According to the Los Angeles Conservancy, yet another John Lautner building is in imminent danger. This time it's the architect's Crippled Children's Society Rehabilitation Center, now known as the AbilityFirst Paul Weston Work Center, in Woodland Hills. Current owner AbilityFirst and Oakmont Senior Living, the potential buyer, submitted for a demolition and new construction permit in February, hoping to build a new Eldercare facility on the site, and the project was presented at a city Zoning Administration public hearing this week. At the meeting the Conservancy stressed that the structure was identified through the city’s SurveyLA survey process in 2013 as eligible for listing in both the California Register and as a local Los Angeles landmark. But it was not identified by LA City Planning as a historic resource in the project’s environmental review. In a letter to LA City Planning the Conservancy said the review's conclusion that the new building will have "no impact" was based on "flawed analysis," and called for the city to reject its findings. The building, designed in 1979, was built on a unique circular, pie-shaped plan, with wings radiating from a central office. The conservancy is trying to stop it from joining Lautner's Shusett House (below) in Beverly Hills, which was torn down in 2010. The Conservancy is asking people to write to LA City planning about the building by Tuesday.
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Neil Denari's firm NMDA was recently awarded the commission for the Wildwood School, a 65,000 square foot building for 500 students on Olympic Boulevard in West Los Angeles. Other firms considered for the commission included Koning Eizenberg and Gensler. Since the selection was based on a team, not a scheme, "We are starting from scratch basically," Denari said, adding that the "politics, culture, and academic agendas of the school are directly in line with our ideas as architects." Stay tuned to see how that translates into a design. Meanwhile Denari is waiting for approval on another ground up structure in the area: 9000 Wilshire, a curvaceous, highly three dimensional speculative office building in Beverly Hills.
Everything Loose Will Land Graham Foundation 4 West Burton Place, Chicago Through July 26 Everything Loose Will Land explores the intersection of art and architecture in Los Angeles during the 1970s. The show’s title refers to a Frank Lloyd Wright quote that if you “tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.” This freeness alludes to the fact that this dislodging did not lead to chaos but rather a multidisciplinary artistic community that redefined LA. The exhibition features one hundred and twenty drawings, photographs, media works, sculptures, prototypes, models, and ephemera. The presentations function as a kind of archive of architectural ideas that connect a variety of disciplines. Projects by Carl Andre, Ed Moses, Peter Alexander, Michael Asher, James Turrell, Maria Nordman, Robert Irwin, Frank Gehry, Richard Serra, Coy Howard, Craig Ellwood, Peter Pearce, Morphosis, Bruce Nauman, Craig Hodgetts, Jeff Raskin, Ed Ruscha, Noah Purifoy, Paolo Soleri, Ray Kappe, Denise Scott Brown, Archigram, L.A. Fine Arts Squad, Bernard Tschumi, Eleanor Antin, Peter Kamnitzer, Cesar Pelli, Andrew Holmes, Elizabeth Orr, and others are explored. Curated by Sylvia Lavin, Director of Critical Studies in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA, the show began its journey at the MAK Center for Architecture and then traveled to the Yale School of Architecture before arriving at the Graham Foundation.
With Eli Broad hyping his DSR-designed Broad Museum in Downtown Los Angeles, we thought it would be appropriate to share The Broad that never was: OMA's runner up proposal. As featured in this author's book, Never Built Los Angeles, Rem Koolhaas's firm proposed a "floating" box covered in a lacy-patterned metal screen and cantilevered via steel brace frames above Grand Avenue. Lifting the structure would have created much needed civic space in the area, offering a public zone under the museum and complementing two new plazas to the south and the west of the building. Escalators would have travelled diagonally up from street level to the ethereal upper gallery floors, which would have been lit by multiple skylights. There's a lot to like here, and still some questions about the lack of public commentary before the winning scheme was chosen. Check out many more renderings of the scheme below.
Having observed the absence of architecture and design materials from the American art collection scene, curator and scholar Christopher W. Mount decided to fill the gap himself. His eponymous Los Angeles gallery, housed in the Pacific Design Center, opens to the public on Friday, May 23 with A Modern Master: Photographs by Balthazar Korab. A second gallery, open by appointment, will be located on the Upper West Side in New York. “I really thought that this was the time,” said Mount. “I thought, ‘Here is a subject matter that major museums collect, and there hasn’t been somebody who opened a gallery.’” A former curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at MoMA, Mount more recently had a bumpy ride as guest curator of A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California, part of the Getty Research Institute’s Pacific Standard Time series. He describes his new gallery as “a labor of love” and a natural extension of his museum work. “When people talk about what is it you really like to do, the answer [for me] is to find works, put them on the wall...and educate people on architecture and design. Get people to appreciate it as something that is equal in aesthetic pleasure and beauty to regular fine art,” said Mount. The works his gallery will display—including photography, drawings, and, possibly, architecture models—“is often towards another end, but is often beautiful in and of itself.” As for choosing LA as his headquarters, “I think part of the reason to be based in Los Angeles is...[that] the architecture profession is much less strictly commercial,” said Mount. “Certainly these people are wildly successful, but they tend to be more experimental.” At the same time, his work on A New Sculpturalism left Mount with a sense of how disconnected the New York architecture world is from what is happening in Los Angeles. “The idea is to promote this work, promote the designers and the architects, and hopefully we’ll promote it throughout the world,” he said. After the Korab show, which closes August 29, the Christopher W. Mount Gallery will exhibit photographs by architectural photographer Benny Chan. Mount also plans a show featuring drawings by prominent mid-century car designers, timed to coincide with the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.
[beforeafter] [/beforeafter] In sad but spectacular gossip news, we’ve been informed that Culver City firm SPF:a has been removed from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences' new museum project in Los Angeles. SPF:a principal Zoltan Pali had been working with Renzo Piano on the project since 2012. The design for what is now called the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures includes a renovation of AC Martin’s Streamline Moderne May Company Building (1939) on Wilshire and Fairfax avenues and a new 140-foot-diameter glass and steel globe sited behind the existing building, which would contain, among other things, a 1,000-seat theater. The Academy has declined to comment on the matter, and AN has so far been unable to reach SPF:a. After first receiving the commission, Pali told AN, “It is a full collaboration in every aspect. We work together very well. I love working with Renzo.”
After a continuous 36-hour concrete pour last weekend, Boston’s Millennium Tower is ready to rise above the city skyline. The day-and-a-half-long pour of 6,000 cubic yards for the Handel Architects–designed project is being called a “record concrete pour” by local press—and it probably is, at least in terms of hours spent pouring. But if you crunch the numbers, as AN did, the pour in Beantown reveals that the tower’s concrete took its sweet, sweet time to flow. We’ll explain. In February, a pour for the Wilshire Grand tower in Los Angeles set three times as much concrete—21,200 cubic yards—in just 18 hours. That’s twice the velocity of the Millennium Tower flow—or in Boston parlance, that’s wicked fast! And that pour was quite literally a record breaker, it won the Guinness World Record for "largest continuous concrete pour." Hour-by-hour, the Wilshire Grand beat the Millennium Tower with 1,178 cubic yards of concrete poured to just 166. The slow pour is not entirely surprising for the project, which has been pretty slow moving in its own right since the start. When the project is finally complete in 2016, it will be 625-feet tall, making it the tallest residential tower in the city.
According to LA Downtown News, while AEG's proposed downtown football stadium, Farmers Field, remains on hold, the city's Bureau of Engineering will most likely be holding a three-team design competition to rebuild part of its sister project: the LA Convention Center, down the street. AEG's Populous-designed plan for the convention center, whose funding depends on the construction of Farmers Field, calls for demolishing the older of the center's two buildings, the West Hall, and building a new structure that continues to the south, bridging Pico Boulevard. “The plan is shovel-ready at this point,” AEG’s Brad Gessner, told Downtown News. But if that proposal is unable to go ahead by its October 18 deadline, the city is preparing to solicit teams for a "Plan B," a more modest renovation of the existing convention center. Vicki Curry, spokesperson for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, told AN that the Bureau of Engineering is considering a three firm design competition for this plan, but that its Task Order Solicitation—involving a general request for qualifications— has not yet been released.
The latest installation at Silver Lake gallery Materials & Applications, Warren Techentin's La Cage Aux Folles, truly brought out the inner monkey in Los Angeles' architecture community this weekend. The cage-like structure is made of a vast series of curved structural steel tubes, which simultaneously rigidify the piece and create unique spaces in and around it. They also, it turns out, created an ideal climbing apparatus for partygoers at its opening this Saturday, who got to know every square inch of the 17-foot-tall construction. One ambitious young explorer actually got stuck in the center of the piece and had to get fished out by an experienced climber. "It was free performance art for everybody," joked Techentin, who said he never anticipated visitors climbing so aggressively on the piece. He added that the form was originally inspired by the small structural members of yurts that he saw on a trip to Mongolia, slowly becoming something much more abstract. La Cage is open until August 29, and next month will host a series of interactive performances.
This Friday hundreds of filmmakers, non-profits, and citizens will take place in One Day In LA, a "media creation event" compiling videos that investigate the future of the city. The resulting shoots, which are being collected on onedayla.org, will be shared in an interactive archive and (in edited form) on a television series on public TV about the future of the American city. Questions that the organizers encourage video makers to investigate include: What do you love about your city? What is the best thing happening in your city today? And what are your city’s biggest challenges? They want the broadest participation possible. "This is definitely open to everyone," said Rory Mitchell, a producer for onedayla. "You don't have to be a filmmaker. If you want to point your camera or even your iPhone camera and explore Los Angeles you should do it." Mitchell added: "It's going to be kind of an amazing time capsule. People who have never been to these places will hear stories from places they've never been to. There's an incredible amount of talent. Hundreds and hundreds and thousands of filmmakers running around shooting stuff." Ten other cities are hosting filming on the same day as part of yourdayyourcity.org, including Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Detroit, The Lower Rio Grande Valley, New Orleans, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, and The Twin Cities. If you're interested sign up here. "We see this as being expandable to other cities across the world to spark a conversation about what people want for the future of their cities," said Mitchell.
On April 11, Los Angeles–based firm B+U will open their latest installation, called Apertures, at SCI-Arc Gallery. The structure, already assembled inside the space, is 16-feet-tall and made up of 233 1/8-inch-thick plastic panels. Its warped shape resembles a natural organ or organism (a heart? a strange alien plant?), and in many ways it acts like one. Its thin shell structure relies on its molded surfaces for support. Each of its CNC-milled, heat-formed panels is unique in shape, and, through seven heat sensors, it responds to visitors via sound, which will be directed from the floor. The piece's name—Apertures—refers to the many varied (both in size and shape) openings in the structure, which act, as B+U principal Herwig Baumgartner described, "not as punched openings, but as three-dimensional objects." Baumgartner noted that installation makes a good case for thin shell structures in architecture, a field that colleagues like Tom Wiscombe and Greg Lynn are also exploring with industries like shipbuilding and aerospace: "Why do we have this approach with so many layers? Why can't we reduce them and make them do more?" said Baumgartner. The structure was engineered by LA company Nous.
Ray Eames: In the Spotlight Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery Art Center College of Design, Hillside Campus 1400 Lida Street, Pasadena Through May 4 Ray Eames: In the Spotlight features; letters, sketches, notes, photographs, paintings, films, process drawings, furniture, and collections that follow the great American designer’s interests and interactions with key places, people and institutions. Taken altogether, the presentation is an intimate study of Ray Eames’ world and seeks to get to the heart of her intensive hands-on creative process and the “way-it-should be-ness” that defined how Ray and Charles Eames lived and worked. In the Spotlight allows visitors to make their own connections to this great body of work, to explore their own creativity, and to apply Eames’ tools to their own lives.