Posts tagged with "Rios Clementi Hale":

Design, Bitches and more win 2018 AIA|LA Residential Architecture Awards

The American Institute of Architects Los Angeles chapter (AIA|LA) has announced its 2o18 Residential Architecture Award honorees. The 23 collected projects run the gamut from new, high-end mansions to affordable housing complexes and restored historic homes. With honors for Bestor ArchitectureGriffin Enright Architects, Rios Clementi Hale Studios, Design, Bitches, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, and others, AIA|LA has honored a who’s who of the region’s top design firms. See below for the full list of honorees and check out the AIA|LA website for more information and other awards programs. SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL (up to 2,500 square feet) Merit Callow Residence, Altadena, CA, Corsini Stark Architects   Citation Saddle Peak Residence, Topanga, CA, Sant Architects Tilt-Shift House, Los Angeles, CA, ANX/Aaron Neubert Architects   SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL (up to 5,000 square feet) Merit Callow Residence, Altadena, CA, Corsini Stark Architects Birch Residence, Los Angeles, CA, Griffin Enright Architects   Citation Venice House, Venice, CA, Rios Clementi Hale Studios Croft Residence, Los Angeles, CA, AUX Architecture, Brian Wickersham Y Chalet, Faraya, Lebanon, PARALX   Honor Waverley, Palo Alto, CA, Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects Bridge Residence, Los Angeles, CA, Belzberg Architects Brise Soleil, Beverly Hills, CA, Studio William Hefner Barrington Residence, Los Angeles, CA, Eric Rosen Architects   Multifamily Residential (up to 20 units) Citation Bluplex, Culver City, CA, Yu2e   Multifamily Residential (50 units and up) Citation Otis College of Art and Design Campus Expansion, Los Angeles, CA, Ehrlich | Fisher UCSB San Joaquin Housing, Santa Barbara, CA, Kevin Daly Architects UCSB San Joaquin Housing, Santa Barbara, CA, Lorcan O’ Herlihy Architects   Adaptive Reuse | Renovation | Historic Preservation Honor Mayumi, Culver City, CA, ShubinDonaldson Merit Harvey House, Palm Springs, CA, Marmol Radziner (original design: Buff & Hensman) Three Schindlers Redux, Inglewood, CA, Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects Silvertop, Los Angeles, CA, Bestor Architecture (original design: John Lautner)   Citation Garden House, Atwater Village, CA, Design, Bitches The Salkin House, Los Angeles, CA, Bestor Architecture Writer's Block, Arts District, Downtown Los Angeles, CA, CHACOL, Inc.   Affordable Housing  Merit Anchor Place, Long Beach, CA, The Architects Collective

Los Angeles Design Festival to highlight city’s design chops this weekend

The Los Angeles Design Festival (LADF) returns to L.A. this weekend, offering up a wide-ranging slate of art- and design-focused events that aim to highlight the city’s growing design scene.  We’ve put together a few highlights for the weekend below. Though the festivities actually kicked off last night at the official opening party, things get serious today, with a bevy of installations and receptions opening to the public Friday and on through the weekend. Highlighting the day’s events will be a keynote address by Los Angeles Chief Design Officer and former Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne.  The keynote presentation will feature a discussion focused on housing in Los Angeles between Hawthorne, Barbara Bestor of Bestor Architecture, Julie Eizenberg of Koning Eizenberg Architects, and Jimenez Lai of Bureau Spectacular.  This evening, Antonio Pacheco, AN’s west editor, will be moderating a panel discussion at SPF:a Gallery titled “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the L.A. River” that will focus on whether L.A. can avoid the dreaded “High Line Effect” as it revitalizes and restores the Los Angeles River. The discussion will feature panelists Deborah Weintraub, Chief Deputy City Engineer, and Chief Architect for the City of Los Angeles; Mia Lehrer, president and founder of Studio-MLA; Helen Leung, co-executive director, LA-Más; Mark Motonaga, partner at Rios Clementi Hale Studios; and Yuval Bar-Zemer, co-founder, managing partner at Linear City Development LLC. Saturday, the INTRO/LA modern furniture exhibition opens in the Row DTLA complex in Downtown Los Angeles. The annual exhibition will highlight the work of Another Human, Block Shop, Estudio Persona, Massproductions, and Waka Waka, among many others.  Saturday will also feature a special pop-up show featuring the work of L.A.-based offices Feral Office and Spatial Affairs. The exhibition will highlight the collaborative work of Berenika Boberska (Feral Office) and Peter Culley (Spatial Affairs) who have come together for a joint project titled “New Walled Cities and Hinterlands,” an exploration of Los Angeles’s particular urban forms as they relate to clustered densities and single-family neighborhoods.   Sunday will see another panel discussion—also at SPF:a Gallery—this one led by Steven Sharp, founder and editor-in-chief of Urbanize.LA, who will preside over a conversation titled “The Tech Frontier: The Rise of 'Silicon Beach'” that will address the socio-economic implications Silicon Beach could have over the long term as moneyed tech workers settle in Los Angeles. The panel will include Marc Huffman, vice president of planning & entitlements, Brookfield Residential; Michael Manville, assistant professor of urban planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs; Li Wen, design director and Principal at Gensler; and Russell Fortmeyer, associate principal for sustainability, ARUP. The last day of the festival will showcase a “a critical round-table discussion” called “The Morning After” covering the DOPIUM.LA [ D / M E N S / O N S ] exhibition and event at the A+D Museum taking place the night before. The discussion will feature contributions from curators, designers, and artists involved with DOPIUM.LA, as well as a conversation centered on the notion of temporality and impermanence in the production and exhibition of works of design and art, including how those efforts contribute to material reality. The afternoon will also feature a conversation between Andrew Holder and Benjamin Freyinger of the Los Angeles Design Group hosted by THIS X THAT, Hem, and Poketo. See the LADF website for more information and a full slate of calendar events.

Plazas new and old are poised to reshape L.A.’s urban outdoors

When it comes to plazas and parks, Los Angeles–area landscape architects and designers have big plans for the future. The region is slowly warming up to the possibility of a more pedestrian-oriented urbanism, and, as a result, public spaces old and new are being imagined to suit that potential future. And while the region is adding plenty of new parks—the new Los Angeles State Historic Park, the ever-expanding Grand Park by Rios Clementi Hale Studios (RCH Studios), and the now-iconic Tongva Park by James Corner Field Operations come to mind—attention is now beginning to shift toward redefining the public plaza as it is practiced in L.A. One experiment comes from RCH Studio’s renovations to the Music Center plaza, originally designed by landscape architects Cornell, Bridgers, and Troller in association with Welton Becket and Associates in 1967. The stepped concrete plaza currently contains a Jacques Lipchitz–designed sculpture at its center, the art object surrounded by a maze of sunken courtyards, large planter boxes, and interactive fountains. RCH Studios plans to revamp the plaza to make the space more ADA-compliant while also bringing pedestrian energy from bustling Grand Avenue up into the plaza. The complex is on the same street as the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Broad Museum and sits on axis with Grand Park and City Hall, relationships that the designers wanted to emphasize and perfect over the course of their renovations. Bob Hale, partner at RCH Studios, said, “Creating open space in L.A. is a very different thing than doing so in other places,” explaining that one of the goals of the renovations was to make the plaza hospitable enough to function as a “fifth venue” to complement the four existing concert halls and performance spaces on the site. The proposed 50,000-square-foot plaza—scheduled to reopen in 2019—will be completely flat, punctuated at its corners by pavilions containing a full-service restaurant, a cafe, a bar, permanent public restrooms, and a welcome kiosk. The project will also involve replacing existing—and over-pruned—ficus trees with new Agonis Flexuosa trees that will help create a more comfortable plaza as their canopies fill out. In Culver City, SWA Principal Gerdo Aquino and his team are working to create a new central square for the city on top of what was once a dusty parking lot. The firm’s Culver Steps project—created in partnership with EYRC architects and Hackman Capital Partners—is part of a podium-style development that will bring a new 55,000-square-foot stepped plaza with generously landscaped open spaces to the city’s core. The ascendant plaza will sit above a new underground parking garage and will share ground floor areas with a bevy of storefronts. A so-called “grand staircase” is to run up the slope, flanked by pockets of seating areas. The summit of the jaggedly stepped promenade will contain restaurants on one side and a four-story office structure on another. In all, the superblock- size project will unite a mix of squares and promenades served by the commercial and office spaces. “Many American cities are reimagining their city centers, sometimes in unconventional locations and ways,” Aquino explained. “The city and the major stakeholders have always considered the plaza as something that could be ‘out of the box’ and not tied down to any one precedent.” Landscaping for the plaza is inspired by the Sierra Nevada Mountains and will contain more conventional plantings along its lowest levels, with increasingly showy and diverse species of shade trees and evergreens up the steps and at the top of the structure. Ultimately, the steps will open in 2019 with the aim of creating a bustling and interactive plaza “filled with as many trees as possible.”

L.A. County Supervisors approve Music Center Plaza renovation

L.A.’s Board of Supervisors has approved a $40 million plan by Rios Clementi Hale Studios (RCH) to renovate Music Center Plaza, a raised outdoor space in the heart of the city’s cultural complex. Similar to New York's Lincoln Center, the Music Center, designed by Welton Becket and Associates between 1964 and 1967, is a Modernist acropolis for the performing arts. The now-defunct landscape architecture firm Cornell, Bridgers and Troller designed the fountain-filled plaza itself, working together with Becket on a plan that would defer to the original buildings and serve as a central gathering space between the Music Center's three theaters. While it’s an iconic piece of the city’s development on Grand Avenue, the plaza hasn’t been renovated since it opened. RCH’s plans will ease access, increase capacity from 2,500 to 5,000 people, and add programming. The plans will widen and flatten the facility's main entry from Grand Avenue, add escalators from the street, and raise the plaza’s sunken portion. The Jacques Lipchitz–designed Peace on Earth sculpture, currently located in the center of the plaza’s fountain, will be moved west to allow for more continuous use of the space between the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Ahmanson Theater, and the Mark Taper Forum. Landscaped vistas will overlook Grand Park (also designed by the Los Angeles firm) on the eastern end of the plaza. "The Music Center was originally oriented toward Hope Street, but Grand Avenue is really its front door now. We needed to reflect that," said RCH Senior Associate Naseema Asif. Five new buildings on the site will include a restaurant, wine bar, coffee house, welcome center, and permanent restrooms. It remains to be seen how all this new development (and the raising of the plaza's recessed portions) will fit into the overall aesthetic of the Music Center, but Asif notes "they are all single story, simple massings with really tight material palettes that relate to the plaza." Funding for the project will include $30 million from the Board of Supervisors and $10 million from the Music Center, whic has raised $6.8 million for the renovation thus far. Becket, little-known outside of Los Angeles, designed many of the city's most important structures and complexes, including Capitol Records, The Beverly Hilton, the UCLA Campus Plan, the Century City Master Plan, and Parker Center, the former L.A. Police Headquarters that's now slated for destruction.

Renderings revealed for 11-story, A+D Museum–adjacent L.A. office tower

Architects Gensler and Legendary Development have revealed renderings for a long-anticipated 11-story development on an existing L-shaped parking lot surrounding the A+D Museum in Downtown Los Angeles. The proposed tower will be located at 4th and Hewitt Streets in L.A.’s booming Arts District and will contain up to 255,000 square feet of office spaces, 15,000 square feet of ground floor retail uses, 11,000 square feet of common areas, and 538 parking stalls. The 8,950-square-foot A+D Museum is to remain, though it will shrink to 7,800 square feet, according to a preliminary Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Rios Clementi Hale is performing landscape architecture services for the project, Urbanize.LA reports. The renderings were first published by Curbed LA. The development, according to the renderings, is designed to approximate the Arts District’s industrial vernacular aesthetic and will feature four lower levels designed to look like surrounding late nineteenth century factory buildings. These levels come complete with divided light, factory-style windows and exposed concrete frame elements. The lower portion of the building will be topped by a seven-story glass curtain wall–clad building mass that is highlighted on various corners by bump-out volumes and inset balcony spaces. The complex will overlook the existing A+D Museum and will be accessed from a courtyard currently adjacent to the museum. The project comes as the areas around the A+D Museum and adjacent Southern California Institute of Architecture campus see an increase in office-containing projects. Several former industrial complexes—including an old Coca Cola syrup factory and a defunct Maxwell House Coffee roastery—are being adapted and expanded as developers work to meet growing demand for office space in the district. Other areas of the neighborhood are seeing a boom in residential and mixed-use development, as well. The Draft EIR indicates that the project team expects to break ground on the project in 2019, with completion scheduled for 2021.

RCH Studios is selected to redevelop L.A.’s historic Lincoln Heights Jail

A team led by Rios Clementi Hale Studios (RCH Studios) and developers Lincoln Property Company and Fifteen Group has been recommended by the Los Angeles Chief Legislative Analyst to redevelop the Los Angeles River–adjacent Lincoln Heights Jail. The recommended scheme calls for repurposing the 90-year-old jail facility while also redeveloping an adjacent 3.2-acre parcel already controlled by Fifteen Group, Urbanize.la reports. The new scheme will be anchored around the Los Angeles River and the historic complex, utilizing the river frontage to create a broad promenade that stitches together new and historic buildings with the river. The plan incorporates new bicycle infrastructure and new street trees to connect and improve the surrounding blocks. Though project details are subject to change, the proposal currently calls for 268,250 square feet of residential spaces, 200,000 square feet of commercial uses, and 57,000 square feet of designated manufacturing and retail spaces. The project is slated to contain an unspecified amount of affordable housing. The RCH Studios–led development team was selected from among two other proposals—one led by CIM Group, Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects, LA Más, and Superjacent, and the other made up of WORKS, Mia Lehrer+Associates, Omgivning, and Killefer Flammang Architects. The teams were tasked with finding a productive and equitable approach for redeveloping the 229,000-square-foot art deco and modernist jail complex. The former jail was built in 1927, expanded in the 1950s, and finally decommissioned in 1965. The facilities were used variously thereafter until 2014. Plans call for adding three new structures on the eastern edge of the site to create new housing and a commercial strip, while redeveloping the former jail complex into a manufacturing-focused “makers hall.” The top three levels of the repurposed jail will contain residential functions as well. The project site would be anchored on one end of the riverwalk by a sports field, with a terraced amphitheater occupying the other extremity. The far eastern corner of the triangular site will host a nine-story commercial tower. The project is depicted in renderings as containing various roof gardens and planted areas, with the spaces between the existing and proposed buildings designed as pedestrian paseos. Interior renderings for the residential units in the repurposed jail depict exposed concrete beam ceilings and untreated concrete walls and columns. The project is scheduled for review and approval by the Los Angeles City Council on November 1st.

L.A. picks three finalists for Lincoln Heights Jail redevelopment

The dilapidated and boarded-up Lincoln Heights Jail—a five-story, 229,000-square-foot art deco and modernist complex adjacent to the Los Angeles River—is on the verge of transformation as L.A. City Council officials prepare to implement redevelopment plans for the three-acre site. Sandwiched between Downtown Los Angeles and the city’s economically-stressed Eastside neighborhoods, the shuttered complex is one of the city’s most prominent historic landmarks. The triangular site sits in the city’s Cleantech Corridor and is written into the Cornfields Arroyo Seco specific plan as well. Those designations help poise the site for the type of high-end industrial redevelopment that is currently remaking the nearby Arts District while also threatening nearby communities with displacement. The jail was built in 1927 and was designed to hold 625 prisoners, though by the 1950s, it imprisoned more than 2,000 individuals, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy. Because of overcrowding, it was expanded in 1953 with a modernist wing. The jail has played an important role in the city’s history, holding individuals arrested during the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943 and the Watts Riots of 1965, for example. Individuals who had been arrested over suspicions regarding their sexual orientation were also imprisoned at the Lincoln Heights jail, which even contained a separate wing dedicated to incarcerating gay prisoners. The jail was decommissioned in 1965 and became vacant in 2014. Currently, developers CIM Group, WORKS, and Lincoln Property Company are each vying for the opportunity to remake the site. Developer CIM Group has proposed redeveloping the site as a mixed-use district called “The Linc” containing offices, housing—including multifamily and low-income units—retail shops, restaurants, and a community garden. The proposal calls for converting the art deco portion of the structure into a hotel with a rooftop restaurant. The 1953 addition would be converted to residential use while a triangular structure on the far end of the site will contain a single story of retail programming. CIM has partnered with architects LOHA, LA Más, and landscape architects Superjacent for the proposal. Nonprofit housing developer WORKS—Women Organizing Resources Knowledge and Service—is looking to re-envision the site as a community-driven enterprise called “Las Alturas.” The complex would include 122 housing units, including 66 permanent supportive housing and 47 moderate-income homes. The proposed complex would also include a community center, child care facilities, theater, and generously-landscaped areas designed by Mia Lehrer + Associates (MLA). Mia Lehrer, principal at MLA explained to The Architect’s Newspaper that the WORKS-led proposal represented “the kind of community-focused investor you imagine exists but you don’t get meet very often,” adding that the design team included partnerships with Cal Poly Pomona’s agriculture program, and architects Omgivning and Killefer Flammang Architects. A third proposal by Lincoln Property Company, Rios Clementi Hale Studios, and Fifteen Group is also on the table. That scheme—called the Lincoln Heights Makers District—calls for a commercial- and manufacturing-focused district containing four acres of open space. The plan includes 268,250 square feet of residential space, including an affordable housing component; 220,000 square feet of commercial space; and 57,000 square feet of manufacturing and retail spaces. The designers envision repurposing the existing jail facility as a manufacturing center with associated housing and commercial spaces located alongside.  The project has been proposed by the developer as part of a larger scheme that includes an adjacent, privately-owned 3.2-acre site that will contain live/work spaces. The proposal would include connections to the L.A. River as well as outdoor community-oriented leisure and work spaces.  The schemes are currently being vetted by the City's economic development committee before heading to the full City Council for consideration. The City Council is expected to decide on the proposals as soon as this fall.  

The re-configured Columbia Square pays homage to its past and is more pedestrian friendly

Columbia Square articulates a pragmatic vision for the future of Hollywood as a mixed-use, creative capital that pays homage to its past without sacrificing density. The original International Style Columbia Square Studios complex, designed by architect William Lescaze in 1938, was used by the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) as a West Coast base of operations when most Americans received news and entertainment via radio. The then-state-of-the-art studios and soundstages put Hollywood on the map as an entertainment center and were in continuous use until 2007. The development was acquired by Kilroy Realty in 2012, which renovated and expanded the complex with Rios Clementi Hale Studios and House & Robertson serving as architects and with Historic Resources Group as preservation architects.

The complex originally greeted Sunset Boulevard with a roundabout driveway and a collection of storefronts. The studios were located in the five-story Radio building. A series of ancillary structures located behind the driveway and above the retail spaces contained soundstages and offices, respectively. These components—including the operable, historic steel-frame ribbon windows cladding the original buildings—have been restored beautifully. The driveway has been closed off and transformed into a pedestrian plaza, an original grass roundabout updated and replanted with native sedges and artwork.

The Radio building now housesthe Los Angeles outpost of NeueHouse, a private arts-focused cultural club. An existing warehouse was reconstructed and reprogrammed as a 15,000-square-foot office space called Studio BC, while new office and apartment towers rise around a central courtyard toward the rear of the complex. That wooden bow-truss structure was formerly used as a sound stage and has been partially deconstructed—the existing truss is preserved as an architectural relic while the new structure rising around it has been designed with expressed steel truss elements that support a curvilinear roof. The new space features a spacious interior design by Rapt Studios, including an open, glass-clad mezzanine-level conference room.

“We created Studio BC as a memory to the original bowstring truss building,” said Bob Hale, principal of RCH Studios. “We put the required [office and studio] programs in and configured it so it could be used as a commercial space as well.”

A gridded office tower known as the Gower Building rises above and behindStudio BC: The dual-core, 250,000-square-foot structure presents a relatively generic collection of office spaces outfitted with alternating panes of opaque and translucent glass that complement the Radio building’s horizontal ribbon windows. The five-story block rises on a row of circular concrete columns and, toward the northern edge of the site, features terraced sections that have been individually branded by new tenants.

The heart of the campus is the central, multilevel plaza that contains an amphitheater and connects the complex to surrounding streets via a series of pedestrian access points. The plaza also functions as a water-collection system that uses a raised platform to filter water through various vegetated swales and planters. Paved in an abstract geometric pattern, the expanses tie together the site’s requirements—flexible social connectivity spaces, rainwater filtration areas, and a pedestrian-focused connectivity to the surrounding neighborhoods—while utilizing a subdued and comfortable material palette.

Opposite the Gower Building is another blocky structure referred to as the El Centro Building, a 106,000-square-foot single-core structure containing several floors of creative offices designed with higher floor-to-floor heights and exposed ceilings. The El Centro Building also contains a 5,500-square-foot terrace overlooking the plaza that will shine as a social space when fully built out and occupied.

Topping off the complex is the Hollywood Proper Residences, a 21-story faceted tower containing 200 high-end apartments. The tower design includes work by GBD Architects and features interior designs by Kelly Wearstler. The tower’s silhouette is patterned with alternating vertical bands of the same opaque and transparent curtain walls that clad the Gower Building. The housing tower, both in terms of height and program, establishes the project as a step forward in L.A.’s urban identity and signals a hint of things to come, with several other mixed-use high-rise projects due to appear around and behind historic structures nearby.

Hale, noting this trajectory and the countervailing increase in anti-development advocates in recent years, explained, “Hollywood is going to get more dense, but there is a lot of space here, too. To the degree we can make it a more active and interesting urban environment, that’s a benefit. It’s being built along transit, and integrated into the city. If people would let it happen that way, it’s going to.” 

New renderings released for L.A.’s massive Crossroads Hollywood project

International firm SOM and L.A.-based Rios Clementi Hale Studios (RCH) have released new renderings depicting the firms’ massive redevelopment of the historic Crossroads of the World complex in Hollywood, California. The 1.43-million-square-foot project, currently pegged to cost between $500 and $600 million to develop, aims to repurpose, update, and expand the Crossroads of the World complex by adding a collection of new programs and several high-rise towers. Crossroads of the World was designated as a City Cultural-Historic Monument and was designed in 1936 by architect Robert V. Derrah as the region’s first outdoor, mixed-use office and shopping complex, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy. The complex, which features a collection of squat, streamline, Spanish-, Moorish-, and French-Revival style structures, will be joined on surrounding blocks by a group of high rise towers and mid-rise podium structures. Overall, the so-called Hollywood Crossroads project aims to add 950 housing units, 94,000 square feet of office space, and 185,000 square feet of commercial uses to the roughly eight acre site. The project features a trio of towers, including a 26-story hotel tower containing 308 rooms, a 30-story tower with 190 condominiums, and a 32-story tower containing 760 units, including the podium levels. The project’s site plan features a diagonal paseo cutting through the site that connects the Crossroads of the World complex with the new housing towers. The paseo is lined with ground floor retail uses overlooked by apartment balconies. The generic-looking, glass-clad housing and hotel towers rise from these integrated lower levels, according to the renderings. Sunset Boulevard, via a collection of new—and controversial—high rise developments, is in the midst of  becoming a new vertical spine running through Los Angeles. The Hollywood area, in particular, is seeing a rush in high-rise construction, as developers scramble to meet an insatiable demand for new housing. These projects, however, have run into problems, as the new density has rankled local residents hesitant to see their neighborhoods change. Projects like Natoma Architects’ Palladium Residences and Frank Gehry’s 8150 Sunset in nearby West Hollywood have drawn the ire of local residents, for example. David Schwartzman, chief executive at Harridge Development Group, however, is unfazed by the potential controversy. The developer behind the project told the Los Angeles Business Journal, “In Hollywood, you always have issues with projects and people complaining, but we’re following the rules.” He added, “We’re not doing a general plan amendment, we’re providing affordable housing. We’ve thought about the needs of the community. At the end of the day, you’re not going to make everybody happy.” The recent completion of RCH’s Columbia Square—another tower-over-historic-complex project developed a few blocks east of the Hollywood—has been met with praise, so perhaps there is hope yet for this project. Harridge aims to complete construction on the project by 2022, though an official construction timeline for the development, has not been released.

Los Angeles Conservancy announces 2017 preservation awards

The Los Angeles Conservancy has selected eight recipients for the organization’s 2017 Preservation Awards. The annual designations, which celebrate “outstanding achievement in the field of historic preservation,” are culled from across Los Angeles County and include physical structures as well as organizations and preservation-minded programs. This year’s Chairman’s Award was given to SurveyLA: The Los Angeles Historic Resources Survey, a program launched by the City of Los Angeles, Department of City Planning and the J. Paul Getty Trust. It aims to survey the entirety of the City of Los Angeles’s historic heritage. The entities behind the program developed a special app that allows surveyors to digitally record survey information and photograph properties and artifacts through the use of a tablet. The survey examined over 800,000 land parcels and 500 square miles of land; the effort represents the largest survey of its kind ever completed by an American city. The survey, structured in correspondence with the city’s 35 Community Plan Areas, seeks to embed preservation awareness with the city’s planning apparatus. The LA Conservancy also made several project-based recognitions, including the recently completed redevelopment and expansion of the CBS Columbia Square complex by House & Robertson Architects, Inc. and Rios Clementi Hale Studios (RCH Studios). The Historic Resources Group served as preservation architect and consultant on the project, which sought to restore what was once the West Coast headquarters for radio and television broadcaster CBS. The restoration of the existing office, commercial, and broadcast structures will be supplemented by a large mixed-use addition located at the back of the site. CBS Columbia Square was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 2009 and it is currently eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (though it has not yet been listed). A Cultural Landscape Report for the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, prepared by the arboretum, was also awarded project-based recognition. The report details an extensive survey and planning mechanism for the long-term maintenance and restoration of the complex which contains important works of architecture from the early 1900s and midcentury modern eras as well as ecologically- and culturally-important landscapes. The restoration of the Kinross Cornerstone building in Westwood was also recognized. The project was originally built in 1930 by noted architect Stiles O. Clements—who also designed the Wiltern building in Los Angeles—in the Spanish Revival Style. However, it suffered incompatible alterations in the 1960s and 1970s. The building also underwent a heavy-handed seismic retrofit in the 1990s. Architects Nadel, Inc. has performed a thorough restoration of the property. Frederick Fisher and Partners’ restoration of Glendale’s Grand Central Air Terminal—Los Angeles’s first commercial airport—received an award for its meticulous attention to detail. The project entailed converting certain existing portions of the complex into an events and business center as well as creating a new visitors center to educate the public on the site’s historic significance.   The Preservation Resource Center at the Shotgun House in Santa Monica was recognized for its dogged perseverance. The building, after having been relocated three times and being threatened with demolition, is Santa Monica’s only intact shotgun house and has been repurposed as the headquarters for the Santa Monica Conservancy. The conservancy also recognized the Los Angeles Public Library’s Valley Times Photograph Collection, a digitized archive of midcentury era photographs of the San Fernando Valley originally kept by The Valley Times newspaper, which ran in print from 1946 to 1970. Lastly, the Conservancy recognized the View Park Historic District National Register Nomination in South Los Angeles, one of the largest National Register historic districts in California, the largest district in the country relating to the history of African Americans, and home to the County’s first local landmark.   The awards will be presented at a luncheon on Wednesday, May 3 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

Rios Clementi Hale Studios uses nordic detailing for Habitat 6, a new L.A. “small-lot subdivision” development

Los Angeles–based architects Rios Clementi Hale Studios (RCH Studios), Riley Architects, and Integrated Development recently debuted Habitat 6, a collection of six new single-family homes in Los Angeles’s Los Feliz neighborhood.

The project is made possible by L.A.’s “small-lot subdivision” ordinance, a special land use maneuver instituted back in 2005 aimed at increasing the availability—and density—of single family housing across the city’s existing neighborhoods by allowing developers to subdivide existing lots into multiple properties to build collections of detached single-family residences. More controversially, the project is also the result of a protracted preservation struggle that resulted in the demolition of the Oswald Bartlett House, designed in 1914 by visionary Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin. Applications for cultural monument status for the home were denied in 2014, paving the way for its demolition and replacement with RCH Studio’s units.

Bob Hale, partner at RCH Studios, described the difference between the design of a traditional single-family residence and a small-lot subdivision project: “The main issue here is that we have a single-family unit that’s part of a multi-family community, so engendering a sense of community in the overall project while maintaining sense of privacy for each of the units was one of the main objectives.”

As with most small-lot subdivision projects, Habitat 6’s site is organized around a central driveway used to access each unit’s two-car garage. In a nod to the normative tract house, each home features a small ground-floor yard. The homes range in size from 1,954 to 2,106 square feet and feature a flexible room on the ground floor, combined living room, kitchen, and dining areas along the second floor and two bedrooms, each with en-suite bathrooms, on the floor above.

Each home sits on a Douglas Fir wood-clad parking plinth, while the buildings’ exteriors are clad in expanses of white stucco interrupted by vertical bands of floor-to-ceiling punched picture windows. Some of these openings wrap the corners, while others are contained within wood-clad recessed and pop-out volumes. The units’ apertures are positioned such that neighboring homes do not face into one another. Inside, living room areas are designed with 10-foot ceiling heights (generous by Los Angeles standards), and feature clean, white walls accented with raw wood planks. Other interior finishes include marble countertops and backsplashes in the kitchen, and tile and board-formed concrete wall surfaces.

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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.