Posts tagged with "Los Angeles":

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Digital archive for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House now online

Six months after the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House was designated the first and only UNESCO World Heritage site in Los Angeles, The City of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) has launched an extensive digital archive for the home spanning from 1918 to the present day. “Now everyone interested in Frank Lloyd Wright may view documents previously available only to scholars,” said Jeffrey Herr, DCA’s Hollyhock House curator, in a press release at launch. “Always stretching technology, Frank Lloyd Wright would be delighted with digital technology and the increased dissemination of his work."
Over 500 drawings, blueprints, and related items of historical documentation are now publicly accessible for the first time, giving the public another method of exploring the home following the debut of its Virtual Accessibility Experience and the self-guided tours available to the public four days a week. The online archive adds a significant amount of history concerning the many renovations, restorations, architectural details, furnishing, and the building additions on the 36-acre property. “The Department of Cultural Affairs is thrilled for the opportunity to make this archive material available to those interested in Aline Barnsdall's vision and Frank Lloyd Wright's work,” said Danielle Brazell, general manager of the DCA, in a press release. “Viewing the collection gives anyone interested in the history of the property a deeper understanding.” While highlights include schematic site maps and perspective renderings from the architect himself, the public archive also contains plenty of minutia for the Wright-obsessed, including an electrical schedule blueprint and plenty of corbel details. The home was completed in 1921 for the art collector and socialite Aline Barnsdall, who gave it up to the city shortly afterward in 1927 under the condition that the California Art Club could use the site as its headquarters through a fifteen-year lease. After the club relocated in 1942, the site was renamed Barnsdall Park and has since hosted several public events and exhibition spaces, including the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG).
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Frank Gehry-designed Children’s Institute breaks ground in Watts

The Children's Institute, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of children exposed to adversity and poverty, broke ground on their new 20,000-square-foot Watts campus in South L.A. on January 30. The project was designed by Frank Gehry, who offered to work on the project pro bono. “It is our intent that the building will be comforting and welcoming," Gehry stated in a press release. "I hope this building will serve and inspire children and families for generations to come.” The project's boxy geometry, dynamic intersections, and use of corrugated metal recall the architect's earlier work throughout Los Angeles—such as the Norton Residence and Gemini G.E.L.—many of which were also designed and built on tight budgets. A formally separate lobby with a diamond-shaped skylight will usher visitors into an atrium-like space that will receive generous natural light from wraparound clerestory windows. The two-story building will house spaces for therapeutic programs and a variety of free amenities for children and families, including individual and group counseling as well as parenting workshops. The Watts Gang Task Force, which has developed a unique model of relationship-based policing to broker peace in the South Los Angeles gang community for over a decade, will also be based on the campus. “We want to be a true partner to the community,” said Martine Singer, president and CEO of the Children’s Institute, in a Youtube video promoting the new campus. “Having the community safety partnership as well as the Watts Gang Task Force in our building is not only a symbol of that but a real manifestation of what a partnership is.” The project has an estimated budget of $20 million and has been supported through private donations and partnerships with the Los Angeles Development Fund, Genesis L.A., and Wells Fargo to secure New Markets Tax Credit funding for the project. The site, on the corner of East 102nd Street and Success Avenue, was previously owned by the Children's Institute and had formerly served as the organization’s main parking lot. The new campus is currently under construction and is expected to be finished by late 2021.
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Hollywood Walk of Fame reveals a pedestrian-friendly master plan

When tourists visit Los Angeles with little information aside from a guidebook, their first stop is often the Hollywood Walk of Fame. An approximate 10 million out-of-towners flock to the 1.3-mile stretch of Hollywood Boulevard annually in the hopes of finding their favorite celebrities’ names among the more than 2,500 brass stars. The built environment around those stars, by contrast, has left visitors feeling underwhelmed about their Hollywood experience. With bonds secured from the local Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA), a new master plan for the area has recently been revealed as part of City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell's Heart of Hollywood initiative that was first announced in October 2018. “Hollywood is an iconic destination known the world over,” said O'Farrell on his website, “but it is also a regional economic engine helping create good jobs and healthy neighborhoods. I’ve been working to ensure that Hollywood evolves into a future worthy of its rich history with a priority focus on its residents, businesses, and its signature entertainment industry, as well as its rightful place as a world tourist destination.” Global design and architecture firm Gensler presented plans for a more pedestrian-friendly version of the 15-block tourist destination. Beyond necessary repairs to the sidewalks, which have been badly damaged by decades of neglect, the main planning proposal addresses the area’s lack of unified signage, greenery, and street furnishing. Under the proposed plan, street parking and driving lanes would be significantly reduced to make room for more pedestrian activities, including sidewalk dining and outdoor performances, and will even establish five “event plazas” adjacent to the area's most popular tourist attractions, such as the Pantages Theatre and the Hollywood Highland Center Mall. Though there is currently no construction date set, Gensler is working with the city to further develop the master plan design, to be presented to the public throughout 2020 for feedback. The renovation of the Hollywood Walk of Fame is just one of many attempts to make Los Angeles a more pedestrian-friendly city in response to recently increased densification. Last November, local architecture firm RCH Studios presented their master plan for Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade that would similarly create room for unimpeded pedestrian traffic, street performances, and other related outdoor activities.
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Second phase of Anita May Rosenstein Campus set to open this summer

Eight months after the first phase of the Leong Leong and Killefer Flammang Architects (KFA)-designed Anita May Rosenstein LGBT Center in Los Angeles was completed, the second phase of the project, named The McCadden Campus, has recently begun construction. KFA is the executive architect and is overseeing their construction in collaboration with Thomas Safran & Associates, an  affordable housing developer and property management company. While the first phase brought much-needed facilities to the organization—including a new senior community center and youth academy, administrative offices, a retail space, and several cultural events spaces—the second phase will facilitate even more in3tergenerational engagement.That includes the addition of a five-story structure for 98 affordable housing units for seniors, and a four-story structure with an additional 25 studios reserved for youth housing, both of which are designed to accommodate residents with mobility and hearing and/or vision disabilities. “The Anita May Rosenstein Campus,” explained Dominic Leong of Leong Leong, “is a new type of social infrastructure for the LGBTQ community that synthesizes social services and affordable housing into a porous urban campus.” From the outside, the two buildings of the second phase seem to be more restrained in their design than those of the first. The curved senior housing building stretches across the north end of the campus to provide views of the Hollywood Hills, while the narrow, boxy youth housing structure is sited across the street on North McCadden Place, to maintain a connection to The Village at Ed Gould Plaza, another facility owned by the center that houses several community-oriented event spaces. Altogether, the $141 million campus will connect multiple programs and community-based events across four acres for the roughly 42,000 clients for which the center provides services each month. “Inspired by the mission of the Center,” Leong added, “the architecture is a cohesive mosaic of identities and programs rather than a singular iconic gesture. With a series of internal courtyards and a new public plaza, the campus proactively interfaces with the city while also creating a sanctuary for the community within.” A portion of phase two will be ready for occupancy by Summer 2020.
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Two five-story installations light up L.A.'s Beverly Center

The Beverly Center, a 900,000-square-foot mall in Los Angeles, California, has recently installed two large-scale art installations within the iconic street-facing escalators along Beverly Boulevard and La Cienega Boulevard. They are the latest work of Pae White, a local artist who grew up near the Beverly Center, and were organized by independent curator Jenelle Porter. “In my opinion,” said Porter, “[White] is the only artist who could make such incredibly beautiful and keenly intelligent works for Beverly Center; artworks that will contribute to the already rich cultural landscape of this city.” The installation facing Beverly Boulevard, Day for Night for Day, is a light sculpture comprised of over 900 uniquely-shaped pieces of hand-shaped neon. Each element within the five-story piece is color-keyed to a perceptual temperature (warmth) in the daylight spectrum, resulting in a constellation of vibrant hues akin to the many characters of the Los Angeles sunset. The artist referred to the piece as both “a kind of magic carpet” and an immersive Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) lamp visitors interact with prior to and following their shopping experience. The title of the installation is a nod to the city's movie history, particularly the cinematic technique of simulating nighttime during the day. The La Cienega-facing installation, Moonsets for a Sunrise, is made up of a mostly dark-hued palette to represent nighttime and the four types of moons—the harvest moon, strawberry moon, blue moon, and snow moon. Made up of 73,635 pieces of tile glazed in over 100 colors, White ensured that no color combination module repeats anywhere within the entire expanse. The many shades on display exemplify the myriad hues of moonlight, allowing for differing interpretations of the piece from up-close as well as from passersby on the street. White was inspired to create the two site-specific pieces after observing the unique qualities of the glass-enclosed escalators and the constant movement they provide between the parking lots and the main interior spaces. “In their simultaneous explorations of the phenomenological effects of light,” said White, “both art installations generate different experiences during the day and the night. The neon of Day for Night for Day offers one kind of experience during daylight hours and another kind at night when its illumination is most prominent. The same applies to Moonsets for a Sunrise, though conversely: the ‘moonlight’ colors are most glorious in the morning sun.”
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L.A.'s Loqui taqueria is enveloped in handcrafted terra-cotta bricks

Renovating a derelict industrial building in Los Angeles's up-and-coming Arts District is no small feat. For local firm Wick Architecture and Design, the "blank slate" assignment of outfitting a Mexican taqueria within a bare-boned structure represented a significant challenge but also an opportunity to make a bold statement. With the intent of creating a new outpost for an already popular Culver City haunt, it's no wonder that the practice made such strides. Opting to express the Loqui restaurant's Mexican roots through a prevalent use of handcrafted and patinaed terra-cotta bricks, the firm transformed a cold, empty shell into a warm and inviting eatery. And yet, it was able to keep much of the original exposed pipes and concrete surfaces intact. The simple introduction of a single material made all the difference. By doing so, Wick Architecture and Design ensured that this rustically decorative yet geometrically restraint scheme wouldn't be too overwrought or kitschy. Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.
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M-Rad goes retro at Game Over Pizza

Defined by an elaborate program of neon signs, geometric shapes, repetitive patterns, and pastel colors, M-Rad's design for Los Angeles’s recently opened Game Over Pizza joint harkens back to a simpler, bygone era. As if pulled right out of the 1980s, the new 45-seat, arcade-ready, eat-play restaurant gives new meaning to the 20- or 30-year trend cycle. M-Rad's goal was to create a space that would pay homages to the early digital Vaporwave scene and cater to a Gen-Z clientele, rapidly reviving this graphical and music-based genre. And yet, there are also nods to the Italian Memphis movement that play to Millennial taste. Wrapped in this nostalgic, reference-drenched, scheme are hints of Art Deco geometry, a Pop Art palette, and kitsch 1950s amoebic furniture. Modernist austerity and restraint have no place in this Hollywood haunt. The Gothic tradition is still alive and well, a formidable rival to its Neoclassic counterpart. With such a statement piece, M-Rad is challenging the contemporary status quo of minimalist luxury. Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.
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Omgivning and Spectra return L.A.'s Broadway Trade Center to turn-of-the-century splendor

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Los Angeles's Broadway is home to one of the finest assemblies of Commercial Style buildings in the country, consisting of steel structures with box-like massing, clad with richly ornamented terra-cotta or cast-iron, and lightened with large rectangular and divided windows. Constructed over several phases starting in 1908, the Broadway Trade Center, initially known as Hamburger's Department Store is a prominent example of the style within this district and was once the largest department store west of Chicago, sitting on half of a city block and measuring a total of 1.3-million square feet. After decades of decay and ultimately abandonment, the historic structure is getting a new lease on life due to the rehabilitation efforts of architecture and design firm Omgivning and contractor Spectra. Founded in 2009, Omgivning is not specifically a preservation architect, but the firm has established a particular expertise in the rehabilitation of historic structures within the Los Angeles-area and had led the overhaul of dozens of neglected structures.
  • Facade Manufacturer Spectra Gladding McBean
  • Architect Omgivning
  • Facade Installer Spectra
  • Structural Engineer TTG
  • Location Los Angeles
  • Date of Completion TBD
  • System Historic Commercial Style structure with Chicago windows and ornamental terra-cotta
  • Products Restored wood window frames and terra-cotta replacements
Historic tax credits are a key component to the feasibility of restoration projects and maintaining the original design is an inherent requirement. “In terms of facades specifically, we knew that we needed to maintain unaltered facade on all four elevations to comply with the requirements of working with historic buildings,” said Omgivning projects director Peter Rindelaub. Conforming to these requirements also led Omgivning to place new building air supply and exhaust louvers within a rooftop addition, while obscuring the path of utilities to the new electrical transformers. Restoration of the facade began with exhaustive archival research of the department store. While historic photographs were readily available, the team had to procure shop drawings from ceramics manufacturer Gladding McBean, the original producer of the terra-cotta cladding, who joined the restoration to replace damaged components. Only so much of the structure’s condition can be gleaned from research, and contractor Spectra handled the bulk of on-site inspection. “The survey entailed a hands-on inspection of the terra-cotta and windows,” said Spectra project manager Dick Gee. “A visual survey can only identify so much, while a hands-on survey after scaffolding is erected allows for a more accurate reading of the building.” Most of the terra-cotta was repaired in place; color-matching mortar applied to tile cracks, and faded segments brushed down and repainted. If a section of cladding proved non-salvageable, Spectra measured individual components and produced molds that were subsequently shipped to Gladding McBean's facilities just outside of Sacramento and reproduced to match their original size perfectly. Replacing and repairing the fire escapes and window frames were the other significant aspects of the facade restoration. For the latter, Spectra built an entire woodshop within the building to restore the decaying windows and immediately reinstall them—a more cost-effective and ultimately more pragmatic option than repairing offsite. Exterior restoration is essentially complete, while interior building renovations are ongoing.
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Julie Smith-Clementi and Frank Clementi launch independent design firm Smith-Clementi

Julie Smith-Clementi and Frank Clementi of the Los Angeles-based firm Rios Clementi Hale Studios have announced that they will be stepping out into their own independent practice, aptly titled Smith-Clementi. The two have left their industrial brick studio space in South Los Angeles' Leimert Park to re-establish their practice on a smaller scale. “Its like starting at the beginning again,” Frank remarked over the phone.  The original firm was established in 1985 as a multidisciplinary design firm and has since "tried to preserve a small office culture," said Frank. "But as it grew, it had to satisfy big office expectations." The pair agreed that establishing an independent studio was the best way to reconnect with their craft while working through creative projects as they see fit. Because the two found that their former studio was "interdisciplinary by acquisition," the goal of Smith-Clementi is to instead "work alongside other small offices” in related creative fields, according to Julie. And while RCH Studios was primarily focused on projects in the Los Angeles area, Smith-Clementi will seek a more geographically-broad client base. 
While at RCH Studios, Frank and Julie Smith-Clementi were not only involved in crafting elements of many of Los Angeles' most significant venues, including the Hollywood Bowl, the Music Center, and the Greek Theatre, but also consumer product lines including notNeutral, which has developed a series of thoughtfully designed caféware and tabletop items. They were honored with over 20 AIA Design Awards and chosen as California Council's AIA Firm of the Year in 2007. Though the two are starting anew, they have already begun working on several projects that complement their shared interest in design at all scales. "I look forward with both renewed focus and breadth," said Julie, "to envision rich and authentic places that celebrate all people.”
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Japan House Los Angeles displays exquisite furniture handcrafted in the Hida region

A dense forest 300 miles wide spans the distance between the bustling Japanese cities of Tokyo and Kyoto. In the northern region of this divide lies Hida, a city in the Gifu Prefecture that has maintained a vibrant woodworking tradition for over 1,300 years (the first use of the term Hida no takuma, or “master craftsman of Hida,” first appeared in a written document in 467 AD). Wood bending machines introduced to the region from Germany and Austria between 1906 and 1909 led to the flourishing of the region's industry; perhaps most notable among them is Hida Sangyo Co., Ltd., a furniture manufacturer established in 1920 whose work now adorns the Japanese imperial palace and regularly exhibits at the Milan Furniture Fair. Japan House Los Angeles, one of three global exhibition spaces conceived by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is currently displaying Hida Sangyo Co.’s signature products with an in-depth look at what goes on behind the scenes. The show, Hida: A Woodwork Tradition in the Makingdemonstrates the range of handcrafted products originated by Hida Sangyo a century after its founding, as well as the range of creative talent the company has called upon, including designers Kenya Hara, Enzo Mari, and even architect Kengo Kuma. Exhibition designer Daigo Daikoku interspersed woodworking tools and untreated wood samples throughout to underscore the work's deep connection to handicraft. A table demonstrating the company's patented wood bending technology, for instance, reveals how an unremarkable block of wood is shaped into a finely-detailed chair back and set of armrest using only three steps. Another table features six glass domes containing wood samples—among them, cypress, Japanese magnolia, five-needle pine, and sansho pepper. Visitors are encouraged to lift the domes, “take a deep breath and experience the abundance of Hida's beautiful forests through all five senses.” Nearly all six, I was convinced, could easily be distilled and sold as cologne for the rugged consumer market with little alteration. Along the back wall, Daikoku included a series of wooden toys of his own design. His stacked, compressed wood blocks and the interlocking boards both recall toy designs produced by Charles and Ray Eames, the mid-century duo that also found success in experimenting with wood and wood bending devices. “Please enjoy the charm of wood in tune with the soul and aesthetic of Japanese craft," Daikoku implored the viewer, “and imagine you are walking through the forests of Hida.” The exhibition succeeds in showcasing the phenomenal tactile qualities of wood and its seemingly limitless potential as a resource for design. Hida: A Woodwork Tradition in the Making will be on display until April 12.
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Getty Research Institute acquires collection of drawings and sketches by Lebbeus Woods

On Friday, the Getty Research Institute (GRI) at the Getty Center in Los Angeles acquired a two-part collection of drawings and sketches by Lebbeus Woods, the visionary American architect and Cooper Union professor that passed away in 2012. The acquisition includes 46 drawings from the architect's A-City and 4 Cities and Beyond projects (ca. 1982-1997), a body of work that, according to a statement from the GRI, "constitute[s] a powerful expression of Lebbeus Woods's mid-1980s critique of contemporary architecture and the urban environment," as well as a 30-page sketchbook (1986-1988) the New York-based architect produced during an extended visit to Los Angeles. Together, the illustrations demonstrate Woods' exquisite pen, ink and pencil draftsmanship, as well as his penchant for drawing daring or impossible structures. The acquisition was made with partial support from the Getty Research Institute Council with the hopes of providing scholars and researchers of architectural history an up-close look at Woods' creative process. “As a teacher who linked drawing to theory, Lebbeus Woods’ influence on generations of architects is difficult to overstate,” wrote Maristella Casciato, senior curator of architecture at the GRI, in a press release. The two-part collection completes the institute's collection of A-City drawings, following its previous acquisition of six in the series as a donation, and it also complements two other special collections previously acquired by the institute: Drawings for the Berlin Free Zone Project (1990) and Lebbeus Woods Journals, 1988–1997. “With these acquisitions," said Casciato, "the Getty Research Institute is the largest repository for Lebbeus Woods’ theoretical thinking on the city.” As of last Friday, the GRI now boasts an extraordinary collection of architectural documentation, including the extensive work of Archigram, John Lautner, and Rudolph Schindler. Aside from the Light Pavilion completed in 2011 in Chengdu, China, Woods' groundbreaking designs primarily exists on paper, making the recent acquisition by the GRI particularly significant.
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Abatement sparks confusion over LACMA demolition

Contrary to earlier reports elsewhere, demolition work at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) hasn’t officially begun. Instead, the abatement process is underway with crews working to figure out best practices for removing asbestos and advancing environmental remediation at the site.  According to Save LACMA, the nonprofit responsible for the recent petition to stop the project, the actual tearing down of structures has yet to take place and could still be put on hold if LACMA doesn’t come up with enough money for the controversial new design. A specific timeline to demolish the four aging buildings in question—starting with the William Pereira-designed Ahmanson, Bing, and Hammer Buildings, all constructed in 1965, and the 115,000-square-foot Art of the Americas building from 1986 by Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates—has not been released. Images from local residents on Twitter show that workers have just started the gutting process by knocking a hole into the Ahmanson Building. Rob Hollman, director of Save LACMA, told AN that abatement could take months since the laws surrounding the exposure of hazardous materials are so strict in California. “It gives us more time to work on halting or slowing down the demolition as well as the opportunity to have LACMA and the County reconsider what they’re planning to do.”  Hollman and his team believe a key determinate of moving forward is based on a large discrepancy in how much the project will cost and how much the arts organization actually has in its pocket or can realistically fundraise. “LACMA has been carrying a $30 million deficit,” he said. “They will need to go back to the county to ask for more funds at some point and there’s a possibility that the county will freeze those funds. We believe if enough evidence is shown and critical public sentiment continues then we will have a real opportunity to have a greater discussion about the kind of shape LACMA is in.” In total, the megaproject is slated to cost the museum $650 million. Based on LACMA’s 990 Forms from 2012-2017, which AN accessed through GuideStar, Atelier Peter Zumthor, the lead design architect, was paid about $10.6 million already. Skidmore, Owings & Merill, brought in as consultants later in the process, were reportedly paid $10 million as well. More recently, the museum has spent $6 million in moving and storage of its assets ahead of anticipated demolition.  “That annual cost (for storage) will balloon exponentially over the next several years as this project continues,” said Hollman. “It also doesn’t account for the over $1 million a year that LACMA pays in office space across the street and we know there will be none in the new building, nor storage. The expenses are just going to skyrocket.” Last November, Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight published findings that LACMA’s fundraising efforts for the project had stalled. He estimated that the museum, headed by director Michael Govan, likely had about $80 million left in the bank account for the building project. “Weak philanthropy,” as Knight said, isn’t the culprit when it comes to such a large financial discrepancy. 
“The new plan is to convert some of the permanent collection into temporary theme shows in a building that is actually smaller than what already exists—the Incredible Shrinking Museum—while outsourcing other parts of the LACMA collection to ill-defined future satellites to be scattered around the country. The distinctive value of encyclopedic collection, which brings global art together in one place, gets undermined. What has taken half a century of curatorial and philanthropic labor to assemble is about to be dissolved.” 
All that’s at sake sits upon a shakey system of cost estimation, according to Knight. For years, Govan and his team have been setting the fundraising goals and coming up short at the end of the tax year. In 2018, pledges came up $40 million short. This also explains why the project’s timeline keeps getting pushed back and is now set for completion in 2023. In his article, Knight argued the biggest issue is that no one in L.A. wants to pay for Govan’s “shortsighted” vision for LACMA.  Now that more information has been revealed on the museum’s money problems, Save LACMA and critics of the project are still aiming to get a measure placed on the next Los Angeles County ballot that would allow the community to vote on the Zumthor redesign and Govan’s plan. Though it’s technically a publicly-owned project, Hollman thinks the public has barely been involved and that there’s still time for a fight.  “We’ve never even seen the numbers related to renovating the buildings, especially the Pereira ones,” said Hollman. “These decisions have been made behind closed doors and, even though LACMA is benefiting from taxpayer dollars, there is little known about how much this is actually going to cost in the end.” Going ahead with demolition, Hollman believes, is a “bluff to motivate” people to give more money to a sinking ship.