Hell Yeah! We hear from a little birdie that our friend Tom Wiscombe (pictured) may be designing a new museum in downtown Los Angeles dedicated to Los Angeles art. The details are still left to resolve, but we’ve been told he likens the place to a “zombie hive.” You had us at zombie, Tom. (Photo: Courtesy Tom Wiscombe Design)
Posts tagged with "Los Angeles":
In November, the Los Angeles City Council named Armet & Davis' Johnie’s Coffee Shop, the restaurant at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax, a historic cultural landmark. That’s a win for preservationists concerned with the legacy of the Googie style, the auto-oriented, steel-and-neon aesthetic that spawned diners and coffee shops across Southern California from the 1940s through the 1960s. It might also give a leg up to locals interested in seeing Johnie’s returned to its original use. Because Johnie’s Coffee Shop isn’t a coffee shop, and hasn’t been for over a decade. Since 2000, it’s been closed to the public and used exclusively for filming. The restaurant’s film credits, both before and after its conversion to a 24/7 theatrical set, include The Big Lebowski and Reservoir Dogs. But while the best use for a building like Johnie's might have a stronger community orientation, in the meantime its co-optation by the film industry isn't all bad. When it takes over a building, the film industry buys time for preservationists and others hoping to breathe new life into an under-used landmark, Adrian Scott Fine, Director of Advocacy at the Los Angeles Conservancy explained. "It's kind of an advantage that Los Angeles has over other cities," he said. In addition, "People discover buildings through film," Scott said. "Johnie's, some of the films it's been in, it's clearly the star of the film." Approximately two years ago, the Los Angeles Conservancy honored Mad Men and its creator, Matthew Weiner, for the way in which it showcases midcentury modern architecture. Weiner has been active in efforts to preserve Los Angeles landmarks, Fine said, and the show has featured preservation-themed plot lines, including the demolition of New York's Penn Station. This all got us thinking: what other LA architectural landmarks are now used primarily as stage sets? The answer, it turns out, is quite a few. From one of Julia Morgan’s earliest Hearst commissions to a 1958 Pereira & Luckman high-rise, here’s our list of Los Angeles masterworks currently in the hands of the film industry. Herald Examiner Building (Downtown, Broadway and 11th Street) Media magnate William Randolph Hearst commissioned 2014 AIA Gold Medal recipient Julia Morgan to design a new headquarters building for the Los Angeles Examiner newspaper in 1913, ten years after the paper’s founding. When the Herald Examiner, the Los Angeles Examiner’s successor, went under in 1989, the Hearst Corporation held on to the structure. In 2008, Brenda Levin (who cites Julia Morgan as her role model) was set to renovate the building—but then the economy tanked. Plans to rehabilitate the building, and build two Morphosis-designed residential towers adjacent to it, were put on indefinite hold. Today, the Herald Examiner building is used exclusively for filming. Scenes in The Usual Suspects, Dreamgirls, Spider-Man 3, Zoolander, Castle, Bones, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, plus music videos by Eminem, Shakira, and Christina Aguilera were shot there. Interior location sets include an apartment, bar, jail, and police station. Park Plaza Hotel (Westlake, 607 South Park View Street) Art Deco and Corporate Moderne architect Claud Beelman designed the Park Plaza Hotel as Elks Lodge No. 99 in 1925. During the 1932 Olympics, the building hosted several indoor swimming events. The Park Plaza, which is listed as a Los Angeles historic-cultural landmark, features four ballrooms: the Grand Ballroom, whose decorated ceiling beams were modeled after a palace in Florence; the Art Deco Terrace Room, formerly the Elks Lodge meeting room; the Bronze Ballroom, distinguished by its copper-gilded columns; and the smaller Gold Room, named for the gold-leaf detail on its Corinthian columns. Both indoor and outdoor spaces, including the Tuscan Patio, can be rented for filming, weddings, and other events. Greystone Mansion (Beverly Hills, 501 Doheny Road) The lavish Beverly Hills estate known as Greystone Mansion was designed by Gordon B. Kaufmann beginning in 1925 for Edward Laurence Doheny, Jr., son of Los Angeles’s original oil magnate. Kaufmann, who would go on to design both the Hoover Dam and the Los Angeles Times building, designed the fifty-five room mansion in the Tudor style. The estate gained notoriety soon after construction finished, when Doheny, Jr. was found dead of an apparent murder-suicide. The City of Beverly Hills purchased the property in 1955, and built a reservoir on the site. The grounds of the mansion are open to the public, while the interior is available for filming and events. Greystone Mansion is featured in movies including The Muppets, The Social Network, What Women Want, Air Force One, and Ghostbusters. Los Angeles Theatre (Downtown, Broadway and 6th Street) In the ultimate Hollywood irony, the Los Angeles Theatre now just plays one on TV. The film palace was designed in 1931 by S. Charles Lee, after the Fox Theatre in San Francisco. A popular theater designer, Lee’s other Los Angeles buildings include the Alex Theatre, the Saban Theatre (formerly the Fox Wilshire), the Star Theatre, and the Tower Theatre. The Los Angeles Theatre, which the Los Angeles Conservancy calls “[t]he most lavish . . . of Broadway’s great movie palaces,” features a six-story lobby with a Louis XIV-inspired sunburst motif, plus a glass-ceiling ballroom and a nursery decorated with a circus theme. The building is available for rent as a film location, and for special events, live stage performances, and film screenings. "[The film industry] has certainly been instrumental in keeping the theaters going, where historic theaters are certainly one of the most difficult [building types] to adapt," Fine said. "I'm not sure, if you look at other cities with historic theaters, if we hadn't had the filming industry doing things, we probably would have lost them." Los Angeles Center Studios (City West, 1501 W. Fifth Street) When the Los Angeles Center Studios’ original tower, designed by Pereira & Luckman, was completed in 1958, it was the tallest structure in downtown LA. Hexagonal in shape, the International Style building is entirely unornamented, except for the aluminum sunshades at the base of each window. By 1998 the building, which was originally designed as part of Union Oil’s headquarters, was threatened with demolition. A group of developers bought the complex and converted it into a full-service TV, film, and commercial production studio. The Pereira & Luckman tower is now dedicated to entertainment and creative office space.
Los Angeles has for years been working to change its fire code to allow for skyscrapers without boring flat tops. It looks like there's been a breakthrough. LA Councilman Jose Huizar recently announced that his office and the LA Fire Department have issued "Policy No. 10," a step to reform the department's decades-old policy calling for flat rooflines for helicopter rescue. New technology has allowed firefighters better rescue access via reinforced elevator shafts (otherwise known as "hardened elevators") and stairwells, so helicopter rescue isn't as vital. So while buildings over 120-feet-tall (up from 75 feet in previous regulations) will still need helicopter landing areas, they won't take up the entire rooftop, leaving room for spires and other new forms. The policy, said Huizar, "will contribute to a more inspired and creative urban design and iconic skyline" for the city. The measure will have to be adapted to various types of buildings and scales moving forward. "The biggest challenge will be finding an evolving set of fire, life, safety measures that will allow us to adjust this policy for future buildings of varied size, height and traffic capacities while also meeting the current level of safety and protection," Huizar told AN. The first exception to the rule will be downtown's new 1,100-foot-tall Wilshire Grand hotel, whose architects, AC Martin, worked closely with the fire department (including several meetings with helicopter pilots, pointed out firm principal David Martin) to devise a modified design that worked for all parties.The slim roof—an extension of a sail-like facade–still does contain a helicopter landing area (officially called a "tactical approach"), but it is split into several levels. AC Martin is also working on a new high-rise residential development in South Park for developer Mack Urban that will include a "sculpted" top, according to Martin, who is again working closely with the Fire Department. "We want to advance the idea, rather than do what we did before," he said.
Architect Elena Manferdini Completes the Colorful, Laser-Cut "Nembi" Installation in South Los Angeles
Until recently, talented Los Angeles–based architect Elena Manferdini had practiced all over the world, but barely in her own city. That has definitely changed. Earlier this year she worked on two shops in Venice, and her latest project is an art installation at the entry way of the Hubert H. Humphrey Comprehensive Health Center in South Los Angeles. The colorful project is part of the LA County Art Commission's Civic Art project, a one percent program for county facilities. Italian for “clouds,” Nembi wraps the entry's concrete wall, folds back onto the ceiling, and then folds onto the front facade. Made up of laser-cut, powder-coated aluminum panels over an aluminum frame, its colorful bands riff on the green strip on the building's facade; and its cloud-like shapes were inspired by the county's desire to lift peoples' spirits in a place that can often be depressing. The forms themselves emerged from a series of drawings produced by a script tracing and linking variable radii. Areas of the artwork were perforated to filter the light coming from the existing light fixtures. Manferdini is continuing with her LA momentum. She's now working on Inverted Landscapes, a set of two larger installations for the San Fernando Valley Family Center. "I’m quite happy about working in LA," she said. "All of my projects were so far away; I never got the chance to nurture them."
As architects, we know you're overworked and probably underpaid, and we're guessing you haven't had time to draft your holiday wish list quite yet. But don't despair. AN has compiled a list of high-design, unique gift ideas for you and your colleagues, friends, and family members with good taste, most of which are also attainable for budget-conscious buyers. Pianta Karryon Taski Tote drawings and plans in a bespoke leather carrying case. The product's name comes from the Italian word for floor plan, and an phonetic take on the words "carry on." With an adjustable Velcro closure, it can carry rolls of plans from 3 1/2- to 11-inches in diameter. Luxe Carafe Niche Modern Glass blowers form the smooth curves of this sleek water carafe and drinking glass. At 9 1/2 inches in height, in comes a variety of colors, in addition to clear. A Field Guide to American Houses: The Definitive Guide to Identifying and Understanding America's Domestic Architecture Virginia and Lee Mcalester For the know-it-all on your list, provide some ammunition for their holiday cocktail party conversation arsenal. The second edition is a fully expanded, comprehensive expansion to the original 1984 release with more than 1,600 detailed photographs and line illustrations. S20-L2 Baton Olight For job site traipsing or natural disaster preparedness, this is the perfect gift for the adventurer on your list. Four brightness levels and a strobe setting assure safety assistance across multiple levels and a strong magnet at the back assumes a stationary, spotlight function. An affixed clip also coordinates nicely with pocket protectors. Mirage Shelving Ladies & Gentleman Studio Who isn't up for a good game of smoke and mirrors? Show your sense of humor by giving the look of grandeur at just 30 inches in height. Mirage Hex Corner is wall mounted with a walnut-trimmed cleat, to achieve a seamless, kaleidoscopic effect. Soccket Uncharted Play Give the gift of social change when you buy Soccket, a soccer ball that stores the kinetic of energy of play to power small electronic devices. Each purchase also gives a child the opportunity to join a SOCCKET Team for access to renewable SOCCKET power and an educational curriculum. Beyond the Bridge Think Fabricate Created from an 1879-lithographic print of "balloon view" bridges from Currier and Ives, this series suits the traditionalist, engineer, or Brooklynite on your list. The series include one plate each of the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights, Governor’s Island, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard with Wallabout Bay in the foreground. Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life Todd Oldham If you're looking for vibrant graphics, look no further than Todd Oldham's compilation of Charley Harper's expansive illustrating career. With an intimate interview forward, you'll see these iconic images from your childhood textbooks in a whole new light: Charley Harper was an early supporter of women in the workplace and an avid conservationist. Available in both hard cover and paper back editions. Line/09 Myers Collective For the design-minded women on your list, how about a handcrafted necklace? LA-based architect Jenny Myers designed this 20-inch piece with silk thread that supports brass tubes in unique geometric formations, fastened with a gold clasp and hardware. Sake Set Deborah Ehrlich Collection This sake set, hand-blown from Swedish crystal, would meet any Japanophile's discerning standards. The slim decanter measures 8 1/2 inches in height and 2 inches in diameter, and each cup is a dainty 1 1/3- by 2-inches. AeroPress Aerobie Go ahead and feed the addiction: Coffeeholic and AN managing editor Aaron Seward says its the best he's ever had. Each order comes with the full kit of parts and a supply of specially shaped filters that will keep your caffeine levels sky high for a full year. For an accompanying premium roast, we recommend Gimme!. Vieni via con me Ring Alessi An extension of Trimarchi's La Stanza dello Scirocco collection includes a geometric cocktail ring that measures just under 2 inches. It's stainless steel material is suitable for those on your list with sensitive skin. Paradise Planned: The Garden Suburb and the Modern City by Robert A.M. Stern, David Fishman, and Jacob Tilove Monacelli Press Sure to please any urbanist, this 1,072-page tome contains the definitive history of the garden suburb. The book chronicles its start in England during the late 18th century and the effects of industrialization and transportation across many cities in the U.S. Bol Sein Sevres For the person who has a tinge of an Oedipal complex or just a liberal sense of humor, the Bol Sein speaks to carnal urges in a porcelain medium. Allegedly, the mold was formed from the bosom of Marie Antoinette during the 18th century for her King and husband.
Bad news for biking enthusiasts in Los Angeles. According to LA Downtown News, Bike Nation's deal with the city of Los Angeles to create a Bike Share program is now basically dead. The plan, originally slated to open this April, called for an eventual 125 stations in Downtown and 400 (containing 4,000 bikes) across Los Angeles. But the program depended on Bike Nation's ability to advertise at its kiosks, and somehow somebody didn't point out the city's contract with JCDecaux and CBS Outdoor giving that company exclusive rights until 2021 to advertise on any street furniture, including bike kiosks. "Without advertising, there’s no revenue stream to support [the system],” Bike Nation Chief Operating Officer Derek Fretheim told Downtown News. Of course there's a chance that the city could alter its contract with JCDecaux and CBS Outdoor, but it seems unlikely. Other issues include coordinating bike share regionally across LA's many municipalities. Bike Nation does intend to move ahead with its share plans in Fullerton and Long Beach and it has already begun one in Anaheim.
We hope you’ve stretched your hamstrings—there have been a lot of developments in U.S. bike sharing programs lately, and we’re taking another whirl through them now. Although not without hang-ups, New York’s Citi Bike has at least not killed anyone yet. People love to joke about clueless tourists riding on the sidewalk, or on heavy-traffic avenues, or “salmoning” the wrong way down one-way streets — that’s true in Chicago as well as New York — but the fact that no bikeshare has so far produced little to no traffic carnage should come as no surprise, writes Charles Komanoff for Streetsblog. Crunching the numbers, Komanoff points out “for each day in 2012, all NYC cyclists racked up 16 times as many miles as have Citi Bikers on each day to date.” So while Citi Bike ridership has exceeded expectations, it’s still only a small bump in the city’s total bike ridership. The bikes themselves could be a contributing factor, too — they aren’t racing bikes, and crowds of bikers further leaden their slow pace. The naturally lower car speeds in popular Citi Bike areas of Manhattan and Brooklyn may also play a role. Meanwhile in Los Angeles, a proposed bikeshare system was stymied by existing restrictions on street furniture advertising. Smaller systems may move forward in some of L.A.’s municipal fiefdoms — Long Beach and Fullerton are apparently moving ahead, while West Hollywood and Santa Monica are conducting reviews. For now, though, what was once proposed as the nation's second biggest bike sharing program seems to have hit the brakes. Instead Chicago’s Divvy bike share is poised to become the largest such program in North America after announcing the addition of another 75 stations. Divvy already has 300 stations, with plans to add 100 more in 2014 (the additional 75 brings it to a total of 475). Federal funding enabled the $3 million expansion. CDOT also announced that it has applied for $3 million in state money to fund another 75 stations, which would bring the grand total to 550 stations. “As Divvy expands into more neighborhoods, and we build a 650-mile bikeway network throughout our communities, Chicago is quickly becoming the best biking city in North America,” said Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein in a press release. It will be one of Klein’s last as Chicago’s transportation commissioner — he announced his resignation effective at the end of the month. Klein oversaw Divvy’s development and implementation, and was known for riding his bike to work. Sustainable transportation advocates told Streetsblog Klein’s successor will have big shoes to fill.
The West Coast architect Glen Small has now been largely forgotten, but from the 1960s through the 1980s he was at the center of architectural experimentation and ecological consciousness in California. His journey from an early founder of SCI-Arc and a pioneer of Califorinia environmentalism was documented in a biopic My Father, The Genius made by his talented film maker daughter Lucia Small. The architect, who in recent years has bounced back and forth between Oregon, Nicaragua, and southern California is back in Los Angeles at least in the form of an exhibition at the Assembly Gallery. The exhibit is called In Recovery and features his best know project, Green Machine (1970s), as well as Turf Town (1983), Biomorphic, Biosphere, Megastructure (begun 1969), Hong Kong Peak (1982) and a newspaper commissioned series, Detroit Trilogy, in the late 1960s. Small, who can be a polarizing figure—as his daughter's film makes clear—will be curated at Assembly by Orhan Ayyuce. Sadly, one of Small's most interesting recent projects, a water fountain sculpture in a roundabout (pictured at top) that was recently destroyed, Small claims, when "Rosario Murillo, the Nicaraguan president's wife 'waved her wand of death.'" It was replaced by a sign (below) featuring the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's head surrounded, Small writes, "by a weird steel yellow cartoon [of] trees and small plastic trees sprayed different colors." Small is, of course, sad to see his fountain demolished but says it's "nothing personal…Venezuela, the oil provider, needed a sacrifice. It's just politics." The gallery will host several lectures with Small in attendance and curated by Ayyuce between November 9th and 30th. Opening Saturday, November 9th from 6:00-10:00p.m. at 2045 South La Cienega Blvd. Exhibition hours are Wednesday through Sunday, noon-6:00p.m.
The architecture business seems to be—slowly—rounding back into form in Southern California. One indicator? A bunch of Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and Requests for Qualifications (RFQs) for major public projects. One of the most significant is the $70 million renovation of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, whose management was taken over by the University of Southern California (USC) this summer. The iconic Parkinson & Parkinson–designed building will undergo long-delayed updates throughout, including improved sight lines, seating, concessions, audio/visual, lighting, restrooms, and much more. The stadium's last major upgrade came in 1993. The shortlist for the project for now includes Populous, NBBJ, DLR, HNTB, Gensler, and 360 Architecture. The West Hollywood Park Master Plan, to devise a new 70,000 square foot recreation center adjacent to Johnson Favaro's new West Hollywood Library, has a shortlist that includes recent AIA/LA Gold Medal winner Frederick Fisher and Partners with CMG and Buro Happold, Langdon Wilson, and a mystery team that we're still trying to ascertain. For the Long Beach Civic Center, which includes a commission for a new city hall, main library, and the revitalization of Lincoln Park, the shortlist includes architecture teams led by Fentress, SOM, and Pei Cobb Freed. Stay tuned as we learn the fates of all of these projects.
Unfrozen Music Santa Monica Main Library Saturday, October 26th, 2013 7:00-9:00pm Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium 601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA It's that time of year again: time for local architects to put down their laptops and pick up their musical instruments. This Saturday, October 26, Shimahara Illustration will hold its fifth annual Unfrozen Music concert at the Santa Monica Main Library. The concert program includes six short sets performed by Los Angeles architects. AN's West Coast Editor, Sam Lubell, will MC the event. Performers include Alice Kimm (principal of John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects and Director of undergraduate programs at USC) on piano, Jonathan Ward (Partner at NBBJ) on acoustic bass, Terence Young (Design Director for Aviation, Transportation, and Retail Entertainment at Gensler) on cello, and many more. The concert series takes its name from a quote by theorist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: "I consider architecture to be unfrozen music." This year's event will feature digital animations corresponding to each piece, a new wrinkle that will bring in a visual element; fitting considering who is performing.
If you live or work in one of LA's many older concrete buildings and happened to read the Los Angeles Times recent story, "Concrete Risks," your building, as swanky and detailed as it may be, may never be experienced in quite the same light. The report sounds the alarm on over 1,000 concrete buildings in the city and throughout the region that “may be at risk of collapsing in a major earthquake.” As the reporters note, starting in the 1920’s, the skyline of Los Angeles began to be defined by concrete buildings. “By the 1970s, canyons of concrete towers lined some of LA's most famous streets." Even buildings like the iconic Capitol Records tower could be at risk and urgently in need of seismic retrofitting. Other buildings range from seamstress factories downtown to condo towers along “Millionaires’ Mile” in Westwood. “Los Angeles officials have known about the dangers for more than 40 years but have failed to force owners to make their properties safer. The city has even rejected calls to make a list of concrete buildings,” the report asserts. City codes didn’t require more rebar until 1976. The future of such buildings in the city remains unclear. What is clear is that there are many at-risk buildings in need of seismic assessments and retrofits. A team of researchers from UC Berkeley, with backing from the National Science Foundation, has come up with a list. Because of liability issues this list was not made available, but the team did provide their conclusions. Such a list would help the city start addressing this problem, but it would take lot of political will, not to mention risk, for city leaders to take up the cause. According to the article, newly-elected mayor Eric Garcetti says he is interested in reviewing the issue.
Santa Monica's Tongva Park, which had its soft opening last month, officially opened this past weekend. Already, the undulating, grassy expanse, located west of Santa Monica City Hall, has become a huge hit in the community. AN reporter James Brasuell reported on the park previously and has now returned to explore James Corner Field Operations's newest park in more detail in the video above.