The original city hall building in Long Beach, California, is a hulking, 14-story brutalist structure that has been generally disliked by residents and occupants alike. Like the other buildings that constitute the Long Beach Civic Center, which opened to the public in 1976, City Hall is facing a wrecking ball as plans to transform the site into an apartment complex begin to take shape. Designed by Allied Architects, a consortium of local modernist firms headed by Hugh and Donald Giggs (Gibbs & Gibbs, Architects), the building functioned as Long Beach’s city hall until July of last year, when its occupants moved into a shiny new SOM-designed Civic Center building completed nearby to replace several of the original Civic Center buildings. “We believe that architecture is at its best when it is both of its place and of its time,” Paul Danna, design lead for the new Civic Center project, told The Press-Telegram. “In terms of what [the project] represents, there’s a strong interest in the recognition of the importance of energy efficiency and sustainability and resiliency, as well as a real focus on the importance of the workplace for those who work in the building and those who visit.” Though the original courthouse and public library on the site have been demolished (in 2016 and 2020, respectively), the original city hall building has since stood vacant with few locals advocating for an adaptive reuse. Aside from local opinion, a recent set of seismic studies determined that the structure would most likely not survive a major earthquake and would require costly seismic upgrades. The Texas-based developed JPI revealed a proposal to the Long Beach Planning Commission for two eight-story apartment buildings that would stand in its place. The Los Angeles-based firm TCA Architects designed the two structures, which combined will provide 580 residential units above ground-floor retail spaces, and MJS Landscape Architecture provided designs for the surrounding open spaces. The shift in program signals a call to significantly densify downtown Long Beach, given that, aside from City Hall, the original master plan was low to the ground. “It was so lacking in density that developers could find a way to offer a new city hall and other things to trade for some of the land,” Don Gibbs told The Press-Telegram regarding the original design, “which was originally part of that institutional notion of less density and more contrast.”
Posts tagged with "Long Beach":
Brought to you with support fromIn California’s Long Beach, a new biomorphic mass has surfaced along the waterfront. The semi-reflective blue structure is not a beached endangered species, but the Esherick Homsey Dodge and Davis (EHDD)–designed Pacific Visions wing of the Aquarium of the Pacific. The 29,000-square-foot project, which is set for a May 2019 public opening, features a triple-laminated glass facade rain screen subject to three different treatments. Unlike the preexisting wing of the Aquarium of the Pacific, the newly designed Pacific Visions places an emphasis on curatorial spaces—the facility will hold an art gallery, exhibition space, and an immersive theater. In effect, the internal program requires a black box experience to function accordingly.
Pulp Studio. The manufacturer produced the glass panels over the course of four months, shipping them on A-frames to installer Woodbridge Glass Inc. Bernard Lax, founder of Pulp Studio, referred to the fabrication process as an "exercise in frustration," owing to the complexity in producing hundreds of unique glass panels with highly particular treatments. “The innermost layer incorporates a subtle reflective finish that picks up changing light conditions and modulates the hue of the tinted middle layer,” said EHDD Senior Associate Quyen Luong, “the outer layer is made of low-iron, acid-etched glass, which eliminates direct reflection of the sky by diffusing light.” In total, the facade features over 800 unique glass panels encompassing a surface area of approximately 18,000 square feet. EHDD worked with Sentech Architectural Systems to custom design an open-joint steel aluminum carrier frame painted with a stringent resistant coating. Fixing the cladding in place without disrupting the sinuous surface of the facade remained a stylistic obstacle for the project—the city of Long Beach requires all facade panels to be mechanically secured regardless of any use of structural silicone. The design team took this challenge head-on by tapering the profile and size of the facade clips and examining their potential layout throughout the enclosure system. Through methodical research and adaptation, EHDD Senior Associate Katherine Miller notes "the retention clips add a sense of scale and rhythm. What was initially considered a compromise resulted in an opportunity to add another level of articulation to the faceted geometry of the facade." Quyen Luong will be presenting EHDD's Pacific Visions on February 7 at Facades+ San Francisco.Seeing as daylight is not needed for the wing’s interior spaces, glass was not the immediate choice for their facade cladding. Working with Buro Happold Consulting Engineers, EHDD experimented with a range of different materials following a planar cladding system envisioned as a continuous sinuous surface. According to the design team, they decided on “a completely unique glass assembly to evoke the effect of light on water, its depth, variability, and luminosity.” The dynamic visual qualities of the glass paneling system rely on a trio of layered treatments by California manufacturer
A previously-released development proposal for the so-called Broadway Block complex by Ratkovich Properties, Urbana, The Owl Companies, and Cal State University Long Beach (CSULB) has been updated to include more residential units. The project features the work of architect Rob Wellington Quigley and landscape architect Office of James Burnett. The project update, first reported by Longbeachize, contains an additional 18 units over the previously-announced scheme and is articulated as a 21-story tower with an attached eight-story apartment block. The lower portion of the structure will front Broadway while the tower portion will sit on 3rd Street. The new complex is to be built over an existing parking lot in Downtown Long Beach. The complex will also bring a mix of other student-friendly uses to the university-adjacent neighborhood, including a 5,773-square-foot creative office space, a 3,873-square-foot flexible space component, and a 6,012-square-foot loft area. CSULB will occupy roughly 4,500-square feet of the complex, with 1,311 square feet dedicated to its ArtExchange gallery space and 3,200 square feet of multi-purpose space included in the development. Renderings for the project depict a street-hugging courtyard complex containing a variety of structures inside the courtyard area, including pedestrian-oriented paseos and a terrace-level pool outfitted with a mirrored ceiling that allows pedestrians to see what’s going on in the pool. The project was originally proposed with a student housing component in addition to market-rate apartments, but the updated proposal omits these units. It is expected that the loss of the student housing for the project comes on the heels of another CSULB-affiliated project planned for nearby block that aims to bring 800 new dorms to the area. That project is being pursued by Shooshani Developers and architects Studio One Eleven and is slated to begin construction this fall. Construction on the Broadway Block development is expected to begin in 2019.
The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LAMTA) is working toward making a series of modest but necessary improvements on the 27-year-old Blue Line light rail line connecting Downtown Los Angeles with downtown Long Beach. The 22-mile-long transit link was the first modern transit line built in the region and with 83,612 boardings per day, is considered one of the transit system’s workhorse lines. The LAMTA recently approved a $81.5 million contract to move forward on several practical improvements to the line that would boost efficiency, shorten disruptions caused by maintenance work, and speed up overall travel. The biggest item on the list of improvements for the line consists of the addition of four new interlocking segments to the route. Interlockings provide opportunities for trains to bypass certain segments of track in the event of a stalled train or while maintenance work is being performed on a certain section of track, for example. The transit line currently features only six such interlockings, a situation that can create waits of up to 40 minutes when track maintenance is being performed. These delays typically disrupt service for several hours after the fact, when they do occur, snarling the transit system’s already spotty on-time performance throughout the day. The new interlockings are expected to reduce these types of delays substantially, allowing trains to run every 15 to 20 minutes or so, while maintenance work is performed. The transit authority has also begun switching out the line’s aging fleet with new rail cars. The line’s train fleet has not been substantially upgraded since the early 1990s, so the aging Kinkisharyo P865 trains will be replaced by newer P3010 trains, the same locomotives that run on the system’s Gold and Expo Lines. The first of the new trains went into service in May of this year and are going be completely rolled out by the end of 2018, according to The Source. Long Beach is also working toward implementing a long-delayed light synchronization improvement plan throughout the line’s final stretch in downtown Long Beach, Longbeachize reports. The improvements would coordinate traffic signals along the parallel and intersecting streets that run around the transit line in order to assure Blue Line trains hit green lights at each intersection, speeding the line’s passage through the downtown area. Delays along this stretch due to the lack of synchronization reportedly increase travel times by between five and 30 minutes. The transit authority has also studied creating express lines between Downtown Los Angeles and Downtown Long Beach but has not released any plans to implement such measures.
Yesterday, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia announced a new partnership between Shooshani Developers and the California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) that will bring an 800-bed student housing tower, designed by architects Studio One Eleven, to Downtown Long Beach. The project partners are working toward the implementation of the so-called CSULB Village development, a student-focused mixed-use district that will boost the university’s presence in Downtown Long Beach, as the city’s mayor aims to enliven the district via increased density and pedestrianization improvements. The new district will include a 22-story mixed-use tower containing student housing and 50 units of university staff housing. The complex will also house 16 meeting rooms, a 5,000-square-foot innovation center, a 10,000-square-foot CSULB-run art gallery and museum, and 45,000 square feet of ground floor retail. Studio One Eleven maintains one of its two offices in Downtown Long Beach in a recently-renovated portion of a former shopping mall located beside the proposed tower complex. The firm was also in charge of design for the mall renovation project, which repurposed a 34,000-square-foot Nordstrom Rack department store into a creative office suite. In a statement announcing the new partnership, Michael Bohn, senior principal at Studio One Eleven said, “Once a place for consumption [Downtown Long Beach] is transforming into a vibrant mixed-use community with creative office and now educational-art-innovation components. Hopefully, this will set a foundation for other institutions to look at downtown as a future home.” A rendering accompanying the release by the developers depicts a rectangular tower rising out of a two-story podium. The blocky tower has multi-level loggia cut out from its mass at different heights along each the corners. The tower also features gridded facades along each exposure, with certain facades populated by vertical louvers. The tower will be located near another recently-announced CSULB project that will be developed by Ratkovich Company, Urbana LLC, and Owl Companies. The so-called Broadway Block complex would bring a new 375-unit mixed-use development to the area in a complex marked by a 21-story apartment tower. Construction on the CSULB Village complex is scheduled to begin Fall 2017; a completion date has not been announced for the project.
Developers Ratkovich Company, Urbana LLC, and Owl Companies have unveiled the latest version of the so-called Broadway Block project, a new 375-unit mixed-use development in downtown Long Beach, California. The $154 million mixed-use project, Longbeachize reports, will bring a collection of housing, office, and creative spaces to the city’s growing downtown area. The two-building complex is made up of a 21-story tower joined to a seven-story apartment block by a wide pedestrian paseo. Aside from the 375 units, the complex will also contain 5,773 square feet of creative office space, 3,873 square feet of flex space and 6,012 square feet of loft space. The complex is being built with an eye toward local California State University Long Beach (CSULB) students, as well, and will contain 1,311 square feet of so-called “ArtExchange” space and 3,200 square feet of general purpose space that will be shared exclusively with the university. The complex is expected to contain a mix of market-rate and deed-restricted, affordable units, with previous reports showing that roughly ten percent of the overall units would be designated as affordable housing for Cal State Long Beach graduate students. Renderings for the development depict the seven-story structure as a stucco-clad apartment block with ground floor retail and arts spaces. The building mass features inset loggia, projecting balconies, and an array of gridded, punched openings. The accompanying 21-story tower is depicted with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and projecting floor plates while the paseo in between is shown containing trees, covered seating areas, and a collection of diminutive retail kiosks. The project comes as Downtown Long Beach undergoes a bit of a revival. Architects SOM are currently in the midst of redeveloping the city’s civic center while a slew of other mid- to high-rise apartment developments and pedestrian improvements come to the district. Gensler is also working on a $250 million redevelopment scheme for the aging Queen Mary complex. The Broadway Block project is expected to break ground in 2018.
Developer Urban Commons and architects Gensler have revealed renderings for a new $250 million entertainment complex to be located adjacent to the Queen Mary ocean liner in Long Beach, California. The project—dubbed Queen Mary Island—aims to bring 700,000 square feet of retail, a 200-room hotel, and a series of outdoor public spaces including a new boardwalk, marina, and public amphitheater to the Pacific Ocean–adjacent waterfront. The Los Angeles Times reports that the project will also bring a 150,000-square-foot entertainment facility by London-based Urban Legacies to the site. That facility is slated to include high-octane attractions like an ice climbing facility, a zip-line assembly, and indoor skydiving simulator, among others. The move is an effort by Urban Commons to create new sources of revenue to fund badly-needed repairs for the aging ship. It is estimated that structural repairs and upgrades over the next five years alone will cost roughly $289 million. The Queen Mary brought in roughly $15 million in revenues last year between the 314-room hotel on board and revenue generated from visitor fees and events. Urban Commons has not released what projected revenues might be after the improvements, but the developer is betting that by rebranding and reactivating the Queen Mary as the heart of a new entertainment complex, more revenue will be generated. The proposed changes would transform the surrounding bayside, which is currently populated mainly by a series of surface parking lots and the Long Beach Cruise Terminal. Several of those parking lots will be replaced with a cluster of a shopping structures designed around broad walkways and plazas. The structures are being designed to celebrate “the best of Great Britain [the Queen Mary was originally based out of Southampton, England] and Southern California,” according to a promotional video issued by Urban Commons. A new boardwalk will wrap the Queen Mary as it crosses the harbor, transforming into a new marina as it stretches west across the site. The new amphitheater will be located on this end, along with the new hotel. The plan also includes a new entry lobby and event entrance for the Queen Mary, both designed in the manner of 19th century English greenhouses. The project is expected to break ground in roughly two years.
San Francisco-based architects EHDD and the Aquarium of the Pacific broke ground today on a 29,000-square-foot expansion of the aquarium's existing, portside facilities in Long Beach, California. The so-called Pacific Visions expansion will bring a new two-story wing to the aquarium complex that includes a state-of-the-art immersive theater, expanded exhibition and art galleries, and additional space for live animal exhibits. The expansion will also feature an updated front entry pavilion as well as a new exhibition hall for installations, performances, and cultural programming. The effort represents the largest expansion to the aquarium since its founding in 1998. The original structure was built by EHDD and the Los Angeles office of architecture firm HOK and is defined by its series of wave-shaped roof planes supported by slender columns spanned with tall sheets of glass. In a press release for the project, EHDD Design Principal Marc L’Italien said, “It’s not often that we have the opportunity to expand upon a building that we have designed before. The new building flows with the original building but it's also a counterpoint to it.” The new addition takes the wavy motify further. EHDD has proposed a “biomorphic design” inspired by the water-based forms of the original structure that, through bulbous undulations and variegated exterior cladding, mimics the effect of sunlight traveling through water. The structure’s rippled exterior is clad in a ventilated rainscreen made up of 800 triple-layer laminated glass assembly panels. Each layer in the assembly—the inner-most layer is slightly reflective, the central layer is tinted blue, and the exterior layer is acid-etched and made of low-iron glass—will work together to catch, reflect, and treat light in a dynamic manner. The panel assemblies–which are supported by an aluminum frame—have also been designed to minimize the appearance of joints. The outer surface of the 18,000-square-foot exterior is acid-treated to minimize the direct reflection of nearby trees and sky so that birds will not be confused. L’Italien described the facade in terms of its temporal qualities, saying, “there is depth and mystery to the form and to the glass skin. Depending on the time of day and where you're viewing the building from, it will appear differently to everyone, forever changing, just like the oceans that inspired it.” The $53 million expansion, due to be completed in 2018, comes as the second and final phase of the institution’s Campus Master Plan from 2005. The plan aims to develop the aquarium’s role in the community as a public gathering place where scientists, policy makers, and the public can “celebrate the inhabitants and ecosystems of the Pacific Ocean and explore today’s most important environmental issues.”
Dubbed Riptide, the 6-span, 605-foot-long pedestrian bridge by Studio Pali Fekete architects (SPF:a) will move the heart of downtown Long Beach. Located at the southern edge of the Los Angeles, Long Beach is home to an important regional, late modernist civic center as well as the Port of Long Beach, an economic powerhouse for the region. The downtown area, the nucleus of an independent municipality, features a smattering of smattering of mid-rise office towers housing municipal functions along Ocean Avenue and Shoreline Drive. Buildings on these roads are connected by a network of pedestrianized bridges; SPF:a’s bridge aims to close a missing link in that system by connecting the Performing Arts Center Plaza with the Convention Center Promenade to the south. The designers drew inspiration from the city’s seaside locale and mercantile traditions, abstracting the geometry of an ocean wave into a series of metallic sections connected via crisscrossing lengths of metal rope and strings of LED lights. The breaking wave shape is pulled across the length of the span above a paved boardwalk populated with seating. In some sections, the boardwalk is planted along its western edge, with trees piercing the wave armature in one location. The bridge, conceived more as a potential node for conversation and commerce emanating from the nearby convention center, will also feature electrical outlets. New construction on the $9.3 million bridge will be accompanied by the replacement of damaged curbs, gutters, driveways, alley entrances, and sidewalks in the area. The project is due for completion in February of 2017.
The largest aquarium in the U.S. (and the world) might be the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta—it hosts more than 100,000 animals and 550,000 square feet of exhibits. But the West coast—southern California more specifically—has the Aquarium of the Pacific. It features 5-acres of exhibits and over 500 marine species, and even a dive immersion program into a tropical reef exhibit. And it's about to get bigger. On the heels of SeaWorld announcing the end its controversial Shamu killer whale shows and breeding program by 2019, the almost 18-year old Aquarium of the Pacific released renderings and information on a new expansion, Pacific Visions. The aquarium is working with San Francisco-based architecture firm EHDD whose designers are also working on the Seattle Aquarium expansion. Renderings reveal a new 2-story theater with two projection areas: one curved along the wall (130 feet long by 32 feet tall), and a second on the floor (30-feet in diameter). Plans for the new wing will also add an art gallery and 6,000 square feet of space for rotating exhibits. The curves of the planned two-story wing resembles a blue whale. Its 800 panels of shimmering glass skin will also serve as a rain screen. The expansion is the last phase of the aquarium's 2005 master plan. The Aquarium of the Pacific was founded in 1998, "conceived as a cornerstone of a waterfront retail and amusement complex that would bring visitors to Long Beach at a time when it was struggling to cope with the closure of a Navy shipyard and the loss of about 50,000 jobs,” writes the Los Angeles Times. So far, the aquarium has raised over $35 million of the $53 million project budget through public and private funding. The target opening date is late 2018.
It’s too late for Late Modernism in Long Beach after the city council voted unanimously to demolish the existing Long Beach Civic Center and replace it with a sleek modern design by SOM. The old civic center is a victim of both seismic and aesthetic concerns. Designed by Allied Architects, a consortium including local firms Gibbs & Gibbs, Architects; Homolka & Associates; Killingsworth, Brady & Associates, and Kenneth S. Wing and Associates, with landscape architect Peter Walker in 1973, the scheme includes a subterranean library (once was topped by a public green landscape until the roof began to leak) and a city hall tower. (For more on my defense of this “difficult landscape” see my piece over at Medium.) The Long Beach Post reports that the new project is a “public-private venture that will erect a newer, sleeker and earthquake-resilient compound.” The new design represents the end of a 10-year process to get approval to replace older structures and the beginning of an estimated seven-year construction plan. According to the Post, the project will cost the city approximately $14.71 million annually. The city will “lease the buildings from Plenary Edgemoor Civic Partners (PECP), the firm heading the design and construction of the project, before it takes ownership of it after 40 years.” SOM’s 22-acre Long Beach Civic Center Master Plan suggests a mixed-use district that includes a 270,000-square-foot City Hall, 93,500-square-foot Main Library, 232,000-square-foot Port Headquarters, and the redevelopment of Long Beach’s historic Lincoln Park. It also includes design guidelines for 800 residential units and 50,000 square feet of commercial development.
While it appears that Los Angeles' famed Norms restaurant is safe, at least for the moment, another local dining landmark is in trouble: Hof's Hut, in Long Beach, which recently suffered "significant damage" due to multiple fires, according to the LA Times. Designed by mid-century architect Edward Killingsworth, the restaurant's exposed post and beam structure and massive windows (now partially hidden by ugly awnings) helped make it a classic for more than half a century. Inspectors are still attempting to determine the cause of the back-to-back fires. To this point the restaurant has not released plans on rebuilding, but in a statement said, “We are devastated by the fire and loss of our Long Beach Blvd. restaurant." There are three other Hof's Huts remaining in Southern California.