After Mike the Poet finished his set Thursday night, I found Benjamin Ball of Ball-Nogues Studio still in the crowd. He had been the second to last presenter, mostly talking about the firm's work, and he was now taking compliments from admirers and shooting the breeze with friends. I, never not working, asked about the teepee in Woodstock he'd mentioned, though Ben was more interested in chatting me up about the paper, Venice, and my bowtie. Soon enough, a group of us found ourselves in the lobby, but the drinks being overpriced, we hit the street. The five of us--Ben, three of his artist friends, and myself--deliberated on one of LA's countless quiet street corners. The establishment across the street, Library Bar, was deemed "too USC" and abandoned. Where to go? A loud, hipstery joint, Bar 107 was settled on some blocks away. This being LA, everyone split up, with two headed for a car, another to her bike, and Ben and I on foot. As we make our we across town, I begin to interrogate Ben, especially about his adopted home, a place, during my brief stay, I find to be incredibly fascinating. Not very far into the conversation, we pass through Pershing Square, a park in downtown LA redesigned in the '90s by Ricardo Legorreta and Laurie Olin, a place Ben is not exactly fond of. "God," he says, as we cross the street and enter the park, "they need to bulldoze this shit. It's a perfect example of how stale thinking was in the 90s." Still, this hasn't hindered the development of downtown, a movement Ben is very much a strong believer in, having moved his and partner Gaston Nogues' studio into a loft building in the area. "The rent is still dirt cheap," Ben said. "You can get a place for less than a dollar a square foot, which the developers are happy to do because they know you'll pave the wave." When I pointed out that the streets were dead and devoid of many necessary amenities, he conceded that this was true, but as with all gentrification, bound to change--if you build it, they will come. When we arrived at 107 it was seemingly swamped with teenagers, so we opted for the adjacent Pete's Bar & Cafe, a neighborhood institution that seems like it's been there forever, with its lush interior and old black-and-white prints of the downtown of yesteryear, even if it opened less than a decade ago. I stepped out to find an ATM, something that took 20 minutes of wandering around desolate downtown blocks--like I was saying about those amenities--that, despite the postindustrial charms of the area, had me longing for a New York City bodega. By the time I returned, we had been joined by Ben's artist friend Beverly, who had arrived on her bike. Like Ball-Nogues, Beverly uses the computer to create much of her art, and the two got into a long conversation about the various design and rendering programs out there. As we shared Pete's delicious cheese fries, I sat back to revel in the excitement these two shared. My eyes glazed over due to jet lag, but it was mistaken for disinterest. Trying to bring the discussion back around, Ben expressed his frustration that all the SCI-Arc kids who only conceive of computers as a means to an end--usually some overly slick building--and not just another tool to realize a clever building. "It's why, in the end, we try and build everything by hand, to do all the fabrication ourselves," Ben insisted. "Architecture always has been, and always will be, a craft." Salut!
Posts tagged with "SCI-Arc":
It finally happened! The jury for the AN/ SCI-Arc design competition A New Infrastructure: Innovative Transit Solutions For Los Angeles met at SCI-Arc on Monday to pick the winners. They selected from 75 professional and student proposals from the U.S., U.K., Estonia, Italy, and France. The winners will be announced this Saturday at 2pm at SCI-Arc (960 E. 3rd Street, Los Angeles), followed by a panel with the jurors and an exhibition of the top proposals. The event is open to the public. Jury members included Thom Mayne, Eric Owen Moss, and Neil Denari, along with Aspet Davidian, the Director of Project Engineering Facilities at LA METRO; Cecilia Estolano, Chief Executive Officer of CRA/LA; Gail Goldberg, Los Angeles Director of Planning; Roland Genik, Urban Planner and Transit Designer; and Geoff Wardle, Director of Advanced Mobility Research at Art Center College of Design. And after seven hours, two meals, hundreds of discussions, and over 150 boards (ranging from highly practical to intensely surreal), the group picked its top choices. Hats off to them for their herculean effort! Come downtown on Saturday to see the winners and to enjoy the festivities!
What do Thom Mayne, Eric Owen Moss, Neil Denari, LA Planning director Gail Goldberg, and Aspet Davidian, engineering director at the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority have in common? They're all on the jury for The Architect's Newspaper and SCI-Arc's new competition, A NEW INFRASTRUCTURE: Innovative Transit Solutions for Los Angeles. Launching today, the competition takes advantage of LA County's Measure R, which will provide up to $40 billion for transit-related projects across the city over the next 30 years. It asks architects, engineers, urban planners, and students to propose new ideas that use design to dramatically rethink the relationships between transit systems, public space and urban redevelopment. Entries will focus on specific rail extension projects and also take a look at larger-scale, inter-related transit planning challenges. Potential competitors can download the competition outline and registration here. Entries are due March 15, and winners will be announced on March 21.
If you've got some extra cash this year—and really, who doesn't?—why not invest in architecture? Not the pricey, unlikely-to-be-built, brick-and-mortar kind. We're talking about 2D architecture, the kind you can hang on your wall. Shigeru Ban, Daly Genik, Hodgetts + Fung and Michael Maltzan are just a few of the architects you could have in your home by Christmas, thanks to this auction where you can bid on their drawings and renderings, with all the proceeds going to SCI-Arc. Opening bids start at $250, so send an email to Lynn_Ordinario AT sciarc.edu if you'd like more detailed descriptions and images of the offerings, or to place your bid. But hurry! Bidding closes tomorrow, Friday, December 12 at 5pm PST, and Eli Broad has his eyes on a few of these, we swear. 1) CHENGDU HUALIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Shigeru Ban, Shigeru Ban Architects Framed Size: 15.5” h X 19” w Media: Pencil on paper 2) FREEZE Hsin-Ming Fung, Hodgetts + Fung Framed Size: 17.5” h X 41” w 3) HOLLYWOOD ROOFTOP Christopher Genik, Daly Genik Architects Framed Size: 16.5” h X 24.5” w 4) UNTITLED Michael Maltzan, Michael Maltzan Architects Framed Size: 11.25” h X 13.5”w Media: Ink on paper 5) MEDIACORP CREATIVE CAMPUS, SINGAPORE Wolf Prix, Coop Himmelb(l)au Framed Size: 13.5” h X 21.5” w Media: Ink on paper 6) LINEWORKS SERIES 1 AND 2 Marcelo Spina, P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S Framed Size: 13.5” h X 21.5” w Media: Ink on paper 7) BOARDWALK Stanley Tigerman, Tigerman McCurry Architects, Ltd. Framed Size: 11.75” h X 13.75” w Media: Ink on paper 8) TAIPEI PERFORMING ARTS CENTER Tom Wiscombe, Emergent Framed Size: 19.5” h X 25.5” w
The SCI-Arc Gallery's techno-thumping, wine-spattered opening nights are the place for local architects to drink and be drunk. The latest revelry celebrated the debut installation by Oyler Wu Collaborative, who are quickly becoming the hottest new duo in LA architecture. Dwayne Oyler and Jenny Wu's recent exhibitions include Density Fields at Materials & Applications and Pendulum Plane for the new LA Forum space. And now, Live Wire, which takes their massive aluminum tubing structures to the next level—literally! In collaboration with Buro Happold, Oyler and Wu have built a staircase consisting of 2,400 linear feet of tubing that leads from the ground floor of the gallery up into the second-story catwalk: "The stair, often relegated to pure functional use, is a testing ground for weaving together a multitude of architectural ideas, ranging from the manipulation of light, geometry, and structure to vertical circulation. Live Wire is aimed at suggesting an expanded definition of architectural elements, one that surpasses boundaries of simple functions and suggests intangible results." Oyler and Wu will be speaking about their pipe dreams with Eric Owen Moss on Monday, November 17 at 7pm. Or go to SCI-Arc's lecture this Saturday from 2-4pm, The City After the Economy, and check out Live Wire after what's certain to be a hilarious and fun-filled discussion. Cheer yourself up by simulating the economy...by walking exclusively down the stairs.