Posts tagged with "Los Angeles":

Here are the winners of L.A. County’s accessory dwelling unit competition

In recent years, L.A. County’s homeless population has elevated by astronomical levels, climbing over 23 percent in just 2017 alone. As part of the county’s overall Homeless Initiative, last September, the L.A. County Arts Commission launched Part of the Solution: Yes To ADU, a design competition soliciting innovative uses for accessory dwelling units (ADU) in single family lots. The winners were announced late last month. There are up to 1.3 million dwellings in the county that could accept such lots, points out L.A. Country Arts Commission Civic Art Project Manager Iris Anna Regn. Officials hope the competition winners will get designers more involved in policy strategy, and help homeowners visualize how to develop ADUs on their properties. Competition winners were selected anonymously from a pool of 43 professional and student entries. First place went to recent graduates Lilliana Castro, Allen Guillen and Cheuk Nam Yu, who suggested eliminating dwellings’ fences and walls to create more open neighborhoods and better integrate dwellings into the city. Their pre-fabricated constructions, imbedded with green wall panels, solar roofs, and art walls, would be cheaper, easier, and faster to install. Two teams —Anonymous Architects and Esther Ho — tied for second. Anonymous proposed a modular solution built around recycled plastic packaging that could be customized with elements like solar balloons, water tanks, gardens, and even bird houses. Ho proposed another modular solution, called the Barcode House, which could be easily adapted to varied uses, from dorm rooms to small businesses. Two Honorable Mentions went to Bureau Spectacular and Wes Jones Partners. Bureau Spectacular's Backyard Urbanism suggested that ADUs could perform other uses besides housing, like recreation spaces or laundromats. Jones suggested the use of shipping containers, their designs kept simple but elegant to fit into their contexts. The competition-winning proposals, and a handful of others, will be exhibited throughout the county for the next few months, including a panel discussion at Downtown LA's Institute for Contemporary Art on May 24. Already the Arts Commission has shared the visions via events at East LA College and the AC Bilbrew Library. “This is an important new typology that people are being asked to do all time now,” pointed out Regn. “It won’t just provide new housing options, but it could help people stay in their neighborhoods and keep communities together." Of course ADUs will not provide the only solution to L.A.’s homeless and affordable housing crisis. It’s just one of many strategies, added Regn. “Everything needs to be thought about now—supportive housing, mental health, social enterprise, much more— to solve this humanitarian crisis.”

With a newfound interest in housing, Bureau Spectacular’s aesthetic-driven practice matures

“We’re kind of new around here,” Joanna Grant, partner at Los Angeles–based Bureau Spectacular explained while taking a coffee break on a desolate sidewalk outside the shabby three-story commercial building that houses the firm’s recently relocated offices. “We got priced out of Downtown,” she said, before motioning toward the structure, which is currently occupied on the ground floor by a security door company that has strung up its various prototypes—drop-down metal doors, accordion style–security grilles—along the brick building’s thickly painted facade. The ecstatic setting is well-suited for the firm, where on the uppermost level, Grant and Bureau Spectacular founder Jimenez Lai helm an already storied practice that is hard at work tinkering away on a collection of new and evocative works that span the full spectrum of practice– “from spoons to cities,” Lai later explained, echoing a famous line by Italian architect Ernesto Rogers. Though the firm has been in existence for nearly 10 years—first as a solo project by Lai and starting in 2016 with Grant as a partner (Grant originally joined the office in 2013)—and has achieved worldwide renown for its eye-catching formalism and genre-shattering typological amalgamations, current projects under development—accessory dwelling units, social housing schemes, private residences—have the potential to reshape the image of the firm wholesale. As the designers pivot from fuzzy worlds, architecturally inspired comic books, and super-scaled installations toward built work, furniture and product lines, and gallery exhibitions, a chief question is on the table: Is Bureau Spectacular growing up? Palm Desert House Joshua Tree, California The office is also working toward several housing experiments, including still-under-wraps social housing schemes and a custom home for a client located in Joshua Tree, California. The radical private home is a love child of Le Corbusier’s “five points of architecture,” Philip Johnson’s Glass house, and the suburban tract home. The project features specifically calibrated window hoods that point the home’s eyes away from an unfriendly neighbor and hints at some of the formal and symbolic forays Bureau Spectacular might soon take in its work. Pool Party Long Island City, New York Building off of Tower of 12 Stories, Bureau Spectacular’s proposal for the 2017 MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program envisions a collection of ready-made swimming pools raised above the museum courtyard and filled with circulating water to create a “lightweight framework safe for five thousand drunk people” to enjoy. Designed in collaboration with Matthew Melnyk of Nous Engineering, the pools are orchestrated to shade partygoers via evaporative cooling and are designed to utilize minimal materials for maximum aesthetic result. A metal scaffolding supports the oddly-shaped pools, creating an installation inspired in equal parts by Cedric Price, Kisho Kurokawa, John Hejduk, and Yona Friedman. Tower of 12 Stories Coachella, California Lai, who is “approaching 40” and finds himself caught between the freewheeling days of his cartoon-addled youth and new potential endeavors in social housing, is perhaps most popularly known in the non-architecture world for the firm’s 52-foot-tall, piloti-supported Coachella installation from 2016, A Tower of Twelve Stories. According to Lai, the all-white stack of funny shapes is meant to represent a sectional model through a fictitious apartment building and is inspired in part by the no-space theories of Rem Koolhaas. The steel-supported and plywood-wrapped installation is designed as “a tower without typical plans, but rather specific rooms with specific geometries” and was lit up in a sea of ever-changing colors when installed in the High Desert two years ago. Snuggle Los Angeles “We’re still young architects; we’re just less immature now,” Grant clarifies when the question of Bureau Spectacular’s age comes up. As the practice has matured, however, many of the defining characteristics of its earliest works have remained, including the approach of considering design at the intimate scale of the human body. Grant and Lai have various product lines in the works, including a roughly seven-foot-long body pillow designed by Grant that can be twisted into knots around the body or looped around one’s neck like a scarf. The scarf is currently under production and was recently for sale at the THIS X THAT Pop-Up at MOCA Geffen Contemporary in L.A. Backyard Urbanism Los Angeles A common thread throughout Bureau Spectacular’s work involves imbuing orgiastic fun into everyday typologies, a notion the team applied to a recent Los Angeles County–sponsored ideas competition for accessory dwelling units (ADU) called YES to ADU. Bureau Spectacular received an honorable mention award for the contest with the firm’s Backyard Urbanism project that proposes more or less to collectivize neighborhood backyards with multifunctional ADUs that each perform beneficial neighborhood services like providing shared swimming pools or acting as large-scale receivers for satellite television signals.

Look inside Kanye West’s Yeezy Studio, his headquarters in a California office park

The spaces within Kanye West’s Yeezy Studio in Calabasas by designer Willo Perron are as one might expect: austere, moody, enigmatic.  The 14,390-square-foot adaptive reuse project, first reported in an exclusive at PIN-UP magazine, is housed within one of the ubiquitous raw concrete suburban office parks located in Calabasas, California, on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Designed by longtime West collaborator Perron, the equal-parts rough and minimal office spaces contain a mix of production facilities for West’s Yeezy-brand clothing line, a recording studio, and meeting spaces, among other uses. Perron has worked with West for over a dozen years on a variety of design projects, including concert stage designs, album covers, and fashion shows, and has a long resume loaded with collaborative design projects for other musicians and celebrities, including Kendrick Lamar, Rhianna, Florence and the Machine, and Tame Impala.  Included in the facilities are a room lined with black-painted wooden shelves that extend seamlessly into a glass-enclosed meeting room. The shelves are supplemented by chunky wooden tables that can be found throughout the premises. The black plywood and MDF tables show up again in a meeting room, where they compliment collections of cast concrete benches inspired by steel highway supports, and in a conference area and lounge, where the benches work as coffee tables for an oversized, 30-foot-long off-white sofa. The large room is bisected by a pair of columns, grounded by polished concrete floors, and is populated by three sets of worktables and eight all-black display boards.  The multi-monochromatic spaces echo West’s collaborations with Axel Vervoordt for the rapper’s nearby home in Hidden Hills and speak to an interest on the part of West to mix and match visual modes. This sensibility, always present in West’s music, is also on display in the various Yeezy clothing lines, which blend a sort of dystopic thrift store aesthetic with riffs on high-end, ready-to-wear, and throw-back fashions.  Perron told PIN-UP that the facilities were “the very beginning of the utopia,” nodding not just to West’s totalizing aesthetics but also to the artist’s ongoing interest in architectural design.  West recently announced the intention to start up a so-called “Yeezy Home” arm of his eponymous creative studio. The endeavor will aim to include architectural and urban design in West’s growing collaborative art practice, which already includes music, film, fashion, and performance art initiatives. 

Restorative projects aim to stitch Port of Los Angeles communities back together

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach might be some of the world’s busiest shipping facilities, but just beyond the stacks of shipping containers and bustling cranes sit densely populated neighborhoods that have struggled for decades to maintain a vital hold on the nearby waterfront. That dynamic is about to change, as a slew of transformative waterfront-adjacent projects aim to reclaim and transform the shore for nearby communities. Following a new master plan issued in 2014, the waterfront areas along the Port of L.A.–adjacent neighborhood of Wilmington have been in a continual state of restoration and redevelopment. There, Boston-based Sasaki built out the first phase of the Wilmington Waterfront Park in 2012, a 10-acre installation packed with natural berms, playing fields, and trees. The plans—developed with Studio-MLA—would create a “buffer against port operations” and a “window to waterfront,” according to Zach Chrisco, partner in charge of the project at Sasaki. The latest phase of the waterfront redevelopment project aims to recast the existing waterfront areas with more widely accessible leisure and shopping spaces connected by public amenities like a giant lawn, stepped landings that meet the water, a small floating harbor, and a fishing pier. “Our goal with the project is to diversify the way the community can engage with the water,” Kate Tooke, landscape architect at Sasaki, explained, describing the metallic shade structures and an open-floor leisure pier with hammocks that dangle directly over the water. The waterfront will connect to the Wilmington community via the Avalon Promenade and Gateway, a new promenade and pedestrian bridge sequence designed by T.Y. Lin International that will feature underground restrooms on one end and a public plaza on the other. Both projects are slated to break ground this year with an anticipated 2019 opening. In the nearby neighborhood of San Pedro, developers Ratkovich Company and Jericho are leading the Ports O’ Call Village redevelopment project aimed at bringing a new 180,000-square-foot San Pedro Public Market project to life. The development is led by Rapt Studio, a local design firm. Describing the lead-up to the project, Sam Farhang, Rapt  Studio president and project lead said, “We went in immediately and said, ‘This is not a project that could be designed and delivered by single team.’” The designers got to work on assembling a “dream team” for the project that includes James Corner Field Operations and Adamson Associates as executive architects. Rapt is designing a series of new warehouse-like prefabricated steel moment frame structures flexible enough to hold new retail programs while remaining malleable over the developer’s 55-year ground lease over the site. Plans call for adding a new “town square” containing the aforementioned retail and plaza spaces, a new marketplace to hold the relocated San Pedro Fish Market, and an event lawn that connects to the waterfront directly so that “every type of person—whether it’s longshoremen on their lunch break or a Millennial mom and dad with a single child in a stroller—can find an aspect of this site that resonates with them.” The project will be delivered in phases through 2020 or 2021 as to not displace some of the larger tenants that will remain. Across one of the shipping channels, Gensler is working toward a long-term vision that would rework the area’s employment and economic demographics, as it builds out the multi-phase AltaSea development; a new 35-acre complex that will combine marine research, public education programs, and sustainable energy development. The $150 million complex will aim to redevelop a series of existing waterfront warehouses, replacing industrial shipping uses with high-tech research equipment and hordes of visiting tourists, school children, and researchers. Describing the goals of the project, Li Wen, design director at Gensler said, “We see the Port of L.A. becoming a place of education through experience,” adding that the project seeks to “re-introduce the ocean as a place to be preserved, revered, and studied.” Work on that project is currently underway and the first phase is expected to be completed in 2023.

Robert Irwin’s site-specific installation dialogues with both outside and inside

Robert Irwin Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles January 23–April 21, 2018 In Robert Irwin’s words, a scrim “is both there and it’s not,” a status that could just as easily describe the effects of history. His site-specific exhibition at Sprüth Magers in Los Angeles, which occupies two floors of the gallery, seems to resonate with L.A.’s history, not in the least because it so vigorously attempts a dialogue with both the exterior street and the interior structure. On the first floor, the windows facing Wilshire Boulevard are left unobscured, providing glimpses of passing buses, pedestrians, and William Pereira’s facade of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as veiled by the semitransparent sheen of the scrims. In contrast, the second floor features opaque interior walls that block out most of the exterior light, but are interrupted at the corners so that a viewer can walk behind the walls and stand in a purposefully awkward nook next to one of the building’s original windows. On the first floor, the visitor is made aware of the act of perception, while on the second floor the inevitable limitations of one’s perception become evident. The exhibition, which was on view through April 21, was designed by Robert Irwin for this specific, 5,000-square-foot space. Because the work is so intertwined with the building, it’s difficult not to describe the work in terms of decor. This is especially pronounced on the second floor, which features banks of neon tubes that seem to be oversize dispatches from a partial DNA sample. Space is occasionally left between the mounted tubes, creating the impression of absence within the bank. However, installed above the neon tubes in the ceiling are inactive fluorescent lights, which seem to hint at the inevitability of mortality. One may begin life as a vivid neon tube, but eventually, the light goes out. The darker interior, which is bisected by a black rectangular scrim, amplifies this feeling of absence: The room appears to be the remainder of something, not its origin point. The fact that the viewer is designed to encounter the second floor after the first makes the former both potentially a dramatic ending and a second act; depending on how long one lingers on the first floor after walking down the stairs, the second floor can become a referendum on how we choose to perceive. Once we’ve seen what’s out there, do we ultimately open our perceptions up to the outside world, or do we end up ensconced in our own darkened, incomplete rooms? Back on the first floor, a series of square black-lacquered panels are placed along the wall opposite the scrims. If a viewer walks around the installation, these panels visually align with the black squares on the scrim to create undulating tunnels of fabric and air. What was formerly indistinct and wispy suddenly becomes solid and intense. It is the architectural expression of realization, a tangible eureka moment. Walk a little farther on, however, and the squares once again fall out of alignment, becoming just shadows in the void. The exhibition can only be viewed during daylight hours, which lends it a certain poignancy, but not urgency. Much like Los Angeles itself, the materials involved and the ample amount of space in which to view them promotes a relatively serene atmosphere. There’s not a sense of hurry, but there is a sense of finitude. This is not an experience that can be repeated in some other room, at some other time. It is designed to root the viewer in that particular moment, and what a moment it is: The relative lack of ornament amplifies both the sleepy midday traffic outside and whatever feelings and thoughts preoccupy the viewer, which on a Wednesday afternoon in April 2018 in the United States are variegated, to say the least. Much like the scrims, the presence of history is both there and not there, subtly framing everything we see. Julia Ingalls is primarily an essayist who lives in Los Angeles.

Elon Musk wants to turn the Hyperloop’s “excavated muck” into housing materials

Hot off of a flamethrower fundraising sale for Elon Musk’s side project, the Hyperloop tunnel digging The Boring Company, Musk has announced that the muck, rock, and detritus produced by the company’s tunneling would be turned into usable bricks. The first announcement from Musk came on March 26, when he tweeted that the rock mined from the company’s California test tunnels would be turned into “Lifesize LEGO-like interlocking bricks made from tunneling rock that you can use to create sculptures & buildings.” The bricks would be sold as The Boring Company merchandise and are supposedly rated for California’s seismic loads. Responding to critics on Twitter who were wondering why the tech entrepreneur wasn’t using his vast wealth to address the nationwide housing crisis, Musk followed up on May 7, indicating that those same bricks would now be sold on the cheap for low-cost housing. A Boring Company representative confirmed the plans to Bloomberg, saying that the bricks used for housing would be made from the “excavated muck” of the company’s tunnels. These bricks would also go towards building any future Boring Company offices and could partially replace concrete in The Boring Company’s tunnels. Of course, as Bloomberg points out, Musk’s plan to lower the cost of housing assumes that material costs are driving the price of construction, and not land or labor. Brick is expensive to lay because of the associated time and expertise it takes, not the bricks themselves (and this is before factoring in any type of structural reinforcement). It remains to be seen if The Boring Company can produce enough blocks to actually build any homes, especially as many of the prospective Hyperloop tunnels would be churning out dirt contaminated from years of industrial runoff.

LOHA advances eye-catching affordable housing schemes in Los Angeles

As Los Angeles gears up to tackle its homelessness crisis, L.A.-based Lorcan O’ Herlihy Architects (LOHA) is busy at work on a collection of novel, forthcoming affordable housing projects that aim to build upon the firm’s many previous experiments in dense urban housing.  A recently-unveiled plan for the Isla de Los Angeles project with non-profit housing developer Clifford Beers Housing is perhaps the most daring of the new projects. The development will bring 54 studio apartments to a paved triangular site in the city’s Harbor Gateway community in a stepped and articulated structure made up of stacked and repurposed shipping containers.  The rapid-rehousing development is being designed to house a series of shared spaces as well as parking along the ground level. The five-story project will be located beside the intersection of the 110  and 105 freeways and its site organization reflects this troublesome locale—the edges of the site will be populated by planted areas to block out freeway pollution while the building itself is laid out to face away from the highways in order to take advantage of the natural sunlight and breezes. Much of the complex is topped by shade panels as well.  Amenity spaces for the project will include: edible gardens, space for a farmer’s market, a small lab, and areas dedicated to cottage-scaled food production, health and fitness activities, and job training services.  Units in the 18,000-square-foot structure will be earmarked for residents who make less than or equal to 40 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). The project is to be built on excess city-owned land using funding from Proposition HHH, a recent initiative aimed at building 10,000 supportive housing units in Los Angeles over the next decade. The firm is also pushing forward on a proposal announced late last year that would add 78 units of affordable housing, various community spaces, as well as arts and educational programming to a city-owned site located in the Westlake neighborhood west of Downtown Los Angeles. The project will sit adjacent to the historic Westlake Theatre and is expected to reinvigorate the institution while ensuring its revival is suited to benefit existing neighborhood residents. Renderings for the seven-story project depict three linear and interconnected apartment blocks spanning over a central courtyard. The canted apartment slabs sit on a perimeter base that is open on one side to face the street and heroically span the courtyard above these otherwise porous ground floor areas in a way similiar to an approach pursued by Michael Maltzan Architecture’s One Santa Fe complex. Cesar Chavez Foundation is the lead developer for the project, with Meta Housing Corporation as a co-developer. The Youth Policy Institute will act as a service provider for the project in partnership with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.  A timeline has not been released for either of these developments.  LOHA is further along, however, on the MLK1101 supportive housing complex, a 26-unit development geared toward military veterans who have formerly experienced homelessness that is currently under construction. The four-story L-shaped apartment complex wraps a single-story storefront space that is topped with a rooftop terrace and community room. The storefront is being developed as a retail opportunity for the project and is flanked by a broad stair that leads to the terrace level, where picnic tables, plants, and benches will populate the 4,000-square-foot gathering space. Renderings for the 34,000-square-foot project depict a white perforated metal panel-clad structure with a pedimented retail space wrapped with storefront windows. Work on the project is well underway and is expected to be complete later this year.

These developments join LOHA’s growing slate of innovative residential projects in Los Angeles, including several market-rate developments along Pico Boulevard, a 30-unit apartment complex in West Hollywood, and a quintuplet of small-lot houses at the foot of the Hollywood Hills. 

In L.A., this modular steel frame house doubles as a bridge over a secret stream

Half a block south of Los Angeles’s ritzy Hancock Park neighborhood, a secret underground stream that draws its water from the mountains of Griffith Park runs across the backyards of several unassuming homes. On a quizzical block where each house provides a corresponding bridge to span the stream, Los Angeles–based architect Dan Brunn is busy erecting a 200-foot-long house that doubles as its own bridge. The 4,500-square-foot home is being built using the BONE Structure prefabricated steel construction system, a modular product developed by an eponymous manufacturer based out of Laval, Quebec, Canada. The all-steel system is fabricated entirely off-site and put together on-site, each element assigned an individualized bar code designating its placement. Brunn utilized a five-by-five-foot module “designed around experience, not transport or manufacture” to create the home. The three-bedroom, shotgun-style house is arranged with a carport facing the street. From there, a living room, kitchen, and courtyard extend into the site, followed by a bathroom sandwiched between two smaller bedrooms. A master suite caps the back end of the home, concealing an office space located below that is accessible to the banks of the stream. Brunn said, “The precision of the BONE Structure system is so evident and clear, it’s like seeing the inside of a Swiss watch.” The home is currently under construction and is expected to be complete late 2018.

Gondolas could link Dodger Stadium to L.A.’s Union Station by 2022

Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies, LLC has announced plans to construct a gondola system that would take passengers from the Los Angeles Union Station to Dodger Stadium.  The $150 million plan was submitted to L.A.’s transit agency—Metro—as an unsolicited bid proposal, in line with Metro’s innovation-driven procurement efforts, The Source reports. The plan would link Los Angeles’s central transit node with the city’s baseball stadium located just two miles away in the hills above Echo Park. This gondola route is envisioned as an additional transit route meant to augment existing rapid bus service to the stadium and would ferry between 30 and 40 passengers per pod, shipping up to 5,000 passengers per hour during peak frequency. The proposal comes from former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and other private investors—McCourt sold his stake in the team in 2015 but continues to own a stake in the sea of parking lots that wrap the stadium. The gondola line would presumably serve to augment parking revenues, perhaps freeing up some of that land for other types of development. The Los Angeles Times reports that while ticket prices have not been pinned down for the gondola, it is expected that fares would fall below the cost of parking at the stadium, which currently stands at roughly $20. Regarding the unsolicited bid, Metro’s chief innovation officer Joshua Schank said, “We set up the unsolicited proposal process to encourage outside-the-box thinking when it comes to mobility and building new transportation infrastructure,” adding, “The Dodgers’s proposal is intriguing and we’re looking forward to reviewing the details.” The propsal is the latest urban gondola scheme proposed for an American city in recent months and the second such project envisioned for the hills surrounding Los Angeles. Earlier this year, officials in the city began weighing weather to construct a gondola system to reach L.A.’s Hollywood sign. Project backers are looking to Metro to help prepare environmental reviews for the project with the hope that a final route will be decided by 2019 or 2020. Ultimately, the gondola team is hoping to have the line running by opening day of the 2022 Major League Baseball season. 

For L.A.-based start-ups, a downtown tech incubator offers a boost up

Meet the incubators and accelerators producing the new guard of design and architecture start-ups. This is part of a series profiling incubators and accelerators from our April 2018 Technology issue.  At the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), participating members get a lot of bang for their buck. Originally started in 2011, the outfit moved in 2016 into a 60,000-square-foot complex, known as the La Kretz Innovation Campus and owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The campus is one of the inaugural public amenities of a new Cleantech Corridor planned by the City of Los Angeles for a vast area stretching from the Lincoln Heights neighborhood, in East L.A., to the Arts District, downtown. The complex is made up of an adaptively reused and seismically retrofitted historic warehouse, among other components, designed by John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects. The mix of offices, labs, and makerspaces offers LACI's portfolio of cleantech companies access to cutting-edge fabrication and prototyping tools. With six specialty labs, the LACI-managed Advanced Prototyping Center (APC), is also open to the public through memberships starting at $250, making more than $10 million in specialty equipment available to budding innovators and entrepreneurs. The innovation hub is being marketed by LACI as a one-stop shop for ambitious, tech-savvy groups and individuals looking to develop and test new industrial-scale ideas and products. The one-of-a-kind APC offers some of the most advanced, industrial-grade fabrication and research tools, as well, including professional-grade laser cutters, CNC mills, water jets, and even a full-blown biochemistry lab. The facilities allowed the designers behind Hive Lighting to model, test, and fabricate prototypes of their high-performance, energy-efficient plasma and LED lights. Kay Yang, APC director, explained, “This is where you come to get off the ground if you’re an L.A.-based start-up;” the incubator also boasts a new artist-in-residence program and a slate of professional advisers, who hold office hours, as well as mentorship for members. Yang added that, for certain participating companies, “LACI has cut 12 to 18 months off start-up times” while also allowing these groups to maintain full intellectual and copyright protections, part of LACI’s “intellectual property–neutral” setup. According to LACI’s calculations, in the past six years, the incubator has helped 72 portfolio companies raise $165 million in start-up funding, generate $220 million in revenue, and create 1,700 jobs across the region.

Current portfolio companies include:

Advanced Vehicle Manufacturing

An all-electric bus manufacturer with goals to create 100 percent zero-emission transportation.

Ampaire An all-electric airplane fabricator.

Avisare

A cloud-based software-procurement platform.

Connect Homes

A prefab home company based in California.

Perception Robotics

A touch-and-vision-based industrial robot manufacturer.

Studio Gang unveils renderings for sinuous tower in Los Angeles’ Chinatown

Chicago-based Studio Gang, French real estate investment company Compagnie de Phalsbourg, developer Creative Space, and European lifestyle brand MOB Hotel have unveiled plans for a towering hotel and apartment tower complex slated for Los Angeles’s Chinatown neighborhood.  The sinuous, glass-wrapped tower will rise diagonally from a site currently occupied by a pair of commercial buildings and a parking lot, among other uses. A rendering released by the development team depicts a tower that grows wider as it rises from the site, revealing larger, cantilevered floor plates containing balcony spaces along its uppermost floors. The project is among the first high-profile developments in the neighborhood following recent new construction and the completion of the Los Angeles State Historic Park. The project will likely transform the neighborhood, replacing a modestly-scaled commercial area with plazas, a 149-key hotel, and 300 new residences. It does not contain an affordable housing component.  “This project transforms a parking lot and commercial strip into an architecture that opens up the potential of the site to connect neighborhoods,” Studio Gang Founding Principal Jeanne Gang explained via press release. Gang added, “Responding to the growing needs of the city, we designed the footprint to enable new generous outdoor public space at ground level while simultaneously creating a curved upper volume to capture views, light, and air for the building’s inhabitants.” The project comes as development around the new state park heats up, with several other multi-phase, mixed-use developments currently in the pipeline. The project will be Studio Gang’s first project in L.A. and represents the changing tenor of development in the city’s urban core, which is becoming more star-studded and international in nature than has prefiously been the case. Nearby, Johnson Fain and SWA Group are working on the 355-unit La Plaza de Cultura development, while efforts are made to create a new master plan for the surrounding neighborhood and adjacent Civic Center areas. Studio Gang’s project will now head into the community review phase; a timeline for construction has not been announced.

Frank Gehry donates $1 million to Los Angeles River schools for arts education

Turnaround Arts: California recently announced a $1 million donation from architect Frank Gehry. A leading figure behind the proposed redesign of the Los Angeles River into a mixed-use district with substantial parkland, Gehry will direct his donation towards underserved communities abutting the river just south of Los Angeles. As he said in a statement, "I have been working on the Los Angeles River, and through this work, I have discovered the great need for this program in the districts closest to the river, especially south of the city of Los Angeles." Founded in 2014 by Malissa Shriver and Frank Gehry, Turnaround Arts: California is the state chapter of a larger initiative championed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Coordinated by The Kennedy Center, Turnaround Arts strives to improve academic performance and improve schools through the arts by providing arts education to nearly one hundred underperforming schools in seventeen states and Washington D.C. With Gehry's donation being matched by an anonymous donor, Turnaround Arts: California’s program will be extended to ten more schools in the next five years, with the first of these three participating as of April 16. In total, 17,000 K-8 students in California will now be served by educational programs led by Turnaround Arts. In a statement, Gehry added, "Over the last forty years, I’ve spent time with kids in the classroom using architecture and art to get them engaged, focus their attention, and even introduce mathematics, civics, and other subjects that they might not have otherwise been receptive to."