Posts tagged with "Santa Monica":

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Amid changing development landscape and high rents, Santa Monica Museum of Art begins search for a new home

Edward Cella Art and Architecture is not the only Los Angeles art institution leaving its longtime location soon. AN has learned from the Los Angeles Times that the Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMOA) is closing its doors at Santa Monica's Bergamot Station early next month. According to the newspaper, the move was largely precipitated by the city's selection last fall of developer Bergamot Station Ltd/Worthe Real Estate and architect Fred Fisher for a major redevelopment of Bergamot. That scheme has been noted for its effort to maintain the 33-gallery complex's industrial shed vernacular. The museum had hoped for a proposal by 26th Street TOD and Rios Clementi Hale that would have added $17 million to its endowment. Furthermore the owner of Bergamot, Wayne Blank, doubled SMMOA's rent last spring. "It was a huge blow," SMMOA Executive Director Elsa Longhauser told AN. "It made it clear that the landlord was not eager to continue his support of the museum." "They picked the development team that offered them the most, which wasn’t the best of the three teams," Blank responded to AN. "They had the worst plan. It would have destroyed Bergamot." He added: "It was no longer comfortable to have them on board." Bergamot, once a train station and site for light manufacturing, has been a home to art since the early 1990s. SMMOA is now taking time to look for a new home. "We will use this time very intensely and judiciously to examine all the possibilities and determine what makes the most sense,” Longhauser told the Times. "There are a number of leads, but nothing’s signed and sealed," Longhauser told AN. She said there was a chance that the museum may have to leave Santa Monica altogether, largely because of the city's high rents. Blank, who hopes SMMOA can "reinvent itself" elsewhere, said that he is now looking for another non-profit to take the museum's space, if possible. The city's redevelopment of Bergamot won't start for another two to three years at the earliest.
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Eavesdrop> Expo Line’s First Riders? Unexpected patrons swarm Santa Monica

There’s been a lot of sunny news revolving around the incoming Expo Line in Santa Monica, which is scheduled to open sometime in 2016. But with all the feverish construction, it appears some unwelcome guests are coming out of the shadows (or actually, the ground). Several businesses around the construction—including those of architects—are reporting increased numbers of cockroaches making their way into their offices. Some have even called it an infestation. Who knew mass transit would attract such a wide ridership?
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Santa Monica Radio Station KCRW Breaks Ground on New Headquarters by Clive Wilkinson Architects

Yesterday Santa Monica radio station KCRW broke ground on its new hub, which will bring it out of a basement at Santa Monica College and into the architectural spotlight. The 35,000 square foot building, designed by Clive Wilkinson Architects, will be located on the college's future Entertainment and Technology Campus, in the city's creative business district, along the Expo line. Wilkinson won the commission back in 2008, but the bold, colorful design has developed significantly since then. KCRW, which started out three decades ago, has grown from 14 to 110 employees, so it was definitely time to move out of their cramped underground offices. The new facilities, with plentiful access to natural light, will offer high tech production facilities, community gathering spaces, and top tier office spaces, as well as an 18,000 square foot courtyard and outdoor stage and a 180-seat auditorium. Radio performances will be open to the public, making the station even more of a community and musical center. KCRW has so far raised $33 million of the total $48 million for the new campus. Construction is expected to be done by the end of 2015, with the station moving in by 2016. Santa Monica College's new entertainment and technology campus will also include new teaching facilities, TV and production studios, and a new parking garage.
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OMA Moving Ahead on Major Mixed-Use Project in Santa Monica After All

After being sent back to the drawing board last fall, OMA's mixed use Plaza at Santa Monica appears to be moving ahead once again. Located on a prime piece of Santa Monica–owned real estate on Arizona Avenue between 4th and 5th streets, the development—part of a glut of new mixed-use projects in the city—will be OMA’s first ever large scale project in Southern California. They are partnering with local firm Van Tilberg, Banvard & Soderbergh (VTBS). At a recent Architectural Review Board (ARB) meeting, the OMA-VTBS team presented its original proposal at 148 feet high and an alternate the city had asked them to consider at 84 feet. “Overall, the Board was very pleased with the design ideas and the potential that it represents,” said Francie Stefan, community and strategic planning manager for the City of Santa Monica. She noted that the concerns raised by the board had to do with daylighting and ventilation strategies for such large floor plates. According to Santa Monica Special Projects Manager Jing Yeo, since OMA is still collecting input they have not yet started on such revisions. Regardless of building height, the board wants the major concept elements to be carried through, including the mix of vertical relationships and the multilevel landscaping that would be done by Philadelphia-based landscape firm OLIN. It remains to be seen if the building's green roofs stay in future renderings and just how much affordable housing can be jammed into the project. Both of these concerns were raised by the selection committee when it issued its recommendation to pursue negotiations with the development team. Since this was just an early concept review, the project will be back a number of times before it gets final approval from the ARB.
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Shortlist Specials: West Coast Projects Name Names

As the economy continues to roll we’re again awash in shortlists and competition wins. The Santa Monica City Services Building has a shortlist that includes SOM and Frederick Fisher. Teams shortlisted for the Herald Examiner Building include Christof Jantzen and Brenda Levin. LA’s Wildwood School shortlist includes Gensler, Koning Eizenberg, and one unknown team. The UC San Diego Biological Building has gone to CO Architects (recent winners of the AIACC Firm of the Year award). EHDD has won the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, and Harley Ellis Devereaux has won the Long Beach Belmont Plaza Pool.
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Wealthy Neighborhood Coalition Demands Halt in Santa Monica Development Projects

Just west of Los Angeles, a relaxed beach town on the California coast has recently received some major architecture news headlines. In 2013, some of the biggest firms in the country, from OMA to Gehry Partners, have set their sights on development projects in Santa Monica, planning to raise the skyline and increase the architectural density of the city. Not everyone is happy about this attention, though. This week, Curbed LA reports that the Wilmont Neighborhood Coalition, a group of Santa Monica residents from the high profile neighborhood from Wilshire Boulevard to Montana Avenue, have called for a moratorium on all development plans in the city. With a unanimous vote at their annual meeting, the group pleaded with the City Council to stop architectural projects in Santa Monica until the solidification of a zoning ordinance next year. According to a survey funded by the Huntley Hotel in downtown Santa Monica (whose owner is also a coalition board member), the group’s main complaint is the increase in traffic and the decrease in parking space that would be caused by city developments. The City Council’s Planning Committee will see a Zoning Ordinance Update on their agenda in a few weeks, but a decision on new building regulation in the city would not be reached until possibly late 2014. These Wilmont neighbors do not think that is soon enough to prevent the vehicular overcrowding they fear. Sending a symbolic vote of no confidence to City Hall, the Neighborhood Coalition has proposed a resolution that not only pauses all Santa Monica development agreements until the zoning decision but also introduces the adoption of a Downtown Specific Plan that would set a maximum height on projects in the downtown area. So far, the coalition’s objection has not had an impact on any current projects.
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Saturday> Unfrozen Music Concert Pairs LA Architects and Music

UM_logo Unfrozen Music Santa Monica Main Library Saturday, October 26th, 2013 7:00-9:00pm Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium 601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA It's that time of year again: time for local architects to put down their laptops and pick up their musical instruments. This Saturday, October 26, Shimahara Illustration will hold its fifth annual Unfrozen Music concert at the Santa Monica Main Library. The concert program includes six short sets performed by Los Angeles architects. AN's West Coast Editor, Sam Lubell, will MC the event. Performers include Alice Kimm (principal of John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects and Director of undergraduate programs at USC) on piano, Jonathan Ward (Partner at NBBJ) on acoustic bass, Terence Young (Design Director for Aviation, Transportation, and Retail Entertainment at Gensler) on cello, and many more. The concert series takes its name from a quote by theorist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: "I consider architecture to be unfrozen music." This year's event will feature digital animations corresponding to each piece, a new wrinkle that will bring in a visual element; fitting considering who is performing.

Video> AN Tours James Corner Field Operations’ Wildly Popular Tongva Park in Santa Monica

Santa Monica's Tongva Park, which had its soft opening last month, officially opened this past weekend. Already, the undulating, grassy expanse, located west of Santa Monica City Hall, has become a huge hit in the community. AN reporter James Brasuell reported on the park previously and has now returned to explore James Corner Field Operations's newest park in more detail in the video above.
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Welton Becket’s Santa Monica Civic Auditorium Says Goodbye

Welton Becket's 1958 Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, once a beacon of midcentury optimism, this weekend shuttered its doors. The bending, intricately ornamented auditorium hosted several Academy Awards in the 1960s, as well as concerts by the likes of Eric Clapton, Frank Sinatra, James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Prince, and Bob Dylan. But the facility recently fell on hard times, as bands gravitated to larger venues (leaving it mostly hosting trade fairs), and as a planned $52 million renovation was recently cancelled when California abolished its Community Redevelopment Agencies. Santa Monica Civic, a working group strategizing the venue's future, told the LA Times that it will take several months to develop a new plan for the landmarked structure, including film screenings, live theater, or even restaurants.
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Eavesdrop> Bjarke Ingels Joins Heavy Hitters Vying for Santa Monica Project

ingels_santa_monica_01 One of the few regions that superstar Bjarke Ingels has yet to invade is Southern California, and he’s made it clear that he wants that to change. It just might, soon. Ingels, we hear from an unnamed source, has been added to one of the teams competing to design the city's 4th and Arizona mixed use project in Santa Monica, a city experiencing the beginnings of a building boom. They’ll replace RTKL on a team that also includes local firms Koning Eizenberg and Rios Clementi Hale. So now this shortlist is the most starchitect-heavy of any in the region, including not just BIG, but OMA with VTBS and Robert A.M. Stern with Brooks + Scarpa. In addition to a building that could reach up to 130 feet, the RFP calls for a “programmable gathering space that adds to the community’s civic life with public gatherings and seasonal activities.” Currently, the city hosts an ice skating rink on the site in the winters. According to the RFP a winner is expected to be chosen by Santa Monica's city council by this August. Stay tuned.
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Leading West Coast Architects Celebrate DnA’s Relaunch in Santa Monica

On Monday, members of LA’s design and architecture cognoscenti descended on the Tesla store on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade to celebrate the official relaunch of KCRW’s DnA (Design and Architecture). The event featured a discussion between DnA host and executive producer Frances Anderton and Elon Musk, the visionary founder-CEO of Tesla and Space X. Those present included Michael Rotondi, Ray Kappe, Thom Mayne, developer Tom Gilmore, and Getty architecture curators Wim de Wit and Christopher Alexander. After ten years as a monthly on-air program, DnA will re-emerge as a more comprehensive weekly podcast and blog. To help curate what’s being billed as “DnA 2.0",  Anderton is enlisting the talents of local design journalists—or “DJs”—that she has hand-picked. “I’m thrilled that we will increase our coverage of, and participation in this creative community and the work that shapes our lives,” said Anderton. In the discussion Ms. Anderton honed in on Mr. Musk’s hands-on approach to design and innovation and how his operations are solidly based in California. “I like to be close enough to be involved,” he said. “With outsourcing, something we at one time considered, you lose the potential for innovation in the process.” Questions from the audience ranged from whether science fiction played a role in his work—“Definitely Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy and Heinlein”— to if he could solve LA’s traffic problem. “I’ve got a design for a double-decker freeway worked out,” he said. When a young member of the audience asked about flying cars, he thoughtfully responded that he thought the challenge wasn’t getting the cars to fly but in preventing them from crashing into everything. When asked if he had any advice for architects about getting more visionary buildings erected in Los Angeles, Mr. Musk demurred, saying “I wouldn’t presume to give advice. The problem isn’t the architects. We just need more clients here who want to put up visionary buildings.”
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Providence Takes Top Award in Bloomberg Mayors Challenge

Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced the winners of its Mayors Challenge, a competition meant to generate innovative ideas for the improvement of city life. Out of the 300 cities that submitted proposals, the giving institution created by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg gave the Grand Prize for Innovation to Providence, RI, and its mayor, Angel Taveras. The city was awarded $5 million to implement its project, what Bloomberg Philanthropies called a "cutting-edge early education initiative." Under the initiative, participating children will wear a recording device home that will monitor the conversations they have with their parents or other adults. The transcripts of these conversations will then be used to develop weekly coaching sessions in which government monitors or someone will coach the grownups on how better to speak with their children. Bloomberg Philanthropies said it selected the "revolutionary approach" for the way it uses "proven technologies to measure vocabulary exposure in low-income households and help[s] parents close the word gap." Hello Big Brother! But, then, it's not a surprising choice coming from the man who has recently tried to ban jumbo sodas, did ban smoking in public places, and ordered the erection of signs at fast food restaurants telling consumers just how fat they're about to become. Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and Santa Monica also made the top five list, each taking away $1 million to put toward the implementation of their own proposals. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans to build a data system to help city leaders make better decisions to prevent problems before they happen. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter will launch a new procurement process to make it easier for entrepreneurs and "social innovators" to answer RFPs. Santa Monica is developing an index to measure well-being and thereby make it part of policy making. Houston walked away with the Fan Favorite prize, which added $50,000 to its purse. This prize was co-sponsored by the Huffington Post and resulted from 58,000 votes. Bayou City mayor Annise Parker is developing a one-bin recycling program, or One Bin For All, as it is called. The measure will save citizens the nuisance of sorting their refuse. Instead, recyclables will be separated from regular garbage at transfer facilities, with the goal of recycling 75 percent of all waste. Houston is currently seeking a private company to partner with on the project. In addition to the money, each of the five members will receive a trophy designed by international art star Olafur Eliasson. While no image of the trophy was available at blog time, a description was: "The Mayors Challenge Prize for Innovation award is a spherical sculpture formed by three concentric circles—square, circle, and dodecagon—encircling a hanging compass. The compass indicates steadily north, uniting the prize winners and assisting viewers in imagining their collective responsibility to navigate towards the greater good for all."