Posts tagged with "Mia Lehrer + Associates":

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New renderings unveiled for Mia Lehrer + Associates and OMA’s FaB Park in L.A.

Designs for the forthcoming First and Broadway (FaB) Park by Mia Lehrer + Associates (MLA) and Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) have been reconfigured to address community desires of Downtown Los Angeles residents. The new designs, portrayed in a collection of new renderings, depict a more leafy proposal for the two acre park than was originally proposed. The original design featured a central plaza flanked by groves of native plantings, sunken terraces, and a 100,000-square-foot food pavilion. The proposal was also dotted with large-scale shade structures and contained a small creek at its southwest corner. The new iteration of the project features a greater number of trees and shade structures, according to the renderings. The scheme also features a new 10,000-square-foot meadow that grows out of the creek bed, which had been retained in a reconfigured shape. The designers have also improved the food pavilion by adding a rooftop terrace and shade pavilion beside the structure. The two-story structure will host a restaurant, though a vendor has not been selected and there are community concerns regarding the future restaurant’s affordability. The project is expected to break ground in 2018 and be completed by 2020.
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L.A. will refill Silver Lake’s 96-acre reservoir

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think page 6 for the architectural field). It’s your best source for gossip, insider stories, and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) officials announced in late March that the recently decommissioned Silver Lake Reservoir will be refilled over the next few months. The reservoir was emptied in 2015 after a new underground reservoir was constructed nearby, leaving behind an empty, 45-foot-deep dust bowl. Neighbors have been debating for months over how—and with which type of water—the reservoir would be refilled. After record rains this winter, the DWP officials decided to use the reservoir as a dumping ground for excess water in the Los Angeles aqueduct system and have pledged to refill the reservoir to its “historic levels” moving forward with non-potable water.

Still in question, however, is if an ambitious plan presented last summer by Mia Lehrer+Associates (MLA) and the group Silver Lake Forward aimed at converting the 96-acre reservoir into a dynamic, multi-functional habitat and recreation space will move forward. The plan contains various proposals for utilizing the decommissioned reservoir in a more environmentally suitable manner and would contain, among many components, hatcheries for local and migrating bird populations.

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The new L.A. Rams stadium will be breathable beyond belief

There are a few holes in HKS's stadium design for the Los Angeles Rams. In fact, there are 20 million. By numbers HKS has gone big: The $2.66 billion, 70,000-seater-stadium will use more than 36,000 panels of which will have 20 million perforations punched into them.

Dallas-based HKS prescribed an aluminum and ETFE skin to create a triangular facade-cum-canopy over and around the playing field where the Los Angeles Rams are set to play. Triangular panels form the structure too. Made from aluminum, the metal portion of the skin responds to the variable SoCal climate without the need for a HVAC system. Additionally, an ETFE ellipse, located in the center of the roof bathes the playing field in diffuse daylight. The desired effect, HKS said, is to create the impression of being outside.

A Design Assist project with facade fabricator Zahner Metals, HKS used their research and development arm, HKS LINE (the latter acronym stands for "Laboratory for INtensive Exploration") to aid the development of the stadium's skin. James Warton, a computational designer at HKS, spoke to The Architect's Newspaper, about the process used to conceive the facade.

Warton explained that the holes inside the in the triangular panels form an image on the facade, which can be seen properly when approaching the stadium from afar. Due to fabrication logistics and schedule, "only" 20 million perforations could be made with a required minimum distance of half-an-inch between each one. To get around this, though, eight different hole sizes were used to allow perforations to fall neatly in line with the panel's edge as well as enhance the facade's pattern.

To do this, a strategy using, Grasshopper, Rhino, C++ and Visual Studio was conceived which let HKS LINE determine perforation density and mapping. "Perforation sizes corresponding to grayscale values within the source image are also mapped onto the panel," said Warton. "We had to think of a system that would enable us to see every bit of information about every tile. This information is translated into text that can be used to make the panel."

The stadium, when completed in 2019, will be the world’s most expensive. James Warton will be speaking at the next Facades+ conference in New York April 6+7. There he and other members of HKS will discuss the Los Angeles Rams stadium and its facade in further detail. Seating is limited. To register, go to facadesplus.com

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Los Angeles Rams stadium breaks ground

The new $2.66 billion HKS-designed football stadium for the Los Angeles Rams broke ground in Inglewood, California late last week, bringing the newly-relocated National Football League (NFL) team one step closer toward completing the team’s transition from Saint Louis to Los Angeles. The stadium, designed by New York–based HKS, features a giant triangular roof supported by thick columns and made of ETFE. This super-roof also spans across an adjacent outdoor lobby called “champions plaza” to be used as a communal gathering spot for game day spectators. Los Angeles–based Mia Lehrer + Associates is acting as landscape architect for the project. The stadium has been designed to accommodate two professional teams and to seat 80,000 spectators for these types of sporting events, with the San Diego Chargers potentially lining up to use the stadium as their new home. The recent election dashed that team’s bid to fund a new stadium in San Diego proper, opening up the potential for the Inglewood stadium to host that team as well as the Rams. HKS has designed to the multi-use stadium to accommodate up to 100,000 spectators for concerts that utilize the playing field for floor seating and the stadium is also being considered as part of the city’s 2024 Olympic bid. The stadium will be located at the heart of the new City of Champions district, a purpose-built mixed-use, entertainment, and leisure neighborhood being constructed on the site of the recently-demolished Hollywood Park fairgrounds. The City of Champions development has been under construction for several months and with construction of the stadium component of the development (a late-in-the-game addition to the neighborhood) now underway, plans are quickly coalescing around making the new neighborhood a focal point for the region. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has publicly endorsed the idea of extending existing light rail system to the stadium and plans are currently being developed to provide such access. The stadium is due to be completed in time for the 2019-2020 NFL season.  
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What will Angelenos do with a decommissioned, 45-foot-deep reservoir?

The tony neighborhood of Silver Lake, located on the periphery of Downtown Los Angeles, is the latest of many contested sites in a city grappling with dual perils of increasing urbanization and water scarcity.

In this case, Silver Lake’s namesake reservoir, a grandfather of the city’s pioneering urban water infrastructure system, is driving a wedge among neighbors and communities. The reservoir was decommissioned in 2006 to comply with new regulations from the United States Environmental Protection Agency that banned open-air, potable water reservoirs. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), who owns the Silver Lake Reservoir, opted to build a new, underground water storage facility in the nearby San Fernando Valley. That project—the Headworks Reservoir, an 110-million gallon system located on a 43-acre site—robbed Silver Lake Reservoir not only of its infrastructural purpose but also of its water. Ten years later and four years into a punishing drought, the decommissioned reservoir sits empty, its soft bottom sprouting scraggly tufts of new growth.

Fierce neighborhood rivalries have erupted over what to do about the 45-foot deep hole, especially considering LADWP has not published a workable plan for the future of the complex. Should the reservoir be refilled? If so, with whose water? If not, what happens to the land?

Silver Lake Forward, an organization of designers and activists who live in the area, has sprouted up to advocate for a more equitable vision of the future. The group is circulating a petition to persuade the LADWP to refill the reservoir sustainably, with an eye toward the delicate ecological balance necessary to maintain a healthy water landscape in Los Angeles. The group’s conceptual plan, designed by Mia Lehrer + Associates, aims for the gradual reintroduction of natural landscape ecologies by artificially raising the reservoir’s floor and converting the complex into a 31-acre park. The scheme features lookout points, boardwalks, and a series of small islands set aside for roosting water birds.

At a recent meeting discussing the project, Robert Soderstrom, cofounder and president of the organization, expressed hope for the group’s plan: “The people of this city will rise to the spaces we build,” he said.

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L.A. River revitalization takes center stage in public eye (and real estate development)

2016 has been big for the Los Angeles River’s ongoing restoration process, as several of the multi-agency, intragovernmental urban water infrastructure projects surrounding its redevelopment have begun implementation.

The 51-mile-long concrete channel currently known as the L.A. River was created in 1938 as a flood control measure, and has been the site of steadily growing public interest for decades. Activist groups started gathering around the idea of river as a social justice cause for the city back in the 1980s, exploring its hidden potential for creating an urban oasis. River-focused landscape architects like Mia Lehrer and organizations like Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR), founded in 1986 by poet, filmmaker, and writer Lewis MacAdams, have been at the forefront of river advocacy for years and are responsible for keeping the river in the public eye. But suddenly, the project has gained international notoriety both as the poster child for the post-World War II era’s ham-handed approach to urban hydrology, and, crucially, as an urban project the success of which could rewrite the future of America’s second-largest city.

In 2004, the City of Los Angeles founded a nonprofit group, L.A. River Revitalization Corporation, to wrangle the ever-growing constellation of river-related programs, and ultimately hired Frank Gehry and Associates, landscape firm OLIN, and Geosyntec Consultants to create a master plan. The team is currently in the midst of working through the initial study phases and has held a handful of community meetings across the region to discuss on-the-ground concerns and to gather ideas, in the process creating the L.A. River Index, an online resource for sharing information with the public. A preview of the L.A. River VR Experience, an initiative by media producers Camilla Andersson and Anders Hjemdahl at Pacific Virtual Reality and FoLAR, was released on October 8, timed with the organization’s 30th anniversary. The project is currently in the final stages of production and features a VR tour along the entire LA River. 

Additionally, Gruen Associates, Mia Lehrer Associates, and Oyler Wu Collaborative were recently selected to design bike paths across the river’s length in the San Fernando Valley. Their project will link to the existing, popular path along the river running through the Frogtown neighborhood just north of Downtown Los Angeles. That particular area has been the site of highly partisan anti-gentrification battles, as the development community quickly began to take note of an impending windfall if the river becomes a desirable location. Housing projects have begun to sprout up around this neck of the river, which is surrounded by a mix of sleepy residential and industrial areas. A forthcoming project by Rios Clementi Hale Studios aims to bring 419 apartments, 39,600 square feet of ground-floor retail space, and 18 acres of open space to a river-adjacent site.

In Downtown Los Angeles, Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA) is working toward beginning construction on their new vision for the Sixth Street Viaduct. The project will replace a structurally compromised bridge from 1932 currently under demolition. MMA aims to work in parallel with the bridge’s demolition, starting construction at the recently demolished eastern banks of the river and moving in the path of the old bridge. That project, a partnership with the City’s Bureau of Engineering, is being designed explicitly to facilitate community access to the river along both banks, and is due to be completed in 2019.

Whether it’s online, in virtual reality, or along the newly permeable banks of a beautified L.A. River, one thing is sure: L.A.’s River is changing very, very quickly.

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“Landscape Architecture as Necessity” conference at USC aims to “counter the onslaught of politically-correct eco-speak”

The University of Southern California (USC) School of Architecture will be holding a three-day long conference this week focused on issues of landscape urbanism. The conference, titled Landscape as Necessity, is built around the idea that the landscape architecture discipline is, as stated on the conference website, “uniquely able to synthesize ecological systems, scientific data, engineering methods, social practices, and cultural values, integrating them into the design of the built environment.” As such, the three-day symposium will feature a vast array of practitioners, researchers, artists, and luminaries who will discuss their work.   One of the conference headliners is Gerdo Aquino, CEO of Los Angeles–based SWA, designers of the revamped San Jacinto Plaza in El Paso, Texas that has been reimagined to appeal to Millennials. Another top billing is Hadley Arnold of the Arid Lands Institute, one of the many firms currently studying the Los Angeles River and planning for its redevelopment. Arnold will lead a paper presentation covering the topic of “water urbanism” with practitioner, professor, and author Anuradha Mathur of the University of Pennsylvania. Explanatory text on the conference website describes the mission of the conference as charting new territories: “The overuse and debasement of the words ‘sustainable’, ‘resilient,’ and ‘adaptable’ mean that now more than ever, real flesh and blood projects must rise to the fore and counter the onslaught of politically-correct eco-speak.” Because the conference aims to ground itself with real world projects, many practicing landscape architects will participate in discussion panels, lecture on their work, and review writings. These practitioners include Los Angeles–based Mia Lehrer of Mia Lehrer Associates, who was recently selected to design the new First and Broadway Park in Downtown Los Angeles with OMA; Elizabeth Mossop of Spackman Mossop + Michaels landscape architects, based in Sydney and New Orleans; Bradley Cantrell, a Harvard-based researcher and 2014 Rome Prize Fellow in landscape architecture; and Mark Rios of Rios Clementi Hale Studios, landscape architects for the Martin Expo Town Center in West Los Angeles. Among the many others joining will be Henri Bava Founder of Paris-based landscape architecture firm Agence Ter, recently selected as the winners of an international design competition aimed at redesigning Los Angeles’s Pershing Square. Landscape as Necessity is being organized by Assistant Professor Alison Hirsch and Professor and Director Kelly Shannon of the USC landscape architecture program. Shannon spearheaded the Mekong Delta Regional Plan 2030 and Vision 2050 plan, a multi-disciplinary, multi-year study aimed at preserving and modernizing Vietnam’s major agricultural region. In an interview earlier this month with Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Designs, Shannon described her team’s intentions behind holding the conference, saying “Ultimately, it should become clear that landscape architecture will be a major game changer in the coming decades in Los Angeles and beyond. However, there must be strong political will and a chance for paradigmatic projects to lead transformative policy.” The conference runs from Wednesday, September 21, 2016 to Saturday, September 24, 2016. To learn more, see the Landscape as Necessity website.
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Gruen Associates, Mia Lehrer, and Oyler Wu picked to design 12-mile long L.A. River bike path

Gruen Associates, Mia Lehrer + Associates, and Oyler Wu Collaborative have been selected to design a 12-mile long bike path running along the Los Angeles River through the city’s San Fernando Valley. The L.A. River has its headwaters in the Canoga Park neighborhood in the northwest San Fernando Valley, so the path will be a key and highly visible portion that will work in conjunction with the much larger, Frank O. Gehry and Associates-master plan for restoring the L.A. River. That wider project will use bicycle and pedestrian paths, parks, and public, open space to stitch neighborhoods along the 51-mile long concrete-lined flood control channel. By connecting to a three-mile long path already in existence that runs from Griffith Park, at the southeastern corner of the San Fernando Valley, through the Elysian Valley and into Downtown, the path will help mark a giant leap forward for the otherwise derelict flood control channel. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made the announcement Tuesday afternoon via press release, saying, “The Los Angeles River is a common thread that links us to our history, and connects us to the natural world. This bikeway will give all Angelenos a new way to experience our city, build accessibility to our revitalized river, and expand green space for families to enjoy. I am proud to work with all of the partners who helped us reach this milestone.” The San Fernando Valley portion of the trail will be made possible through a special partnership between the offices of Mayor Garcetti and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, with additional support from the City’s Department of Recreation and Parks and City Councilmembers Bob Blumenfield, Paul Krekorian, Nury Martinez and David Ryu. The project team will take nine months to study the route for the new trail in order to develop community-vetted strategies for the path. Construction on the project will then proceed in phases, with an unspecified timeline for project completion. The 12-mile stretch will be engineered by civil and structural engineering firm Psomas. “We are thrilled to bring together this exceptional team to work with us in the design of the Valley’s river bike path,” said Gary Lee Moore, City Engineer. “We have selected a group of designers known for their experience in successfully addressing architectural challenges, as well as bringing innovative and experimental thinking to their work.”
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Ford Amphitheatre renovation takes shape as summer season begins

The John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, a nearly hundred-year-old institution nestled in the scrubby, sandy hills of the Cahuenga Pass north of Hollywood, has already lived a handful of lives over its relatively short existence. And as it approaches its centennial, the amphitheater is undergoing its latest upgrade: A $65.8 million makeover by Los Angeles–based Levin & Associates Architects and landscape architecture firm Mia Lehrer + Associates due to be completed this September.

Originally designed in 1920 as a wooden amphitheater by arts and crafts architect Bernard Maybeck, the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, then called the Pilgrimage Theatre, was the original home of author and Pittsburgh Paint heiress Christine Wetherill Stevenson’s religiously themed Pilgrimage Play. That structure burned down in a brush fire in 1929 and was replaced in 1931 by a board-formed, poured-in-place concrete hippodrome designed by architect William Lee Woollett, who also designed the Million Dollar Theatre and the Rialto Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles.

The 1,200-seat structure was built to resemble the gates of Jerusalem, with crenelated parapets and corbel arches crudely carved into the crotch of what was then a remote hillside. This configuration left the complex subject to the cascades of rocks and runoff that come down the surrounding slopes during the region’s characteristic downpours. The theater, which continued holding performances of Stevenson’s play long after her death in 1922, came under the namesake of arts-supporting L.A. county supervisor John Anson Ford in 1976 and thereafter grew into a world-renowned community arts performance space.

The structure has been under the stewardship of Levin & Associates since 2014, undergoing what principal Brenda Levin described as “a near total reconstruction, not really a renovation.” Levin & Associates, responsible for the 1991 rehabilitation of the iconic Bradbury Building as well as the 2015 renovation to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, is tackling its latest legacy project with gusto. Here, the firm aims to divert flood waters from the theater’s underground artist support areas, expand the dressing room and staging areas, reconstruct the amphitheater stage, and construct a new sound-isolating wall designed to keep traffic noise out and music in. Mia Lehrer + Associates is responsible for stabilizing the lush, nearly postmodern backdrop of raw, palm-tree-lined scrub directly behind the stage through the addition of native and Mediterranean flora and a network of stone-clad retaining walls. The project adds a two-story structure, also of board-formed concrete, but lacks the original structure’s neo-Judaic flourishes that will hold lower-level concessions, a kitchen, and an office space. A state-of-the-art stage and lighting system is also being incorporated into the design.

Phase one of the renovation is complete, the theater reopened to the public on July 8th with the new buildings coming fully online in October. Plans for subsequent phases include a new three-level parking structure, 299-seat indoor theater, box office, museum-gallery, and hiking trail, which are due to be complete by 2020.

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Mia Lehrer selected to design L.A.’s FaB Park

The team led by Mia Lehrer and Associates (MLA), in partnership with Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) and design innovation firm IDEO, was selected by the City of Los Angeles this morning to design the new $12 million public park located at the intersection of First and Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles. MLA’s proposal for the so-called FaB Park utilizes a mix of meadows, gardens, and terraces packed with native plantings and mature oak trees to create a shady “California oaklands” landscape that can handle and capture all on-site stormwater for treatment and infiltration. The design also features a large, split-level structure with amphitheater seating designed by OMA that will be programmed by IDEO with public events focusing on food and entertainment. The structure injects a sizable commercial element into the scheme and features and associated beer garden and test kitchen. Towering, leaf-shaped shade structures dot the central plaza adjacent to the restaurant and amphitheater and aim to distribute shade across the unplanted portions of the scheme. The plaza will be accessed from a variety of approaches connecting to surrounding sidewalks, each of which frames one of the scheme’s signature gardens. A paseo will runs across the site from the corner of First and Broadway to Spring Street and City Hall and cuts through the plaza. The park aims to not only create place of respite in one of downtown’s most symbolic sites, but also to connect foot traffic between the Rios, Clementi, Hale Studios-designed Grand Park adjacent to FaB Park, City Hall, and the Los Angeles Times headquarters, and new SOM-designed United States Courthouse across the street. FaB Park is the second major park-related development in the neighborhood, with the Agence Ter and SALT-designed, minimalist proposal for the blighted Pershing Square sitting just four blocks away released just a few weeks ago.
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Four competing schemes for Downtown Los Angeles’ First & Broadway Civic Park

First there was the Grand Park, then Pershing Square decided to spruce things up with a design competition, and now four competing schemes for a third Downtown Los Angeles park were presented to the city in a public meeting this week. The proposals were from teams lead by AECOM, Brooks + Scarpa, Eric Owen Moss Architects, and Mia Lehrer + Associates with OMA and IDEO. The two-acre First & Broadway Civic Park will take over a full block in the heart of the L.A.’s Civic Center near City Hall and the Gordon Kaufmann’s Art Deco Los Angeles Times building. The overall greening of Downtown Los Angeles is consistent with its ongoing renewal. As such, each of the teams provided ample amenities in the park—canopies, cafes, music venues, movie screens—in addition to the standard fare of gardens, trees, and benches. AECOMmodel AECOM’s proposal takes iconic modernist landscape architect Garrett Eckbo’s 1946 Landscape for Living as a starting point, and then updates his California dream to be a collective experience. Hints of fifties modernism show themselves in the irregularly shaped lawn, which is framed by “The Wingnut,” which houses a gallery, and a 200-seat restaurant “The Paper Plane.” Undulating ribbons—green space above, amenities underneath—define Brooks + Scarpa's plan. The team suggests that the scheme is ecological with drought-minded plantings and integrated terraces and cisterns that lead to an expansive dry well. Hidden within the proposal is some programming sure to excite the design community: the Architecture and Urbanism Festival, a possible 3-month long curated event that would include temporary installations and public programs. Eric Owen Moss Architects, never a firm to shy away from odd forms, proposed a large cocoon-like structure dominates a rolling and grassy green space. Ready to compete with the nearby crowning towers of City Hall and the Times, EOM’s event pavilion seems equipped to screen films and host events. Mia Lehrer + Associates powerhouse team also includes OMA, IDEO, and Arup, among others. Their proposal takes food as its design driver. While the scheme shows a central paved plaza and side gardens lush with alien-ish shade canopies and mature trees, the main emphasis is on a multi-use pavilion building that includes a beer garden, a test kitchen, a restaurant, and an amphitheater. Presentation boards and models of the designs are on public display at the Department of Building and Safety at 201 North Figueroa.
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Pershing Square Renew wants your input on Semi-Finalist Concept Boards

In October, Pershing Square Renew selected 10 teams as semi-finalists for the redesign of Downtown Los Angeles’ oft-maligned urban space. The international design competition drew hundreds of entries and the two-handfuls selected represent both local and global practices. Reviewing the initial presentation boards, there’s common interest in opening up Pershing Square to the surrounding urban blocks, a porosity currently lacking in Legoretta’s scheme. The teams’ approaches are split between active and passive landscapes with some concepts showing large lawns and water features meant for calm reflection and light recreation, others packed the square with programming: dog parks, cafes, yoga zones, performance venues, etc. Pershing Square Renew posed the concept boards on their website and are now asking the Los Angeles community to weigh in with comments for the jury. Soon, the organization will select four top teams out of the field of semi-finalists and have them each develop a more comprehensive final design. Until then, have a gander at the boards below.