Posts tagged with "Los Angeles Aqueduct":

FreelandBuck’s Stack House reinvents spec housing for Los Angeles

Los Angeles– and New York City–based FreelandBuck have completed construction on Stack House, a distinctive, ground-up, single-family home made up of shifting, room-sized boxes that tumble up a steep mountainside site. The 2,207-square-foot home is located in L.A.’s bustling Mt. Washington neighborhood and comes with ground-floor parking and a one-bedroom Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on the second level. The ADU has its own distinctive entry and can either be rented out to help pay the mortgage or used as a home office, according to the architects. The secondary unit's entry is marked by patterned cladding modeled after board-and-batten siding and comes with a modest terrace and storage shed, as well. The arrangement—attached and embedded with the bulk of the building—differs from typical ADU configurations in the city, which tend to separate the unit from the main home or locate it within converted garages. Instead, here the ADU is a stop on the way toward the main home, which is accessed from a front stair that flanks the unit’s large glass entry.  The third floor is divided into five discrete areas, starting with a deep dining terrace that extends a modest entry room outside the house. Inside, the home features formal dining, living, and kitchen spaces tucked into each corner. The discrete rooms are an attempt, according to David Freeland, founding principal at FreelandBuck, to fight against the ubiquitous nature of great-rooms and open plans in contemporary speculative housing. A bonus of the rounded internal divisions that carve up the main floor rooms is that they provide spaces in which to conceal ventilation chases and a powder room while also bringing soft, diffuse light deep into the home.  The central stair runs up to a backyard dining patio that opens onto a scrubby hillside. The home’s stairs continue to the fourth level, where three bedrooms and two bathrooms find themselves oriented toward adjacent downslope vistas. On this floor, the master bedroom and master bathroom occupy the front of the house and pucker toward each other to create another window wall-backed terrace that points toward the San Gabriel Mountains to the north. Stack House was developed jointly by the architects and local developer Urbanite Homes in an effort to flex the limits of speculative housing design in Los Angeles away from bloated HGTV-style offerings and back toward unique living configurations and economical formal exuberance. The arrangement gives the designers the flexibility of taking creative freedom with the design of the home while helping to feed a growing market for architect-driven designs in the area.  The home is currently for sale and will be joined by a second design by FreelandBuck next-door in a few years.

Los Angeles Celebrates Aqueduct Centennial with Interactive Garden

The Los Angeles Aqueduct turned 100 on November 5, and the city has been partying hard. In a performance-art piece designed by Lauren Bon and Metabolic Studios, 100 mules plus their handlers walked along the 240 miles of the aqueduct from the Eastern Sierras to its terminus at The Cascades. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County staged a special exhibit to honor the centennial. And Department of Water and Power (LADWP) employees reenacted the opening of the Cascades’ spill gates, accompanied by descendants of Los Angeles Aqueduct Engineer William Mulholland. The LADWP also unveiled a more lasting tribute to the aqueduct and Mulholland. The Los Angeles Aqueduct Centennial Garden, built around the existing Mulholland Fountain in Griffith Park, was the brainchild of staff in the LADWP operations and maintenance office. According to Richard Harasick, Manager of Operations and Maintenance at LADWP, the project started with a plan to replaster and rededicate the fountain. “We were working on that, spending time [at Mulholland Fountain], and we thought: maybe we can do this one better,” he explained. Harasick and his staff came up with the idea for the garden as an interpretive monument to the aqueduct. The Los Angeles Aqueduct Centennial Garden, Harasick said, has a two-fold purpose. First, it memorializes the aqueduct by recreating its journey from the northeast. A walking path beginning in the far corner of the garden mimics the course of the aqueduct. To one side of the path, a trapezoidal concrete curb, embedded with blue glass to evoke running, recalls the shape of the original aqueduct channels. Elements along the path, including mile markers and signs for the cities through which the aqueduct travels, are built of Corten steel, metal flanges, and other materials used by the LADWP in its water projects. The path terminates at a replica of The Cascades, which in turn leads to the Mulholland Memorial Compass, a concrete circle ten feet in diameter, with aluminum letters forming Mulholland’s famous declaration: “There it is. Take it!” Near the compass is a section of the original aqueduct pipe, large enough for visitors to stand in or climb through. “We were strategic with where we placed the pipe,” Harasick said. “The idea is that when you stand in the pipe, behind you is the remembrance of Mulholland. Looking forward, you see what he accomplished. Looking forward is what we will continue to do in the future with bringing water to Los Angeles.” The garden, which was planned by Pamela Burton & Company in cooperation with the LADWP, also demonstrates water-wise landscaping. The LADWP planted the garden with approximately 20 different climate-appropriate species, including Red Marin Agave, Red Yucca, Waverly Sage, and California Native Sedge. In the process, it removed 75 percent of the grass around Mullholland Fountain, thus significantly reducing the garden’s water needs. Harasick hopes that the combination of the garden’s message about the source of their water and the drought-tolerant landscaping will inspire visitors to practice conservation at home.

The Los Angeles Aqueduct Memorial That Washed Away

Amidst all the excitement over the Los Angeles Aqueduct's 100th anniversary, we should point out that not every engineering marvel related to William Mulholland's masterpiece was completed.  As displayed in the recently-closed show, Never Built Los Angeles, co-curated by this author and Greg Goldin, city officials and architect George A. Howard had planned a 220-foot-tall memorial to the aqueduct, located in the center of Exposition Park's Rose Garden. Consisting of a fluted, classical column with a fresco-clad base, the memorial would be topped by a statue of "Miss Los Angeles," who would continuously pour water into a moat below. Genius. Unfortunately World War I put a stop to the plan, and a modest fountain and lily pond, built in 1921, now stand on the spot.

Back to the Future in Los Angeles: Giant Waterwheel to Irrigate State Park

Los Angeles is putting a new spin on an old technology, returning to one of the oldest forms of irrigation: the water wheel. Aqueducts have played a significant role in Los Angeles’ history, such as a waterwheel placed on the Zanja Madre—the Mother Ditch—in the 1860s that brought water from Rio Porciuncula to the Los Angeles River. As a dedication for the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, a new waterwheel designed by Metabolic Studio's Lauren Bon, will be installed near the same site by November 5th, 2013. Bon, an Annenberg heiress, artist, and philanthropist, gained notoriety for her Not a Cornfield installation that involved transforming 32 acres of brownfields into a fertile planting ground. The new waterwheel, dubbed “La Noria,” is expected to move 28 million gallons of water per year to irrigate the state park, potentially saving over $100,000 a year. As La Noria flows with the LA River, the diverted water would be filtered, and transported through a pipe towards the 32-acre state park, leaving the rest of the river to continue on its way to the ocean. The project already has already been funded by, you guessed it, the Annenberg Foundation, but gaining permission for the the wheel is expected to be a more difficult venture. Approvals and permits must be issued by multiple agencies including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Department of Public Health, City Departments of Water and Power, Planning, Building and Safety, the Bureau of Engineering, and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. La Noria has already been given the green light by the Los Angeles River Cooperation Committee and Bon is confident she will be able to finish by the expected deadline in November.