In September, AN reported on the three proposals to replace Los Angeles' iconic but crumbling Sixth Street Viaduct by HNTB, AECOM, and Parsons Brinckerhoff. The three teams have notably added pedestrian amenities and adjacent lush landscaping to the 3,500-foot-long cable-stayed span. While the renderings were compelling for each design, these video renderings fly the viewer in and around each proposal for a more detail view of what might soon be built in LA. Take a look. Courtesy AECOM Courtesy Parsons Brinckerhoff Courtesy HNTB [Via Curbed LA.]
Posts tagged with "Los Angeles":
Little, leafy-green patches are sprouting up over Los Angeles as part of the city’s “50 Parks Initiative,” a public-private program designed to revive some of the city’s neediest, most densely populated communities. To date, there are actually 53 of these pocket parks planned, with one of the first parks, 49th Street Park in South Los Angeles, opening earlier this month. When completed, the small parks combined will cover a total of 170 acres, and many of the individual parks will be under an acre. Not only are the parks small, but they will be somewhat self-sufficient. Requiring only four to six months to build, these micro-recreation areas will be decked out with “no mow” grass, drought tolerant plants, smart irrigation, and solar-powered, self-contained waste bins that can hold five times the average amount of trash. And to keep intruders out after hours, automatic time-lock gates and solar motion-activated cameras will be installed. Adding to the good news, these pocket parks tap unused lands. Many will be located on foreclosed properties that cannot be rehabilitated or tucked away on vacant parking lots. Designed to serve people within walking distance of the park, they offer a hyper-local community center. Funding for the parks comes from federal grants such as the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and from over a dozen other sources including local, state, private, nonprofit, and corporate donations. A special nod goes to the Department of Recreation and Parks Board of Commissioners and the Los Angeles Parks Foundation who are the driving forces behind this initiative. Parks and Rec will be overseeing park designs and working with neighborhood residents and organizations.
We’re big fans of Gensler’s new downtown LA offices, which open up to a central atrium, keeping employees visually and physically connected. But the firm’s growth has forced it to partially abandon that model, moving extra employees to the decidedly-less-airy upper floors of their building, City National Plaza. Even in the most democratic offices, you can’t escape hierarchy!
Frank Gehry has won every architecture award you can think of, from the Pritzker to the AIA Gold Medal. Now he has one named after him, thanks to his $100,000 donation to SCI-Arc. The Gehry Prize will be awarded annually to the school's best graduate thesis. The first prize will be handed out this Sunday at SCI-Arc's graduation. Gehry has been a SCI-Arc trustee since 1990, and has been involved with the school since its inception in 1972. Which reminds us: SCI-Arc will be 40 next year.
Despite the recent opening of LA County’s Grand Park, County Supervisor Gloria Molina generally seems to have it in for contemporary design. Add to her list of architect victims Lehrer Architects, whose striking San Angelo Community Center north of Los Angeles was set to move forward, receiving community reviews and preliminary local sign off. In stepped Molina, who apparently didn’t like the modern look of the project. She killed it immediately. Now that’s power.
Two congressmen really seem to have it in for the planned new U.S. courthouse and federal building in downtown Los Angeles, for which several prominent LA firms have been shortlisted. According to the LA Times, California Representative Jeff Denham earlier this month called the proposal a "sham," insisting that the judiciary should be able to share courtrooms more efficiently at their current spaces (there are currently two federal courthouses downtown). "I get it, I know these judges would love to have a much bigger, palatial courtroom with lots of extra room and big conference rooms," Denham said. "The question is, can we afford it?" Denham was joined by Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Shuster, who noted: "It's outrageous that judges insist upon having their own courtrooms when they don't use them, when they spend much of the time vacant." But according to the General Services Administration (GSA) the courthouse is still moving ahead as planned, and an architect should be named this fall. An RFQ for the federal building will be released this fall as well. The GSA is looking for a private sector developer to buy the Spring Street Courthouse in order to help pay for the latter project.
California's Designing Women The Autry in Griffith Park 4700 Western Heritage Way Los Angeles Through January 6, 2013 It was uncommon for women to practice industrial design throughout late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, California’s newness and frequent population growth provided various opportunities for women to get involved with the creation and production of design. Autry National Center’s California’s Designing Women, 1896–1986 with works from over fifty women designers from California celebrates female designers who made major contributions to Californian and American design. The exhibition displays approximately 240 examples of textiles, ceramics, furniture, lighting, tapestries, jewelry, clothing, and graphics all inspired by California’s amalgam of society which include Indigenous American, Chinese, Japanese, Anglo, and Mexican cultures. Upholding California’s reputation for unlimited creativity, the displayed work includes materials such as wood, abalone, glass cotton, steel, silver, acetate, acrylic, and fiberglass, spanning a century of design movements from arts and crafts to art deco to mid-century modern and beyond.
Art's power can be magnified by architecture. French artist Xavier Veilhan knew that well when he took over two of LA's most famous houses last week: Richard Neutra's VDL Research House and Pierre Koenig's Case Study House 21. The installation at the VDL, called Architectones, consisted of VDL-inspired sculptures in the garden, the front yard, in most of the home's rooms, on the rooftop, and even in the reflecting pool. Nods to Neutra himself and to the modernist movement included a large steel profile of the architect, as well as an evocative mobile and models of rather menacing-looking boats, flags, rockets, and cars. A couple of days later came the finale: a haunting performance installation at CSH 21 that transformed reflecting pools with black ink and made the transparent house opaque with dry ice-produced smoke.
Los Angeles is putting a new spin on an old technology, returning to one of the oldest forms of irrigation: the water wheel. Aqueducts have played a significant role in Los Angeles’ history, such as a waterwheel placed on the Zanja Madre—the Mother Ditch—in the 1860s that brought water from Rio Porciuncula to the Los Angeles River. As a dedication for the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, a new waterwheel designed by Metabolic Studio's Lauren Bon, will be installed near the same site by November 5th, 2013. Bon, an Annenberg heiress, artist, and philanthropist, gained notoriety for her Not a Cornfield installation that involved transforming 32 acres of brownfields into a fertile planting ground. The new waterwheel, dubbed “La Noria,” is expected to move 28 million gallons of water per year to irrigate the state park, potentially saving over $100,000 a year. As La Noria flows with the LA River, the diverted water would be filtered, and transported through a pipe towards the 32-acre state park, leaving the rest of the river to continue on its way to the ocean. The project already has already been funded by, you guessed it, the Annenberg Foundation, but gaining permission for the the wheel is expected to be a more difficult venture. Approvals and permits must be issued by multiple agencies including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Department of Public Health, City Departments of Water and Power, Planning, Building and Safety, the Bureau of Engineering, and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. La Noria has already been given the green light by the Los Angeles River Cooperation Committee and Bon is confident she will be able to finish by the expected deadline in November.
Femmes are front, center, and all around in Los Angeles' Architecture and Design museum’s third installation of its summer series, Come In! Usually a fun-filled event, this year’s exhibition strikes a chord in an industry often criticized for not being more gender equal. Issue aside, this year’s Come In! Les Femmes exhibit offers a look into the unique perspective of 25 women from varied art and design disciplines. As expected, in dealing with gender, one can’t escape the occasional critique of women’s roles in society and this exhibition is no exception. By juxtaposing blissful bridal images with symbols of domestic drudgery like irons and cookware, graphic designer Petrula Vrontikis asks us to contemplate the thin line that divides princess from domestic peasant in what she calls, “Brides = Maids.” Meanwhile, rather than using a standard canopy, installation artist Amy Jean Boebel fashioned a charcoal aluminum wire mesh into a giant frilly top in “Noesis.” Inside, a television set broadcasts the changing roles of women through the years. Apparel was also architect Doris Sung’s starting point. Inspired by age-old corsets, Sung creates a sculpture made out of thermobimetal that contracts and expands according to ambient heat. Other artists chose to co-opt traditional women’s implements, turning them toward new uses. Tanya Aguiniga, known more for her rope necklaces and textiles, surprises with a beautiful surface treatment inspired by cake decorating. Soft peaks and swirls dyed in subtle colors twirl and churn on an otherwise boring wall. While Aguiniga wields the cake decorator, Gwen Samuels takes to needle and thread, stitching together digital images of little cities, appropriately called “Metropolis.” Still others took an environmental stance. A strange machine of tubes, vacuums, and pink and blue liquid mysteriously stands on the far end, blurring the line between organic and man-made. A work of Alison Petty Ragguette, it looks almost human one minute, mechanical the next. Minarc's entry was more straightforward. Fashioning a waterfall of water bottles, the exhibition sheds light on humanity’s continual disruption of nature’s water cycles. Not everyone was quite so serious. Design, Bitches, in collaboration with Meiko Takechi Arquillos, designed a photo booth complete with props to recreate design’s most iconic shots. Think Eameses on a motorcycle. Paper becomes play object in artist Rebecca Niederlander's “The Devil’s Workshop.” Niederlander asks visitors to take part in some dastardly deed by adding to an ever-growing papercut installation that crawls from the wall to the ceiling. While we’re being tempted to add to the chaos, Jennifer Wolf quite literally waves a pink flag. Wolf hung huge textiles dyed red and pink from cochineal extract attached them to the museum’s posts and turned the small Wilshire space into a small ship ready to set sail for destinations unknown. Much like the effect of Wolf’s installation, this year’s Come In! is a tour de femme of discovery. A walk around the gallery will surely get you wondering and pondering, “What will these women think of next?” As part of its annual exhibition, A+D, the LA Forum, and the Association for Women in Architecture + Design are hosting a Pecha Kucha event celebrating women architects, designers, and artists in Los Angeles. Femmes Fatales VI will be held on July 26, 2012 at the A+D Museum. Details here. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow.
Downturn? What downturn? It looks like Downtown Los Angeles will get its first mixed-use development in some time when construction begins on the Eighth and Grand project on the south edge of downtown. Developer Sonny Astani recently sold the land to limited liability corporation CPIVG8, who the LA Times says will probably start work “in the next couple months.” The $300 million building is set to have 700 residential units, a rooftop pool, 36,000 square feet of retail and nearly an acre of open space (and perhaps too many parking spaces: 737). Renderings show a wavy glass, steel and concrete facade, but that design appears to still be schematic. In fact no architect has been mentioned in any story on the project and calls to the developer about an architect have not been returned. We'll keep you posted when a design and an architect are confirmed.
Yesterday will be remembered as a historic day for Los Angeles planning wonks. First, city council approved the Hollywood Community Plan, which, among other things, paves the way for increased density near transit, more mixed-use development, and more integrated transit plans in the ever-improving entertainment center of LA. Right afterward, we learned from Curbed LA that the council also approved the Comprehensive Zoning Code Revision Ordinance, which will help the city—through a new trust fund—overhaul its zoning code for the first time since 1946. According to LA City Planning, the new code, when completed, will "include clear and predictable language that will offer a wider variety of zoning options to more effectively implement the goals and objectives of the General Plan and accommodate the City's future needs and development opportunities." In other words, simpler, streamlined zoning tailored to individual neighborhoods and needs. Also in the mix, the new codes will include a dynamic, web-based zoning code, a layperson's guide to zoning, and a unified downtown development code. Hallelujah!