Posts tagged with "Hodgetts + Fung":

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West Coast firms Hodgetts + Fung and Mithun announce merger

It takes two to tango. At least, that’s the case for Seattle-based Mithun and Culver City–based Hodgetts + Fung (HplusF), two west coast architecture firms that have announced a new, mutually-beneficial merger aimed at boosting one another’s clout in key project sectors. Mithun, a national architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, and interior design practice with satellite offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles will bring a bevy of large-scale housing, institutional, commercial, and urban mixed-use projects to the merger. Mithun, originally founded in 1949, has been awarded six AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten awards and the 2017 AIA Pacific Northwest Region Firm award, among other accolades. The firm has its hand in many projects, including a pair of student housing projects at the University of California, Los Angeles, totaling 3,200 beds and a new mixed-use complex at University of California, Irvine, among others. Hodgetts + Fung, a small design firm helmed by architects Craig Hodgetts and Hsinming Fung, is well-known for its signature and artful cultural commissions, including a recently-completed renovation and expansion to the historic Frost Auditorium in Culver City, the Menlo-Atherton Center for Performing Arts in Silicon Valley, the Nashville West Riverfront Park Amphitheater, Towell Library at UCLA, and the Chapel of the North American Martyrs on the Jesuit High School Campus campus in Carmichael, California. Over the years, HplusF has been awarded over 40 design awards, including the AIA California Council Firm Award in 2008.

Explaining the reasoning behind the merger, Mithun president Dave Goldberg said, “Finding such strong design talent and fit with Craig and Ming is remarkable, and we are very excited about the positive impact we will be able to make together in Southern California and beyond.”

But don’t think this is a path toward early retirement for Hodgetts and Fung, who have been practicing together for over 35 years. Hodgetts explained that the merger is, in fact, the opposite of that, saying, “Some well-established firms look for a merger as an exit strategy, but this is a re-entry strategy for me, Ming, and our firm to expand to a much larger stage which, quite frankly, is not readily available to a smaller practice.” Fung added to the sentiment, saying, “We have been approached to join other firms before, but from the very first conversation, it was clear we had a lot in common with Mithun in design approach and studio culture.”

With the merger, the firms will share a name in Los Angeles—Mithun | Hodgetts + Fung—for now, but that could change in a few years as the new entity becomes more established.

The union will give HplusF the “right muscle” to go after more employee-heavy housing-focused projects, Hodgetts explained, an interest the firm has always wanted to explore but has so far been unable to fully undertake until now. With local and state governments, especially in California, stepping up their efforts to rein in housing costs through new construction, housing of all types is set undergo drastic expansion on the West Coast in coming years. In exchange, Mithun will gain access to diverse culturally-driven clients, a realm the growing, design-focused firm has been hungry to enter itself.

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Hodgetts+Fung redesign project to save gay culture landmark in West Hollywood

A recently-revamped proposal for new retail and hotel project in West Hollywood by Los Angeles-based architects Hodgetts+Fung and West Hollywood-based developer Faring Capital has taken a turn toward preservation. The proposal originally intended to demolish a historic gay culture monument occupying the site of the Robertson Lane project, replacing the structure with a pedestrian-oriented, 250-room hotel and retail complex. That monument, known as “The Factory,” is a formerly-industrial brick structure built in 1929 to house manufacturing facilities for the Mitchell Camera Corporation. After the camera film manufacturer relocated their operations in the 1946, it underwent a series of transformations, eventually being converted in 1974 into a gay nightclub called Studio One. The discotheque become a safe space for the gay community during an era which inclusive, open environments were scarce. It also was seen as a beacon for rising consciousness, when it hosted the country’s first major AIDS research fundraiser in 1984. The Factory was listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's “11 Most Endangered Historic Places” list in 2015 alongside New York City’s South Street Seaport and the Grand Canyon. The designation, a powerful tool for moving public opinion toward preservation, no doubt helped the developer’s position toward the structure evolve to incorporate reuse. Hodgetts+Fung’s revised plans involve moving and rotating the structure 90 degrees so that it’s longest facade is aligned with the streetfront. Under this arrangement, The Factory will become the entry point for a paseo bisecting the site, instead of being demolished by it. A timeline for the project has not been released.
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Hodgetts + Fung adds a Calder-inspired arch to Culver City’s Robert Frost Auditorium

Love for midcentury modern architecture is at a fever pitch. An era long known for its iconoclastic forms and ruthless experimentation might some day soon also become synonymous with something quite unexpected: thoughtful and gentle renovations.

Such is the case with Hodgetts + Fung Architecture’s impending renovation of Culver City’s Robert Frost Auditorium, a 1964 piece of flair by architects by Flewelling and Moody that is inscribed into the Angeleno landscape. Flewelling and Moody’s ginkgo leaf-shaped auditorium is made of poured-in-place concrete that is only four inches thick and undulates to create a sweeping roof anchored to the ground by a massive foot. Craig Hodgetts told AN, “It’s a real representation of that era’s architecture and could not be replicated today.”

This modern marvel of engineering has withstood several major earthquakes, including the 6.7 Northridge Earthquake in 1994, with no damage whatsoever. The 1,200-seat auditorium’s interior, however, was poorly designed from the onset, with inefficient and inadequate HVAC systems as well as generally inflexible seating and ceiling heights. Home to Culver City High School’s theatre troupe, the building is finally being remodeled to include a completely new HVAC system, a new black box stage, and a permanent-but-flexible catwalk.

Because of the building’s impressive structural maneuvers, architects for the project had to make special overtures in their designs, erecting an Alexander Calder-inspired arch within the space to anchor the stage and catwalk without touching the existing structure or disturbing the post-tension rods located within the existing slab. “We used x-rays to determine exactly where on the floor plate the tension elements occur. The massive steel structure comes down daintily with a petito quality between those elements. “The interior was made into something that measured up to the exterior,” Hodgetts told AN, remarking on the technically complicated scheme.

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This pleated concrete theater in Culver City is getting a 21st century boost from Hodgetts & Fung

AN has been covering Hodgetts + Fung's efforts to update Los Angeles' Norms Diner for the 21st century, but another of the firm's projects will rigorously update a less known—and perhaps more impressive—modernist structure nearby: Culver City High School's Frost Memorial Auditorium in Culver City. Originally designed by local architects Flewelling & Moody, the building has one of the most ambitious structural concrete domes in the city. Each rib was cast in place on a sculpted mound of earth, lifted into position, then joined to other ribs via another concrete pour. Hodgetts & Fung is expanding the building's cramped back-of-house spaces, installing new air conditioning, lighting, and electrical systems, providing handicap access, and adding a new steel-plated proscenium arch to better facilitate theatrical programs.  They're also installing a new black box theater in back of the space. “It was never designed to be a production theater, it was designed to be an auditorium," said Craig Hodgetts. "While it was a great building, the shell inhibited them from doing the things that would have made it more useful... It had really good bones, but from a functional standpoint it was really lame," Hodgetts added. The new project will be complete by early next year.
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Developer and architect Hodgetts+Fung share ideas about Los Angeles’ iconic Norms site

In January AN reported that developer Jason Illouilian (who owns development company Faring Capital) had bought legendary Los Angeles diner Norms, and was considering what to do next with the property. Last week LA Magazine reported that Illouilian plans to build "a community of shops" where the Armet & Davis-designed restaurant's parking lot now stands. He's looking for upscale tenants, like those at the Brentwood Country Mart. (Those include retailers like James Perse and Jenny Kayne and a mix of high-brow and low-brow restaurants and stands.) The developer added that while he hopes to keep the building a 24-hour diner, he noted that it could be "Norms or Somebody else." Culver City–based Hodgetts + Fung are preparing plans for the site. Firm principal Craig Hodgetts confirmed to AN that the firm is considering a two-story development with underground parking next to the original building. "It will certainly not emulate the original building," Hodgetts told AN. The National Trust is very clear about delineating what was original and what is a later addition. "It’s very much a background to Norms. It makes Norms a showpiece." The site has a 1.5 FAR and a 45-foot height limit, he said. He wants to maintain view lines to Norms from La Cienega. "That's pretty darn important," he said. Views from smaller streets might be altered. Hodgetts + Fung will also be renovating Norms, "bringing back its vitality" by bringing back its original paint, tiles, glass, and colors," said Hodgetts. As for whether Norms would be staying, Hodgetts replied: "It's unclear who the operator will be. Given the climate on La Cienega and the parking situation it’s not likely to be a roadside type of service… It's not our decision about the operator. I love Norms. I've had many many chocolate milkshakes there. But the model of a drive in restaurant is not a viable model in a high density urban environment." While Norm's has received a temporary landmark status, LA's Cultural Heritage Commission will vote on March 19 on whether it will receive permanent status. Even with landmark status Illoulian could change the building's owners or use, but he could not tear it down. Hodgetts said that he and Illoulian were being very conscientious about having a dialogue with the community. "We want to go step by step with great care with the conservancy and people who are concerned about the building. We’ll be having conversations with them about our plans before we really have a scheme defined," he noted.