Although the weather seems like summer will never end, fall has been a tizzy of school daze–related comings and goings. After raising eyebrows a couple years ago when he left his practice and teaching behind to join AECOM’s Los Angeles office, Peter Zellner recently left the corporate world to hang a shingle with former AECOM-er Paul Naecker and is back molding young minds at SCI-Arc. Going from gown to town, Roger Sherman, long-time UCLA faculty and co-director of the urban think tank CityLAB, is now Urban Projects Director at Gensler. Splitting the difference, Predock Frane Architects shuttered after 15 years, with principals Hadrian Predock and John Frane going their separate ways. The former is heading to USC to don cardinal and gold as undergraduate director of architecture and the latter will be joining the executive suite at HGA Architects and Engineers as associate vice president and principal in the L.A. office.
Posts tagged with "Roger Sherman":
One of the insider landmarks of Beverly Hills is the Tower of Hope, an art-covered oil derrick that sits at the edge of Beverly Hills High School, clearly visible from Pico Boulevard. Covered with fabric panels painted with colorful flowers by young hospital patients, the 155-foot-tall tower is a remnant from the days when the area was covered with oil fields (the high school once contained almost 20), and it's become a popular visiting spot. It also still pumps oil, for Denver-based Venoco, with some of the proceeds going to the school. But Beverly Hills High's major expansion plans call for removing the well altogether. The school's new campus, designed by DLR Group, will include a renovation of the original 1928 buildings (including administrative, library, dining, and auditorium spaces), improvements to the playing fields, a new athletic building, and a modernization and re-skinning of its less attractive 1960s era one, which contains classrooms. The 510,000 square foot, $150 million project will be brought together with green spaces, plazas, and pathways, replacing a street that once ran through the campus. "The school board wasn't happy with how the old and new buildings used to have no dialogue at all," said DLR Group Principal Brett Hobza. The renovation plan will not, most likely, contain the tower, which was conceived in 2000 by local artist and writer Ed Massey. Site plans now include a new softball field on the site, said DLR Group principal Brett Hobza. Venoco's oil field lease is up in 2016, and at that time it will revert back to Beverly Hills Unified School District. The district would not comment on what they have called a "politically charged" issue. Venoco spokesperson Steve Greig acknowledged that if the oil field lease (which Veneco has held since 1994) is not extended then the tower will be torn down. He added that if that happened the city and the district would lose a "significant percentage" of the revenue from its wells. Over the last ten years Veneco has paid over $30 million in revenues to Beverly Hills. Roger Sherman, an LA architect and the author of L.A. Under the Influence: The Hidden Logic of Urban Property, calls the tower an "accidental landmark," a public anomaly forged through the resolution of conflict. (Its exterior panels were originally installed to minimize drilling sounds.) Several similar LA icons, "lessons in how the urban realm gets built," have also been lost in recent years. He described their loss as symbols not just of NIMBYism, but of a city that seems to want to ignore or whitewash its idiosyncratic history in favor of a "falsified version of its past," like the Grove or other Rick Caruso developments.
No, not the Fascists—that was 2008, when the Northern League held its national rally at the entrance gates of the biennale giardini. I mean the architects! They have arrived in droves, and it’s easy to spot them walking along the Grand Canal absorbing the searing heat and humidity of August in Venice. The second day of reading press releases, walking the giardini, and visiting collateral exhibitions reaffirms my sense that there is more art in the 2010 biennale than architecture. This is, of course, not necessarily a bad thing, and many of these installations do consider architectural questions. But it makes one wonder why national pavilions make the decisions they do about the architectural conditions in their country. Still, there is architecture to be seen in the giardini if one looks carefully. The Austrian pavilion, despite its thin premise, has wonderful architectural models and a fascinating central space designed by curator Eric Owen Moss. Elsewhere, the British pavilion has a beautiful-looking installation (glimpsed through a crack in the door) by MUF that looks like a 19th-century teaching hospital; the Germans seem to be showing a long line of architectural drawings on the wall; the Czech Republic is presenting an exciting wooden wonderland of form; and the Japanese pavilion, curated by SANAA partner Ryue Nishizawa, looks to have an installation on metropolitan Tokyo. Finally, the U.S. pavilion’s Workshopping project promises to be one of the few purely architectural shows in the biennale. The challenge for the Venice architecture biennale in general is that just showing buildings in an exhibition space can be a deadly bore. The real problem for architecture exhibitors is how to occupy the space between architecture and exhibitions—and the fact that what architects should be doing is designing for unique conditions. I’ll have more on that note from the biennale tomorrow.