Posts tagged with "Los Angeles":

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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.

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New renderings revealed for Lucas Museum in L.A.

MAD Architects’ proposed designs for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles have undergone a slew of design changes, according to documents filed with the Los Angeles City Planning Commission (LACPC). The documents, first reported by Urbanize.LA and filed in advance of a forthcoming meeting between the project’s backers and the LACPC set for May 11, come roughly five months after the museum board chose Los Angeles’s Exposition Park as the preferred site for the new $1 billion complex. L.A. was chosen in January over a parcel on San Francisco’s Treasure Island. The two California cities were briefly in competition with for the complex after backers abandoned an earlier pitch made for Chicago, Illinois. Now, as the project moves toward its projected 2018 construction kick-off, developers for the project are making their way through L.A.’s dense building approval process. The planning document calls for the construction of a 115-foot-tall museum, education, and leisure complex that will contain a restaurant, movie theater, lecture hall, digital classrooms, library, and event spaces in addition to gallery spaces. The project—unlike the proposed bids for San Francisco or Chicago—will contain a massive amount of parking: 2,425 stalls contained within a three-level subterranean garage. The 300,000-square foot complex will be organized with a collection of ground floor open spaces that connect to an 11-acre, park-like site. A rendering contained within the document indicates that the complex has tightened up, programmatically-speaking, and occupies a both a wider footprint and tighter envelope than before. The complex will be organized within an arrangement of dual, three-story piers topped by a continuous, two-level gallery block. The ground floor of the southern pier will contain archives and offices, with educational spaces on the second floor, and the library on the third. The northern pier will contain a pair of theaters and a main entry pavilion for the museum. A rendering included in planning documents shows a sinuous, metal-clad structure topped with trees and planted areas. The renderings differ somewhat from earlier designs and include the addition of a new underground space located below the project site. Construction for the project is expected to begin in 2018 and complete in 2021.
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Breuer-inspired Los Angeles house turns old split-level conventions upside down

The Los Angeles Design Group (LADG) recently completed work on their Armstrong Residence, a 1,894-square-foot renovation of an existing, split-level single family house in Los Angeles’s Silverlake neighborhood. The house's massing is directly inspired by Marcel Breuer’s former Whitney Museum in New York City, except that instead of jutting out over a busy Manhattan street, the Armstrong House instead steps out along its back facade, mimicking the slope of a gentle hill located behind the house. Along the street front, an inset-bay window—Breuer’s streetside eye juts out from the structure—interrupts the otherwise monolithic, charred cedar wood exterior. The front window is contained within an overhanging car port and its panes are torqued to align perpendicularly with the nearby Silverlake Reservoir. On the back side of the house, a projecting oculus is similarly torqued and arranged here, in parallel with the slope. Both windows are an attempt, according to the LADG principals Andrew Holder and Claus Benjamin Freyinger, to “interiorize” exterior landscape features as elements of interior scenography. Along areas where the exterior envelope is broken, like along the lids of the oculus or the planes of a stepped-back, third-floor facade, the wood siding shifts to a natural finish. The house is designed as an “upside down house,” organized with a large, clear-span living room at the top floor with two levels containing two bedrooms, bathrooms, a study, and a laundry room located below. The new top floor acts like a hat over the existing spaces. The living room organization, much like the original split-level design, maximizes the house’s viewshed toward the reservoir. The space is organized around its views, with a built-in kitchen assembly on one short end of the rectangular great room, and a relaxed seating area located opposite. The areas between these spaces are animated through the presence of a pair of operable window-walls that open onto a generous exterior terrace. The indoor-outdoor living room—its front wall pulled back from the facade and clad in naturally-finished cedar—looks out over the surrounding hillsides and reservoir.
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Legal ruling forces Frank Gehry’s 8150 Sunset to reconsider historic midcentury modern bank

The debate over what is—and what is not—historically significant enough to save from demolition continues to heat up in Los Angeles, where a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge recently ruled in favor of the preservation of the historic Lytton Savings bank building. Townscape Partners, the developers behind the Gehry Associates–designed 8150 Sunset project, are seeking to demolish the midcentury modern structure so as to have a clean site for the controversial $300 million project. 8150 Sunset will consist of 60,000 square feet of commercial spaces and 249 housing units organized in a cluster of rumpled towers surrounded by plazas. The mixed-use development has received criticism from multiple fronts, including anti-density neighborhood advocates who see the project as incongruous with its surroundings. Detractors have also criticized the project’s parking stall count, saying the project has either too little or too much parking, depending on whom one asks. Preservationists—never to be left out of a good development fight—have waged a quest to save the historic bank building at the center of the recent ruling. The Friends of Lytton Savings group successfully nominated the structure for Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) designation last year, but not before the Los Angeles City Council approved a development scheme for the project that presupposed the bank’s demolition. The Superior Court has determined that the city’s overall project approval was in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a state law meant to defend both natural and built environments from harmful development. CEQA legislation is often used in California for historic preservation aims, especially with regards to culturally-important structures that might lack normative architectural significance. The decision with Lytton, however, was made easier because the project’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) included two development alternatives that incorporated plans for repurposing the building, which was designed by architect Kurt Meyer in 1960. Under CEQA guidelines, historic structures must be incorporated into new developments if the project can still meet its fundamental objectives without demolition. As a result of the ruling, the City’s approval is being set aside and 8150 Sunset will have to either be re-approved to include preserving the historic structure or prove that keeping the structure intact would place an undue burden on the viability of the project.  Of the various groups challenging the project, the L.A. Conservancy has perhaps has the firmest ground to stand on regarding their bid to positively impact the project's outcome. Sparing the Lytton building is a no-brainer, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy, as the structure is an important example of mid-20th-century design and has functioned for its original purpose—the building is currently home to a Chase branch bank—for its entire history. Moreover, according to the organization, the 20,000-square foot structure makes up a small percentage of the 330,000-square-foot project and could feasibly be incorporated into Gehry Partners’ plan for the site. Simply put, it’s unreasonable that the design and development teams should be able to clear a site of historic structures simply for convenience’s sake. In a statement announcing the Superior Court’s decision, Linda Dishman, president and CEO of the L.A. Conservancy said, “We’re very grateful for this decision, and we’re excited that the development project can move forward incorporating the historic Lytton Savings building.” Adrian Scott Fine, director of advocacy at the L.A. Conservancy added, “We’ve worked with many architects and developers to successfully integrate historic places into new development, and now that can happen here.” Scott Fine explained further: “blending old and new is the wave of the future in Los Angeles.” For now, Townscape Partners’ lawyers are evaluating whether to appeal the ruling.
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The long-delayed Los Angeles State Historic Park finally opens to the public

The long-delayed Los Angeles State Historic Park opened to the public this weekend, capping off a two-decade-long saga for local and state officials and residents. The current iteration of the park has been in development since 2005 and is the first California State Park in the City of Los Angeles. It is located on a multi-layered historical site that originally housed an indigenous settlement home to Los Angeles’s Tongva indigenous community. The park sits along a broad, gently-sloping plane that connected the Tongva’s main settlement in the vicinity of today’s Union Station with the Los Angeles River, roughly one mile away. Native peoples used the river for bathing purposes and water collection. Later in its history, the site served as a railway and warehouse hub for Los Angeles’s burgeoning immigrant communities. The site currently sits at a nexus between a constellation of working class neighborhoods, including Lincoln Heights, Elysian Park, Solano Canyon, Chinatown, Chavez Ravine, and William Mead Homes public housing. Efforts to remake the disused industrial area into a park began in the 1990s via the work of community activists known as the Chinatown Yard Alliance who came together to stop the redevelopment of the site into a new industrial warehouse complex. The park was designed by in-house architects and landscape architects with the California State Parks service, who took over a Hargreaves Associates-designed proposal from 2006. The Hargreaves Associates plan was originally chosen as part of an international design competition in 2006 and was abandoned due to the financial crisis of 2008. The park was built using $20.8 million in funding appropriated by the state in later years, a funding package that includes parks- and clean water-related initiatives. The park is organized into three programmatic areas, including a “Great Lawn” at the southern and central portions of the park for field games, a series of wetlands along the northern end of the park that connects to the Los Angeles River, and a collection of interpretive centers and cultural structures arranged along North Spring Street, the eastern border of the park. The park is threaded with a sinuous jogging trail and also contains a series of mounds connected by a large, sculptural bridge. Portions of the park are designed to become submerged during rain events in order to allow for groundwater infiltration and sequestration. The two cultural structures on the site are also designed with catenary-shaped roofs meant to collect and channel rainwater into underground cisterns. The park is planted with a wide selection of native and imported plant species, including species introduced to the area by Spanish conquerors; agricultural specimens; and ornamental plantings meant to denote the region’s post-World War II flora. There are several installations dedicated specifically to native plantings. Artist collective Fallen Fruit has developed a small orchard installation, as well. California State Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin De León celebrated the park via press release, saying, “Too many of our kids grow up without park access, with nowhere to play, have a birthday party, or a picnic. This park has it all—walkways, bike paths, nature, history, the L.A. skyline—and all within steps of Chinatown,” adding, “This spot is intrinsic to the birth of L.A. and is just as much a museum to LA history as it is an open green space.”
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Los Angeles’s A+D Museum to host Free School of Architecture

The Architecture and Design Museum (A+D) in Los Angeles has announced it will host the Free School of Architecture (FSA) during its inaugural session this summer. The tuition-free architecture school launches June 1 and runs through July 15th, 2017, catering to a cohort of 36 students accepted to the school from across the world. The six-week session will feature free courses on a variety of architectural topics taught by ten unpaid lecturers. The school also aims to launch with an inaugural symposium at the museum on the first day of classes. The convocation—dubbed “FREE”—will focus on the current and future states of architectural education and aims to delve into “new forms of education and pedagogy, disciplinary [and] vocational conversations, the socio-economics of education and post-digital and post-studio education.” FSA also plans to publish an online and print journal titled FSAONE. In a statement, founder Peter Zellner said: "We are very grateful for the museum's spirit of collaboration. In particular, I am especially honored by A+D Executive Director Dora Epstein-Jones's vision, generous support and advocacy for the Free School of Architecture." The partnership is not new for A+D, an institution with deep ties to architectural public education. Epstein-Jones—a founding member of the FSA Advisory Board—explained in a statement that the partnership would bolster A+D’s role in the architectural community: “We are pleased to offer classes and spaces in our galleries to this endeavor, and to be a true center for architectural discourse in our city. Education is our ethical mission at the A+D Museum." FSA was started by Zellner following a thought-provoking debate between Zellner and Southern California Institute of Architecture faculty Todd Gannon via The Architect’s Newspaper. See here for Zellner’s original editorial, Architectural education is broken—here’s how to fix it, and here for Gannon’s response: Of prophets and professionals: a response to Peter Zellner. For more information, visit the FSA website.
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Renderings emerge for proposed LAX transit hub

New renderings have come to light depicting the new Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) $600 million multi-modal 96th Street Transit Station serving Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).   The link would connect mass transit riders on the Green and forthcoming Crenshaw/LAX light rail lines with the airport’s forthcoming automated peoplemover system. The renderings, first published by Urbanize.la, detail the forthcoming structure at the corner of Aviation Boulevard and Arbor Vista Street in South Los Angeles. The station would span a 9.5-acre site approximately one mile east of the airport and would mark the first light rail connection to LAX in the airport’s history. The airport is currently served by a shuttle service linking the Aviation / LAX station on the Green Line with the facility. The regional Flyaway commuter buses and several traditional bus lines also connect to the airport, in addition to automobile traffic, taxi, and rideshare services. The transit station will include space for automobile drop offs, a bus bus terminal, and a bicycle hub. The new station comes as LAX undergoes a series of expansions and upgrades, including the addition of a new $1.6 billion  international terminal and concourse by Gensler and Corgan meant to accommodate next generation Airbus A380 superjumbo and Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental jets. That expansion—dubbed the Midfield Satellite Concourse—would link to the existing Tom Bradley International Terminal via a pair of underground tunnels and would contain 50,000 square feet of gateway spaces, including a 44,000-square-foot food court and 60,000 square feet of lounges and other waiting area facilities, among other components. LAX was ranked seventh busiest airport worldwide in 2015, according to one survey, with over 70 million passengers that year. The region’s lack of direct light or heavy rail access to LAX have been a long-vexing problem for city and regional planners—not to mention airport travelers—for decades and were described by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014 as "a historic mistake of our past." The new station is expected to open sometime between 2021 and 2023.
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USC School of Architecture picks Milton Curry as new dean

The University of Southern California (USC) School of Architecture in Los Angeles has chosen Milton S. F. Curry as its new dean. Curry comes to USC from the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, where he is currently associate dean for academic affairs and strategic initiatives. Curry is an accomplished practitioner and academic who has worked with the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, built speculative real estate and architectural projects in Oakland, California, and worked for client Def Jam entertainment, among others. Curry is also the founder of CriticalProductive Journal—an academic journal focused on architecture, urbanism, and cultural theory—and was one of the co-founders behind Appendx Journal in the early 1990s. According to a statement released by USC, Curry is “at the forefront of disciplinary areas on race, architecture, and urbanism that engages cultural theory and humanities research.” Curry earned a bachelor of architecture from Cornell University and a master in architecture post-professional degree with distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Curry has spent several decades teaching across the country. He taught for several years at Arizona State University in the early 1990s and began teaching at Cornell University Department of Architecture in 1995. He became tenured faculty at Cornell in 2002 and left for the University of Michigan in 2010. At the University of Michigan, Curry is also a tenured professor. Curry will replace current dean Qingyun Ma, who announced he would be leaving the post in 2016, after two five-year terms; Ma will stay on as USC faculty. Curry’s tenure at USC will be effective July 1, 2017.