Jerde Partnership's The Vermont, consisting of glassy 23 and 29-story mixed-use towers on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles' Koreatown, opened last summer. But one of its most memorable features, LA's Heart of Compassion, a sculpture by Cliff Garten covering the bulk of its above-ground parking structure, is only now officially open. The 20-foot-tall, suspended sculpture is made up of 100 laser cut aluminum lotus "petals" radiating from a steel armature and framed by a 175-foot-long and 45-foot-high undulating metallic screen. The $1.6 million project, which decomposes into curving aluminum line drawings attached to the screen on both sides, is front, side, and backlit via multi-colored LED lights, creating an active light show. "I wanted to make a loud piece because it’s a loud urban situation," said Garten, who added that his intention was to combine "the traditional roots of Koreatown and the essence of Los Angeles in its changing urban form." In addition to being a major intersection for cars, buses, and light rail, the corner also contains another "loud" work, April Greiman's Hand Holding a Bowl of Rice, which covers (from ground to roof) the front edges of Arquitectonica's Wilshire Vermont mixed use building right across from The Vermont. "It's a reading of the city," summed up Garten of his piece. "It’s letting everything come together through it."
Posts tagged with "Jerde Partnership":
Jon Jerde, founder and chairman of Venice, CA–based Jerde Partnership, died Monday after a longstanding illness. Jerde, whose firm has designed more than 100 urban places worldwide, was known for reinventing shopping centers as energetic entertainment destinations, bringing Hollywood pizazz and big city walkability to the once staid world of retail design. Some of his firm's most famous projects included LA's City Walk at Universal City, San Diego's Horton Plaza, Tokyo's Roppongi Hills, and Las Vegas's “Fremont Street Experience,” a four-block "outdoor lobby," for a once deserted stretch of that city. All replaced typical retail buildings with meandering urban and landscape conglomerations, merging public and private space in a typology that later fell under the emerging category of "placemaking." Jerde also created the look of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, a colorful, tactile example of the architect's passion for designing spaces for everyone, not a select elite. It worked: Jerde Places—still being created by his firm after his death—are now used by over one billion visitors each year, and have been followed by countless imitations. AN will publish a tribute to Jerde later in the month, and we will keep readers posted about an upcoming memorial service for the architect.
In one of the more surprising analyses of his tenure as architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times, Christopher Hawthorne recently came out with breathless praise for The Vermont, a green glass residential tower by Jerde Partnership on Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue. According to Hawthorne, the building’s “sleek steel-and-glass profile is a reminder that new apartment buildings in Los Angeles can be something other than bland, stucco-covered, stick-built neo-dingbats.” Eavesdrop is no architecture critic, but let's just say we do not totally agree.
Dutch architecture office MVRDV has placed a bid to create a 1,300-foot-tall skyscraper in Jakarta, Indonesia called Peruri 88. The complex arrangement of edifices, which resembles a city's worth of buildings stacked atop one another along the lines of a massive assembly of life-size “building” blocks covered with greenery, is MVRDV's answer to Jakarta’s need for densification and green space. The somewhat literal rendition of an 88-story “vertical city” will comprise 3.87 million square feet with an extensive list of offerings including retail, housing, office space, a luxury hotel, four levels of parking, a mosque, a wedding hall, an Imax theater, an outdoor amphitheater, semi-public roof parks, and an abundance of gardens. The commercial podium of the structure alone will house reflective pools of water and a sunken garden plaza among its restaurants and shops. Overall, Perruri 88 has truly compounded a enormous city onto one site. “Peruri 88 is vertical Jakarta," MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas said in a statement. "It represents a new, denser, social, green mini-city, a monument to the development of Jakarta as a modern icon literally raised from its own city fabric.” This green-mix use project was presented to site owner Peruri as a competition bid to assist in Jakarta’s urban growth and, if chosen, construction would begin immediately at the the desired location of Jl. Palatehan 4 Jakarta. MVRDV worked with American firm Jerde and engineering firm ARUP on the proposal.
Norma Merrick Sklarek, the first African American woman to become a licensed architect in the country, died on Monday in Los Angeles, The Los Angeles Times reports. Sklarek, a native of Harlem, went to Barnard College before graduating from Columbia's architecture school in 1950. She passed the New York State exam in 1954, becoming the first African American woman to receive her professional architecture license and earning her the nickname "the Rosa Parks of Architecture." She later moved to California where she was turned down for work 19 times before going on to work for SOM, Gruen Associates, Welton Becket, and the Jerde Partnership. Jerde partner Paul Senzaki recalled her ability to provide broad oversight with a personal touch. "While many people can provide administrative guidance, what I recall most was here willingness to spend time with staff and talk with them about their work," Senzanki said in a statement. "In many ways she was an educator/mentor who happened to practice architecture." Sklarek's more notable projects include overseeing staff at Gruen for the construction of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and acting as project director at Welton Becket for LAX Terminal 1. Before joining Jerde in 1989, she co-founded one of the largest all-women architectural firms in the country, Siegel-Sklarek-Diamond. She would go on to become the first African-American woman inducted as a fellow at the AIA. Mabel O. Wilson, an associate professor at Columbia's GSAPP, recalled hearing Sklarek speak Howard University when Wilson was still a student. It was the first time she had seen an architect who was an African American woman. "I wasn’t seeing a reflection of myself in the field, and then there she was," said Wilson. She added that Sklarek's hard work and staying power aligns nicely with the ethos of the profession. "It still takes a lot of tenacity to land where she did and do the work she did at LAX--and that doesn’t matter who you are," she said. The Architect's Newspaper sends our condolences to Sklarek's family, friends, and colleagues.