Pasadena is celebrating its 125th Anniversary today and will continue partying all month and into the fall. Now a significant city with over 140,000 residents, it was a rural settlement when it decided to become the fourth city to incorporate in Los Angeles County on June 12, 1886. While many know Pasadena for its Rose Bowl, Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena Playhouse, and California Institute of Technology, the city is also home to “Bungalow Heaven,” a 16-block Historic Landmark District neighborhood featuring nearly 1,000 Craftsman bungalows. This month features tours of these homes and more. Pasadena was one of the hubs of the American Arts & Crafts movement, which emphasized simplicity of design, hand-made craftsmanship, functionality and natural elements. Typical one-and-a-half story Craftsman bungalows were designed with an open floor plan, wide verandas, broad roofs and polished wood interiors and seamlessly linked the indoors with the out. Perhaps the most famous practitioners of the style were architecture firm Greene & Greene. Established by brothers Charles and Henry Greene, the early 20th century duo designed their bungalow and ultimate bungalow style houses for well-to-do residents. Nine Greene & Greene homes including the Gamble House, the Blacker House, the Freeman Ford House, and the Duncan-Irwin House pepper the city. Special walking tours of these Arts & Crafts homes led by Gamble House docents will take place Saturday, June 18 and Saturday, July 16 at 10am. Admission is $15 and reservations are required. For more information, visit here. In addition, brochures for a self-guided walking tour are available at the Gamble House bookstore. To honor its 125th anniversary as a city, Pasadena began celebrating with a birthday party extravaganza at the Pasadena Museum of History yesterday, followed by concerts, fireworks and more in the summer and fall. For a list of other 125th celebration highlights visit the City of Pasadena website.
Posts tagged with "Los Angeles":
AOL's New Offices Are Snazzy: Fast Company has a slideshow of interior shots of AOL's new offices in Palo Alto. The space was designed to be bright and collaborative. "This being a tech company, naturally, it’s got a game room, too," writes Suzanne LaBarre. The interiors are the work of Studio O+A, which has designed offices for other Internet companies like Yelp, Facebook and PayPal. Philly Set For a Makeover: Sometimes it seems like Philly is the East Coast city people love to hate on for its small size, poor public transit and high crime rates. That may change soon with a new comprehensive plan for the city that could include: "more open space, bike lanes and preservation efforts, as well as specific goals including an extension of the Broad Street subway to the Navy Yard, an east Market Street that can really be Philly's 'Main Street', a waterfront lined with parks." NYC's Lesson for LA: New York Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan blogs on how Los Angeles can learn from New York City's Plaza program. It's the quintessential showdown of cities: New York, a dense metropolis where most native-born teens don't even have their driver's licenses, and LA, a sprawling auto-centric city. There's even a book called "New York and Los Angeles" that says so. Sadik-Khan's piece is part of Streetsblog's new series on how the best transportation practices in other cities can be adapted for LA. Brownwashing Republicans: Grist has a list of 10 Republican politicians who are backtracking on pro-environment statements they've made in the past. The #1 offender is presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who called for climate action in a 2008 ad for Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection. Earlier this year, he said, ""I would not adopt massively expensive plans over a theory."
Guy Maunsell's Sea Forts. Standing above the sea, these Maunsell fortifications were originally built as British defenses during World War II. They remain lifted as a symbol of protection. As industrial creatures, the towers take expressive portraits. Oh, Pentagram. New York City paired with Paula Scher of Pentagram to create a new symbol for the iconic NYC Parks Department leaf. Although excellent in traditional green, the paired down logo can also be used as an elegant silhouette for programming and public events. Or perhaps wrapping paper. Parasol Unit in red, in public. New York-based performance artist Kate Gilmore and the Parasol unit foundation collaborated to start a new program entitled parasol public. Gilmore's red structure is the centerpiece of Walk the Line, a small two story space designed upstairs for pacing and downstairs as a passageway within Exchange Square, London. Downtown to Santa Monica. The new Los Angeles county Expo Line light rail system expects to bring a bit of green speed to transportation across the city. With a plan to partially open in the fall and to unveil completely in 2015, the rail line is already underway. Just about everybody is looking forward to the new light rail, especially those who will benefit directly as part of their commute to work.
Yesterday we visited one of our favorite sites in Los Angeles: Watts Towers. The amazing complex, which includes four towers, a gazebo, fountains, and a slew of other jumbled elements, was designed by Simon, or Sam Rodia, a tile factory worker who labored on the project basically without stopping for over thirty years (from 1921-1954). The structures rise as high as 100 feet and are clad with broken bottles, tiles (over 15,000 of them), sea shells, and pretty much anything else Rodia could get his hands on. Their frame is made from chicken wire, barbed wire, coat hangers, and other makeshift materials. The feat is all the more amazing considering that Rodia didn't study any sort of building trade and was illiterate. He usually worked until 1 or 2 in the morning then went back to work in a factory the next day. Click on an image to launch the slideshow.
Tonight gives Angelenos the chance to check out the classic film The Music Man inside the Los Angeles Theater. With its glass chandeliers, Corinthian columns, and intricate Baroque details, the Los Angeles is one of the most ornate movie palaces you'll ever visit. It's the second week of Last Remaining Seats, the LA Conservancy's popular series that opens up Broadway's once great (and now mostly dormant) theaters again. That includes the Orpheum, the Million Dollar Theater, and more. This year is Last Remaining Seats' 25th Anniversary. Other engagements include King Kong at the Los Angeles and Sunset Boulevard at the Palace. Find tickets here. More pix of theaters after the jump.
I had the pleasure this year of being on the jury for the annual 2x8 Competition, organized by the AIA/LA, which (thanks to more than ten sponsors) handed out more than $8,000 in scholarships to outstanding student entries from throughout California. Normally I only get to see work from household names like SCI-ARC, USC, UCLA, etc. But the competition introduced me to projects from equally talent-rich schools like Los Angeles Institute of Architecture and Design, Pasadena City College, Woodbury, Otis, Cal State Long Beach, Cal Poly Pomona and several more. Seven winners were named in all, receiving scholarships from $600 to $3,000. Projects ranged from tiny puzzles to giant urban interventions. See the winners here and more pix here., The exhibition of their work is on display at the A+D museum until June 3.
Hem Sweet Hem. We love this quirky story from our friends at Curbed. The Swedish-based IKEA is well on itsway to worldwide domination of the budget-furniture market -- and who doesn't love wandering through the cavernous stores and imagining life in the mini habitats arranged throughout the store? Photographer Christian Gideon sure did. His latest project documents what life might look like if you lived in one. Subsidy Switch. LA's Mayor Villaraigosa promised not to spend any taxpayer money to a proposed football stadium in the city, but the project's lead architect is another matter entirely. According to LA Weekly, the mayor is sending $1 million slated for the city's poor to lead-architect Gensler as they prepare to move their offices from Santa Monica to downtown LA. Elvis Goes Danish. Think living at IKEA was strange enough? Well, the Historic Sites Blog hopes to top that. Apparently there is now a replica of Graceland in Denmark. Yes, Denmark. If those photos weren't enough, the BBC has a brief video of the Danish dupe. Empire Example. According to gbNYC, the Empire State Building plans to be in the LEED when it comes to retrefotting historic buildings. Though owner Anthony Malkin, the man behind the green curtain, didn't set out to achieve the green label for one of the city's highest profile building, he's apparently changed his tune.
Up, Up & Away. My Modern Met has a photo set from National Geographic's recreation of the Pixar movie Up. With the help of 300 colorful weather balloons, a team of engineers and pilots sent a 16' square house skyward in LA, setting a world record in the process. (Via Curbed.) Archi-Ethics. Mark Lamster is leading this week's Glass House Conversation. He's discussing the ethics of client selection: "How do we balance commercial imperatives with a desire for a moral practice?" Mansard Mania. The New York Times has a feature on Manhattan's Mansard roof heyday between 1868 and 1873, spotlighting some of the best examples of the French-style roof. Transit Saves. As civil unrest continues in the Middle East, oil prices have risen to near record levels. Reuters brings us a study from the American Public Transportation Association that finds transit riders are saving over $800 a month with the elevated gas costs, and projects nearly a $10,000 savings annually if gas maintains its high price tag.
Over the past year or so we've been hearing grumblings about how the LA Community College District has been conducting its huge $5.7 bond-funded building program. So had the LA Times, which yesterday kicked off a large investigative series documenting the corruption and the incompetence prevalent in that campaign. The verdict, according to the Times: "Tens of millions of dollars have gone to waste because of poor planning, frivolous spending and shoddy workmanship." The first story uncovers an email from the LACCD's construction manager Larry Eisenberg admitting that quality control was "horrible," and that, "We are opening buildings that do not work at the most fundamental level." Our favorite example of waste: The district paid photographers up to $175 an hour to take pictures of trustees at a construction award banquet. We also learn that the district's board has little to no experience with construction. And that's just the beginning. Check out the piece and fear for our public programs. Who said investigative journalism was dead?
Last week we checked out the opening of the new Lafayette Park Recreation Center, right outside of Downtown LA. Designed by Kanner Architects, the 15,000 square foot, $9.8 million complex represents a complete about-face from what was once a decrepit senior center with a drug and weed infested park. It includes the airy renovation of 60's architect Graham Latta's whimsically modern 1962 senior center (with its barrel arched concrete canopies), a light-infused new gym (thanks to a large double-layered glass curtain wall—why don't most gyms have those?), and new fields and picnic tables. While the cash-strapped city funded some of the project, a big chunk came from the Everychild Foundation, which chooses one project a year for which to donate $1 million. The building, which is the first for the firm since principal Stephen Kanner's death, is the first LEED certified building completed by the LA Department of Recreation and Parks. According to another project sponsor, HOLA (Heart of Los Angeles), Kanner was the key force in keeping the project's conflicting parties on the same page. "He was a peacemaker," said HOLA's founder Mitchell Moore."He was able to see the bigger picture, and I always knew from his attitude that he got what we were looking for." Incidentally, this was not Kanner's first gymnasium. His Pacific Palisades gym (2000, below) has become a bit of a sports fanatic's destination, thanks also to its airy feel and large, unique elliptical windows. And after that Kanner completed the Ross Snyder Recreation Center in South Los Angeles, where he experimented with many of the formal techniques (floating planes, layering of spaces) that he used in his residential work.
Mega Watts. The Los Angeles Times reports that the James Irvine Foundation has granted $500,000 toward the preservation of LA's Watt's Towers, declaring the folk-art stalagmites "an important cultural icon." (Photo courtesy Robert Garcia/Flickr) Luck in School. The NY Times relays the story of Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck who has chosen to pursue a degree in architectural design at Stanford's School of Engineering rather than head off to the NFL draft. We wish Mr. Luck, well, all the best in his endeavors, but life as an architect can make the NFL seem like a walk in the park. Al Matisse? Variety brings us news that Al Pacino has been selected to play Henri Matisse in an upcoming film called Masterpiece detailing the French painter's relationship with his nurse, model, and muse Monique Bourgeois. Producers will soon be looking for female leads. Like Jane. The Rockefeller Foundation is accepting nominations for this year's Jane Jacobs Medal honoring two living individuals who have improved the vitality of NYC and, among other things, "open our eyes to new ways of seeing and understanding our city."
LA starchitect Thom Mayne recently took some time to share his art/sculpture with our friends at Form magazine. The three-dimensional pieces reveal his love for investigating hard-edged metallic shards, architectural movement, faceted surfaces, hovering forms and general chaos; all major forces in his architecture. It makes us think of the other architects who are also sculptors, and just what the difference is between architecture and sculpture these days anyway? (Since software does so much of the heavy lifting now, many would say there isn't any difference.) Here are a few of our other favorites, whose art often informs, and sometimes mirrors, their architecture: Santiago Calatrava Zaha Hadid Frank Gehry Maya Lin Oscar Niemeyer