Posts tagged with "San Diego":

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Against all odds, progressive land-use reforms are taking root in American cities

With Minneapolis, San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles moving forward with progressive land-use and transportation reforms last week, much of the conventional thinking behind how American cities work could soon be upended.  As the converging threats of climate change, housing unaffordability, and pollution continue to hamstring the country’s urban areas, cities across the country are taking matters into their own hands by enacting bold but common-sense reforms in the face of federal and state inaction. For one, a groundbreaking comprehensive plan update in Minneapolis that would eliminate the city’s single-family zones took a step forward last week after two years of public debate and negotiations. The so-called 2040 Minneapolis Plan would make the city the first in the country to upzone all of its single-family residential neighborhoods to allow up to three dwelling units per lot. Under the 2040 initiative, the city will be able to re-establish a tradition of building what’s known as “missing middle” housing, the types of naturally affordable small- to medium-scale neighborhoods that make up the backbones of most American cities built before the 1950s. The plan is designed to break down racial and income disparities between neighborhoods in the city while allowing Minneapolis to absorb expected job and population growth over coming decades. Housing activists across the country are now looking to Minneapolis to see how the experiment plays out as efforts to enact similar policies pick up across the country, especially in Seattle, where a similar effort is gaining steam. Aside from taking on exclusionary zoning, other cities, including Buffalo, San Francisco, and San Diego, are looking to eliminate off-street parking requirements to varying extents as they work to reclaim the enormous amount of space taken up by parked cars. In 2017, Buffalo became the first municipality in the country to totally eliminate parking requirements city-wide. The effort comes as part of a new zoning initiative that will bring what is known as a “form-based code” (FBC) to the city. As the name implies, FBCs typically regulate the overall geometries of urban areas by setting particular height limits, setbacks, and other design guidelines that can be followed regardless of use. The approach runs counter to more common use-based codes that carve cities up into monofunctional areas with residential, industrial, and commercial districts. FBCs are seen both as a way of re-establishing mixed-use neighborhoods while also creating contextual and preservation-friendly zones. With the update, Buffalo joins Denver, Las Vegas, and Miami, which have also recently enacted FBCs. Over in California, as the state’s new legislature takes up a series of bold housing reforms, San Diego Mayor Kevin Falconer is one step ahead with a proposal to scrap parking requirements for transit-adjacent areas. A new proposal would eliminate required parking for housing located within 1/2-mile from a transit stop, a change similar to a state-wide effort that was derailed last year. The latest effort, according to the mayor, will be geared toward lowering the cost of building housing—a single parking stall adds between $35,000 and $90,000 in costs per unit of housing in the state—while also resulting in shorter and less bulky buildings. San Francisco has taken the proposal one step further by moving to become the largest city in the country to scrap parking requirements outright. City Supervisor Jane Kim put forward a measure this month to totally eliminate the requirement city-wide in an effort to bolster the city’s climate bona fides and help reign in housing costs. But don’t call it a “parking ban,” developers will instead be allowed to build parking up to a maximum threshold if they deem it necessary. The yet-to-be-approved initiative could go into effect next year. Change is afoot even in car-loving Los Angeles, where an ambitious but currently under-funded plan to build 28 large scale transit projects by the 2028 Olympic games has prompted local officials to consider so-called “congestion pricing.” No official plan has been unveiled, but the Los Angeles Metro CEO Phil Washington last week presented several ideas that could potentially fill the funding gap, including requiring drivers to pay for traveling in some of the city’s most congested areas. To boot, Curbed reported that during a presentation to the Metro Board of Directors, Washington even proposed using the fees generated from congestion pricing to make Los Angeles the first city in the United States to offer free public transportation every day of the year.
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CityIQ plans to install thousands of sensors to monitor San Diego

Smart City Expo World Congress, held this year in Barcelona, is an annual architectural, engineering, and technology exhibition dedicated to creating a better future for cities worldwide through social collaboration and urban innovation. Among the projects that were unveiled at this November's event was CityIQ’s proposal to install 4,200 sensor nodes throughout San Diego, California, a major tech hub whose goal is to decrease its carbon emissions and energy use in order to fight climate change. The CityIQ nodes, which are part of an elaborate internet of things (IoT) project, will be coupled with new smart city apps to improve the city’s parking, traffic, and streetlight efficiency by an estimated 20 percent. CityIQ is already cooperating with multiple departments within San Diego, including the police department, San Diego Gas & Electric, and the Traffic and Engineering and Operations unit. The company's IoT project involves embedding sensors and software into the streets of the San Diego in order to collect and exchange data, and just last week, the city agreed to install 1,000 more nodes than originally planned. The new data that will be accumulated by the nodes can support a wide variety of innovative apps, including Genetec, which facilitates real-time emergency response, Xaqt, which displays the latest traffic patterns, CivicSmart, a smart parking app, and ShotSpotter, a gunshot detection app that can locate the scene of the shooter in less than a minute. The city is also working toward bringing a state-of-the-art Lightgrid system onto the streets, whose immediate data collection and connectivity will provide the city with a better understanding of streetlight usage, and it is expected to save the city over $250,000 in energy costs. “Our ability to leapfrog our smart cities technology ahead in both energy savings and scale is a testament to the hard work and ongoing collaboration of many public and private stakeholders,” said San Diego’s interim deputy chief operating officer Erik Caldwell in a statement. “We are proud of our progress so far in building a solution that will stand in the test of time and enhance our citizens’ quality of life.”
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Selldorf Architects breaks ground on controversial San Diego museum expansion

After a summer filled with dueling op-eds, petitions, and general outcry from members of the international architectural community, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) and New York City–based Selldorf Architects have officially broken ground on a controversial $95 million expansion to the museum’s campus in La Jolla, California. The Times of San Diego reports that the groundbreaking occurred Thursday of last week and quotes Selldorf Architects founder Annabelle Selldorf as saying: “This is a special place in the world. But the collection of the museum inspires equal awe. Giving home to this beautiful collection is an incredibly vital thing to do.” The project aims to more than double the size of the museum by adding 37,000 square feet of new spaces to the complex, which was last expanded by Venturi Scott Brown Associates (VSBA) in 1996. The designers aim to achieve this task by adding a new ocean-facing wing along the southern end of the complex, reorienting the museum’s entry and adding a slew of much-needed gallery spaces in the process. The project also aims to renovate the existing 35,000-square-foot original complex, which was initially designed by famed California architect Irving Gill and was expanded several times during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s by local architects Mosher Drew. The reorientation of the museum’s entrance has been seen as controversial by many in the international architecture community, including Denise Scott Brown who has spoken out against the addition. Scott Brown contends that the entry VSBA designed was derived from the “careful study and understanding of La Jolla’s urban form” in a widely-circulated petition, and that as a result, the plan deserves to be preserved. In several phone calls with The Architect’s Newspaper, Scott Brown has explained that she does not see Selldorf’s addition and the preservation of the VSBA elements as mutually exclusive, however, and hopes that a way can be found to retain the logic of the existing entrance while fulfilling the needs of the growing museum. The existing entry arrangement is a chief design contribution from Scott Brown—who aside from being an architect is also a celebrated urban planner—and it is considered an integral aspect of the VSBA addition and its guiding postmodern ideals. The elements that are being retained by the Selldrorf team relate more directly to the bombastic, iconographic forms VSBA is best known for and include the museum’s so-called Axline Court, a starburst-shaped atrium topped by neon-lit archways. According to Selldorf, her team is dedicated to celebrating the many lives of the museum and has worked hard to retain key elements of the VSBA design. Regarding the entrance, Selldorf told AN this summer, “Our task was to add an entrance that people could find,” while adding, “Not everybody thought we should be so determined to keep [the VSBA-designed] portions, but we are doing a lot of work to have those elements retain a significant presence in reinvigorated building.” The proposed renovations have exposed a critical and long-running schism in preservation thinking over not only which types of heritage are worth preserving, but perhaps as significantly, over the scope and scale of what is considered fundamental to postmodernism and postmodern design in architecture. The question here, as with many preservation-related projects, is whether surface-level decoration—neon lights, flamboyant archways, and textured materials—convey the essence of a work enough to allow for fundamental changes in use and organization or whether true preservation requires more. The question has gained greater urgency in the weeks following the death of Robert Venturi and amid a growing climate of uncertainty for not only VSBA’s works, but for elements of postmodern heritage in general. According to Scott Brown’s interpretation, the project’s plan—inspired by the double-coded logic of medieval European town squares and urban economic theory—is as important to MCASD’s status as a postmodern work as the building’s more visually-aggressive elements, highlighting the fundamental disagreement at hand. Either way, Scott Brown’s petition and the global outcry have not been enough to cause thinking on the project to shift significantly. Site work has been underway at the complex over the last few months as crews worked to remove a monumental pergola associated with the VSBA addition. Last week’s official groundbreaking indicates the project is moving forward at full-steam. Despite the demolition of the colonnade, the La Jolla Historical Society was able to salvage one of the two pergola structures and has since installed the fiberglass and steel assembly in a nearby garden that is free to the public and open for visitors. Selldorf Architects’ additions are scheduled to be completed in 2021.
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Rescued Venturi Scott Brown pergola to rise again in a San Diego garden

The La Jolla Historical Society of San Diego, California, has announced final plans for a new public garden it has created that will house repurposed elements of the Venturi Scott Brown Associates' (VSBA) Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) complex. Specifically, the garden will contain one of the two fiberglass and aluminum pergola structures that have been removed from the MCASD complex as part of an increasingly controversial renovation and expansion scheme for the museum by New York City–based Selldorf Architects. The pergola features a dozen rounded, Tuscan-inspired fiberglass columns that support an aluminum trellis designed to evoke a traditional wood pergola. The words “Contemporary Art” are arranged across the horizontal section of the pergola in red capital letters. Originally, the paired structures flanked the north side of the Prospect Street entrance to MCASD to create a pedestrian-oriented seating area at the mouth of the museum where visitors could gather. Only one of the two pergolas was saved from demolition. The pergolas have been cleared away by the Selldorf team in an effort to reorient the building’s main entrance toward a new atrium. In a statement announcing the planned opening of the garden next month, Heath Fox, executive director for the historical society, highlighted the postmodern stylings of the VSBA addition, saying, “We appreciate the significance of VSBA’s postmodern design of the MCASD entry facade, the importance of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown to the history of postmodern architecture, and the fact that this building was the only VSBA project executed in San Diego.” Fox added, “The Society [also] recognizes the important historical relationship between VSBA and the work of early 20th-century architect Irving J. Gill,” the designer behind the original portion of the MCASD campus. In the statement, Fox explained that the organization he helms recognized “the opportunity to save and historically preserve the ‘Contemporary Art’ pergola as an architectural fragment” and that the Society had relocated and restored the pergola to its original conditions with “original materials and [the] same paint colors, including the red ‘Contemporary Art’ lettering.” The Society worked with architect Tony Crisafi of Island Architects, structural engineer Matthew Mangano, and landscape architect Greg Hebert to bring the garden to life. The pergola will now be located in the Society’s lower terrace garden, roughly 300 feet from its original placement and will remain a part of the Scripps-Gill Cultural District. The garden is set to open to the public September 15, 2018.
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Unpacking Selldorf Architects’ controversial addition to Venturi Scott Brown’s Museum of Contemporary Art

As postmodernism comes roaring back in the architecture world, the time finally seems ripe for many unfairly maligned buildings to receive their due respect. But at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), the opposite seems on the verge of happening: A proposed concrete-and-glass expansion threatens to severely damage a lovely and highly functional building by Venturi Scott Brown and Associates (VSBA). The agglomerated museum of today—built in pieces between 1915 and 1996—mixes austere concrete with playful color, oversize plaster columns with powerful round arches, large signs and neon with an intimate courtyard. The original portion, a spare house by the California architect Irving Gill, gently tussles with VSBA’s surrounding addition; together, they embrace the tensions inherent in preserving a house within the context of a museum’s more monumental scale. And yet the complex still manages to fit comfortably in its historic surroundings: a set of buildings also designed by Gill that together form a central green for the village of La Jolla. The proposed expansion, on the other hand, shows little interest in its surroundings. The work of New York City architect Annabelle Selldorf, it includes an interior renovation that would smartly turn the existing auditorium into gallery space with a pleasant set of oceanside terraces. But things go awry in the new galleries and glass-entrance atrium, which, in the architect's zeal for a sort of Tadao Ando–inspired minimalism, end up missing out on an opportunity to contribute to the building’s richness. The most alarming proposal, though, is the removal of VSBA’s dramatic colonnade and, consequently, the courtyard that it helps to form. Selldorf argues that the colonnade obstructs views of the original house, but she overlooks the way in which its exaggerated scale both projects the museum’s civic presence and creates a sense of shelter that allows visitors to experience the house in Gill’s intended intimate setting, separated from the traffic out front. Visitors pass through the compressed courtyard on their way into the building—but then upon entering suddenly encounter the double-height explosion of light, neon, and brightly colored patterns that is VSBA’s iconic Axline Court. Under the new plan, the house would indeed be more visible from the road, but it would appear small and insubstantial, overshadowed by the later additions. Visitors would enter via the glass atrium then proceed directly into the new galleries, undercutting the importance of the house and making the Axline Court into a kind of curious afterthought. Both Selldorf and museum director Kathryn Kanjo say they want the court to remain lively, but given the proposed circulation—in which most visitors will only come across it at the back of the bookstore or after passing through three galleries—it’s hard to see what purpose it could serve. The sum total of the new plan would be a mishmash: an unhappy family of buildings that refuse to talk to one another all jammed together onto a single site. It would lose the crescendoing choreography of spaces that gives it vitality and order, as well the carefully considered relation to the town green. And not for any good reason: it would be quite possible—and substantially cheaper—to add galleries where Selldorf proposes without fundamentally detracting from the existing building. Unfortunately, such an approach would require an appreciation on the museum’s part of its architectural legacy that has so far not been forthcoming. Officials I spoke to seemed to have given little thought to the impact of the new project on the VSBA building, and when pressed on their thinking offered no particular reason that the existing circulation or aesthetics needed to be changed. And the museum made only the feeblest of efforts to contact Scott Brown and Venturi about the plans—former director Hugh Davies says he left a single message at their office in 2014, though by that point they had been retired for several years and consequently never heard it. No follow-up was ever attempted; the duo were understandably surprised when I showed them the plans a few weeks ago. By contrast, when Renzo Piano undertook the renovation of the former May Company department store on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, he immediately contacted the office of the architects who designed it, A.C. Martin, and walked through his ideas with the firm’s current partners. Why are Venturi and Scott Brown, widely recognized as among the most important architects of the postwar era, not accorded a similar respect? The short answer to this question is simply that their work is unfashionable: too old to seem new but not old enough to have that nostalgic patina of “another era.” The longer answer is perhaps that architecture that engages the messiness of the world around it must fight an uphill battle for survival in the world of contemporary building—where architecture is too often seen as a formal game, as a matter of sculpting material and form with little concern for the complexities of place and identity. Too many of today’s architects and clients, not understanding the ethical imperative behind the VSBA mode of design, write it off as postmodern riffing—surface-level ornament without a coherent underlying order. But actually each element of the work relates to the larger whole—to symbolic meanings, to the physical and cultural context, to sequences of spaces. And in those relationships emerge subtle and sometimes even disconcerting distortions and juxtapositions—a traditional dome represented only through a bright neon outline in the Axline Court, an entry sequence that at first leads you toward the old front door of the Gill House and then suddenly turns you sideways. These moments allow us to look at the world a little differently: to see the familiar as strange and to reflect on what it means. This powerful but difficult way of making meaning, so well appreciated in many of the artworks of MCASD’s collection, seems to offend contemporary sensibilities when it makes its way into architecture. Indeed, this is not the first time VSBA‘s work has been mistreated in a contemporary renovation. The 2007 expansion of their 1991 Seattle Art Museum by the minimalist architect Brad Cloepfil similarly disregarded a carefully orchestrated entry sequence, replacing it with—drumroll please—yet another generic atrium. Though the VSBA-designed building’s exterior was ostensibly left alone, Cloepfil’s hefty glass tower flatly declines to engage with it (or with the rest of its context, for that matter). Now the original building has taken on the feeling of an eccentric side wing wedged up against a chunky office block. At this point nothing short of a total renovation could set things right. Fortunately, it isn’t too late for the San Diego museum to learn from Seattle and modify its course. It need not totally redesign the addition, but it ought to let the VSBA- and Gill-designed buildings continue on in their lively interplay of similarities and differences. It ought to leave the columns alone, or at least update them respectfully, and rethink the wisdom of having visitors enter through a generic atrium. As Scott Brown put it to me, “Making a more simple-minded entry could be, maybe, just that—too simple-minded.”

A compromise does seem possible. Earlier this year, value engineering eliminated one of the best features of Selldorfs proposal: translucent skylights above the new galleries and converted auditorium. Why not bring them back by saving money on the new atrium and entry sequence? The worrisome proposed circulation would be improved, as would Selldorfs own galleries. The Axline Court would retain its function as the hub around which the various other parts of the museum are clustered, and the Gill house would remain at the museums visual and circulatory heart.

Such a renovation would recognize a key thing: that effective renovations must be a labor of love. They cannot arise from a dislike of what was there before. If the new addition struggles against the Gill and Venturi Scott Brown buildings, if it chooses not to understand or engage with them, then no one will winnot Selldorf, not the museum, and certainly not the village of La Jolla. The rare vitality achieved in the current building will not be easily recovered.

A shortened version of this story appeared in AN’s June print issue. This story has been updated to reflect new information.
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San Diego’s largest, costliest development in city history begins construction on the waterfront

A massive $1.5 billion plan to redevelop a string of formerly Navy-owned properties along the San Diego waterfront is finally entering into the construction phase following years of delays and decades’ worth of planning and environmental review.  The so-called Manchester Pacific Gateway development developed by San Diego-based Manchester Financial Group will bring over 3 million square feet of mixed-use development and a 1.9-acre park to eight ocean-fronting city blocks in the San Diego’s downtown area.  The multi-phase project will be anchored by a new Navy headquarters, to be housed in a new 17-story, 372,000-square-foot mixed-use tower located at the heart of the project. The tower complex will also include: a 1,100-room convention hotel, a 29-story, 524,000-square-foot office tower, an eight-story, 178,000-square-foot office building, a six-story, 153,000-square-foot office tower, 290,000 square feet of retail spaces, and a 260-key luxury hotel, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.  Renderings for the project depict a collection of traditionally-styled high-rises with arched storefront windows along the ground floors and repetitive spans of curtainwall glass interrupted by vertical and horizontal bands of masonry detailing on upper levels. One of the tower blocks will consist of a pair of linked towers that are connected via a skywalk while other structures in the complex will feature stepped-back facades and punched openings along certain exposures. The two largest building clusters feature four-story podium structures that anchor the towers located above, with both podium levels topped with terraces and garden amenities, including an elliptical swimming pool.  A site-wide pedestrian spine will run across the length of the properties and will transform into an interior, retail-lined arcade when it bisects the largest structure in the complex.  An architect has not been named for the project.  Work on all phases of the Manchester Pacific Gateway project is to be undertaken simultaneously, with the new Navy headquarters and several of the office towers scheduled to be completed in late 2020. The remaining project components are slated for a mid-2021 debut.  The project is among a long list of waterfront redvelopment efforts in San Diego, including another $1.5 billion development for the Port of San Diego aimed at tourists and a 41-story “super prime” luxury tower by Kohn Pedersen Fox.
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Open House San Diego opens this weekend

This coming weekend, the San Diego Architectural Foundation (SDAF) will present its annual Open House San Diego (OHSD) program, a sprawling showcase that will open up 84 architecturally significant sites across the city for public viewing. The ever-expanding geography of OHSD will run March 24 and 25 and will encompass sites located throughout the city’s core downtown neighborhoods like Barrio Logan, Gaslamp Quarter, and the waterfront, as well as locations in several peripheral areas like Bankers Hill, Balboa Park, and the newly-added Point Loma neighborhood. This year’s OHSD program is spearheaded by SDAF honorary event co-chairs Gordon Carrier of Carrier Johnson+ CULTURE and Jennifer Luce of Luce et Studio. OHSD founder Susanne Friestedt explained to AN, “We are hoping to elevate the city’s aesthetic and design tastes with the number and diversity of OHSD sites,” explaining that the broad mix of projects and venues represented a cross section of the city’s history and social make-up. Included on that list are the Balboa Park cultural complex, the studios of RJC Architects in Bankers Hill, the John Rhoades Federal Judicial Center downtown, the new Makers Quarter in the East Village neighborhood, the Woodbury University School of Architecture campus in Barrio Logan, and Point Loma Nazarene University in Point Loma. Various architectural offices will also be open to the public this weekend, including studios for Gensler, BNIM, and AVRP Skyport. The Open House concept began in London in 1992 with the goal of promoting a finer understanding for that city’s urban architecture among the general public and to spur debate on the nature of development, architectural design, and urban planning, generally speaking. In the years since, Open House events have spread around the world and now take place in over a dozen cities, including New York City, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and Melbourne, among many others. Efforts are currently underway to start a Los Angeles showcase, as well. For more information on this weekend’s festivities and tours, see the OHSD website.
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San Diego port transformed by $1.5 billion development

The Port of San Diego is being redesigned with entertainment—and resiliency—in mind. The $1.5 billion, 70-acre waterside development, officially dubbed Seaport San Diego, will transform a hodgepodge of tourist spots, parking lots, and a fish processing plant into a mixed-use entertainment destination crowned by a 500-foot-tall observation tower, The Spire, whose metal-clad central column looms over the surrounding cityscape in conceptual renderings. Gondolas will surround The Spire's core, and a VR program will take visitors back a millennium to experience the San Diego area pre-European arrival. The innovations are below ground, too. Scientists predict that sea levels will rise one to 3.4 feet by 2100, but some project the Pacific Ocean to rise as much as ten feet—a change that would devastate a coastline that's home to three-quarters of California's 39 million-plus residents. Consequently, Seaport San Diego's engineers are building the development in what is essentially a bathtub: Parking will be sited 20 or 30 feet underground, and design features from entrances to the electric system will be conceived with an eye towards sea level rise. The site also sits near a newly-discovered earthquake fault, so engineers are building seismic precautions into the development as well. The development team will break ground in 2021, and construction should wrap in 2024 or 2025. The development, which includes bustling the Seaport Village site, will also include a marine-focused charter school and a 178,000-square-foot aquarium designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). This is not the only major development afoot in or near California's second-largest city. In October, Populous unveiled its design for a modular 10,000-seat North American Soccer League (NASL) professional soccer stadium for northern San Diego County. Nearby, cement company Lehigh Hanson is converting a disused gravel mine into a Millennial-focused housing development.
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Parking garage receives razzle-dazzle camouflage-inspired cladding

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Inspired by a military camouflage technique dating back nearly 100 years, DAZZLE is a permanent public artwork commissioned by San Diego County Regional Airport Authority for San Diego International Airport’s Rental Car Center. The project, delivered by art team Ueberall International (Nikolaus Hafermaas, David Delgado, Dan Goods, and Jeano Erforth), was made possible through a public art fund after a highly competitive open artist RFQ selection process.
  • Facade Manufacturer E Ink Holdings
  • Architects Ueberall International (experiential design firm)
  • Facade Installer E Ink Holdings
  • Facade Consultants n/a
  • Location San Diego, CA
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System wireless-networked electronic-paper tiles adhered to pre-cast concrete
  • Products Prism, by E Ink
Experimenting with different ways to execute a geometric camouflage pattern, the artists turned to “electronic paper” technology as a facade applique. Individual e-paper tiles are articulated in a parallelogram shape and arranged in algorithmic distances to each other, to create a dynamic visual effect, even when still. The graphic patterns are animated by a library of short loops evoking water ripples, moving traffic, dancing snowflakes, and shifting geometries. The physical components of Ueberall’s installation include 2,100 autonomous tiles approximately 12 by 24 inches, strategically placed wireless transmitters, and a host computer. Each tile is outfitted with a photovoltaic solar cell for power, electronics for operation, and wireless communication for programmed control. The tiles are individually coded with distinct addresses to enable precise programming of visual facade patterns. The host computer stores and coordinates all animations (about 15 to 30) designed by the artists. Information can be transmitted from the host computer through Ethernet wiring to wireless transmitters that face the building. These wireless transmitters then forward the information to clusters of tiles which further forward data to other tiles. The end result is a tile that can transform from solid black to solid white based on the information it receives. In this way, each tile represents one  pixel in a field of thousands, which is individually controlled through a pre-programmed “playlist” of synchronized effects. The tiles are lightweight, bendable, and energy efficient, and can be cut as long as a continuous path from end to end exists for electrical current. “E Ink” does not emit light, and has a matte appearance, like paper, utilizing pigments for coloration. Energy usage only occurs when the material “switches,” which means a static pattern does not use electricity. In the case of DAZZLE, the tiles were outfitted with specific coatings to allow the parking garage’s precast concrete facade to be power washed. Interestingly, no penetrations through the existing facade system of the building were required. The tiles were adhered to the precast concrete facade. The manufacturer, E Ink, said the tiles can be installed in numerous ways, dependent on site conditions and project requirement. Other options include track systems, tensile cable structures, and sandwiched assemblies. The tiles at DAZZLE were outfitted with solar cells, helping to offset what amounted to very little operational energy. The overall power consumption, including all support hardware (PC, communication transmitters, etc.) was less than two flat panel TVs. The installation was completed in phases, with the tiles ultimately being installed in under two weeks. Each individual tile was coded, scanned, and GPS-located on the facade for pattern synchronization. This level of scrutiny required careful upfront design consideration. For instance, manufacturers worked to design the tiles with unique addresses and barcodes to track, inventory, and ultimately sort each piece. The e-paper manufacturer, E Ink, is the world’s leading innovator of e-ink technology through products like eReaders, electronic shelf labels, digital signage, and architectural materials. For DAZZLE, E Ink utilized their “Prism” line, which is specifically made for the architectural market. This project represents their first major installation of the product. The material is manufactured in large roll quantities that allows for the capability of very large scale installations. Future possibilities for electronic paper technology could be incorporation in light pollution sensitive environments, where the more natural paint-like look of electronic paper is valued over harsh LED light. E Ink said the material can be easily integrated with traditional materials to produce a more dynamic experiential space. "This is the next greatest thing, but it feels more natural and less futuristic, which in its own way is really cool."
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Populous unveils modular soccer stadium for San Diego County

Kansas City–based architecture firm Populous has unveiled plans to bring a modular 10,000-seat North American Soccer League (NASL) professional soccer stadium to the north San Diego County city of Oceanside. The new $15 million stadium is being designed for San Diego 1904 F.C., a proposed NASL team that is scheduled to make its major league debut with the 2018 season. The proposed stadium is billed as an expansion to the existing SoCal Sports Complex (SCSC), a 22-field youth soccer facility known for hosting large summer tournaments. The new stadium will occupy a parking lot site  where SCSC has erected temporary grandstands for international youth tournaments in the past, San Diego Union Tribune reports. Portions of the site were previously used as a sand mine. A rendering of the prefab construction complex depicts seating bleachers wrapped in decorative, ocean-inspired cladding surrounding the soccer pitch. The complex is depicted with an undulating steel canopy shading the seats overhead. An access ramp, permanent concession stands, and bathroom facilities will be included in the development as well. The latter elements will be designed for use by the youth leagues even when the professional stadium is not in operation, as the SCSC complex currently lacks permanent bathrooms and concessions stands. GL Events, a foreign firm responsible for several of the temporary venues erected in conjunction with the 2012 Olympics in London, England, is also on board the project. GL Events and Populous aim to begin construction on the stadium in September 2018. Because of the prefabricated nature of the development, construction is expected to only take four months. The complex will add to the region’s growing list of soccer venues, as competing ballot initiative–fueled plans for new stadia in the Downtown San Diego area ramp up ahead of proposed 2018 elections, 10 News reports. Populous is also designing one of those proposals, which consists of a joint proposal with a Major League Soccer team and San Diego State University. The future of those two projects will be decided at the ballot box next year.
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Defunct gravel mine in San Diego to become millennial housing village

Cement company Lehigh Hanson is converting a defunct gravel mine into an 1,800-unit, millennial-focused mixed-use and residential community.  The development, called 3roots San Diego, will be located in northern San Diego County. If built, the project would be constructed over what remains of the Carroll Canyon mine, a concrete aggregate and gravel mine that ceased operations in 2016. The development, according to Brian Meyers, a consultant for Lehigh Hanson, represents an “alternative” to prototypical urban environments for millennial individuals looking to start a family. Meyers told the San Diego Union Tribune that the development aims to provide some of the “urban lifestyle amenities” like walkability and density of use that make traditional urban areas desirable, but will do so in a more family-oriented environment. The barren 412-acre site is sandwiched between a series of suburban-style residential communities, other mining operations, and an industrial district. 3roots San Diego aims to convert the site into an interlocking network of mixed-use and residential areas bisected by parkland and hiking trails. The project was originally envisioned in 1994 to include a 50-acre industrial district, but a recently-updated plan has scrapped that component in favor of more park space. The development is to be laid out with a mixed-use "innovation district" at its core that will maintain transit connections to a forthcoming extension of San Diego’s light rail system. The so-called Village Core area will feature 749 apartments, 120,000 square feet of retail spaces, and 20,000 square feet of creative office. Renderings for the project depict two parallel rows of warehouse-style structures surrounding a generous pedestrian courtyard. Other scattered mixed-use buildings will fill out the remainder of development’s main node with apartments, and the developer will gradually add attached and detached single family homes up and down the hilly site. A series of parks will wrap the site's edges to allow for connections to existing and new public streets and trails. Overall, 3roots San Diego will have 201 acres of open space overall, including 40 acres of publicly-accessible parks and hiking trails. Residential areas for the project will be laid out according to density, with the project’s 310 attached single-family homes sandwiched between the more dense Village Core and a zone containing 746 detached single-family homes. Renderings depict manicured rows of apartments, townhouses, and detached homes amid lush, hilly landscapes. Public meetings and and environmental reviews for the project are scheduled to completed in 2018. The developers aim to complete the first homes for the project in 2021 with final buildout by 2025. See the 3roots San Diego site for more information.
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Team led by HKS tapped for UC San Diego mixed-use campus expansion

A team consisting of HKS Architects, Safdie Rabines Architects, and landscape architects OJB was recently selected by the University of California, San Diego to design the university’s new Living and Learning Neighborhood at North Torrey Pines, a forthcoming campus expansion modeled after traditional mixed-use urban forms. The project will provide housing for 2,000 undergraduate students as well as new educational spaces and administrative offices, among other uses. The campus extension will consist of seven new structures ranging between two and ten stories in height. Those new buildings, according to renderings released for the project, will feature blocky, articulated massing with various building geometries clad in traditional materials, including brick and wood panels. A pair of the structures will be 10-stories tall and joined at the midsection by a series of multi-level skybridges. Other structures will be composed of similarly hybridized masses, with traditional housing blocks stacked above office and educational podium structures. The buildings feature a relatively high ratio of exterior glazing, with large swaths of glass curtain walls and punched openings populating each expanse. The buildings will also feature multi-story cutouts and loggia spaces along their facades. Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, SOM, Kevin Daly Architects, and Kieran Timberlake are currently at work on a multi-phase housing expansion at California State University, Santa Barbara while Chicago-based Studio Gang Architects are working to overhaul and expand the Moore Turnbull Page-designed Kresge College housing complex at University of California, Santa Cruz. University of California, Davis is also planning a large-scale campus expansion. The project at UC San Diego is currently preparing to enter construction this summer and is expected to be completed sometime in 2020.