Posts tagged with "Hollywood":

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Hollywood Sign Secretly Saved

It all seems so hush-hush, which is surprising in Hollywood, but the Hollywood Sign has apparently been in trouble for some time.  Chicago-based  Fox River Financial Resources has been trying to sell  large parcels on the hill just next to its "H" for luxury homes. The company bought the land from the estate of Howard Hughes in 2002. Luckily the Trust For Public Land has secured an option to buy the  138-acres on Cahuenga Peak for about $12 million, hoping to maintain views of and around the sign, and to preserve local recreation and habitats. The Trust has already raised about $6 million from sources like the Tiffany & Co Foundation and from Hollywood celebrities like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Virginia Madsen, and Aisha Tyler. Now all that's left is for the group to raise another $6 million more by April 14 to complete the deal. To donate, go here.
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Brad Pitt Thinks This Is A Game

Or a puzzle. At least that's what New York mag said the would-be-architect said to Parade mag this weekend. To be more precise:
Architecture is like play to me. As a boy, you play with Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs, Legos, and you get interested in how things are made, like cars and drills and all that. Years later you come back around to what interested you as a boy. Now, if I have something that I'm dealing with that's causing me a lot of stress, my mind goes to architecture. I walk around the yard and start thinking about what I need to do to the house structurally. It's similar to puzzles in that way, like a crossword puzzle or anything else I can put my mind into. It's a relief for me.
Obviously, we're not going to take this too seriously or get too offended, given who we're talking about here. But at the same time, this is a guy putting together rather earnest post-Katrina housing and going on tours of Fallingwater for his birthday. How would he feel if, the next time we were down, we decided to go shoot an Academy Award-winning short film?
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AIA LA Presidential Awards: Be Like Mike

It's not exactly Hollywood style to give away the winners to an awards show three months before it's held. But that didn't stop the AIA/Los Angeles from announcing the winners of its Presidential Awards today. The event itself, which will also include the winners of the local Honor Awards (still a secret for now) will be held on October 21 at Hollywood's Egyptian Theater. The big winners were Michael Rotondi, who will take home the Gold Medal, and Daly Genik, who will be given the Firm Award.  Others included AN Advisory Board member and KCRW host Frances Anderton. Here's the complete list of Presidential winners: Gold Medal Michael Rotondi AIA/LA Firm Award Daly Genik Building Team of the Year LAPD Headquarters: AECOM Design; Roth + Sheppard Architects; Studio 0.10; John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects; City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering; Council District #9, City of Los Angeles; Los Angeles Police Department; Nabih Youssef Associates Structural Engineers; TMAD Taylor  Gaines; Meléndrez Landscape Architecture, Planning  Urban Design; Tutor-Saliba Corporation; S.J. Amoroso Construction Co., Inc.; Vanir Construction Management, Inc.; Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design, Inc.; and Merry Norris Contemporary Art. 25-Year Award (for a building that has stood the test of time) AC Martin Partners, Inc. - for St. Basil Roman Catholic Church Good Government Award Adolfo Nodal - President of the Cultural Affairs Commission Historic Preservation Award Ken Bernstein - Manager of the Office of Historic Resources, City of Los Angeles Department of City Planning Excellence in Education Award Sylvia Lavin, Professor - UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Design Honorary AIA/Los Angeles Award Frances Anderton, Hon. AIA/LA - Host of DnA: Design  Architecture; and Producer: To the Point - KCRW; LA Editor - Dwell Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award William Krisel, AIA - William Krisel Architect Public Open Space Award Mia Lehrer + Associates - Vista Hermosa Park Project
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Hot Wax

Today Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, George Clooney, and Justin Timberlake came out for the opening of Michael Rotondi's new Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in Hollywood, right next to Grauman's Chinese Theater. Ok, it was their wax likenesses, but the way they mingled with the waxy Hollywood crowd, it was often hard to tell the difference. The building, originally designed on spec, has an impressive folded zinc facade that wraps around an irregular courtyard; another needed public space in a place with so few of them (one of the best ones is right next door in front of the Chinese Theater). Our next issue will feature a full critique of the building, so make sure to check it out. Here are some teaser pix to get you interested. None of the celebrities are real. Or are they?
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L. Ron Hubbard Would Be Proud

Yesterday while brunching in Hollywood we happened upon the biggest sign we've ever seen. Of course this being LA, it belongs to none other than the Church of Scientology. On July 3 their big blue building at the corner of Franklin and L.Ron Hubbard Way (yes that's the name of the street) was officially fitted with a brand new sign that's 84 feet long, 16 feet tall, and weighs 5.2 tons. It's about three times the size of the former, well-known sign on the site. What's more the marker, which reads "SCIENTOLOGY" in big white letters,  is fitted with LED lights so the letters glow at night (unlike the famous Hollywood sign nearby, by the way). The sign, apparently, is part of a nationwide ad campaign to get the word out about the religion. That's all we're gonna say about that. Yep. We will not use this space to poke fun of Tom Cruise or John Travolta or anyone else. We swear.
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AN Celebrity Party #1

Since we're in LA, it was only a matter of time until The Architect's Newspaper got to visit a celebrity party. This Saturday we were invited to the launch of author Jerry Stahl's new thriller Pain Killers, thrown by none other than Ben Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor. How did we get in? Thanks to voiceover artist-cum-architect-extraordinaire Janna Levenstein, who designed the 5,000 square foot Hollywood Hills pad (pictured above) that housed the festivities: 1615 Rising Glen. Once a cramped, impractical midcentury Modern, the indoor/outdoor home is now tricked out with terrazzo floors; wraparound Koi ponds; a lava-lined pool; tropical wood-clad walls, cabinets, and furniture; stainless steel fixtures, and a countless supply of custom details ranging from teak sinks to electronically controlled everything. So what did AN's fearless California Editor say to Stiller? "Um.You guys were great," he said, in response to the couples' creative posing for the party favor of the night: a custom-made flip book. Ok, we're still training for the Hollywood thing. Don't worry, we're not in the papparazi. No pictures were taken at the party. At least not by us.

A Most Architectural Trailer

Over the weekend, I caught a screening of Burn After Reading, which turned out to be better than the reviews would have you believe. But the biggest surprise was the trailer for The International. Watching the opening scene, you're probably thinking the same thing I did: The financial crisis, coming to a theater near you. But beyond the (once?) absurd plot of a the world's largest bank funding murders and coups, the movie looks like it could be the most architecturally savvy since The Fountainhead. To wit: The opening scene (of the trailer--the movie's not out until next February, no doubt in time for the Oscars) is a shot of Cass Gilbert's Woolworth Building, once the city's tallest and still one of its most recognizable. While countless movies open with aerial shots of skyscrapers both recognizable and not--Wall Street, Ground Hog Day, in the near future Blade Runner--few so lovingly embrace iconic buildings, both new and very old, in the way The International does, or at least seems to. From the typically non-descript post-post-modern glass towers of modern finance to more refined and identifiable landmarks like Zaha Hadid's Phaeno Science Center and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, architecture approaches a fetishitic level in the film/trailer. (Limited edition AN tote bag to the first reader who can actually identify the seemingly contrived headquarters/rendering at the 0:47 mark. Leave a comment if that thing is for real.) All this high level design could simply be a reflection of the zeitgeist, as bold-face architects like Hadid and Frank Gehry have become ubiquitous marketing brands in recent years. How then to explain the film's most shocking architectural gesture: a shoot out in Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum. Just as director Tom Twykers (of Run Lola Run fame) picked the perfect moment to launch a movie about an evil bank-- whether he knew it or not--maybe he also was right on the mark in heralding the death of high design. Or maybe it's just a movie trailer. Check back in a few for a full report.