Posts tagged with "Los Angeles":

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wHY converts old masonic temple into 110,000-square-foot art gallery

The much-anticipated Marciano Art Foundation by Los Angeles– and New York–based architecture firm wHY debuted May 25.

The 110,000-square-foot gallery, created by Paul and Maurice Marciano of Guess Jeans fame, has taken over the abandoned Scottish Rite Masonic Temple on Los Angeles’s Wilshire Boulevard, bringing life to an old neighborhood eyesore. The midcentury-modern structure was built in 1961 by architect and artist Millard Sheets, and has been renovated to display works from the Marciano Art Foundation collection, which has a deep focus on Los Angeles–based contemporary artists.

In remarks made at a preview of the building, wHY principal Kulapat Yantrasast explained that rather than craft a traditional museum, the firm sought to create something “more like an artists’ playground—a place where people can make mistakes, do something new, and experiment.” The architect added, “It’s an interesting challenge to turn something that is very closed-in and secretive and make it something public, open, and welcoming.”

The three-story steel-framed structure is organized loosely and flexibly in order to accommodate a diverse collection. A wide balcony level provides vantages of the ground floor galleries, which have been curated to highlight the thematic tastes of the collectors. The building’s second gallery is located on the top floor in a former ballroom. An old meeting room on that same floor now houses sculptures by artists Mike Kelley and Sterling Ruby.

The building, as generative as it is showcasing, also features a collection of site-specific murals installed throughout, including a naturalistic site installation by sculptor Oscar Tuazon in an exterior courtyard.

Marciano Art Foundation 4357 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles Architect: wHY

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LACMA launches Kickstarter to bring Guatemala’s only contemporary art museum to U.S.

The Los Angeles Museum County Museum of Art (LACMA) and Nuevo Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Guatemala have launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring Guatemala’s first and only contemporary art museum to the United States. The museum—colloquially known as NuMu—is contained within a five-square-meter egg-shaped pod that can hold up to four people at a time. Jessica Kairé and Stefan Benchoam, the artist-organizers behind the museum, plan to build a mobile replica of the structure that would go on tour through creative communities in Guatemala, Mexico, and the American Southwest. The museum would eventually end its journey at LACMA in Los Angeles in time to join celebrations for the city’s Pacific Standard Time festival of exhibitions due to take place this Fall. Pacific Standard Time is being organized to strengthen existing connections between Southern California–based artists and art institutions and their peers throughout Central and South America. The pod will be included in a group exhibition organized by LACMA called “A Universal History of Infamy;” The exhibition will focus on the work of more than 15 artists and collectives that delve into anthropology, theater, and linguistics via their work. So far, the Kickstarter has garnered over $21,000 in pledges. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to raise $75,000. See the NuMu Kickstarter page for more information.
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A bold form mixes public and private spaces in Brooks + Scarpa’s latest supportive housing project

The new 52-unit permanent supportive-housing project for formerly homeless individuals, many of them veterans, designed by Los Angeles firm Brooks + Scarpa, takes its name—The Six—from military slang for a person who “has your back.” The project is Skid Row Housing Trust (SRHT)’s first outside Downtown Los Angeles, and it continues the organization’s very successful run developing functional, neighborhood-scale, and formally transformative housing.

From up the street, The Six immediately impresses; the nearly scale-less stark-white block and its oversized opening to the street reveal, as one gets closer, the human scale contained within. A main skeletal stair anchors the inside of a vast courtyard and draws the eye into the innards of the building. This attention to sequence, for Brooks + Scarpa principal Angela Brooks, is something her office imparts to each project, no matter the type or size. “Where’s the threshold between the neighborhood and your house?” Brooks asked. “If it’s just a single line, that’s too thin. We want it to be deep with a sense of public, semipublic, and then finally private [spaces] along the way.”

In a careful exercise of balancing transparency and security, Brooks + Scarpa’s design lives up to sentiment “I’ve got your back” by achieving a comfortable clarity in volumes that open up and lift residents above the street and neighborhood, simultaneously providing a sense of security and privacy.

When arriving at The Six, one cuts across the front yard—past planted, open areas set back from the street—landing under an expansive overhang that encloses a security entrance and a community- and computer-room cluster. Next, one transitions into a smaller space: a lobby that shares the floor with administrative offices, a conference room, a public computer lab, and parking. The second level, accessible by an elevator from the entry or via a concealed front stair, reveals the large public courtyard perched above the street.

From the courtyard level, the apartments and their circulation balconies stack up in a “U” formation four levels above, defining the supertall, breezy space within. Also on this level, a TV room with couches, laundry facilities, and a small kitchen fills out the public common areas. The building’s fundamental volumetric and formal gestures simultaneously work with its site orientation to maximize daylighting, exposure to prevailing winds, and natural ventilation.

The areas that can be seen from the outside are the most public of the common spaces offered to residents in the project, and their placement at the front—in the window seat—allows for a shared, privileged relationship to the street and suggests a powerful shift in dependence for the folks living at The Six.

Brooks said, “We made sure to construct a sequence of spaces that help you come into the site itself.… Once you get onto the second level, you see the street again in another way.” She added that by pulling the elevator and reception desk deep into the building, the designers allow “people to have some space and time through which to walk into something, to contemplate something, to think about something, to say hello to neighbors.”

It’s this simple and thoughtful implementation of careful and confident architecture that gives The Six its strong humanity of place. It’s a rare experience in Los Angeles, where the development process and its built manifestations typically find design opportunities in disposable surface treatments or hollow stylistic flourishes. With SRHT’s dedication to quality projects and real architecture, the organization will likely achieve more breakout projects in the near future thanks to the recent passage of initiatives, at the county and city level, that allocate resources toward preventing and ending homelessness.

If The Six can be a precedent moving forward, it’s likely SRHT will continue to provide L.A. more like-minded projects that are much more than a roof overhead.

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West of West designs hidden pop-up store in L.A.’s Melrose Place shopping center

Los Angeles– and Portland, Oregon–based architecture firm West of West recently completed work on a 400-square-foot pop-up shop for optical and sunglass retailer Garrett Leight California Optical (GLCO).

The store is located behind Alfred Coffee & Kitchen in the Melrose Place shopping center in West Hollywood, California. The pop-up shop includes birch-wood-clad interior partitions as well as typographic murals by design studio Cool August Moon. Designs also include a specialized display wall made up of white wooden pegs that support shelves and handheld mirrors.

One of the typographic walls is framed by a built-in bench made out of black-painted birch with a pair of tropical indoor potted plants. The bench sits adjacent to a secondary storefront entrance—the primary access point is through the coffee shop. That entrance is highlighted by a sheet of safety glass and is decorated with GLCO’s orange logo. That logo appears again inside the store, cut out of the birch accent wall behind the sales desk. An experimental magazine shelf made up of wooden dowels is located opposite the glasses wall; a lens-tinting machine and a marble-clad point-of-sale kiosk fill out the remainder of the space with raw concrete floors throughout. West of West explained in a statement: “The project was fascinating to us because of its hidden location—the experience of discovering an unexpected space is in contrast to the majority of the work we do.”

The store is open through the end of June.

GLCO at Alfred Melrose Place 8428 Melrose Place, Los Angeles Tel: 917-262-0955 Architect: West of West

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21-story tower coming to downtown Long Beach

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.
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New renderings unveiled for Mia Lehrer + Associates and OMA’s FaB Park in L.A.

Designs for the forthcoming First and Broadway (FaB) Park by Mia Lehrer + Associates (MLA) and Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) have been reconfigured to address community desires of Downtown Los Angeles residents. The new designs, portrayed in a collection of new renderings, depict a more leafy proposal for the two acre park than was originally proposed. The original design featured a central plaza flanked by groves of native plantings, sunken terraces, and a 100,000-square-foot food pavilion. The proposal was also dotted with large-scale shade structures and contained a small creek at its southwest corner. The new iteration of the project features a greater number of trees and shade structures, according to the renderings. The scheme also features a new 10,000-square-foot meadow that grows out of the creek bed, which had been retained in a reconfigured shape. The designers have also improved the food pavilion by adding a rooftop terrace and shade pavilion beside the structure. The two-story structure will host a restaurant, though a vendor has not been selected and there are community concerns regarding the future restaurant’s affordability. The project is expected to break ground in 2018 and be completed by 2020.
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LOHA’s star-shaped Mariposa 1038 brings 32 units to L.A.’s Koreatown

Los Angeles–based Lorcan O’Herilhy Architects (LOHA) recently completed work on Mariposa 1038, a diamond-shaped 32-unit multifamily apartment structure in L.A.’s Koreatown neighborhood. The 68,000-square-foot structure occupies a tight urban site in one of L.A’s densest neighborhoods and aims to provide much-needed housing to an area that is otherwise at risk for gentrification. The apartment building is shaped like a cube that has been puckered at the corners, revealing gently-curved facades that swing back from the street. Along the sidewalk, the voided segment leftover as the facade pulls back is filled with a large concrete block planter packed with trees and shrubs. The overlooking curved stucco walls are studded with folded metal window hoods that frame varied apertures and inset balconies. The window hoods themselves extend out from the curved facade to the original extents of the mass, are painted in monochromatic tones, and vary in width across the expanse, changing to their attendant apertures. In a statement announcing the project’s completion, LOHA drew attention to the window treatments, saying, “Throughout the day, the movement of dark shadows across the white and black facades activates the project with a dynamic sense of constant rearrangement.” Along its interior, Mariposa 1038 features a central, stark-white courtyard that is outlined in sinuous, streamlined geometries and contains an embedded water catchment system along the ground floor. When it rains, water collects from around the courtyard spaces into a landscaped planter that not only harvests water but contains integrated seating elements, as well—here, a pair of angular wooden benches. The segmented courtyard geometries wrap over the uppermost parapet, connecting the space to a rooftop terrace overlooking the city. Meanwhile, the units inside the structure are spare in their ornamentation and feature floor-to-ceiling window assemblies—the same openings framed by the exterior hoods along the facade. The units are organized with integrated storage walls and have been designed to maximize passive ventilation strategies, as well. Aside from the completion of Mariposa 1038, LOHA is also at work on a bevy of innovative projects across Los Angeles and recently opened a satellite office in Detroit, Michigan.
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MAK Center hosts exhibit on how materials lose their roots in an age of globalization

The MAK Center in Los Angeles will be showcasing the multi-locational exhibition Wasser by Berlin-based artist Mandla Reuter this spring.

The exhibition’s components will be on view simultaneously at the MAK Center’s Kings Road House and Fitzpatrick-Leland House in Los Angeles, and aboard a container ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean. A large marble block quarried on the island of Thasos, Greece, will move across the sea in the shipping container en route to the Port of Los Angeles. Parallel installations will take place at the two other sites: The Kings Road House will play host to a “sparse” installation meant to complement the block’s journey while the Fitzpatrick-Leland House—where Reuter, currently an artist-in-residence, has collected several other artists and their works—will be acting as a living museum-studio.

In all, Wasser is meant to reflect “on the perpetual movement of sited materials and delocalized resources across the world,” according to a statement. Wasser’s ephemeral, multi-locus nature is also meant as a commentary on globalization and the so-called Anthropocene, “an age where entire continents are no longer geologically shaped by nature but altered exclusively for reasons of trade and politics, until no part of the world remains unaffected by mankind.”

Mandla Reuter: Wasser The MAK Center 835 North Kings Road West Hollywood, California Through June 4, 2017

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SRHT plans 100 supportive housing units in L.A.’s Industrial District

Skid Row Housing Trust (SRHT) and Killefer Flammang Architects (KFA) have unveiled plans for a 100-unit supportive housing complex in Los Angeles’s Industrial District neighborhood, home to the city’s Skid Row. The 100 units will be divided between two structures located on the same block. A larger, signature structure featuring white stucco massing, canted walls, and panel-clad protrusions is to be located at 519 E. 7th Street and will provide 81 new units for the neighborhood. A smaller, 19-unit building currently owned and operated by SRHT located at 647 S. San Pedro Street will be rehabilitated as part of the project, as well.   A recent report filed with the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council contains renderings depicting only the larger structure at the corner of 7th and San Pedro Streets, which features punched window openings, and appears to be organized around a central courtyard overlooked by exterior circulation. The corner complex contains a differentiated ground floor that will contain offices, supportive services, as well as a community room and laundry facilities. The ground floor mass will contain a rooftop terrace above a portion of the office areas. The structure’s massing and ornamentation suggest a somewhat more traditional Los Angeles apartment typologies, somewhat of a departure from SRHT’s more formally-aggressive projects from recent years. SRHT, a veteran non-profit housing developer, is currently quite busy building a bevy of new projects. The organization debuted two striking developments last year alone—The Six, a much-lauded 51-unit development by Brooks+Scarpa and the Crest Apartments by Michael Maltzan Architects, a more recently completed 64-unit complex in the San Fernando Valley. KFA and SRHT have worked together previously, most recently in 2015. That year, the team completed renovations on the New Pershing Apartments, a 69-unit Single Room Occupancy (SRO) residence contained within Downtown Los Angeles’s only remaining Victorian era structure.
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New renderings released for L.A.’s massive Crossroads Hollywood project

International firm SOM and L.A.-based Rios Clementi Hale Studios (RCH) have released new renderings depicting the firms’ massive redevelopment of the historic Crossroads of the World complex in Hollywood, California. The 1.43-million-square-foot project, currently pegged to cost between $500 and $600 million to develop, aims to repurpose, update, and expand the Crossroads of the World complex by adding a collection of new programs and several high-rise towers. Crossroads of the World was designated as a City Cultural-Historic Monument and was designed in 1936 by architect Robert V. Derrah as the region’s first outdoor, mixed-use office and shopping complex, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy. The complex, which features a collection of squat, streamline, Spanish-, Moorish-, and French-Revival style structures, will be joined on surrounding blocks by a group of high rise towers and mid-rise podium structures. Overall, the so-called Hollywood Crossroads project aims to add 950 housing units, 94,000 square feet of office space, and 185,000 square feet of commercial uses to the roughly eight acre site. The project features a trio of towers, including a 26-story hotel tower containing 308 rooms, a 30-story tower with 190 condominiums, and a 32-story tower containing 760 units, including the podium levels. The project’s site plan features a diagonal paseo cutting through the site that connects the Crossroads of the World complex with the new housing towers. The paseo is lined with ground floor retail uses overlooked by apartment balconies. The generic-looking, glass-clad housing and hotel towers rise from these integrated lower levels, according to the renderings. Sunset Boulevard, via a collection of new—and controversial—high rise developments, is in the midst of  becoming a new vertical spine running through Los Angeles. The Hollywood area, in particular, is seeing a rush in high-rise construction, as developers scramble to meet an insatiable demand for new housing. These projects, however, have run into problems, as the new density has rankled local residents hesitant to see their neighborhoods change. Projects like Natoma Architects’ Palladium Residences and Frank Gehry’s 8150 Sunset in nearby West Hollywood have drawn the ire of local residents, for example. David Schwartzman, chief executive at Harridge Development Group, however, is unfazed by the potential controversy. The developer behind the project told the Los Angeles Business Journal, “In Hollywood, you always have issues with projects and people complaining, but we’re following the rules.” He added, “We’re not doing a general plan amendment, we’re providing affordable housing. We’ve thought about the needs of the community. At the end of the day, you’re not going to make everybody happy.” The recent completion of RCH’s Columbia Square—another tower-over-historic-complex project developed a few blocks east of the Hollywood—has been met with praise, so perhaps there is hope yet for this project. Harridge aims to complete construction on the project by 2022, though an official construction timeline for the development, has not been released.
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Amid explosive change, L.A.’s Exposition Park seeks new master plan

The Office of Exposition Park Management, a state-run outfit that oversees Los Angeles's Exposition Park, has released an RFP seeking master planning services for the 160-acre expanse as a slew of forthcoming, large-scale projects foreshadow gentrification for the 108-year-old park. The RFP—accessible via California's state procurement page here—will generate the park’s first master plan since 1993, a process that launched the CO Architects- and Mia Lehrer + Associates-led renovation and expansion of the Natural History Museum and its grounds, among other projects. According to officials, the 1993 Master Plan has been mostly completed and now, as transformative projects like the MAD Architects–designed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art and Gensler-designed Los Angeles Football Club stadium come closer to reality, it is time to launch a new vision for one of L.A.’s most storied parks. In a press release, Fabian Wesson, Chairwoman of the California Science Center and Exposition Park Board of Directors explained, “We are very excited about crafting a 360-degree plan for Exposition Park,” adding that park directors sought a plan that “acknowledges the dynamic fabric of [the] community” while also accommodating the slew of new uses and structures being added to the park. Exposition Park and the neighborhoods around it have seen the beginnings of large-scale change and gentrification in recent years, as Downtown Los Angeles's residential and entertainment-fueled building boom spreads south and west from the city center. Downtown’s southwest corner—home to the L.A. Live complex, Los Angeles Convention Center, and soon, over 20 new luxury hotel and condo high-rises—is currently a sea of construction cranes. The Expo Line light rail that connects the financial and entertainment districts downtown to Santa Monica runs along Exposition Park’s northern boundary and opened in 2012. Next door, the University of Southern California putting the finishing touches on its $700 million USC Village project, which is scheduled for a Fall 2017 opening. As a result of these changes, there is a fear that the mostly-working class areas around the park will be gentrified, as the influx of blockbuster building projects spreads over and around the neighborhood. There are concerns that the new marquee projects—the Lucas Museum and soccer stadium, especially—are fundamentally changing and essentially-privatizing the character of the public park. Those new uses are not effectively taking up existing open space—the Lucas Museum is poised to add 11 acres of planted areas to what is currently a collection of surface parking lots while the LAFC Stadium is taking the place of the recently-demolished, Welton Becket–designed L.A. Memorial Sports Arena. The new structures, however, will add a heavy commercial element to a park brimming with museums like the California African American Museum, the California Science Center, and other amenities like the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Shrine Auditorium. A mandatory pre-proposal conference is scheduled for Wednesday, May 24, 2017, for those seeking to respond to the RFP. The RFPs will be due on June 16, 2017.
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L.A. will refill Silver Lake’s 96-acre reservoir

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) officials announced in late March that the recently decommissioned Silver Lake Reservoir will be refilled over the next few months. The reservoir was emptied in 2015 after a new underground reservoir was constructed nearby, leaving behind an empty, 45-foot-deep dust bowl. Neighbors have been debating for months over how—and with which type of water—the reservoir would be refilled. After record rains this winter, the DWP officials decided to use the reservoir as a dumping ground for excess water in the Los Angeles aqueduct system and have pledged to refill the reservoir to its “historic levels” moving forward with non-potable water.

Still in question, however, is if an ambitious plan presented last summer by Mia Lehrer+Associates (MLA) and the group Silver Lake Forward aimed at converting the 96-acre reservoir into a dynamic, multi-functional habitat and recreation space will move forward. The plan contains various proposals for utilizing the decommissioned reservoir in a more environmentally suitable manner and would contain, among many components, hatcheries for local and migrating bird populations.