The red carpet is not a place where architects usually spend their time. But on Sunday Diller Scofidio + Renfro took home a Breakthrough Award, for their work in architecture. The prizes, handed out at the Pacific Design Center (AN was there believe it or not..) went to emerging performers like The Kids Are Alright's Josh Hutcherson (Actor in Film) and Modern Family's Sophia Vergara (Actress in TV). So how did Architecture wind up on the roster? "We've noticed that architects are starting to be known by name again," said Jan Hall, Marketing Director for MMC, which runs the competition. On Monday, we'll find out if DS+R win Eli Broad's coveted new museum commission downtown. If they do, they'll no doubt catapult into the elite starchitect sphere... Perhaps this is a harbinger of things to come?
Posts tagged with "Los Angeles":
We're still reeling from the tragic death of Stephen Kanner, and now we have learned that two more of LA's brightest lights, Elaine Jones and John Chase, have also died. Jones was A. Quincy Jones' widow, and Chase was the urban designer for the City of West Hollywood. Both were valuable advocates for architecture and good friends. We're still gathering information and will get it to you as soon as we can.
Back in April we took a sneak peak at CO Architects' $107 million renovation of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County's 1913 building. The project is finally done, and includes major seismic and structural upgrades, new exhibit installation, as well as the uncovering of original details like the ceramic-tiled exterior dome; an original stained glass skylight; and original marble walls. The museum re-opened a couple weeks ago, but only now released a whole batch of great pictures (courtesy of Tom Bonner). And they're worth looking at. We especially appreciate the floating
dinosaurs animals hung from the ceiling via carefully placed wires just below large skylights. Enjoy!
Correction: The title of this post was originally "Floating Dinosaurs, Etc in LA." There are in fact no dinosaurs pictured in the exhibit.
A ceremonial groundbreaking for a $56 million downtown LA Civic Center park will be held on Thursday, July 15 at 9 a.m. Designed by Rios Clementi Hale, the 12-acre park is located between the LA County Music Center and City Hall and is set to be completed in 2012. Tomorrow’s festivities will include cooking demonstrations, yoga, music, art, storytelling and education on drought-tolerant plants--activities which demonstrate ways the park will be used by the community in two years. Children from the Para los Niños program have been invited to join the park activities and watch the half-hour program where city leaders will use a giant valve to turn off the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain. This symbolic gesture demonstrates how the park will be home to a wide range of drought-resistant trees and flowers and how it will alleviate one of the chief complaints people have about Los Angeles: It’s one big slab of concrete. The park will have a performance area, large lawn, movable chairs and a dog park. LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina, City Councilwoman Jan Perry and Grand Avenue Committee Chairman Nelson Rising will participate in the symbolic ceremony at 500 West Temple Street. The program starts at 9 a.m. but activities, including refreshments, will commence at 8:30 a.m.
Last month we learned that the Green Hive, a non-profit supporting green building and eco-friendly ideas, was kicked out of its future home in Downtown LA by the LA Community College District. So we were wondering: What are they doing now? First the backstory: A top building official with the LACCD last year signed a $190,000 contract “on behalf of” the district’s executive director of facilities planning and development, Larry Eisenberg. Eisenburg worked with The Green Hive’s two business partners, Kris Kimble and Kim Robinson, and LACCD spent over $1 million in district money to help The Green Hive design its 6,000-square-feet office space at 811 Wilshire Boulevard. But this April, the president of LACCD’s board of trustees informed Kimble and Robinson that the project was never approved. This notice came as a surprise since The Green Hive has “five binders of correspondence between it and district officials,” reported the Daily Breeze. Without the 811 Wilshire location, The Green Hive lost its business model and its corporate sponsors cannot be utilized, Kimble told The Architect’s Newspaper. And here’s what’s happening now: Kimble has been able to connect with organizations in Orange County, Sacramento and San Diego. They are interested in either hiring The Green Hive as consultants or uniting forces. The Frontier Project, a nonprofit seeking green alternatives, is interested in co-branding with the group. Kimble said The Green Hive will help them build their resources in their facility, but this potential brand partnership will not dissipate The Green Hive’s original business model, which--at the moment--has been put on hold indefinitely. “We’re just trying to stay alive,” Kimble said. Without office space, this green idea will rot even though it has over a dozen corporate sponsors and funding for eight internships. Even though the complete come-see-and-touch business model has been put on hold, Kimble said he still champions the green movement and urges those in the corporate and private sector to donate to The Green Hive Foundation so that The Green Hive could continue providing online resources.
In a selection process with more leaks than the Titanic (or, ahem, the Gulf of Mexico) the LA Times reports (thanks to a number of anonymous sources) that Eli Broad is favoring Diller Scofidio + Renfro for his new contemporary art museum. In a previous leak the Times reported the narrowing of firms to Diller Scofidio and Rem Koolhaas's OMA. This of course follows the leak that we first reported in March: that Broad was favoring downtown for the museum instead of Santa Monica. Of course none of this is official. In fact Broad hasn't even formally announced a shortlist or a location. And he's still waiting for city approval to lease the Bunker Hill site for $1 per year for 99 years (the LA CRA now owns the site, just next to the Walt Disney Concert Hall). But all this insider information is giving Washington politics and Wall Street banking a run for its money. Man, this Broad guy really knows how to play cities, and the media, doesn't he? He should become a businessman or something. Meanwhile, is any firm hotter than Diller Scofidio + Renfro?
What's that on the roof of Hollywood's Standard Hotel? Is it a....giant light bulb? Well, yes. Artist Piero Golia has installed a permanent, orb-shaped light (clad in acryclic, lit by eight fluorescent tubes, and sitting on a large steel spindle and crown) on the roof, called Luminous Sphere, that is quite visible from traffic below. It looks a little bit like a glowing golf ball on a steel tee. In a particularly quirky (and egotistical?) move, the light will go on when Golia is in town and off when he is out of town (it can be controlled via the internet). The project was organized by Culver City's LA><ART and executed by Zellnerplus architects, Buro Happold engineers, and Benchmark Scenery fabricators. LA><ART, which focuses on site-specific work while also maintaining its own gallery, is celebrating its fifth anniversary. Sphere launches its LA Public Domain (L.A.P.D, get it?) program (also sponsored by local group For Your Art) , promoting artistic interventions in experimental contexts. Now is that lightbulb a halogen?
WAY TO GO CLIVE The unofficial mayor of Silver Lake, Barbara Bestor, once again transformed local Mexican restaurant Casita del Campo into a sweaty mosh pit for architects and other designers at the end of March. Among those dancing like teenagers were Clive Wilkinson and his beautiful, young (mee-ow alert!) girlfriend Cheryl Lee Scott, a local real estate agent. Back when we reported on his fantastic new house in West Hollywood, we couldn’t help but notice that it seemed an empty place for a bachelor. SEPARATED AT BIRTH Of the two Johns involved with San Francisco’s Public Architecture—that’s John Cary, who was the executive director, and John Peterson, the founder—the former has announced his departure from the nonprofit organization, without any other immediate plans. Peterson, who has been the public face of the pro-bono, 1-percent work program, will continue as president. Said Cary: “I got the organization up and running, and we’ve been able to build a great staff and attract incredible firms to our cause.” With Peterson having come on board full-time in 2008 as president, however, Cary’s 100-percent commitment didn’t seem to cut it. He can at least go out on a high note, that being The Power of Pro Bono, his magnum opus due out from Metropolis Books/Distributed Art Publishers this fall. WHO KNEW? Looks like it takes a massive slowdown to discover that architects know how to do something other than solve design problems. Design collective De Lab (Design East of La Brea) took advantage of the moment and invited a gaggle of creative LA architects and designers to sell their artistic and non-architectural products at their pop-up store at a manic and crowded LA Artwalk on April 8. This included the irresistibly mischievous dolls of Debi Van Zyl, the live air plants of Kara Bartelt/toHOLD, the vintage and classy stationery of Cartoules Letterpress, the hip accessories of Poketo, the always-trendy Peri Lamps, and many more. Oh, and speaking of hidden talents, we just learned that LA architects David Martin and Glen Irani are both motorcycle racers. Really? When did these folks pick up these skills? Have architects in fact been living, and not just working all this time? Send custom Ducati superbikes to firstname.lastname@example.org
So the iconic HOLLYWOOD sign was nearly turned into the backyard for a bunch of mansions, but fortunately the recession intervened—one of a surprising number of upsides to the downside, it seems. But that doesn't mean those big white letters aren't seeming a little tired, and so a Dutch designer has come up with a rather clever new use that Curbed tipped us off to: turn the sign into a giant hotel. As Christian Bay-Jorgensen explained it to the Daily News, "The ultimate goal would be to preserve an internationally recognized landmark while helping the city generate badly needed funding." If that weren't bad enough, our pal Alissa Walker points us to Jeffrey Inaba's plan to uproot the individual letters, loaning them out to areas of town in need of cache. The design provocateur explains after the jump, plus images of both, uh, projects.
Unplanned Surplus The Hollywood sign has exceeded its purpose. As a marketing tool for real estate development, it has generated value incommensurate with its own material worth. As a tourist destination, it is more popular than most buildings in LA. In lieu of a singular skyline, the sign is a default backdrop for televised New Year’s countdowns and late night comedy shows. The Hollywood sign has assumed an iconic role in the city far beyond its original ambition. Its value is an unplanned surplus.
Unplanned Surplus The Hollywood sign has exceeded its purpose. As a marketing tool for real estate development, it has generated value incommensurate with its own material worth. As a tourist destination, it is more popular than most buildings in LA. In lieu of a singular skyline, the sign is a default backdrop for televised New Year’s countdowns and late night comedy shows. The Hollywood sign has assumed an iconic role in the city far beyond its original ambition. Its value is an unplanned surplus.Think you've got a better idea?
A couple of months ago we introduced you to the W Hotel in Hollywood, a collaboration of some of the leading design talent in LA. One of those firms, Sussman Prejza, just sent us a video that shows off their all-important fiery red and multi-colored "W" signs, seen throughout the building. In addition to the behemoth 35-foot-tall W on top of the hotel, the firm designed a slew of animated signs, which sparkle thanks to LED's, red and/or crystalline filters, and faceted, laser-cut acrylic surfaces. The signs vary from 2.5 to 5.5 feet tall and are programmed with their own dedicated control computer, 10 network switches, 61 power supplies and over 24,000 LEDs. And you thought all that Hollywood sparkle was simple, didn't you?
Los Angeles' Permanent Supportive Housing program got a much-needed emergency shot of funds this week: a $5.2 million pledge from the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) and Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Though Los Angeles has more homeless people than any other city in the US, only in the last few years has it begun to catch up with other cities' level of services. 2005 saw a city-wide push to build supportive housing, a model borrowed from New York that combines affordable housing with services to help residents deal with mental illness, drug abuse, and disabilities. Top architecture firms helped fill out the new supportive housing landscape, with innovative projects such as Michael Maltzan's 95-unit, radially-arranged New Carver Apartments, Pugh + Scarpa's 46-unit Step Up on Fifth facility in Santa Monica, and Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects' 82-unit Skid Row Housing in downtown Los Angeles. But the economic downturn put a freeze on construction of new supportive housing and has forced program cuts, hiring freezes and layoffs. Out of the over 2,000 units under development since the program was launched five years ago, about 600 are shovel-ready but lack the financing to proceed, due to local government budget crises and frozen credit markets. The CSH and Hilton foundation's $5.2 million in grants and low-interest loans should get most of those projects going again. Since studies show that supportive housing actually saves the city money -- reducing costly time in jails and hospitals -- that may turn out to be not just a good deed, but a smart investment as well.
Even though we already knew who had won ahead of time, we couldn't help getting excited about AIA/LA's ARCH IS__ awards, crowning "two exceptional young architects" at SCI-Arc on Monday night. The winners: Oyler Wu Collaborative and Tom Wiscombe/ Emergent. Both are pushing the envelope in terms of design, materials, engineering, and program, and are even starting to (slowly) build things. Oyler Wu is known for its multi-functional, angular aluminum tube installations like Pendulum Plane at the LA Forum's new gallery space in Hollywood, and Density Fields at the M&A Gallery in Silver Lake. But with a new commission to build one of 100 new houses at the wacky but visionary Ordos development in Inner Mongolia, the firm is creating architecture. The size of their house (like all in the development) is ridiculous at around 10,000 square feet. But the design is quite innovative, featuring folded and faceted concrete geometries and interlocking u-shapes wrapped around a large internal void, lit internally by large light wells. Meanwhile Emergent is way ahead of its time in terms of fusing biology and architecture, with structural and mechanical systems that inter-weave and conduct heat, air, and water, just like natural organisms. Its Garak Fish Market in Korea has a kaleidoscopic roof that features colorful gardens and double pleats which help form the structure and carve out niches for various pieces of program. To see more on these firms check out our next CA issue at the end of this month.