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.
Posts tagged with "Los Angeles":
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!
This is big: Our sources divulge that UK firm Grimshaw and LA-based Gruen Associates have won the commission to master plan the six million square feet of entitlements at Union Station in Los Angeles. A formal announcement is expected this coming Monday on Metro's web site (our leak is unconfirmed), with the Metro board approving the firms after that. Grimshaw has made a name for itself designing infrastructure and transit stations around the world, including Lower Manhattan's upcoming Fulton Street Transit Center and London's Waterloo Station. Gruen recently completed design on phase one of the Expo Line and has served as executive architect on several recent projects, including the Pacific Design Center. The site around Union Station encompasses about 38 acres and is anticipated to become a transit and commercial hub for the city. It will likely include offices, residences, retail, entertainment, parks and a potential high speed rail station.
SCI-Arc, the Southern California Institute of Architecture, will be extending its reach into the community with the creation of three public venues made possible by a $400,000 grant awarded by ArtPlace. The grant, funded by private foundations and public agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts, seeks to encourage creative and locally focused placemaking; $15.4 million in grant funds is allocated to 47 projects located across the country. SCI-Arc director Eric Owen Moss wrote in a statement, “If architecture, as SCI-Arc has always proclaimed, speaks by building, the ArtPlace contribution affords us two special construction moments to ratify what we preach.” The school plans to put the grant toward the design, planning, and construction of an amphitheater, an outdoor pavilion, and a theater inside the nearby One Santa Fe arts center. These projects will carry forward the momentum created by the school’s purchase of its historic 1907 home last year, engaging the community and planning for the area’s future. With the new construction SCI-Arc hopes to contribute to developing the surrounding Arts District with public programming and gathering space. The first venue to be built is the amphitheater (dubbed the “Hispanic Steps”) located in the center of the SCI-Arc building. It will have rise seating for lectures, performances, screenings, and public meetings and is expected to be completed this fall. The outdoor venue, located at the school’s entrance, is a 750-seat pavilion and will be the Arts District’s largest public programming space. Groundbreaking on the pavilion is scheduled for spring 2013 and it will serve as the 2013 Graduation Pavilion. Working with the community, SCI-Arc will also help to plan a 99-seat theater located in the developer-funded One Santa Fe arts center, a mixed-use, transit oriented development adjacent the school.
Ball-Nogues Studio: Yevrus 1, Negative Impression SCI-Arc Gallery 960 East 3rd Street Los Angeles, CA June 1–July 8 On display at the SCI-Arc Gallery is Los Angeles–based architecture practice Ball-Nogues Studio’s Yevrus 1, Negative Impression, which attempts to call into question the current fashionability of abstracted and digital forms. Through an assemblage of non-architectural objects represented very literally, the project represents a new type of site survey. The objects selected to be part of the structure were picked from the Los Angeles suburban landscape (a pool, above) and become the elements of an installation. The architects used digital scanning technology to make biodegradable paper-pulp castings of 1973 Volkswagen Beetles and speedboats for a lookout tower in the gallery. Yevrus (“survey” spelled backwards) is a new technique pioneered by the firm that rethinks the site survey by utilizing it not as a tool for construction and engineering, but as a methodology of deriving form, creating structures, and realizing meaning.
This editor's recent piece on the divide between architectural education and architectural practice has spurred a lot of discussion, prompting both high praise for addressing a worsening problem and charges of, ahem, "neoconservatism." If it's a debate that interests you, please join us next Tuesday, May 29 at Gensler's new headquarters for the panel discussion, "A Teaching Moment." Panelists include UCLA's Neil Denari, Michael Maltzan, USC's Alice Kimm, Woodbury's Barbara Bestor, SCI-Arc's John Enright, and Gensler's Li Wen. At the panel we will discuss not only the schism between practice and education, but also new approaches toward technology, urbanism, and more. See you there!