Posts tagged with "South Los Angeles":

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Gehry Partners unveils staid design for Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles

  Gehry Partners has unveiled designs for the new Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA) complex in Inglewood, California.  The 25,000-square-foot, $14.5 million adaptive reuse project will retrofit an existing former Security Pacific Bank branch office located at 101 South La Brea Avenue in the city’s civic center, transforming the complex from within by adding a new multi-functional auditorium, among other components. Plans call for creating a “light-filled, flexible facility” at the heart of the community in an effort to further expand YOLA’s footprint to this underserved area.  The facilities will include the aforementioned auditorium, which is designed to be subdivided into two multi-purpose rehearsal spaces and features retractable seating that will accommodate 190 guests. The space will also include a balcony area with capacity for an additional 70 seats.  The complex is set to include a variety of spaces for orchestra, sectional, chamber, and individual practices as well as a choir room, an ensemble room, and a small practice studio that will come outfitted with recording equipment. The building will also house offices and an open lounge space for parents and family members to use. The acoustic envelope for the project is designed by Gehry and Yasuhisa Toyota, founder and president of Nagata Acoustics America.  The building is designed with a glass-walled light cannon that will that bring natural light into the performance spaces. A grand loggia space will front the building along its principal facade. YOLA is an initiative of the Los Angeles Philharmonic that was started in 2007 by its director, Gustavo Dudamel. As a child, Dudamel, a native of Venezuela, participated in that country’s El Sistema youth orchestra, an activity the acclaimed conductor credits with exposing him to the world of music. The YOLA program similarly serves at-risk youth across the region’s working-class neighborhoods, providing a critical means of professional arts education. Describing the proposal in a press release, Frank Gehry said: “It’s a privilege for me to work with Gustavo to create a place where students can feel comfortable, secure, and welcome as they learn to express themselves through music. We hope that the building will become a center for the community to gather to hear performances of all types. I designed the Center to be a world-class instrument for the community, and I can’t wait to see how they use it.” YOLA expects to begin construction on the project in 2019 in the hopes of completing the project by 2020. 
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Upgrades approved for South L.A.’s Magic Johnson Park

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently voted to fund the construction of the first phase of a new master plan by AHBE Landscape Architects and a new community event center designed by Paul Murdoch Architects that aims to transform Magic Johnson Park in South Los Angeles.  A statement from the office of Mark Ridley-Thomas, supervisor for the 2nd district, announcing the agreement explains that the initial $50 million phase will bring a 20,000-square-foot community events center, an outdoor wedding pavilion, a splash pad, and new children’s play areas to the 120-acre park. Plans for the initial phase also include upgraded security lighting, new walking paths, and additional parking space. The project will also transform the park into a key element of the region’s water management ecosystem by diverting and filtering water from nearby Compton Creek in order to irrigate a 30-acre section of the park and to fill a large artificial pond, as well.  The initial phase will be bolstered in future years by a physical expansion of the park as grounds are added to the site from an adjacent housing development known as Ujima Village that has been torn down and will be converted to parkland. The site was once home to oil storage facilities, Urbanize.la reports, and has been remediated significantly since closing to residents in 2010. AHBE is currently at work on a series of transformative projects across the L.A. area, including a new $8.5 million public park slated for L.A.’s Chinatown neighborhood and a mixed-use renovation and expansion plan for the South Gate Galleria complex in Redondo Beach, California, led by Gensler. The firm also recently completed a landscaped terrace at Cedars Sinai hospital that functions as a collection of outdoor rooms anchored by a large pavilion designed by Ball-Nogues Studio constructed out of CNC-shaped steel tubing. The initial phase of the master plan is set to begin in October of this year and be wrapped up by Spring 2020. The final $135 million buildout should be completed by 2036. 
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LACMA is planning to launch up to five satellite campuses throughout L.A. County

During a recent breakfast with members of the local AIA|LA chapter at Gensler’s Los Angeles offices, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) director Michael Govan announced a potential plan to add up to five satellite campuses to LACMA’s current sites. While the plan is largely still in the works, Govan explained that as the institution seeks to demolish and replace its existing William Pereira and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer-designed complex, LACMA was “hitting the limit for space on Wilshire Boulevard” and would need to start looking at other sites for potential future expansions.  Explaining that he had explicitly instructed Peter Zumthor—the architect behind the controversial $600 million revamp—to design a singular structure that would be difficult to expand, Govan said, “There’s never been a building that’s been added onto that has been made better [because of that addition].” Govan explained that it would be better if LACMA’s future expansions happened “elsewhere in Los Angeles” so that the new facilities might become a resource for the broader population of Los Angeles County. Govan then detailed a conceptual plan for the future of a “de-centralized” LACMA that could bring a jolt of arts and educational programming to arts-starved communities throughout the city, starting with South Los Angeles, where the organization recently announced what could turn out to be its first regional outpost.  Earlier this year, LACMA announced plans to expand to a 80,000-square-foot industrial building in South Los Angeles Wetlands Park and to a vacant site located in the 104-acre Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park in an effort to boost community outreach and make better use of its resources while the expansion at the Wilshire campus is under construction.  LACMA is also currently operating a small gallery at Charles White Elementary School in L.A.’s MacArthur Park neighborhood, where it is working to have an updated security and ticketing system installed that would allow the space to be open to the public on weekends, Govan explained. LACMA plans to exhibit objects from its collections there and to work with local artists and students at the school to create programming for the site, as well.  Aiming for a “decentered museum for a decentered metropolis,” Govan also explained that LACMA is currently partnered with the Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College for an exhibition on ancient Egyptian artifacts in LACMA’s collection. Govan hinted that sites in the San Fernando Valley were also potentially under consideration and that ultimately, he would like to see five 50,000-square-foot satellites in operation over the next decade or so. 
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LACMA is considering two new outposts in South Los Angeles

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is moving to expand the number of facilities it operates with not one, but two new potential sites in South Los Angeles. The New York Times reports, that the institution is looking to potentially expand to a 80,000-square-foot industrial building in South Los Angeles Wetlands Park and to a vacant site located in the 104-acre Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park in an effort to boost community outreach and make better use of resources as the organization plans a controversial $600 million expansion of its main campus. LACMA is currently working to acquire rights to use both sites, with the Wetlands Park location being further along in the approval process. Plans for that site will come up for consideration later this week by the Los Angeles City Council, which expected to approve a 35-year lease on the site so that LACMA can initiate its adaptive reuse project. The industrial structure LACMA intends to occupy dates to 1911 and was formerly used to store trains and buses that served the local transportation system. The single-story beaux-arts structure has sat empty for decades, however, even as the former rail yards surrounding it were converted into wetlands by planning and design firm Psomas. Plans released during the initial completion of the park’s water retention and landscaped areas in 2014 called for repurposing the structure into a rail museum, a plan that has since given way to LACMA’s potential reuse. The renovations are expected to cost between $25 million and $30 million, Govan told The New York Times. Referencing the museum’s plans for replacing its existing facilities in Mid-Wilshire, LACMA director Michael Govan told The New York Times, “You start thinking, where can the value of your collection and program be the greatest, when you’re behind a big fancy fence on Wilshire Boulevard or out in the community?” The museum—which receives roughly 25 percent of its funding from Los Angeles County—is also looking at a site six miles to the south of the park for a potential third location. Those facilities would occupy the site of the former Ujima Village housing project, which was demolished in 2009 due to contamination issues at the site. The park sits near the Blue Line light rail line and within walking distance of the Watts Towers arts complex. The potential ground-up development would present an opportunity for the museum to build a new structure in the park that could potentially accommodate LACMA’s off-site art storage facilities. The park is currently in the midst of a $50-million, decade-long renovation and remediation effort and local officials are reportedly receptive to LACMA’s plans. Regarding the two-site plan, Govan told The New York Times, “I can tell you now, it’s not an either-or. If we get both spaces, I think that it will be even easier to make each work. Each property offers very different advantages in completely different neighborhoods.” A timeline for the second site has not been announced. The location expansions would add another layer to the changing dynamic in the South Los Angeles region, which has slowly begun to gentrify in anticipation of the new Crenshaw Line light rail route and as high housing costs elsewhere push formerly-reluctant homebuyers into the area. As far as institutional players go, LACMA will be joined in the area by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which is in the process of creating a satellite facility in nearby Inglewood designed by Frank Gehry. Gehry’s plans for the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA) will repurpose an existing 17,000-square-foot facility into a new community center that will provide performance and rehearsal spaces for up to 500 young musicians. Designs for the complex have not been unveiled, but the new YOLA facilities are expected to open in 2022.
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Gehry to design new home for L.A. Philharmonic Youth Orchestra

To celebrate the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s centennial, the organization has announced that Frank Gehry—famed architect and designer of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, where the philharmonic performs its winter time showcases—will design a new permanent home for the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA) in Inglewood, California. For the project, Gehry will transform a 17,000-square-foot structure into a new community center and music academy. The facility, named in honor of donors Judith and Thomas L. Beckman, is expected to serve up to 500 aspiring music students from throughout the Los Angeles area, including the South L.A., Rampart District, Westlake/MacArthur Park, and East L.A. neighborhoods, according to a press release issued by the Philharmonic. The complex will contain rehearsal and educational spaces as well as a performance venue for the youth orchestra. YOLA currently serves over 1,000 students across the region and is conducted in partnership with EXPO Center, Harmony Project, Heart of Los Angeles, and Camino Nuevo Charter Academy. Gustavo Dudamel, director of the L.A. Philharmonic, said in a statement, “The Beckmen Center will take [our] core beliefs … and turn them into something tangible for the children of L.A. and help ensure a brighter future for them and for all of us.” Dudamel added, “We commit ourselves as an organization to a better life for our inheritors—[this] amazing facility will ensure that.” In the same statement, Gehry added, “The L.A. Philharmonic is the first orchestra anywhere to take such an enormous step for the future of its community. Thanks to the time I’ve spent with [Dudamel], I’ve seen the difference that YOLA makes in young people’s lives. I’m proud to play my part by making spaces where the kids can feel inspired, and YOLA can open up the whole world of music to them.” Designs for the structure have not yet been released, but it is expected to open by 2022.
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New USC complex cloaks modern construction in Oxford- and Hogwarts-inspired gothic styling

With its recently-completed $1 billion expansion to the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles campus, the architecture firm Harley Ellis Devereaux (HED) has taken a definitive stance in the ongoing debate over resurgent neo-traditionalism in architecture by cloaking a strikingly contemporary complex behind filigree and lace. The 1.25-million-square-foot USC Village is spread across six Collegiate Gothic–style buildings on a site occupying the former University Village, a 1960s-era student-geared retail site that was recently purchased and torn down by the university. The new USC Village houses eight residential colleges, an 8,000-square-foot dining hall, a campus power plant, 130,000-square feet of retail spaces, and 2,500 beds of student housing spread across a six courtyard structures that surround a collection of retail-lined plazas and paseos. Initially, USC planned to have a traditional developer sign a long-term lease for the right to build on the site. The arrangement would have probably yielded, according to Mark Skiles, project architect at HED, a typical stick frame commercial complex designed to last only long enough for the developer to net a profit. Instead, the university opted to develop the property for itself, treating the project not just as a shiny and new student amenity, but as a full-fledged campus expansion. The change in vision resulted in a conceptual shift for the architecture, as well. “These are 100-year buildings,” Skiles explained while touring the site with The Architect's Newspaper (AN). “They are concrete frame construction.” The shift in construction technique—which comes with a slew of particular qualities different from those of stick frame construction—results in significant shifts to the prototypical architectural qualities of the complex. For one, the buildings stand taller and prouder than would normally be the case: concrete construction typically yields floor-to-floor heights of 10 feet, 9 inches that net dorm dwellers roughly an extra foot of overhead space over traditional stick frame construction. This results in taller buildings, overall. The 60-foot-tall blocks cast deep, cooling shadows on the hardscaped spaces between the buildings. Los Angeles–based landscape architecture firm RELM—formerly Melendrez—has successfully planted these areas with fine sycamores that will grow to stately heights in coming years. A central bosque adjacent to the main plaza—which will eventually be populated with benches and umbrellas—serves to cool the main square and aligns with one of the university’s main axes, mirroring the tree allées across the street on the main campus. The construction method is also reflected on the building’s panelized facades which were manufactured offsite and craned into place. The brick veneer-faced panels were fabricated by contractor Hathaway Dinwiddie in reverse order, with a layer of ⅝-inch brick veneer arranged in a mold that was then filled in with cement. The architects designed 80 unique panel types for the project. Protrusions covering the facades—sandstone-colored concrete tracery, window aprons and frames, and swept cornicework—serve to hide the seams between each panel in plain sight. The stylistic treatment—a requirement set by the client, who wanted to instill a sense of “history” on the 137-year-old university—elaborately invented as it may be, is a tour de force in contemporary construction practices. As such, sometimes these efforts are a bit ham-handed, especially along many of the windows, where awkward, cross-shaped concrete muntins stand proud of run-of-the-mill window frame assemblies. This detail of “old” architecture physically draped over modern construction is repeated throughout the complex, to sometimes great effect. The entry sequence at USC Village on Hoover street—the main community and parking entrance—suffers, however, from the blended approach. There, a large, overwrought gothic triumphal arch swallows cars underground, effectively disrupting the sidewalk with its wide ramp. The move is congruous with the university's uneasy community connections, including the need to close off and secure the campus. The omnipresent gates and entry kiosks can lend a hostile nature to the overall scheme. In other places, however, the details shine by deploying a consistent material and tectonic methodology that renders a great deal of relief to each facade and throughout the complex. The sandy-colored arched colonnades lining the courtyard, for example, are supported by the structure’s real concrete columns, not hollow concrete veneer tubes as might be the case in typical revivalist construction. The over-sized arches rest on squat, 18-inch thick Romanesque-style columns that were cast in circular footprints in order to be expressed in an evocative style, simultaneously revealing and obscuring the true scale of the building’s structural system. Behind the concrete panel arches above, furred-out soffits contain prosaic components like lighting and sensors that terminate in expanses of curtain wall. Like other aspects of USC Village, what you see is what’s there—the architects make little effort to hide the contemporary nature of their buildings. The aesthetic treatment for the project is interesting because it combines, in bits and pieces, symbolic elements of its derivative style from primary and secondary sources alike. The mess hall, which features a soaring wooden roof studded with dormer windows, for example, is inspired equally by Christ Church at Oxford University and Hogwarts Castle, according to the architects. The blend is not necessarily notable given the Los Angeles context, where historically-speaking, paper and white-wash pass for architecture more often than not. It is inventive nonetheless because those vernacular proclivities are blended by the designers toward creating a built language that is rooted not simply in image-based reference, but in surface relief and construction detail alike. Here, for example, lateral structure convincingly populates the ceilings of the clear-span space, adding detail and texture despite the chunky candelabra and the building’s overall squat proportions. Successful too are the student lounge courtyards that punctuate each residential college. Decked out in trees and planters, the spaces feel comfortable and useful all at once and provide necessary social and green spaces accessible to dorm rooms. Again, when the trees grow in, these spaces will be beautiful. Overall, the complex works as an exploration of how traditional style can be explored with a contemporary construction vocabulary. Regardless of whether the buildings lend today’s USC an air of much-sought “history,” one thing is for sure: like the original examples of their style, these Collegiate Gothic edifices will be around for a long time.
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Lorcan O’Herlihy breaks ground on 26-unit supportive housing complex in South Los Angeles

Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA) has broken ground on MLK1101 Supportive Housing, a 26-unit affordable housing complex in South Los Angeles. The 19,000-square-foot project—built for nonprofit housing developer Clifford Beers Housing—will bring supportive housing for formerly homeless veterans as well as chronically homeless and low-income households to a neighborhood experiencing widespread developmental pressure.  The project site is located in an area surrounding the University of Southern California campus and Exposition Park, adjacent to the recently-extended Expo Line and close to the currently-under-construction Crenshaw Line. The four-story project is made up entirely of affordable units and is planned around a central courtyard that is lifted above the street level and located atop a covered parking structure. The elevated plaza is accessed from a broad stairway that touches down at the street, between the L-shaped apartment building and a small, two-story storefront structure. Designs for the staircase incorporate amphitheater seating that looks out over Martin Luther King Boulevard. The storefront is located at street level to engage with the sidewalk further and is capped by a faceted green roof that on the second floor, contains a community room. The adjacent apartments are organized around an L-shaped, single-loaded corridor that looks down onto the courtyard below. That walkway steps out at each of the top two floors, creating habitable, shaded areas underneath. The corridor, outdoor but cloaked in shade, is designed to create a cool, intermediary zone between the building exterior and the inside of the units, thereby facilitating passive ventilation. To further this effect, the building’s facades are clad in reflective metal panels made from 100 percent recycled materials. In plan, the units are contained within slightly-canted perimeter walls that kink inwardly along the long exposure of the building’s longest arm. The shorter arm of the L is efficiently laid out as a carved block of joined apartments. The designers included variable hallway geometries to add visual and spatial interest to a structure that otherwise features stacked floors of identical plans containing efficiency, one- and three-bedroom units. The project is due to finish construction in mid-2018. LINK Landscape Architecture served as landscape architect on the project.
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Displacement-inducing South L.A. project approved unanimously by L.A. City Council

A controversial $1.2 billion mixed-use project designed by Los Angeles—based architecture firms P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S and Gensler has won unanimous approval from the Los Angeles City Council, pushing Downtown L.A.’s booming, luxury-driven growth into one of Los Angeles’s most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. According to documentation supplied to the City of Los Angeles, the project aims to generate 1,400 market-rate housing units coupled with office, restaurant, and art gallery programs totaling up to 1,664,000-square feet of floor area. The development features a smattering of canted, glass-clad towers surrounded by a mid-rise layer of articulated apartment blocks with punched openings and projecting and recessed volumes. The project is to be divided up between two adjacent blocks and built in phases, with the so-called “West Block” containing an existing, 12-story, 180,000-square foot office tower with 30,000-square feet of restaurant and retail spaces on the ground floor as well as an 8,000 square foot rooftop terrace and restaurant space. Plans for that site, to be built first, also call for a 20-story, 208-room hotel tower. A shorter, seven-story tall apartment tower containing 100 units and an eight-story, 1,158-stall parking garage with ground floor commercial areas will also occupy the site. The second phase of the project, referred to in documentation submitted to the city as “East Bock,” will host two towers, 32-stories and 35-stories in height, respectively, adding 895 for-sale units with a cluster of three- to seven-story apartment blocks adding a further 428 rental and 14 live-work units. This block will also contain a four-story subterranean parking garage with 1,354 parking stalls. With only a paltry five percent of the overall units to be reserved as affordable housing, the project has been controversial among community and working class housing activists due to the impact it will have on current residents' ability to remain in the area. The project’s size, scale, and location threaten to fracture a largely working class, renter-occupied neighborhood with a relatively low-to-average median income by introducing high-end, transit-oriented development. The developers behind the project have promised to add $15 million to an affordable housing fund as well as providing $3 million for community organizations for job training and youth programs, but activists caution that it will not be enough to stem large-scale displacement. Construction on the project is due to start by the end of 2017 or early 2017, with the completion of the second phase of the project wrapping up in late 2021.
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Can the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital help heal South Los Angeles?

In 2007, Martin Luther King Jr.–Harbor Hospital in South Los Angeles was shut down after failing a federal inspection. The facility opened to the public in 1972 and served Watts and Willowbrook in the wake of Watts Riots. The groundbreaking was in 1968, the year of the assassination of Dr. King, the hospital's namesake. But instead of fostering healing by bringing good medical care to the community, the hospital was plagued by a series of allegations of poor care and patient deaths. The closing, however, left residents without a full-service medical center. At the time the New York Times reported the tangle of racial politics that led to the demise—a kind of political neglect that still is all too familiar today. “It suffered what has often been called the soft bigotry of low expectations, because the Board of Supervisors were aware that the hospital was being nicknamed killer king by people who lived in the neighborhood and they continued to hide the ball,” Joe R. Hicks, vice president of Community Advocates, Inc., a Los Angeles research group, told the Times in 2007. Eight years later, healthcare has returned to the neighborhood. The Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital was officially dedicated in a ceremony led by County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on August 7, just days before the fiftieth anniversary of the Watts Riots. Designed by HMC Architects, the 280,000 square foot, 120-bed facility began operation on July 14. The $210 million community hospital is adjacent to a multi-clinic outpatient center completed in June 2014 and part of a $650 million medical campus. A metal and blue-green glass entrance welcomes patients and visitors. In keeping with studies that show correlations between nature, health, and recovery, the new campus integrates landscape and accesses to natural environments with delighting and a warm color palette. Additionally, over one million dollars in public art projects, funded by the county, are installed throughout the hospital. “We wanted to create a beautiful, efficient hospital that would be as at home in Beverly Hills as in South Los Angeles,” said HMC Architects’ Kirk Rose “Too often economically challenged communities receive poor design, and we wanted to prove with this hospital that aesthetically pleasing, effective design doesn’t have to cost a fortune.”
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Coming Soon to South Los Angeles: Green Alleys Will Promote Walking, Sustainability

Los Angeles’s alleys have a bad reputation. They’re perceived, rightly or wrongly, as dirty, dangerous places; havens for illicit activity. All that might change soon, thanks to a demonstration project planned for South Los Angeles' South Park neighborhood. Called the Avalon Green Alley Network Demonstration, the project aims to transform at least eight segments of alleyway into an inviting pedestrian thoroughfare. The Avalon project is an initiative of Parks for People—Los Angeles, a Trust for Public Land program that has been working toward a citywide green alleys program for four years, since the USC Center for Sustainable Cities released a report on Los Angeles’s alleys' potential as environmental and social resources. The report looked at green alleys programs in other large cities, including Chicago and Seattle, and concluded that LA’s 900 linear miles of alleys might be put to use solving another of the city’s major problems:  a shortage of public space. What does it mean to “green” an alley?  As Laura Ballock and Tori Kjer, both of Parks for People, explained, it’s more than just improving stormwater drainage or providing cafe seating. In South Park, alleys targeted for greening will receive one of two treatments. First-tier alleys will see asphalt pavement replaced with absorptive materials, to reduce stormwater runoff. They’ll also be planted with vegetation and fruit trees and accented with public art. The remaining alleys will be cleaned up and beautified with vines and artwork. One section of alley in the Avalon area will be transformed into a pedestrian mall, with vehicular access prohibited. As important as these physical changes to LA’s alleys may be, they won’t make a real difference unless the city’s residents embrace them.  To that end, Parks for People has already done extensive outreach in South Park.  According to Kjer, residents who hadn’t previously met their neighbors are working together, attending meetings and forming “green teams” to clean their alleys.  On the design side, the demonstration project will include pedestrian-scale elements and other graphic cues to encourage regular use.  “We want it to become something so that you don’t avoid alleys, but go down alleys because they look cool, and maybe are better than the sidewalk,” Ballock said. Parks for People chose South Los Angeles as the site of their green alley demonstration project because of the “possibility for real impact,” Kjer said.  The area, which has been neglected in previous rounds of infrastructure improvements, is notoriously park-poor.  In addition, its proximity to the Los Angeles River means that any reduction in stormwater runoff will aid the local ecology.  “We could’ve chosen alleys in a more affluent part of the city, where there would be less barriers to the project.  But for the Trust for Public Land, the mission is land for the people, Kjer said.  We haven’t even put a shovel in the ground yet, but the work already paying off.  It’s definitely worthwhile.”