Posts tagged with "Michael Maltzan Architecture":

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AIA|LA awards highlight diverse range of practices and projects

The American Institute of Architects Los Angeles (AIA|LA) chapter recently announced the winners of its 2017 Design Awards, which recognizes practices and projects across the region in categories celebrating overall design, status as rising talent, and quality of environmental sustainability. The three award categories—Design Award; Next L.A.; and COTE—paint a picture of the diverse and multi-faceted character of Los Angeles’s architecture scene, with winners representing a broad spectrum of practice.   Design Awards AIA|LA’s Design Awards highlighted two projects in particular with top honors: The New United States Courthouse by SOM and the Crest Apartments by Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA). Since opening in late 2016, the new courthouse has become one of the region’s premier public buildings. The iconic cube-shaped structure utilizes a 28-foot cantilever over the ground floor areas to create an open, public plaza and garden designed by Mia Lehrer + Associates. MMA’s Crest Apartments, on the other hand, is a very different sort of project. The 64-unit affordable housing project utilizes minimal ground floor structure and exuberant plantings and paving strategies to create flexible recreation spaces that double as car parking when not in use. The project was developed with Skid Row Housing Trust to benefit veterans who have previously experienced homelessness. The following projects were awarded “merit” and “citation” designations by the AIA|LA Design Awards jury:   Merit Awards Road to Awe, Dan Brunn Architecture West Hollywood, CA Hyundai Capital Convention Hall, Gensler Seoul, South Korea Oak Pass Main House, Walker Workshop Beverly Hills, CA House Noir, Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects Malibu, CA Citation Awards Helmut Lang Flagship Store, Standard Los Angeles, CA Southern Utah Museum of Art, Brooks+Scarpa Cedar City, Utah South Los Angeles Pool Renovation, Lehrer Architects LA South Los Angeles, CA Sunset La Cienega Residences, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP + Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects West Hollywood, CA Prototype | A True Starter Home, Lehrer Architects LA South Los Angeles, CA The Salkin House, Bestor Architecture Los Angeles, CA Corner Pocket House, Edward Ogosta Architecture Manhattan Beach, CA Ayzenberg Group, Corsini Stark Architects Pasadena, CA Platform, Abramson Teiger Architects Culver City, CA Desert Palisades Guardhouse, Studio AR&D Architects Palm Springs, CA The Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Kevin Daly Architects Los Angeles, CA Rice University Moody Center for the Arts, Michael Maltzan Architecture Houston, TX Saddle Peak Residence, Sant Architects Topanga, CA Mar Vista House Addition and Renovation, Sharif, Lynch: Architecture Los Angeles, CA 2017 AIA|LA Design Awards jurors were Gabriela Carrillo, co-founder, Taller | Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo; Lance Evans, associate principal and senior vice president, HKS Architects; and Neil  M. Denari, professor, Department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA. AIA|LA Next L.A. The AIA|LA Next L.A. awards honor yet-to-be-built projects that are in the design and planning stage.  This year’s winning project—The West Hollywood Belltower—is designed by Tom Wiscombe Architecture. The project aims to redefine the vernacular billboard as a spatial, digital installation framed by a public park. The proposal was generated as part of a design competition orchestrated by the City of West Hollywood to guide the design of future billboards. The following projects were awarded “merit” and “citation” designations by the AIA|LA Next L.A. awards jury:   Merit Award Los Angeles Residence, Baumgartner + Uriu Los Angeles, CA   Citation Award St. Georges Church, PARALX Beirut, Lebanon A4H Office Building, P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S Glendale, CA Varna Library, XTEN Architecture Varna, Bulgaria Sberbank Technopark, Eric Owen Moss Architects Moscow, Russia Silver Lake Duplex, Warren Techentin Architecture Los Angeles, CA Twin Villa, Patrick TIGHE Architecture & John V Mutlow Architects Beijing, China Second House, Freeland Buck Los Angeles, CA Jurors for AIA|LA Next L.A. awards were: Mark Foster Gage, principal, Mark Foster Gage Architects; Alvin Huang, design principal, Synthesis Design + Architecture; and Julia Koerner, Director, JK Design GmbH.   COTE Award AIA|LA’s Committee on the Environment focuses on highlighting projects that “demonstrate achievement in the implementation of sustainability features” and is awarded by a panel of experts who focus on performance, systems integration, and sustainability research. For 2017, the committee awarded four projects with top honors, including the Mesa Court Towers at University of California, Irvine designed by Mithun. The project features a LEED Platinum sustainability rating, exterior circulation, and an emphasis on day-lit spaces. Other winners in the category include: the J. Craig Venter Institute La Jolla by ZGF Architects; the New United States Courthouse by SOM; and The SIX Veterans Housing by Brooks+Scarpa.   Citation Award UCLA Hitch Suites & Commons Building, Steinberg Los Angeles, CA Kaiser Permanente, Kraemer Radiation Oncology Center, Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign Anaheim, CA The jurors for the 2017 AIA|LA COTE Awards were: Ezequiel Farca, creative director, Ezequiel Farca + Cristina Grappin; Dan Heinfeld, president, LPA; and Ben Loescher, founding principal, Loescher Meachem Architects.   Other Awards At its award ceremony last week, the organization also presented its 2017 Presidential Honoree awards, which included honors for architects Design, Bitches, builders MATT Construction, and Mike Alvidrez of the Skid Row Housing Trust, among others. Those awards include: Emerging Practice Award: Catherine Johnson, AIA; Rebecca Rudolph, AIA | Design, Bitches Design Advocate, Builder Award: Steve Matt, Affiliate AIA|LA, Co-Founder, MATT Construction; and the late Paul Matt, Co-Founder, MATT Construction Community Contribution Award: Southern California Chapter, National Organization of Minority Architects (SoCalNOMA) 25-Year Award: Grand Central Market Restoration Design Advocate, Developer Award: Mike Alvidrez, Chief Executive Officer, Skid Row Housing Trust Building Team Award: Wilshire Grand Building Team Honorary AIA|LA Award: Tibby Rothman, Marketing Strategist, AIA|LA | journalist, writer, creative Educator Award: Dr. Douglas E. Noble, FAIA, Ph.D; Discipline Head, Building Science, Director of the Master of Building Science, University of Southern California, School of Architecture Gold Medal: Lawrence Scarpa, FAIA; Design Principal, Brooks + Scarpa
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Michael Maltzan Architecture to expand ArtCenter College of Design

ArtCenter College of Design has unveiled renderings of a new, two-phase master plan created by Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA) that aims to reposition the college as an expansive, urban campus connected by pedestrianized open spaces, new housing, and student amenities. The new 15-year master plan for the university’s dual Pasadena campuses would boost enrollment by 500 students, bringing the total number of enrolled full-time students to 2,500. Plans include adding several new student housing towers, a mixed-use academic complex, two new quad spaces, pedestrian and bicycle paths and a cap over an existing light rail line right-of-way that transverses the site. The first phase of the project will bring two new eight-story housing towers to the north end of the campus containing 350 and 500 beds, respectively. The housing towers would be accompanied by a new quad that would span above the light rail line. The quad would be joined by ground floor amenity spaces in the housing towers that could include a new art supply store, student galleries, a campus cafeteria, and a coffee shop. Several existing buildings would receive internal upgrades and reprogramming during this phase as well. The first phase of the project is slated to be completed by 2020. Phase two of the project would bring the addition of a 220,000-square-foot housing and student center complex that would be capped by four eight-story towers containing up to 650 student beds. Plans call for potentially utilizing these structures as academic spaces as well. This complex would be located at the southern end of the campus and would replace an existing parking lot. This end of the campus would also receive a new elevated quad area that would be raised above street level to connect the new housing towers. Preliminary renderings of the complex depict planted terraces accessed by broad staircases and sloping landscape areas. These spaces would be overlooked by the new housing towers, which are depicted without detail in the renderings. A second satellite campus will receive internal upgrades, new solar arrays, as well as the removal of an annex building, Urbanize.la reports. Tina Chee Landscape Studio is slated to work as the landscape architect on the project. Plans call for the competition of both phases of the master plan by 2033.
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This video lets you soar over L.A.’s new Sixth Street Bridge

A heroic new flyover video from the team behind the new Sixth Street Viaduct project in Downtown Los Angeles gives us a closer glimpse into what is in store for the L.A. River–spanning bridge as work on the $482 million project moves toward its 2020 completion date. Construction on the bridge—designed by Los Angeles–based Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA), engineers HNTB, and the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering—is well underway. Skanska and Stacy and Witbeck are contractors for the 3,500-foot-long project. The original 1932 expanse was demolished last year as a result of long-term and irreparable structural issues. MMA’s proposal for the bridge was selected in 2012 after the city held an international contest to design the new monument. This summer, workers on either bank of the river are preparing foundations for the first of ten pairs of arching piers that will eventually support the bridge. The flyover video shows four lanes of conventional automobile traffic running at the center of the bridge, with striped bicycle lanes and barricaded sidewalks on either end. Either end of the bridge is anchored by large-scale pedestrian access ramps that wind up to meet the bridge structure. The ramps on the Boyle Heights end of the bridge wind in a circular path that ramps down to meet the neighborhood and forthcoming landscaping and park areas, part of the $12 million plan to pedestrianize and green the areas below and around the bridge. Overall, the bridge will feature five pedestrian stairways and at least three ADA-accessible pedestrian ramps. The video has drawn a bit of criticism on social media from bicycle advocates for not including protected bicycle lanes in the design. Los Angeles is making an earnest push to expand its network of protected bicycle lanes in conjunction with the piecemeal introduction of a regional bikeshare system and a growing focus on Vision Zero street designs that minimize pedestrian deaths. Instead of embracing this growing design trend, the new Sixth Street Viaduct designs, like the recently-completed Riverside-Figueroa bridge, exhibits wide, automobile-centric proportions. The bridge is scheduled to finish construction and open for traffic in 2020.
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First look at Michael Maltzan’s Moody Center for the Arts in Houston

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The Moody Center for the Arts, designed by Los Angeles–based Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA), is a 50,000-square-foot, $30 million center located on the campus of Rice University. It serves the campus and general public as an experimental platform for making and showcasing works across disciplines through deliberately flexible interior spaces.
  • Facade Manufacturer Endicott (brick units)
  • Architects Michael Maltzan Architecture
  • Facade Installer Linbeck (contractor); Dee Brown, Inc (masonry subcontractor); Duke Glass (glazing systems)
  • Facade Consultants Thornton Tomasetti (facade consultant); Guy Nordenson and Associates (structural engineer)
  • Location Houston, TX
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System steel frame, masonry veneer, curtain wall
  • Products Manganese Ironspot norman masonry brick units by Endicott; first floor curtain wall & second floor windows by Oldcastle; Glazing by Guardian
The building is generally composed of three long narrow blocks, set along an east-west campus grid. The structure references typological buildings and their related exterior quadrangle spaces on Rice University’s campus, which stem from an early 1900s masterplan by Boston architect Ralph Adams Cram. "We had this fantasy that, if you could take all of the campus and squish together its long rectangular buildings with its exterior quads, you would combine both formal and informal ways of making connections and learning," said Michael Maltzan, founder of Michael Maltzan Architecture. "In that regard, we were alluding to the Moody as a microcosm of the entire Rice campus." The facade appears quite massive from far away, but as you get closer, it is revealed that the facade is actually quite thin and permeable. This is most apparent through a "floating" outdoor canopy that frames an arcade running parallel along the building's primary north elevation. The facade here is framed by steel and integrates a secondary steel web that spans from the second floor to the roof continuously along the entire facade. This web encloses “lanterns,” or volumetric voids in the massing of the building, and wraps around starburst-shaped columns which bookend the composition. These iconic columns carry the load of the steel and masonry structure at each end of the building. A double angle detail provides a crisp bearing shelf for the brick facade. At the east lantern, the brick surface is installed as screen wall configuration. To achieve this, threaded stainless steel rods were integrated into the hollow cells of the brick units, which were installed in a 1/3 running bond pattern. Andrea Manning, associate at Michael Maltzan Architecture, said this allowed for selective bricks to be omitted, producing a unique perforated floating masonry screen. "It was a technical challenge to make brick work this way while maintaining a light and delicate structure," she said. Maltzan said this building uniquely brings together a lot of programmatic elements they have worked on in the past. "There aren't that many examples of this new type of building whose ambition is to be [a] extremely cross-disciplinary hype-collaborative center where lots of different unexpected individuals, groups, artists, technical people all come together. One of the biggest challenges is to anticipate the wide range of activities that might take place without any of that being determined yet when designing the building. To try and build in the right amount of flexibility without flexibility completely taking over the building in such a significant way that it compromises any parts of the program. Getting this right was a big learning curve for everyone involved on the project." The brick is a dark manganese ironspot brick, which Maltzan says produces a surface that is animated by the dynamic quality of the atmosphere of the site. “Brick often feels like it is very stable and unchangeable. The manganese brick is black, but over the course of the day with changing lighting conditions, it can take on the appearance of metal, deep purple, or sky blue. That quality, along with the thinness of the assembly gives a new reading and character to brick which we are very excited about.” Beyond the facade, at the heart of the Moody is a double-height “Creative Open Studio” that anchors the building in plan and section. This space was imagined by the architects as an interior version of the typical campus quad. “This interior landscape brings the most diverse programmatic functions into contact with one another, while opening views out to the campus,” said Maltzan. The cross-disciplinary building establishes a new arts district on campus, with proximity to the Shepherd School of Music and the James Turrell Twilight Epiphany Skyspace on the Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion. The facility will be programmed, but it’s also a place where the public can be inspired, with public shows and free admittance year-round.
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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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Michael Maltzan Architecture to expand Hammer Museum

Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA) and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles have announced plans for a 40,000-square-foot, multi-year expansion to the museum’s existing facilities at the foot of the University of California, Los Angeles campus. The newly-announced additions and changes come as MMA completes renovations to several existing galleries in the museum. That project has seen MMA consolidate existing spaces to enable a continuous, 10,000-square-foot gallery space, a programmatic requirement necessary for hosting most major traveling exhibitions. Those renovated galleries will debut to the public this weekend and feature new exhibitions with pieces by American sculptor Jimmie Durham and French painter Jean Dubuffet. In a press release announcing the expansion, Hammer Museum Director Ann Philbin said, “After years of continuous growth, the Hammer is in need of a physical expansion and upgrade to provide more art for our audiences, more places to study, and more places to gather.” The next set of renovations will build on existing capabilities by increasing the museum’s exhibition space by 60% and will include the addition of a new gallery dedicated to works on paper and special collections, in addition to creating a new museum store. Plans also call for increasing community spaces by 20,000 square feet. Renderings released by the architect depict white-walled gallery spaces with minimal detailing and blonde wood floors. MMA’s renovations will also include re-programming the ground floor facade along Wilshire Boulevard to increase transparency between the interiors and the street. In the same press release, Maltzan said, “The Hammer has become an essential destination in Los Angeles. This transformation will make it dramatically more visible and inviting, more connected, more immersive. It will mark a major new chapter for what the Hammer is, and what it can be.” MMA has a long list of previous projects at the museum, including designs for the museum’s Billy Wilder Theater in 2006, renovations to the museum’s courtyard in 2012, and the John V. Tunney Bridge, built in 2015. The Hammer Museum is located along the ground and lower floors of the 16-story Occidental Petroleum Building, a midcentury office tower originally designed by architect Claud Beelman in 1962. This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect’s Newspaper’s coverage of your city and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.
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Styled like illuminated manuscripts, Lari Pittman’s paintings stand in a Michael Maltzan Architecture-designed exhibition

Lari Pittman: Mood Books, features an exhibition design by Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA) and is currently on view at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. Pittman’s works consist of six large-scale art books that contain a total of 65 hallucinogenic paintings styled by the artist in the manner of illuminated manuscripts. Michael Maltzan described Pittman’s works to The Architect’s Newspaper during a recent studio visit as “architectural in scale,” which the firm sought to accommodate via an elaborate and expressive series of billowing, stark white pedestals. MMA’s lofted forms serve to highlight the weighty books, with the smooth, white-painted plywood reliquaries accentuating the bulk and eye-popping color of Pittman’s paintings. The pedestals connect to form one long sequence, an alternating display of spreads that will change throughout the course of the exhibition’s duration as the book pages are turned by gallery attendants.

Lari Pittman: Mood Books The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens 1151 Oxford Road San Marino, CA Through February 20

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L.A.’s Playa Vista is becoming “Silicon Beach” and plays host to top architecture firms

The Playa Vista neighborhood on Los Angeles’s west side is quickly becoming Southern California’s answer to Silicon Valley, as it plays host to a growing contingent of technology-focused companies like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, and WeWork. And as capital, brainpower, and new residents flow into the area, so too have big-name architecture firms with high-minded designs.

The Playa Vista tract was originally owned by airline mogul Howard Hughes, who used the ocean-adjacent expanse as the manufacturing facility and airstrip where he built his famous Hercules (Spruce Goose) airplane. President Bill Clinton designated the 1.3-square-mile area as one of six national pilot projects of the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing in 1998, and the property began its redevelopment as a mixed-use neighborhood in 2002. In the years since, the 460-acre area, partially master-planned by Los Angeles–based Moule & Polyzoides, has seen its population boom to over 10,000 residents. In recent years, the area has gained the moniker “Silicon Beach,” as technology companies originally based in the nearby communities of Venice and Santa Monica have outgrown their initial outposts, expanding the technology industry’s footprint southward.

Last year, Google signed on to lease 319,000 square feet of space in the Hercules Campus, a complex redeveloped by Brenda Levin and Associates and EPT Design for the Ratkovich Company, including the 200- by 700-foot Hercules building in which Spruce Goose was designed. The team restored the building, adding pedestrian-oriented amenities to the complex while also converting the historic structure into a series of soundstages and tech-friendly offices.

Michael Maltzan Architecture, which designed the eight-acre Playa Vista Central Park in 2010 with Office of James Burnett (OJB), is adding a new 425,300 square foot office complex called The Brickyard. The Brickyard is also beind developed with OJB. The new complex, currently under construction, will feature partially-sunken landscaped parking areas that aim to extend the park outward into the office zones. The office structures, articulated as a maze of stacked, shifted, and offset volumes, are made up of two principal masses: one long office block that bends at two elbows in order to frame the aforementioned parking deck and a singular, six-story office tower. Both buildings feature punched openings as well as a variety of delicately-articulated access points that connect the parking and ground-level areas with what’s above. The complex will include a 9,000-square-foot daycare facility and will help fulfill Playa Vista’s goal of becoming a full-service neighborhood.

Gensler has also been busy at Playa Vista, undertaking the architectural repositioning of four existing office spaces in its Playa Jefferson complex. Vantage Property Investors has announced a tech-focused project dubbed “Building E,” which will encompass another large office structure designed for creative collaboration. The structure, undertaken with 360 Construction Group and AHBE Landscape Architects, will bring 200,000 square feet of open plan creative office space to the district, with large expanses of glass, terraced floor plates, and a cantilevered anchor office space. Li Wen, design director and principal at Gensler, detailed several key aspects of the design, including “side-core configurations that allow open floorplates, direct access to and abundance of private outdoor space, operable windows, sawtooth skylights, thinner floorplates for natural ventilation and deep penetration of natural light, and flat slab construction that provides for 13-foot ceiling heights.” The ocean-oriented project is located adjacent to the “lifestyle amenity-rich” Runway at Playa Vista Apartments by Johnson Fain.

Last but not least, Shimoda Design Group and OJB completed work in 2015 on The Collective, a 200,150-square-foot, LEED Gold office park complex designed for Tishman Speyer that features five two-story buildings clad in distinctive, tilt-up concrete panels (seen at the top of the article). These panels, interspersed with expanses of glass, are topped by zigzagging, metal-clad roofs. The campus connects the humdrum of office life directly to the adjacent outdoor areas via a series of landscaped paths, bringing in the sensitive Ballona and Bluff Creek wetlands that run alongside Playa Vista’s northern and southern edges. With new lease agreements being signed almost by the day and the careful, meticulous process of filling in the district’s vacant parcels fully underway, Playa Vista looks more and more like a sure bet for L.A.’s growing roster of creative offices spaces.

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AN Exclusive: Studio Gang beats out Michael Maltzan and Allied Works to design unified California College of the Arts campus

Chicago-based Studio Gang Architects (SGA) has been selected to design an expansion of the California College of the Arts (CCA) campus in San Francisco, beating out Michael Maltzan Architects and Allied Works for the prestigious commission. Over the next five years, CCA will work with SGA to develop a design for a comprehensive expansion of the existing arts campus to provide educational facilities for the college’s 2,000 students, 600 faculty members, 250 staff members, and 34 academic programs in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood. The expansion, outlined in the school’s Framing the Future visioning plan developed by Gensler and MKThink in 2015, will aim to absorb the school’s Oakland satellite campus as well as create on-site housing opportunities for students on a site adjacent to the existing San Francisco campus. In a press release announcing SGA’s selection, CCA Board Chair C. Diane Christensen commended the firm’s long list of ground-breaking educational projects, saying, “The selection process was extremely thorough, involving intense review and significant input from many constituencies. Studio Gang’s visionary work, commitment to innovation and sustainability, and collaborative work style makes the firm an excellent fit for this project and for CCA. Jeanne Gang leads an extraordinary team that is very familiar with San Francisco and our still-emerging neighborhood at the intersection of the city’s innovation corridor, the new DoReMi arts district, and Mission Bay. We are thrilled with the prospect of working with Studio Gang and have high hopes that our new campus will help redefine 21st-century arts education.” Studio Gang CCA Unified Campus from Architect's Newspaper on Vimeo. In the same press release, Jeanne Gang, founding principal at SGA, focused on intrinsic potential for the project to yield innovative educational synergies, remarking, “We are excited to discover with CCA the possibilities that a unified campus in San Francisco presents for the future of art teaching, learning, and making,” adding, “The site has enormous potential to build an expanded, increasingly connected campus for CCA in a newly thriving design district. We are looking forward to a creative and engaged design process to help CCA continue to change the world through dynamic arts education.”
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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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Allied Works, Michael Maltzan, and Studio Gang compete for California College of the Arts campus design

Allied Works Architecture (AWA), Michael Maltzan Architects (MMA), and Studio Gang Architects (SGA) have been selected as finalists to design a new campus for California College of the Arts (CCA). The architects are vying to design a new extension to the school’s San Francisco campus that would unify the institute’s 2,000 students, 600 faculty, 250 staff members and 34 academic programs on one site. Currently, CCA’s students and programs are split between a campus in San Francisco and one in nearby Oakland, California. The new campus expansion would grow on a 2.4-acre lot bordering the existing facilities in San Francisco and would be developed over the following five years. The project also aims to address San Francisco’s housing crisis by supplying roughly 1,000 beds of on- or near-campus housing by 2025, a healthy increase over the 500 currently available beds split between the two existing campuses. The expansion will have a heavy emphasis on sustainable design practices, with the college citing the inclusion of sustainability strategies for water and energy generation, usage, and conservation, air quality, and environmentally safe art-making materials and practices as central tenets of the expansion. CCA will also engage in an effort to preserve the school’s current Oakland campus, which dates back to 1922. The university aims to redevelop that property, the historic Treadwell Estate, in a way that might “reflect and amplify CCA's legacy,” including, potentially, some sort of “mission-aligned” use like affordable housing or as the location of an educational institution. The planned expansion comes after several years of architect-guided planning at CCA, with architectural firms Gensler and MKThink producing a strategic framework for planning for the campus in 2015 that was followed by year-long comment period seeking to engage professors and students, alumni, and trustees. Following the comment period, San Francisco—based Jensen Architects created a space-planning guide from the Gensler and MKThink report that was then used to vet potential architecture firms, with the resulting selection of AWA, MMA, and SGA indicating the school is ready to move onto the next phase of fielding proposals from each team. In a press release announcing the finalists’ selection, CCA President Stephen Beal stated, “This is the moment for CCA to elevate and scale our distinctive, learn-through-making educational model by unifying our campuses to improve the student experience. We will develop future creative leaders and reimagine higher education on a campus like no other—one built with advanced measures of sustainability where every workspace, public space, and landscape serves as a living, learning laboratory for collaboration, risk-taking, and experimentation. We are looking forward to finding a partner architectural firm that can help us realize this vision.”
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Michael Maltzan Architects designs exhibition for Huntington Library

  The exhibition, Lari Pittman: Mood Books, with works by artist Lari Pittman and exhibition design by Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA), is currently on view at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. Pittman is a Los Angeles—based visual artist who makes large-scale paintings that combine surrealism, geometric shapes, and narrative association with vivid color. The artist’s paintings vary widely in terms of size and scale and alternate between collections of single and multiple works. The exhibition on view features a collection of Pittman’s smaller recent works: six art-books containing a bound collection of 65 paintings by the artist, with the books resting on large pedestals designed by MMA. The tomes, styled in the manner of psychedelia-inspired illuminated manuscripts, are located in a dark, ancillary gallery and are removed from the museum’s permanent collection. Within that space, the books and their respective pedestals are organized in a straight line, with books open for viewing along alternating sides of the heavily articulated, painted plywood arrangement. MMA’s designs for the pedestals are articulated as stark-white, billowing forms, rendered in sumptuous planes with surface qualities halfway between those sheets of a paper and billowing drapery. Each pedestal is supported by four diminutive legs, where the form of each supported volume swoops down to touch the floor. Like sliced up milk cartons, the pedestals unfold and bend backward, connecting with adjacent pedestals to create one monolithic object. A light-gauge curved rod spans between the open section of each pedestal along the viewing edge, guarding Pittman’s works. A wall-based work on a touchscreen hangs, off in a the corner of the room, the small painting illuminated and pushed out from the wall by an exaggerated, extruded picture frame. The pages of each book will be turned throughout the course of the exhibition and all the sheets are accessible via the touch screen component. For more information on Mood Books, visit the Huntington Library website.