AN has just learned that Gwynne Pugh of well-known Santa Monica firm Pugh + Scarpa has decided to leave the firm to start his own company, Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio. Pugh and Lawrence Scarpa have led the firm for the past 22 years—Pugh actually hired Scarpa in the '80s. Pugh's new company, which "specializes in the design of structures, urban design, planning, sustainability, and consultation to companies and public entities," launched on September 1. In 2011, firm principal (and Scarpa's wife) Angela Brooks, who now runs Pugh+Scarpa's sustainable development department, will be elevated to principal-in-charge, precipitating a new firm name: Brooks+Scarpa. The firm would not comment on the changes (and Pugh's profile is already off the firm's site), but we will keep you informed as more information becomes available.
Posts tagged with "Hirings & Firings":
TORCH BEARERS On January 5, our New York colleagues attended a wake to mourn last month’s folding of I.D. magazine, the 55-year-old trusted chronicler of design where pioneer modernist Alvin Lustig was art director and a young John Gregory Dunne was an editor before turning to novels and screenplays. The bi-coastal bash was more of a gathering of the fellowship than a farewell, with Pentagram grandee Michael Bierut and former editors Chee Pearlman and Julie Lasky hosting. Fresh from Silicon Valley, newly appointed National Design Museum director Bill Moggridge, formerly of IDEO, was also there studying local rituals. YOU WISH Hagy Belzberg’s Skyline Residence sits on a gorgeous mountaintop ridge site. But much of its architectural innovation came cheap, with off-the-shelf parts and materials. Which made us sit up and take envious notice when we heard that the house sold for an over-the-rainbow $5.6 million, according to real-estate site Redfin. Maybe that means a new generation of buyers really value good design, or it could just be more proof of the old saw: location, location, location. However, Eavesdrop wants to believe it was the book-signing party for AN editor Sam Lubell’s new book Living West (own your own copy today!) that pushed the sale over the top. After all, Steven Ehrlich, Hadrian Predock, and Jennifer Siegal showed up. GREENER PASTURES Eco-prophet Paul Kephart of landscape design firm Rana Creek, which created the much-acclaimed green roof atop Renzo Piano’s California Academy of Sciences, has had a turbulent few years. First he left his wife for an employee, throwing the small company into chaos. Then we heard the plants on the roof were turning brown, and that Kephart himself had a brush with near death. Now, Eavesdrop is glad to report that things have stabilized with the arrival of a new Baby Kephart. Take heart: Dad is definitely not the first larger-than-life personage to also have a complicated personal life. AIN’T IT GRAND? We love when planners decide to let loose with gossip-worthy statements. Last month, Paul Novak, the land planning deputy for LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, spouted freely to the Los Angeles Business Journal about the city’s long-stalled Grand Avenue development: “The project should be abandoned.” And he elaborated: “We need to rethink what goes on that land and how the county and city can maximize their returns. But it’s not this deal. We should probably start from scratch and issue a new request for proposals.” Meanwhile, the Grand Avenue site looks exactly the same as it has since we started the California edition three years ago. And we thought we were the ones who played fast and loose with deadlines. Send gag orders and blank slates to Eavesdrop@archpaper.com
Long-named Seattle firm Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects (OSKA) announced this week that it will be changing its name to Olson Kundig Architects, effective January 1. The OSKA name has been active since 2000, but with Scott Allen leaving the firm to create an independent design studio, and Kirsten Murray and Alan Maskin becoming partners in 2008, it was apparent that they should reflect the changing tides of leadership. The firm is now led by the five owners; Jim Olson, Tom Kundig, Rick Sundberg, Kirsten Murray and Alan Maskin. Winners of the 2009 AIA Architecture Firm Award (the most recent time we made fun of the firm's name), the 75 person office is known for dwellings and urban projects that merge modern design with natural sensibility. From Rolling Huts in Mazama, Washington, to interior explorations revealing raw qualities of light and material like the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle. Jim Olson founded the firm in 1960, with a focus on residential architecture and its relationship to site. Sundberg became partner in 1975, expanding the firm’s interest into urban projects. In 1998, Kundig, recognized for his modern dwellings that integrate industrial details, was added as partner. And now— finally—we can say their name all in one breath.
If there was any question Howard Roberts' resignation yesterday was forced, it can be put to rest, as his replacement atop New York City Transit, the MTA division that runs the subways and buses, was announced today. Thomas Prendergast will be returning to the agency—after a hiatus atop Vancouver's public transit system—where he used to run the Long Island Railroad, and before that was VP for subways. Though only 57, Prendergast has more than 30 years experience in the field, having begun at the Chicago Transit Authority out of college, then the Federal Transportation Authority, before joining the MTA in 1982. While Gene Russianoff, head of the Straphanger's Campaign, said authority hopping is the norm, it is worth noting that like his new boss, Jay Walder, also came from a system outside the country, arguably freer from the culture war that at times dogs mass transit in America. "Tom's work running one of the most technologically sophisticated systems in Vancouver will be invaluable as we take the MTA to the next level in performance and customer service," Walder said in a release. Beyond technology, Prendergast's time in Vancouver may have prepared him all too well for his job at the MTA, where he will be faced by high expectations but a budget crunch. According to local Vancouver radio station News 1130, Prendergast never received the full support or funding for the ambitious projects he and others had proposed during his five years in the Great White North, though the TransLink board member Gordon Price tells the station that his colleagues departure "tragic" is tragic and his "resignation means we can kiss transit expansion goodbye." And already innovative programs are falling away—in a way. At a event yesterday to unveil 311 calling for the MTA, the Times asked Mayor Bloomberg about his plans for transit improvements he touted during his reelection campaign, such as Express F service and, most notably, free cross-town buses. Well...
“I thought it was a good idea, although, the real issue there, there’s two things we’re trying to do: one is to make it easier for people to go back and forth, but two is also to stop the delays from getting on and off the buses,” the mayor said. “That’s another one of these things down the road. I think there’s a whole bunch of things that we laid out that we can explore together."Good luck, Tom. You're gonna need it.
We've just learned thanks to the LA Times and Curbed that LA Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA) CEO Cecilia Estolano is stepping down from her post at the end of this month. Estolano was widely-praised for her aggressive moves to promote affordable housing, turn around struggling neighborhoods, establish a Clean Tech corridor in Downtown LA, and bolster the agency's funding, even in difficult economic times. We just ran a Q+A with Estolano in our last issue, which can be read here. Estolano is reportedly taking a job with Green For All, an Oakland-based environmental group focused on generating green jobs in underserved neighborhoods. We're trying to get a follow-up with Estolano now, so stay tuned...
If you've been frustrated by the recent flood of delays on the Subway, don't complain to Howard Roberts. The president of New York City Transit, which operates the R142s and the various city buses, Roberts submitted his resignation today, effective the end of the month. The move did not come as a surprise to the Times, which noted that the move had actually been expected by many within the MTA because of failings over a recently renegotiated transit workers contract and, more simply, "a changing of the guard [...] is often accompanied by staff shake-ups." (Jay Walder, the new head of the MTA who accepted Robertson's resignation, took over roughly a month ago.) Gene Russianoff, head of the Straphangers Campaign, lauded Roberts, however, for working under tight budgetary strictures and for implementing line "czars" for each subway. Still, it appeared to be too little, too late, as service remained relatively spotty, for which the former head of Philly's public transit often took the blame, as well as for enforcing an MTA rule requiring Sikh's to affix an agency logo to their turbans. Reading each others minds as usual, both the News and the Post point out in their ledes that Robertson will be awarded a $300,000 severance.