Posts tagged with "MADWORKSHOP":

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MADWORKSHOP announces 2017 fellows

The Martin Architecture and Design Workshop (MADWORKSHOP), a Santa Monica, California–based foundation focused on incubating student design projects into built work, has announced its 2017 design fellows. The five students—Heeje Yang, Jayson Champlain, Jeremy Carman, Belinda Pak, and Joseph Chang—are all currently fourth-year students at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Bachelor of Architecture program. A sixth, previously-announced fellow, Riccardo Blumer, is a practicing architect and researcher from Varese, Italy. The six fellows will spend the next year being incubated by MADWORKSHOP as they elaborate designs for a series of individual pilot projects. The fellows’ projects, according to a press release issued by the foundation, will focus on MADWORKSHOP’s 2017 design theme: Emergency Architecture. Yang will work on improving the designs for the Chair Six prototype, a foldable chair designed by 2014 fellow Yuan Yao. Champlain and Carman, both of whom participated in the MADWORKSHOP-funded Homeless Studio taught at USC last semester, will partner to develop innovative approaches to the safety- and privacy-related aspects of temporary, post-disaster shelter design within the context of large sports stadiums. Pak will work on prototype designs for an emergency wristband that can convey medical and contact information while Chang will design a backpack that converts into a stretcher that could be carried by a single person during emergency situations. Finally, Blumer will develop research on the design of socially-conscious architecture through the use of innovative technology and representational techniques. MADWORKSHOP was founded by David C. Martin and Mary Klaus Martin in 2015 with the aim of supporting “the next generation of inventors and designers with a focus on technological craftsmanship.” The organization funded an elective studio at USC during the Fall 2016 semester that focused on developing a rapid re-housing prototype that could be deployed in as little as two weeks. The studio, taught by MADWORKSHOP acting director Sofia Borges, a faculty member of USC School of Architecture, and R. Scott Mitchell, owner/principal of L.A.-based Gigante AG, partnered with non-denominational ministry Hope of the Valley and consulted with nonprofit housing developers and city agencies while developing their prototype. Also in 2016, the organization also installed the Sanke furniture system in the courtyard of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. That installation, a colorful collection of tables and chairs designed to operate as a deconstructed communal table, was developed by 2015 fellow Sonia Lui. For more information on the fellows, see the MADWORKSHOP website.
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San Fernando Valley poised to tackle homelessness with new $1.2 billion housing initiative

The San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles has a reputation as a quintessentially suburban enclave. But, as the inner-city areas of Los Angeles have begun to embrace the hallmarks of traditional urbanism—increased housing density, fixed-transit infrastructure, and a dedication to pedestrian space—the valley has found itself parroting those same shifts in its own distinct way.

One area where this transformation is taking shape is housing, specifically, transitional and supportive housing for formerly homeless individuals.

According to the Los Angeles Homelessness Services Authority, the number of homeless people in the San Fernando Valley increased by 36 percent last year. Though the increase was significantly lower throughout L.A. County overall last year, one thing is clear: The number of people without homes in the areas around Los Angeles’s urban core area is growing. A similar trend is playing out across the country. Not only are urban homeless populations being increasingly displaced out toward the suburban areas by gentrification, but greater numbers of suburbanites themselves are becoming homeless, as well, due to a fraying social net and systematic income inequality.

Dire though the situation might be, Los Angeles—and the San Fernando Valley in particular—is currently poised to make strides in re-housing currently homeless individuals living in quasi-suburban environments by building a collection of new housing projects across the city. That’s because this November, 76 percent of L.A.’s voters supported Measure HHH, the city’s Homelessness Reduction and Prevention, Housing, and Facilities Bond. The initiative will raise $1.2 billion in bonds to pay for the construction of up to 10,000 units of housing for the homeless. The victory represents a shift in collective perspective that goes hand-in-hand with changing urban attitudes: As transit, density, and pedestrianism spread, so too has a visceral awareness that the city’s homeless population has been wholly abandoned by society and that action is overdue.

The passage of Measure HHH represents an opportunity for architects to assert themselves in civic and cultural discourse at an incredibly meaningful scale. And as much as the valley has begun to accept increased density, so too is it likely to see its fair share of new transitional and supportive housing as a result.

Already, the Skid Row Housing Trust (SRHT), a local affordable housing provider known for its focus on design quality, has begun to expand into neighborhoods beyond Skid Row. The organization opened a new set of apartments designed by Los Angeles–based architects Brooks + Scarpa this summer in the MacArthur Park neighborhood just west of Downtown Los Angeles. The project, called The Six, is the group’s first development with permanent supportive housing specifically for veterans. The name of the complex comes from the military shorthand, “got your six,” which means “I’ve got your back.”

The complex is designed around a central, planted courtyard and is expected to receive LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. It features solar panels on the roof and ground-level supportive services for the residents, with a large public courtyard located on the second floor. Units rise up around the perimeter of the courtyard along a single-loaded corridor and are capped by a roof terrace and edible garden. The firm also calibrated the building’s architectural massing in order to respond to passive cooling and lighting strategies and features selectively glazed exposures as well as a courtyard layout that facilitates passive lighting and ventilation.

Another project under development by SRHT is Michael Maltzan Architecture’s (MMA) Crest Apartments in Van Nuys in the San Fernando Valley. Crest Apartments will deliver 64 affordable housing units for formerly homeless veterans. The building is laid out as a long, stepped housing block raised on a series of piers above multifunctional hard- and soft-landscaped areas. The long and narrow site shapes the complex such that the building’s mass steps around in plan as it climbs in height, creating vertical bands of windows aimed toward the street and side yard in the process. The ground floor of the complex contains supportive service areas as well as a clinic and community garden. The building recently finished construction and residents are beginning to move in.

The future of housing efforts in the valley is also being tackled by students at University of Southern California (USC), where a studio funded by the nonprofit Martin Architecture and Design Workshop (MADWORKSHOP) is aiming to develop a rapid-re-housing prototype to be deployed across the valley. The studio, formally unrelated to Measure HHH, is led by Sofia Borges, acting director at MADWORKSHOP and R. Scott Mitchell, assistant professor of practice at USC. The professors tasked architecture students with studying the spatial implications of homelessness at the individual person’s scale.

Ultimately, the studio, with nondenominational ministry Hope of the Valley as its client, developed the beginnings of a single-occupancy housing prototype that could be mass-produced and temporarily deployed to selected vacant sites in as little as two weeks. The cohort spent the semester meeting with officials in the city government, including the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, to work on an actionable plan for implementing their prototype. The students built a full-scale mock-up of the 96-square-foot unit for their final review and detailed plans for how the unit might be aggregated into larger configurations as a sort of first-response to help people transition from living on the streets to occupying more formal dwellings like The Six or Crest Apartments.

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MADWORKSHOP unveils “Sanke,” an outdoor furniture installation at MOCA

Martin Architecture and Design Workshop (MADWORKSHOP) recently unveiled Sanke, an installation of custom public furniture designed by Sonia Lui, currently a fellow at the foundation. The installation is located in the courtyard of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, designed in 1986 by Arata Isozaki. Lui developed the Sanke concept while she was a student in a summer 2015 studio—called Re-Defining Public Furniture & Fixtures Design—that MADWORKSHOP founders David Martin, formerly atAC Martin, and Mary Martin sponsored at the Art Center College of Design. The project was chosen out of six other student schemes to be fabricated for MOCA’s courtyard and to potentially become a mass-produced furniture line. The foundation mentored Lui through the design and fabrication process of her multi-level communal seating system. Sanke includes fixed outdoor tables and seating for 10 to 12 people. Its closely-packed smattering of brightly colored chairs and tables are sized at varying heights for differing age groups and uses. The project is designed to encourage human interaction among luncheon crowds of local workers, business people, and tourists who use the courtyards along Grand Avenue. With busy tourist and leisure destinations like the Disney Concert Hall and Broad Museum just across the street and down the block, the installation will likely be a welcome addition to the large, open courtyard space.   The design of the public furniture installation is also a product of themes explored in MADWORKSHOP’s studio, including speculations on how shifting social mores and evolving technology are causing adaptations in furniture and fixtures. According to text on MADWORKSHOP’s site, “Furnishings will play a critical role in bridging the gap between technology and the possibilities for new behaviors in outdoor space.”
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MADWORKSHOP launches in Santa Monica to help fund “Technological Craftsmanship”

The Martin Architecture and Design Workshop (MADWORKSHOP), a foundation meant to encourage "beautiful, artfully designed" technological craftsmanship,  launched last month in Santa Monica. Its founder, David C. Martin, a principal at Los Angeles–based firm AC Martin, hopes to sponsor the next generation of inventors and designers, with the assumption that they have the potential for critical and commercial success “Our approach to making things is much like the approach taken to design a building, only on a more manageable scale,” said Martin. Selected individuals will be mentored through the process of prototyping, drafting and fabrication. The Foundation will then assess public relations and marketing opportunities and assist in launching the idea. The group is particularly interested in projects that have the potential to influence design on a grand scale. They will also sponsor ideas that can be written, illustrated, or diagramed, and have the potential to be published or exhibited. The foundation's path began in 2005 when Martin began teaching a design studio at the USC School of Architecture. The class resonated with students, helping them rediscover craftsmanship. Over the next eight years it evolved, and Martin and his wife Mary challenged students to think bigger, eventually designing a site-specific pedestrian bridge. MADWORKSHOP has thus far green-lighted five projects in various stages of development. They include: 1. The Collapsible Chair: Origami Lighweight Foldable Chair by Designer Yuan Yao 2. The Smart Table Lamp by Designer Shihyung “Bobby” Kim 3. 3D-Printed Wearable Architectural Fashion by Designer Behnaz Farah 4. The Robotics Research Grant – USC School of Architecture Studio Class 5. The Mexico Book: An Architect-s Road Trip by Author David C. Martin, FAIA