As you move through the house—and it's a very small house—there's a constant alternation of very different conditions. Light, temperature, volume, etc.… there is continuous difference. So, in that sense, our interest in effect is probably more about variety and registering difference rather than prescribing a universal effect. David: Because this project is for private clients, it's more focused. The conversation about broader cultural engagement is curtailed in favor creating spaces tuned to the desire of the two people who will live in the house. Differently from other projects where we pursue particular, legible effects, this project seeks to work on bodies in spaces in a much more subtle manner. Many of the offices we are interviewing are currently completing their first built work… and they have spoken openly about the difficulties of getting things built. What has been your experience with having opportunities to realize your designs? Has it been pretty smooth, or has it been frustrating? David: The frustrations are myriad. I cannot recall who, but someone once said to me… “The happiness that you have as an architect is measured by the degree of grace that you can bring to the work every day.” There's an art to the balancing act, to managing different priorities and issues that come up in a project on a daily basis. Balancing of all these different pressures is the art of practice. One thing that people often think demands the most attention in practice is getting clients, and getting them to believe in whatever your vision is for a project. But that is merely the beginning of a much more delicate balancing act that moves from concept through completion over a great deal of time. What has been the most rewarding aspect of practicing architecture thus far? David: I'm interested to hear what you say, Brennan! You go first. Brennan: Last summer we were in Nashville to present a project proposal to a panel of jurors. I was speaking with one of the competition jurors after they awarded the project to someone else and she said as consolation, “you guys live interesting lives”. That hadn’t really occurred to me – there are a lot of frustrations as David described.  But to interact and collaborate with so many different people and work on very different problems, to think through different ideas through teaching… the variety in terms of daily life that we’ve been able to develop through the practice has been great. David: Architecture is a marathon, not a sprint. There are very high highs balanced by very low lows. Our model of practice puts us in the position of the endurance athlete. We have to pace ourselves. We're cautious about getting too excited about things, and also cautious about getting dragged down by things that don’t fall in our favor. We’re told “no” a lot, and we’ve worked on so many projects that we never completed, for reasons beyond our control. But we have to put these moments behind us and keep pushing forward. The fact that we always have things to keep us moving forward is very rewarding.
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Palo Alto receives trippy public art pavilion courtesy of FreelandBuck

The city of Palo Alto, California, has a new public art installation in King Plaza, facing City Hall, that packs a significant number of architectural effects within a minuscule footprint. Titled Cache Me If You Can, the installation is a product of the Los Angeles– and–New York–based architecture office FreelandBuck and is made up of 20 triangular PVC plastic sheets, each of which features photographs taken by Alex Kim that document the life of King Plaza over the course a single day (May 31st, 2019, to be specific). The installation is centered within the plaza's gridded pattern to minimize interrupting pedestrian traffic while offering a visual treat for those with a moment to spare. During the day, the images play a series of optical illusions that invite visitors to visually "line up" the structure with the plaza it foregrounds while walking through its tunnel-like interior. At night, the installation is lit from the inside, causing the perforated surfaces to emit a glow that will keep a portion of the plaza illuminated and reveal a new set of images of the surrounding area. “This project follows several of our previous large-scale installations designed as constructed drawings," remarked FreelandBuck cofounder and principal Brennan Buck. "In this case, we worked with images of the site, articulating them graphically as a pattern of overlapping circles. Each pixel of the photograph produced five circles in a range of hues that, when averaged together, match the hue of the original pixel. From a distance, the photograph is clear, but up close, the surface of the pavilion disintegrates into an abstract pattern of vibrating discs.” Cache Me If You Can is a reflection of FreelandBuck's continuing interest in the relationship between architecture and narrative. Just as no two people can experience a city in the same way, so too does the installation offer an unlimited number of vantage points as visitors make connections between the pavilion and its surroundings. Cache Me If You Can is on view until June 2020.  
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Pittsburgh's MuseumLab renovation finds wonder in history

The thrill of discovery is palpable throughout Koning Eizenberg Architecture (KEA)’s MuseumLab in Pittsburgh. The museum is designed for older kids—tweens ages 10–15 years old—and encourages hands-on learning through arts and technology. The restoration of its building was driven by curiosity and inquiry into a historic structure that had fallen into disrepair. The MuseumLab is an expansion of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, the third building to be renovated in what has become the largest cultural campus for families in the U.S. It’s the Santa Monica-based KEA’s second project on that campus, following their transformation of an 1880s-era post office and the adjacent 1940s planetarium in 2004. MuseumLab (along with a charter school and incubator for education-based startups) now occupies the next building in the row, a 40,000-square-foot Richardsonian Romanesque library was once known as the Carnegie Free Library. Commissioned by the industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1886, it was the first of over 1,600 free libraries he would build across the U.S. As the first library in his adopted hometown, Carnegie spared no expense on this Gilded Age gift to Pittsburgh’s workers. Unfortunately, the textured terracotta tiles and ornately carved column capitals were sacrificed in a 1970s redesign that saved the building from urban renewal efforts but covered up its most distinctive qualities under dropped ceilings, plaster, and carpeted walls. In 2006 a lightning strike sent a three-ton piece of granite crashing through the roof, causing damage that led the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to finally abandon the building altogether. In need of new space, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh saw an opportunity to turn the neglected building from a library into a “lab” that offers tweens a maker space for complex projects, a tech lab run in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center, and art exhibitions. In working with KEA, the renovation exemplified MuseumLab’s focus on curiosity and discovery. KEA partner Julie Eizenberg described the approach to the project, which didn’t necessarily begin with a fixed outcome in mind. Eizenberg and the Children’s Museum team approached “architecture as an exploration. … We have a philosophy that the building is an armature for learning in every project we do, and that applied here as well. We started pulling the building apart and that’s when we realized that more of the building had been removed than anyone had expected.” Christen Cieslak, director of facilities and special projects at Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, describes how the renovation fits the mantra of the Children’s Museum to encourage visitors to: “Play with real stuff, and be authentic.” She saw the potential for authenticity in the renovation: “This building has a story to tell.” Exposing the crumbling plaster, missing tile, and stripped ornamentation was a way of exploring the many stories embedded in a post-industrial city and brought about unexpected design opportunities. In that sense, KEA’s work was equal parts excavation and renovation, or in Eizenberg’s words, “more of a reveal than restore.” Peeling away layers of midcentury plaster and vinyl flooring uncovered the building’s industrial materials, colors, and textures and offered surprises along the way, like an entryway lined with terra cotta fox head tiles that were only discovered at the last minute. But rather than restore the building to its original splendor, the team decided to celebrate the layered qualities of the space. “We said, ‘we’re not going to make this a clean and tidy restoration, this is going to be a lovely ruin.’ It ended up making a lot of sense economically and poetically, in terms of reinforcing program values,” Eizenberg said. There’s an irreverence to this approach that should resonate with the building’s young users without “talking down to them.” For Eizenberg, the space “needed to be cool, it needed to not to feel like it was your parents’ place or a kid’s place, and it needed to suggest the idea of discovery.” After uncovering the tall ceilings and large windows of the original design, the Carnegie Free Library was treated like a found object. Materials were restored or recontextualized to create a richly textured environment rooted in industrial materials, particularly granite, tile, and the Carnegie-brand steel that built the philanthropist’s fortune. Perforated steel floorplates that once supported the original library stacks were repurposed as a screen wrapping the main staircase, which doubles as a striking backdrop to the lean, low reception desk. The desk and light-wood benches in the lobby were built from repurposed bookshelves. Original iron shelving that once held the stacks now supports an enticing three-story architectural lace climbing structure designed by architect-trained artist Manca Ahlin that will open in January 2020. “We didn’t want a little kiddy climbing structure,” Ciezlak says, “This is art. It’s a little scary.” The renovation also whimsically reimagines the building’s past. In the Grable Gallery, for example, a lost Tiffany-glass ceiling inspired a commission by Los Angeles and New York-based architecture studio FreelandBuck. The team hung a complex layered laser-cut fabric sculpture to create the illusion of a domed Beaux-Arts space as an homage to the lost ceiling. Visitors are also invited into the process. A local mosaic artist used salvaged tile and glass from different parts of the building in a collaborative sculpture to teach visitors how to create mosaics. For Eizenberg, the reveal was a way to respect the past and change the way visitors engage with older spaces. “The key is not to do something clever and new that makes the past less important,” she said, “everything you do with historic buildings has to in some way be part of the story of the life of the building into the future.” It's noteworthy that the project was designed, financed, and built by a team led by women, who among other things oversaw the building’s capital campaign, supervised the construction, led the design, and directed the museum. As to whether this impacted the final result, Eizenberg suggested that “communication is different when there’s a lot of women around. There’s a lot more comfort, psychologically, in asking questions, in looking at options rather than feeling like you had to have the perfect answer for everything.” Altogether, the building has a dynamic feel to it, as though it is in the process of decay and construction at the same time, making the building an engaging experience for users of all ages. Sarah Rafson is the founder of Point Line Projects and teaches at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture.
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FreelandBuck draws on representation for spatial effects

Every year the Architectural League of New York recognizes eight dynamic young firms as Emerging Voices that have the potential to become leaders in the field. Historic winners like Morphosis (1983) and Toshiko Mori (1992) have become today’s lions, and practices like Johnston Marklee (2007) and Tatiana Bilbao (2010) have jumped to new heights after recent wins. This year’s crop was selected in a two-stage portfolio competition where a jury of architects selected the winners. The deciding jury included several previous winners like Dominic Leong (2017), Fernanda Canales (2018), and Marlon Blackwell (1998), giving the process a familial feel. Laureates for 2019 come from across North America and almost all are partnerships or collaboratives—capital letters feature prominently, too.  FreelandBuck will lecture at the Scholastic Auditorium at 130 Mercer Street, New York, New York, at 7:00 p.m. on March 14, as part of the Emerging Voices lecture series. FreelandBuck builds drawings. Not in the traditional sense of constructing what’s represented by a drawing set, but in the sense that its architecture directly evokes carefully constructed perspectives and painstakingly hand-drawn renderings. “We think about drawing at the scale of architectural space,” says partner Brennan Buck, “as an end product, not a means to build.” Buck, based in New York City, and David Freeland, who is based in Los Angeles, met in grad school at UCLA and started working together in 2009. Of their bicoastal practice, Freeland says, “There are more opportunities than challenges. It exposes us to different groups of potential clients, but also to different environments. I think the practice is richer for that.” Working at a variety of scales also makes the practice richer, giving the firm the chance to explore its ideas in different ways. Parallax Gap, a colorful canopy of layered screens installed in the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., feels like a drawing come to life. The intricate trompe-l’oeil representations of historic American ceilings are like perspective drawings—each constructed with a unique vanishing point—that reveal themselves as visitors walk through the space. FreelandBuck borrowed rendering techniques to enliven the riff on office cubicles the firm designed for a film production company in L.A. To accommodate the company’s variable spatial needs and match its lighthearted style, the architects defined flexible work areas with a series of “tumbling” cubes whose milled surfaces, evoking a poché or hatch, suggest another set of cubes overlaid onto the first. Furniture that looks torn from a Roy Lichtenstein canvas adds to the effect of stepping into a drawing. Although there are nods to linework in the exterior finishes used on two of the firm's residential projects, Stack House and Second House, these connections to representation are more complex. In both buildings, distinctive exterior volumes articulate dedicated programs, and in both buildings, this distinction is broken down by unexpected interior elements. Stack House’s curved walls blend its spaces together, while Second House achieves a sense of continuity through materials, transparency, and interior courtyards. The perspectival shifts of Parallax Gap appear here in more subtle ways, concealing and revealing spaces, views, and experiences; it’s not about adding lines, it’s about erasing them. FreelandBuck may draw on the techniques of representation but, unlike a conventional drawing, its work can’t be understood through a single image. Like the best architecture, the spaces, places, and objects the firm creates are challenging and engaging and must be experienced to be fully appreciated.
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Announcing the Architectural League's 2019 Emerging Voices

Every year the Architectural League of New York recognizes eight dynamic young firms as Emerging Voices that have the potential to become leaders in the field. Historic winners like Morphosis (1983) and Toshiko Mori (1992) have become today's lions, and practices like Johnston Marklee (2007) and Tatiana Bilbao (2010) have jumped to new heights after recent wins. This year's crop was selected in a two-stage portfolio competition where a jury of architects selected the winners. The deciding jury included several previous winners like Dominic Leong (2017), Fernanda Canales (2018), and Marlon Blackwell (1998), giving the process a familial feel. Laureates for 2019 come from across North America and almost all are partnerships or collaboratives—capital letters feature prominently, too. The League will hold a lecture series from this year’s winners every Thursday in March at the Scholastic Auditorium at 130 Mercer Street, New York, New York. We profiled this year's winners, snippets of which are included below. Click on the images for the full profiles. And now, the winners are: Ignacio Urquiza, Bernardo Quinzaños, Centro de Colaboración Arquitectónica Bernardo Quinzaños, Ignacio Urquiza, and Mexico City–based Centro de Colaboración Arquitectónica (CCA) have over a decade of experience working toward their goal of using architecture as a “tool for change.” ... Urquiza explained, “We’ve always had a particular interest in architecture that is precise, yet at the same time has the flexibility of being able to give itself to each space.” He added, “Ambiguity is what gives architecture the freedom to be owned by its users.” UUfie Despite being just ten years old, UUfie has snagged commissions in high-profile locations around the world that any practice would envy. Few firms of a comparable size have worked in three continents, and UUfie’s founders are aware of the benefits of having worked around the world; they credit their global experience with bringing “more cultural awareness and diversity in thinking” to their practice. ... “In Canada, there is a growth in supporting Canadian talent and potential for establishing a vibrant design scene that is broadening its perspective. In Japan, this scene is highly established and appears to lean now toward a retrospective view,” [cofounder Irene] Gardpoit said. “Canada is a culturally diverse country in comparison to Japan. This diversity brings on its challenges, but it is also unique in that it does not necessarily have its own established identity. It allows us to experiment.”

Waechter Architecture

For Ben Waechter, practicing architecture is an investigation into creating spaces with clarity. ... “To us, a strong sense of clarity tends to be in places that simply feel the best to be in,” [Waechter] said. According to Waechter, that’s one of the main themes that must be teased out when reviewing a project.

MODU

Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem…blur the boundaries of their practice, working in multiple modes simultaneously. Their conceptual work, built work, research, teaching, and urban initiatives inform one another and allow the firm to continually develop, test, and refine their ideas. Through discourse and design at scales both large and small, MODU’s indoor cities and outdoor rooms ultimately ask one question: How can we live better?

SCHAUM/SHIEH

For SCHAUM/SHIEH, the city is not a mere backdrop for designing buildings. Instead, it is a source of productive potential and a platform for theoretical and built experimentation that has informed the firm’s relationship to design from its founding in 2010.

Colloqate

Colloqate Design, a multidisciplinary, New Orleans–based “nonprofit design justice practice” founded in 2017 by Bryan Lee Jr.—Sue Mobley came on in 2018—with the goal of “building power through the design of public, civic, and cultural spaces,” is setting a different path relative to other design offices. … “We want to be the most radical design firm out there,” Lee said, “and we need to build buildings to do that.”

FreelandBuck

FreelandBuck builds drawings. Not in the traditional sense of constructing what’s represented by a drawing set, but in the sense that its architecture directly evokes carefully constructed perspectives and painstakingly hand-drawn renderings. “We think about drawing at the scale of architectural space,” says partner Brennan Buck, “as an end product, not a means to build.”

Davies Toews

Partners Trattie Davies and Jonathan Toews are no strangers to working around tight spatial and financial limitations. Whether it’s a linear park that rises between a descending set of switchback staircases in Hudson, New York; a perspective-defying, split-level park and art gallery in Memphis, Tennessee; or a three-story townhouse in Brooklyn, their projects are united by the common thread of extreme site-specificity. “Our strategy has been: Do first, analyze second,” said Davies.
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AIA | LA design awards highlight Southern California's best design

The American Institute of Architects Los Angeles chapter (AIA|LA) has announced its annual design awards winners for 2018, highlighting the work of many of the region's most creative and thoughtful architecture practices. Awarded across three categories—Design, Next LA, and Committee on the Environment (COTE) LA—the organization's award program is designed to recognize achievements in overall design, highlight the work by emerging designers, and bring attention to hallmark sustainability-focused projects. Within each category, awards are ranked into "honor," "merit," and "citation" rankings.

Design Awards

This year's design category awards acknowledge a wide array of project types, from an undulating transit station in Seattle by Brooks + Scarpa to a Modernist-inspired winery by Bestor Architecture. The highlighted projects feature simple geometries that come outfitted with performative architectural elements like screen walls and shading devices that not only lend formal interest to each project but also manipulate light in essential and evocative ways. A full list of the design winners is below:
HONOR AWARDS
Animo South Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA
Parallax Gap
Washington, DC
Camelot Kids Child Development Center
Los Angeles, CA
KeltnerCo Architecture + Design
Mariposa1038
Los Angeles, CA
Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects (LOHA)
Fenlon House
Los Angeles, CA
Martin Fenlon Architecture
Mayumi
Culver City, CA
ShubinDonaldson
MERIT AWARD
Ashes & Diamonds
Napa, CA
Stoneview Nature Center
Culver City, CA
Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects
UCSB San Joaquin Student Housing
Santa Barbara, CA
Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects
Studio Dental II
San Francisco, CA
Montalba Architects, Inc.
 
CITATION AWARDS
Angle Lake Station
Seattle/SeaTac, WA
Brooks + Scarpa
Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
Chicago, Illinois
HDR | Gensler with Clive Wilkinson Architects
Advanced Stem & Design Institutes
Los Angeles, CA
 
G-Cubed
Los Angeles, CA
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
2018 AIA|LA Design awards jury:
Steve Dumez, FAIA – Principal and Director of Design, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple
Elaine Molinar, AIA, LEED AP – Partner and Managing Director – The Americas, Snøhetta
Brett Steele, AA DIPL, HON FRIBA, FRSA – Dean, UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture
 

Next LA Awards

AIA|LA's Next LA Awards highlight unbuilt or in-the-works projects that push the envelope in terms of design or programmatic configuration. Synthesis Design + Architecture's Nansha Scholar's Tower in Guangzhou, China, for example, is formally inspired by smooth river rock cultural artifacts known as Gongshi and features a pair of pass-through elevated terraces that cycle air through the mid-rise tower's core. R&A Architecture and Design's Sunset Tower, on the other hand, proposes to use extended, undulating floor plates to create variable balcony and terrace spaces for a speculative development in West Hollywood. A full list of the Next LA winners:
HONOR
Boyle Tower
Los Angeles, CA
MUTUO
MERIT
Apertures
Mexico City, Mexico
Belzberg Architects
The New Center of Science & Technology in Suzhou
Shishan Park, Suzhou, China
Kevin Daly Architects
Pioneertown House
Pioneertown, CA
PARA-Project
Camp Lakota
Frazier Park, CA
Perkins+Will
Mercado El Alto
Puebla, Mexico
Rios Clementi Hale Studios
CITATION
MLK1101 Supportive Housing
Los Angeles, CA
Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects
Sunset Tower
West Hollywood, CA
R&A Architecture + Design
Nansha Scholar's Tower
Guangzhou, China
Synthesis Design + Architecture & SCUT Architectural Design & Research Institute
2018 AIA|LA Next LA awards jury: 
David Benjamin – Founding Principal, The Living, and Assistant Professor at Columbia GSAPP
Mario Cipresso, AIA – Associate Principal, Hawkins/Brown
Elizabeth Timme – Co-Founder, LA-Más

COTE LA Awards

The Committee on the Environment (COTE) LA awards focus on performance and sustainability. Gensler's CSUN Sustainability Center at the California State University, Northridge, campus in the San Fernando Valley utilizes recycled materials and furniture, makes efficient use of passive lighting, and features solar-powered electricity and hot water. The Arizona State University Biodesign Institute C complex by ZGF Architects, an Honor award winner, delivers energy savings of over 44 percent when compared to existing campus laboratories. The full list of COTE LA winners:
HONOR
Arizona State University Biodesign Institute C Tempe, AZ
ZGF Architects
CSUN Sustainability Center
Northridge, CA
Gensler
 
MERIT
Otis College of Art and Design Campus Expansion Los Angeles, CA Ehrlich | Fisher   UCSB BioEngineering Santa Barbara, CA Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners   West Hollywood Automated Parking Garage West Hollywood, CA LPA, Inc.   CITATION Robert Redford Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability, Pitzer College Claremont, CA Carrier Johnson + Culture  
2018 AIA|LA COTE LA awards jury: 
William Leddy, FAIA – Founding Principal, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
Douglas E. Noble, FAIA – Director, Master of Building Science USC School of Architecture
Anne Schopf, FAIA – Partner, Mahlum Architects
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Los Angeles architects develop their own speculative residential projects

As real estate prices continue to climb, Los Angeles’s notoriously slow and combative building approval process shows no signs of letting up. In response, a growing set of L.A.-area architects have begun to embrace the idea of developing their own projects in-house as a way of taking charge of—and ultimately, profiting from—the production of architecture. L.A. and New York City-based FreelandBuck, for example, recently completed work on a 2,200-square-foot speculative house in L.A.’s Mount Washington neighborhood. FreelandBuck partnered with L.A.-based developer Urbanite Homes for the hillside project, which contains a rental income–producing Accessory Dwelling Unit to make the hefty price point more palatable to potential buyers. According to the architects, the development partnership provided some wiggle room on the design that might not have been possible had they been hired as conventional designers. As a result, the architects were able to take risks with materiality by wrapping the four-story building in decontextualized board-and-batten siding. The freedom extended to the interiors of the home as well, where the ground floor areas are carved up into a series of discrete and complimentary rooms. This envelope-pushing effort is mirrored nearby in the hills above Highland Park, where John Southern, principal at Urban Operations, has developed a handful of speculative single-family homes that encapsulate the architect’s form-forward design aesthetic. A 2,400-square-foot residence at 4752 Baltimore is designed around staggered floor plates in order to maximize outdoor space on the tight hillside lot. The downslope-facing house skews in elevation to best align with the site’s winning views, which are matched by large format skylights. The architect-led development not only yields a more formally interesting home, but also creates opportunities for the designer to imbue what would normally be a hurried, one-size-fits-all commission with lightness, generously proportioned rooms, and interlocking spaces. Workplays Studio* Architecture, on the other hand, wears the hybrid architect-developer hat in order to create a live/work unit that acts as “an experiment in living on commercial corridors.” For their Pico Live/Work project, the architects added a single-family residence above an existing storefront. By linking the two levels with a courtyard entry and positioning a street-facing workshop in opposition to the home, the project approaches an alternative to conventional mixed-use development as it is normally practiced in the region. Not only that, but the design is developed at a project scale modest enough to be undertaken by a small team, a far cry from the anonymous, big-block developments that have drawn so much community ire in recent years.
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FreelandBuck’s Stack House reinvents spec housing for Los Angeles

Los Angeles– and New York City–based FreelandBuck have completed construction on Stack House, a distinctive, ground-up, single-family home made up of shifting, room-sized boxes that tumble up a steep mountainside site. The 2,207-square-foot home is located in L.A.’s bustling Mt. Washington neighborhood and comes with ground-floor parking and a one-bedroom Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on the second level. The ADU has its own distinctive entry and can either be rented out to help pay the mortgage or used as a home office, according to the architects. The secondary unit's entry is marked by patterned cladding modeled after board-and-batten siding and comes with a modest terrace and storage shed, as well. The arrangement—attached and embedded with the bulk of the building—differs from typical ADU configurations in the city, which tend to separate the unit from the main home or locate it within converted garages. Instead, here the ADU is a stop on the way toward the main home, which is accessed from a front stair that flanks the unit’s large glass entry.  The third floor is divided into five discrete areas, starting with a deep dining terrace that extends a modest entry room outside the house. Inside, the home features formal dining, living, and kitchen spaces tucked into each corner. The discrete rooms are an attempt, according to David Freeland, founding principal at FreelandBuck, to fight against the ubiquitous nature of great-rooms and open plans in contemporary speculative housing. A bonus of the rounded internal divisions that carve up the main floor rooms is that they provide spaces in which to conceal ventilation chases and a powder room while also bringing soft, diffuse light deep into the home.  The central stair runs up to a backyard dining patio that opens onto a scrubby hillside. The home’s stairs continue to the fourth level, where three bedrooms and two bathrooms find themselves oriented toward adjacent downslope vistas. On this floor, the master bedroom and master bathroom occupy the front of the house and pucker toward each other to create another window wall-backed terrace that points toward the San Gabriel Mountains to the north. Stack House was developed jointly by the architects and local developer Urbanite Homes in an effort to flex the limits of speculative housing design in Los Angeles away from bloated HGTV-style offerings and back toward unique living configurations and economical formal exuberance. The arrangement gives the designers the flexibility of taking creative freedom with the design of the home while helping to feed a growing market for architect-driven designs in the area.  The home is currently for sale and will be joined by a second design by FreelandBuck next-door in a few years.
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MoMA showcases 2018 Young Architects Program finalists ahead of PS1 opening

From now until September 3, the MoMA will be exhibiting Dream The Combine’s winning scheme for this year’s Young Architects Program (YAP), as well as the other four finalists’ work. Hide & Seek opens to the public at MoMA PS1 on June 28, but until then, the MoMA exhibition provides a sneak peek that should tide over visitors. Hide & Seek Design: Jennifer Newsom and Tom Carruthers of Dream The Combine in collaboration with Clayton Binkley of ARUP Structural Engineering: Clayton Binkley and Kristen Strobel, ARUP Project Team: Max Ouellette-Howitz, Nero He, Tom Vogel, Emmy Tong, and Erik Grinde, with support from UMN School of Architecture Dream The Combine is the 19th YAP winner. The firm's scheme will create a series of dynamic pavilions across PS1’s courtyard and up the steps to the museum. Nine overlapping black steel catwalks will stretch across the open area, including inaccessible platforms hovering overhead. Three of the paths will hold giant, moveable mirrors that can “turn an individual into a crowd” or unify separate elements of the installation. Fabric sails will be floated overhead at certain points and fitted with misters to create an ethereal and spacey feeling at night. Hide & Seek is, according to Jennifer Newsom, an attempt to create an ever-changing experience in PS1’s courtyard by building new visual connections throughout the space and beyond. Shelf Life Design: LECAVALIER R+D, Jesse LeCavalier Project team: Ayesha Ghosh, Jesse McCormick, Zachary White Structural engineering support: LED - Laufs Engineering Design, New York City & Berlin What exactly is “logistics”? How can we better connect and explore the invisible machinery that drives modern global commerce? For Shelf Life, LECAVALIER R+D re-appropriates the stacking and racking machinery usually found in factories and turns it into an immersive exhibition structure. In their proposal, furniture is built straight into the massive frame, and the entire pavilion would be disassembled and integrated back into the global logistics stream at the end of summer. Out of the Picture Project Team: FreelandBuck, Alex Kim, Taka Tachibe, Belinda Lee, Braden Young, Adin Rimland, Michael Raymundo, Adrian Lanetti, Evan Preuss, Jose Avila Structural Engineering by Matthew Melnyk of Nous Engineering Out of the Picture sought, much like Hide and Seek, to “bring the outside in” to PS1’s courtyard. Enormous fabric banners are stretched across the central plaza and decorated with distorted images of the surrounding buildings. The result is a reinterpretation of the neighborhood from a new perspective, transformed but still readable. Loud Lines Design: BairBalliet Structural Consultants: Walter P Moore, Kais Al-Rawi, Quinton Champer Project Team: Chaoqun Chen, Jose Garcia, Andrew Lang, Spencer McNeil, Ruta Misiunas Lines and vectors are often abstract concepts on a screen in architecture, but BairBalliet sought to translate the often-striking lines in diagrams into tangible structures. During the day, Loud Lines is solid black and imposing, but at night, the structure pulses with neon light from within. The rods emit a cooling mist to further blur the lines between the real and the immaterial. The Beastie Design: OFICINAA: Silvia Benedito and Alexander Häusler. Cambridge, MA, and Ingolstadt, Germany The Beastie proposed a technologically forward-thinking assemblage in PS1’s courtyard; an interactive structure that would have turned solar energy into ice. Inside the multi-walled chambers of The Beastie, visitors would explore a range of different temperatures, ranging from pleasant to freezing. More than a cool-down station, The Beastie was intended to raise awareness of climate change by exposing guests to “climatic confusion”. All of the YAP finalists were required to design an outdoor shelter that included shade, water, and seating. After the proposals are finished showing at the MoMA, the installation will travel to MAXXI (Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo) in Rome, and CONSTRUCTO in Santiago.
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This urban cabin by FreelandBuck for MINI LIVING plays with perception

Los Angeles- and New York City-based FreelandBuck has come together with MINI LIVING to create a visually complex temporary installation for the Los Angeles Design Festival. The eye-catching pavilion was on display over the weekend at the showcase’s headquarters at The Row arts complex in Downtown Los Angeles.  For the installation, FreelandBuck hijacked a pair of compact living modules previously designed by the MINI LIVING team in order to create an inhabitable public space for use during the festivities. The new “experience” space is sandwiched between the spare “urban cabin” accommodations and was designed by FreelandBuck in order to “extend the perceptual boundaries and the contemplative life of a living space through spatial effects and experimental material assemblies,” according to a press release for the project.  In plan, FreelandBuck’s designs are contained within a pair of redundant aluminum stud-framed spaces where one of the two boxes has been rotated in space in order to project beyond the extents of the otherwise rectangular cabin. The second cube is rotated in the opposite direction and created an angled exit within the main volume. The doubled walls mark the entries to the cabin on the outside and frame a doorway within, leaving odd, oblique wedges of space at the meeting points of the two rotated volumes.  The two nested boxes are skinned in translucent polycarbonate panels that have been printed with images depicting a third framed volume that is drawn to appear as if it has been projected through the structure. The graphic produces a disorienting, layered effect through the spaces, with different views of the red and blue cube projected across the interlocking areas. The space is flanked on either side by the MINI LIVING-designed components, which include a living space framed by pivoting pegboard-and mesh-wrapped wall panels and a bedroom area that features a skylight above the sleeping area.  The installation represents the eighth iteration of the pavilion by MINI LIVING and the first scheme that is designed to hold overnight guests.  For more information, see the MINI LIVING website.
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FreelandBuck brings plazas to the playas in Miami

  FreelandBuck has stamped its presence on the burgeoning Miami Design District with the creation of a circulation core and terraces for the District’s newest addition, Paradise Plaza. Over the past decade, the 18-block development has established itself as a high-density, pedestrian-oriented cultural neighborhood with an emphasis on design-led development. The circulatory role of FreelandBuck’s design facilitates movement both vertically and horizontally, from subterranean parking upward and across the second-level retail terrace. The quasi-courtyard is supported by a series of wedge-shaped columns that divide the structure’s two dining terraces into a sequence of smaller gathering spaces. The angularity of the columns is accentuated by the use of triangular planes influenced by the work of visual artist Yaacov Agam. A diverse range of materials is found in the circulatory core, which includes stainless steel, Carrara marble tiles, and sprawling aluminum panels. Although the firm didn’t collaborate much with the architects of the surrounding buildings, FreelandBuck’s addition carries its individual identity while connecting to the greater assemblage of the Miami Design District. Paradise Plaza 151 NE 41st Street Miami Tel: 305-722-7100 Architect: FreelandBuck
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FreelandBuck throws the cubicle wildly off-grid for this L.A. office

With their recent designs for the Los Angeles offices of international media company Hungry Man Productions, architects FreelandBuck explored the decorative potential of the average office cubicle with whimsy and explosive exuberance. The New York City– and Los Angeles–based architects renovated the interior of an existing 8,000-square-foot warehouse structure in L.A., upending the traditional office layout and utilizing abstracted decorative molding profiles as cladding for cubicle walls. The effort was fueled by an adventurous client that wanted a “dynamic and lighthearted working environment.” That desire resulted in a quizzical collection of stacked cubicles—each one turned askew—organized around a collection of shared open spaces. David Freeland, principal at FreelandBuck, explained that the firm set out to deconstruct the prototypical office and to “engage office culture in a way that makes it not mundane or rudimentary.” In plan, it looks rather chaotic, a byproduct of the firm’s playful massing approach that conceals a finely tuned organizational scheme designed to facilitate the musical chairs–style teamwork approach Hungry Man promotes. The offices are used for everything from client meetings to production projects and even casting calls and photo shoots, circumstances that require the spaces to function as a casual backdrop and formal business environment all at once. As a response, the plan is broken up into several zones: a clustered private office pod near the entrance, a dining and meeting core in a far corner, and an open-office work area in another, capped by a mezzanine filled with more private offices. After every few steps, the shifting and patterned cubicles create an entirely new and different view, framing recognizable, but ambiguous, glimpses of other office areas. The cubicles stack in certain places to create thresholds, resulting in casual indoor rooms lit by soft skylights above. They are also meant to be decorative and act as display cases for Hungry Man’s extensive collection of legacy props. The cubicles are wrapped in MDF cladding produced by a line-based CNC mill and fabricated locally to create a “fantastically inexpensive” finishing material that, for the architects, approximates the “roundness and supple depth” of a line drawing. “We wanted to make a playful connection to the office cube as a fundamental unit of typical office space,” Freeland explained. “Part of breaking loose from the conventional associations of ‘office cubicle’ was to use it for different purposes and organize it in different ways.”