A few years ago, Realtor Monique Lombardelli fell in love with the work of Joseph Eichler, the developer whose architect-designed tract homes proliferated throughout Northern and Southern California in the decades following World War II. “[The Eichler homes] provide such a great environment, more of a relaxing, open feel,” she said. Lombardelli’s passion led her to produce a documentary on Eichler’s legacy, which in turn piqued her clients’ interest. “I started getting a lot of clients who wanted one, and there wasn’t anything to show them,” said Lombardelli. “Then I sold one that was a remodel, and everyone said, ‘I want an Eichler.’” Lombardelli wondered: was it possible to build new, Eichler-inspired homes based on the developer’s original plans? She describes the process of uncovering the plans as a “treasure hunt” during which she felt like Sherlock Holmes—following evidence from one archive to the next, trying to convince the archivists that her project was worthwhile. “It’s funny because all the people at these different archives, they said, ‘These plans, most of them have been thrown out, nobody cares. Why do you want them?’” recalled Lombardelli. She eventually found luck at the archives at UC Berkeley and Stantec. “Stantec has everything, it was a mecca, a nirvana for Eichler,” said Lombardelli. “I walked in there and it was like being in heaven.” Lombardelli purchased rights to everything the archives hold, which so far totals 65 plans. (The archives are so dense, said Lombardelli, that they are likely to uncover more plans as time goes on.) To turn her dream of building “new” Eichlers into a reality, Lombardelli needed a developer. That’s where Troy Kudlac of Palm Springs’ KUD Properties comes in. “I gave up a couple of times,” said Lombardelli, citing inflated estimates. “Modernism should not be that expensive—that’s what Joe [Eichler] said originally, that modernism should be experienced by everybody.” Kudlac agrees. He plans to build one or two Eichler-inspired homes in Palm Springs on spec. If all goes well, he’ll develop a small tract of about ten homes. “With something this kind of cutting edge and revolutionary, I’ve got to prove the concept,” said Kudlac. KUD Properties will submit plans to the city of Palm Springs by the end of March. They hope to break ground by mid-summer. In the meantime, Lombardelli is fielding inquiries from developers in Tampa, North Carolina, Colorado, New Mexico, Brazil, London, and elsewhere. She’s resisted requests to alter the plans, except where modern building codes require it. “I think we really need to respect what we’ve been brought up with, what our history is,” she said. “There’s a soul in each of these houses that really resonates with me. To duplicate that is very difficult, but I think if you’re duplicating that to make them live on, we have to keep them the same."
Posts tagged with "Housing":
Among Chicago’s architectural peculiarities, none is perhaps better known than its bungalow belt—the swath of elongated, single-family homes that ring the city’s outer neighborhoods and suburbs. Robin Amer has a multimedia look at the past and present of the stout, stone building type for WBEZ. The Historic Chicago Bungalow Association places the arrival of bungalows in Chicago around 100 years ago, and is planning a series of events to celebrate and discuss historic houses next year. The group attributes nearly one-third of the city’s single-family housing stock to the area’s roughly 80,000 bungalows. Amer writes:
There were a small number of bungalows built here in 1907 and 1908, and another handful in 1910. But Mary Ellen Guest, the association's executive director, said that the building of bungalows really picked up a century ago. Bungalows really started to catch fire in 1913 and 1914," Guest said, in large part because a population boom was underway. The city grew by more than 500,000 people—from 2.2 million to 2.7 million—between 1910 and 1920, according to data from the University of Illinois at Chicago.But the family makes the home, after all, and Amer’s article ultimately puts its focus on Chicago area homeowners who share an affinity for the building type. Take a multimedia tour here.
Japanese architect and 2013 Pritzker Laureate Toyo Ito visited the Art Institute of Chicago Tuesday, reflecting during two public lectures on how the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated his homeland changed his approach to design. At 72 years old, the accomplished architect might be expected to rest on his laurels. But Ito said his entire approach began to change during the 1990s. “I used to pursue architecture that is beautiful, aligned with modernism,” he said through an interpreter during a talk with Korean artists Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho; Yusaku Imamura, director of Tokyo Wonder Site; and artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle. Instead, he said, he began to ask what elements of a building make it livable. On March 11, 2011, the most powerful earthquake ever to hit Japan killed more than 15,000 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of buildings. Like many Japanese architects, Ito wanted to help. From a series of discussions with quake victims rendered homeless, Ito’s firm developed their “Home-for-All” project. Tuesday evening Ito delivered the Art Institute’s Butler-VanderLinden Lecture, titled “Architecture after 3.11”. He described how government recovery plans failed to inspire or comfort those they were supposed to assist. They were too compartmentalized, isolating, and ignorant of the “dreams and visions” of their users, Ito said. One home Ito’s group built for 3.11 victims salvaged giant kesen cedars, devastated by the tsunami, for construction material — “a sign we’re rebuilding,” he said.
"I was surprised that throwing away the title of 'architect' was so welcomed by people" #toyoito #homeforall — Chris Bentley (@Cementley) October 15, 2013Ito said he’s often asked how to bridge the gap between this post-disaster work and his typical practice. His reply: “Build architecture that is open to nature and harmonizes with people.” Ito’s visit also included a tour of “News from Nowhere,” the first U.S. presentation of the work by Korean artists Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho. Moon and Jeon meditate on a post-apocalyptic society composed of nation-corporations that control the technology necessary to sustain life after a 22nd century global catastrophe. That equipment is displayed throughout, along with a pair of lyrical videos that sketch the story of two survivors. The exhibition also features elements of Ito’s “Home-for-All” project alongside work from fashion designers Kuho Jung and Kosuke Tsumura; mime Yu Jin Gyu; and design firms MVRDV and takram design engineering. The exhibit is on display at the Sullivan Galleries — 33 S. State St., 7th floor — through December 21.
The exhibit, The Vienna Model: Housing for the 21st Century City, currently on view at the Austrian Cultural Forum, is meant to provoke a discussion with housing advocates in this country. The Forum will host weekly tours of the exhibit by a variety of housing experts from various academic and professional fields. This Wednesday, the tour will be led by Srdjan Weiss, a Serbian-born architect and theorist based in New York City, with broad knowledge of the subject of housing in this country and Eastern Europe. The tour will be based on Weiss' parallel living experience and expertise in housing design from former socialist countries of Eastern Europe and Yugoslavia. Viennese contemporary examples presented at the exhibit in the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York will also be viewed from the lens of large immigrant population—coming precisely from former socialist systems. The socialist culture of communal living with good architectural design seem to have all but disappeared in post-socialist systems neighboring Austria, but they have remained in Vienna as a model that can be learned from. The Austrian Cultural Forum is at 11 East 52nd Street.
It has been a rocky few months for the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), but the battered agency finally has some good news to report. State officials announced the opening of the Arbor House, a 124-unit affordable housing complex, located in the Morrisania section of the Bronx, that is not only LEED Platinum certified, but also features a hydroponic farm on the roof that supplies residents and the surrounding community with fresh produce. Built from local and recycled materials, the 8-story building was designed by New York-based ABS Architecture and includes a living green wall installation in the lobby, air-filtration systems, and indoor and outdoor exercise areas. This $37.7 million housing development came out of a collaboration between city agencies and Blue Sea Development, and according to The New York Observer, is part of a larger initiative by Mayor Bloomberg, which “pairs dilapidated and vacant NYCHA land with private developers to create affordable housing.” The apartments are reserved for low-income households that earn less than 60 percent of the city's median income. Residents will start moving in within the next month.
Single Room Occupancy hotels are a dying breed in Chicago. Notoriously undermanaged and generally unpopular among immediate neighbors, the majority of these base-service dwellings have been condemned or rehabbed into other residential uses over the past decade. The fate of the Chateau Hotel, one of the last SRO hotels on Chicago’s North Side, looks to be leaning toward the latter. On Tuesday, city building inspectors met with an attorney for the Chateau’s new owners in housing court to address ongoing code violations present at the depression-era hotel, located at 3838 N Broadway Street in the city’s Lakeview neighborhood. Those violations—which number over 130 and include fire code, plumbing, and waste management abuses—were brought before the building’s former owner, Jack Gore, in October. Gore recently sold the hotel to a group of land trust investors represented as Arbas Investments LP, the stakeholders of which have yet to be publicly revealed. The partnership’s attorney, Mitchell Asher, said that his clients had the funding to bring the Chateau back up to code. This would likely include a full gut and rehab of the 138-bed building—a job that the 100 tenants currently residing at the hotel would not be around to see, he said. “It has to be vacated,” Asher said. For the dozen or so residents who attended the hearing, this was somewhat expected. In 2009, Gore handed the city another nearby SRO, the Diplomat Hotel, in light of similar building and fire code violations; that building is now being rehabbed into housing for people with mental illnesses. Last year, Gore sold his Abbot Hotel property to Jamie Purcell, a principal at BJB properties who is rumored to have a hand in the new ownership of the Chateau. Occupants at these hotels pay daily to monthly rates for rooms that include basic furnishings with shared or private bathrooms. Once an abundant source of housing in Chicago, SROs are a requisite option for some who can’t lease apartments because of background and credit issues and could otherwise be on the streets. Donna Crosier has lived at the Chateau for two-and-a-half years. She and her husband pay $575 a month for a room with a bathroom, but no fridge or stove. Crosier said she doesn’t mind eating out, but what gets to her is the lack of maintenance services in the building, namely rodent control. “That’s not fair, and it doesn’t help the building,” said Crosier. In the hallway of the Daley Center courtroom following the hearing, Alderman James Cappleman (46th) promised residents that his office would begin the supportive housing process ahead of eviction notices at the hotel, where, he said, the continuing code violations were the sign of “a broken system in Chicago.” “You’re living in market-rate housing, but you’re just living in market-rate housing that is so sub-standard,” said Cappleman. “It’s worse than I’ve even seen.” A hearing to discuss a compliance order at the Chateau has been scheduled for March 5.
At the recent Interieur 2012 Biennale in Kortrijk, Belgium, Venice, California-based Greg Lynn shared his vision of the future of housing: architecture that rotates to accommodate different uses. The model above, called "RV Prototype" (RV stands for Room Vehicle), part of the Biennale's Future Primitives exhibition program exploring our future living environment, rotates via a robotic stepper drive and consists of a super-lightweight structure built with a carbon shell lined with a foam core. As its name suggests, the proposal is just a scale prototype, but if enlarged and tricked out, Lynn argues it could contain living spaces on one side and a kitchen or bedroom on another, for example. All you have to do is spin. The device is now on a boat returning to Los Angeles from Belgium. We'll let you know when the future arrives—and where to store your forks and pillow when they're upside down.
“What if mobile, self-sufficient living units were the building blocks for future cities?” asked New York artist Mary Mattingly. She explored this question in her Flock House Project, experimenting with migratory living solutions through fantastical inhabitable installation art. The project is going on throughout the city this summer. Mattingly’s series of four “Houses” have been traveling around the five boroughs since June. Individually titled the Microsphere, Terrapod, Chromasphere, and Cacoon, they are now on display at the Bronx Museum, Snug Harbor, the Maiden Lane Exhibition Space, and Omi Sculpture Park in Ghent, NY. In response to an era of increasing environmental, political, and economic instability in which one seventh of the world’s population—that’s one billion people—is continuously “on the move,” the Flock Houses offer a new mobile framework through which urban dwellers can experience these issues. These small structures provide minimal amenities for the artists who have chosen to inhabit them for two-week spans, emphasizing an alternate system for urban flexibility and decentralization. Up to two participants sleep in hammocks, while a combination of solar and bicycle power, along with levers and cranks, power the dwellings. Container gardening is utilized to demonstrate the possibilities of ultra-small-scale self-sufficiency, and water is collected from rain run-off. The structures were built collaboratively through a “gift culture,” using reclaimed materials and construction site leftovers. They are also modular, and can be snapped together to from a flock, or tagged onto the side of an existing structure to feed of of its utilities. Together, these methods reflect the combination of autonomy and community interdependence that is at the heart of the Flock House Project. The project offers workshops, events, and narrated cell phone tours. To find out more about visiting the Flock Houses, check out their website.
Form follows People. According to the NY Times, there might be a significant mismatch between "the housing New Yorkers need" and "the housing that gets built." That's why last monday, various NY architects gathered together to pitch their proposals to city commissioners for artist, musician, and other creative-type housing. Surrounded by Superfunds. Four of the most polluted water-ways in the country—all declared Superfund sites—are located in the Tri-State area around New York City. WNET's Metro Focus breaks down of each waterway's problematic histories and the difficult task of cleaning them up. 3-D Printed. Wired reports that we could be only 2 years away from building circuit boards with 3-D printers. Implications? Printed out PCs, printed printers (if a part breaks, that part can be printed out), inventory-less virtual stores, and easier work collaboration across the country or the globe. Costco Bonito. While it might be difficult to call a big-box store beautiful, designers at Costco are certainly trying to punch up the retailer's design in Los Angeles The LA Times has more on the proposed beautification efforts which include adding dark, woodlike metal-slats to the facade.
Four housing projects were spotlighted today by the American Institute of Architects' Housing & Custom Residential Knowledge Community and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development as laudable examples of affordable housing architecture, neighborhood design, participatory design, and accessibility. Category 1: Excellence in Affordable Housing Design Paseo Senter at Coyote Creek, San Jose, Calif. David Baker + Partners, Architects A new urban district, this affordable neighborhood fronts a newly created main walking street, or Paseo, that connects the arterial roadway to the area’s adjacent park. At its midpoint, the Paseo widens into a public plaza that holds the main entries to the two residential districts. The bold color palette has proved extremely popular with residents and the community, who consider the project a signature addition to the neighborhood. The property is 100% handicapped- and wheelchair-accessible, and the pool features an automatic lift. Category 2: Creating Community Connection Award Arbor Lofts, Lancaster, Calif. (Pictured at top) PSL Architects This 21-unit affordable housing development for artists is the first urban infill project to be completed since the city implemented its new Downtown Specific Plan to transform this mostly vacant city area into a place of historic, cultural, social, economic and civic vitality. The design incorporates many sustainable design methods; among these, the use of high efficiency mechanical systems qualifies the design to exceed California Title 24 Energy Code requirements by 20% and the lighting system exceeds the requirements by 24% which significantly reduces the use of energy. Category 3: Community-Informed Design Award Congo Street Green Initiative, Dallas building community WORKSHOP A tight-knit community consisting of 17 single-family and duplex houses, all built before 1910, recognized the need for re-development, but also did not want to relocate. Through a series of conversations with the residents, a plan was developed to restore and/or reconstruct six owner-occupied homes. The idea is centered around the concept of creating a temporary home, or “holding house,” to house the family whose home was currently under renovation. To date, three resident’s homes have been completed and the fourth is under construction. Category 4: Housing Accessibility—Alan J. Rothman Award Madrona Live / Work, Seattle Tyler Engle Architects PS A converted storefront built in the early 1900’s for a client with an extensive art collection required a flexible and multi-functional space that provides wheelchair accessibility while not making that the primary focus of the design. Entering from the sidewalk, the main living space has a single level polished concrete slab for unrestricted wheelchair access. A floating concrete countertop that steps from low to high accommodates disparate height requirements of the clients and exemplifies how the design provides an elegant solution on a tight construction budget. The jury for the 2010 AIA/HUD Secretary Awards includes: Jury chair, Andrew V. Porth, AIA, Porth Architects, Inc.; Natalye Appel, FAIA, Natalye Appel + Associates Architects; Geoffrey Goldberg, AIA, G. Goldberg and Associates; Grace Kim, AIA, Schemata Workshop; Jane Kolleeny, Architectural Record and GreenSource; Luis F. Borray, Assoc. AIA, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development and Regina C. Gray, PhD, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development.
A crumbling row of ten Renaissance Revival apartment buildings, which were once the first black-owned property in North Harlem, are about to be remade again as one of a growing number of affordable, sustainable housing complexes sprouting up across the city. The project, which according to the Daily News, is set to begin by year's end, is being tackled by affordable housing guru Jonathan Rose and his Smart Growth Investment fund, who bought the buildings in January as the fund's first acquisition in its cheap-and-green portfolio. Dattner Architects, experts on both affordable and sustainable housing, is responsible for the retrofits [PDF], which include a photovoltaic array on the roof, efficient energy systems, lighting controls, new windows and insulation, and sustainably sourced materials. In addition to making it a more conscientious project, it also makes it a more feasible one, as these features open it up to stimulus and HUD moneys targeted at sustainable buildings—to the tune of $3 million.
The Observer is reporting that Windermere, an individual landmark dating from the late 19th Century located on West 57th Street, was recently purchased for $13 million, or an astounding $181-per-square-foot. The sumptuous red brick apartment building had fallen into disrepair some years ago after its Japanese owner apparently lost interest in it, leading to a lawsuit we covered last year. Last Thursday, the commission announced [PDF] a landmark victory in its civil suit, which netted a record $1.1 million payment to the city, $2.6 million for seven displaced tenants of the former SRO, and an agreement from the new owner of the building to restore it to its former glory. (The suits had to be settled before the sale could go through.) So it looks like a win-win for everyone: An affordable gem for some enterprising developers, a windfall for the city, and a victory, most importantly, for those poor tenants.