Opening August 20, Shelter: Rethinking How We Live in Los Angeles, the inaugural exhibition at the A+D Museum's new Arts District space presents works by architects and designers that challenge and improve upon L.A. housing typologies. The single-family house has long been the touchstone for experimental architecture in Los Angeles, from the Case Study Houses to Gehry’s own home in Santa Monica, replete with (now-removed) domesticated chain-link fencing. But as the cost of real estate puts pressure on residential architecture, new solutions for single- and multi-family housing are desperately needed. Curators Sam Lubell and Danielle Rago invited local practices to develop proposals for the Wilshire Corridor and along the Los Angeles River, these include Bureau Spectacular, LA Más, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, MAD Architects, PAR, and wHY Architecture. (Editor's Note: Both Lubell and Rago are regular contributors to AN, and Lubell is AN's former West Coast editor.) Works by Kevin Daly Architects, Michael Maltzan Architects, Bestor Architecture, OMA, R&A, and Koning Eizenberg, will also be on view. AN spoke with the curators. The title is Shelter, the absolute basis for architecture, but what does it mean to “rethink how we live” and why is this reassessment so pressing right now? Sam Lubell: LA is going through monumental changes, re-embracing density, transit, and the public realm while facing unprecedented challenges around affordability, the environment, and congestion. But while the city has always been a center for residential innovation, most residential architecture here today does not properly respond to the changes taking place. We're hoping to help spur a dialogue about reshaping our housing and our lifestyles to today's realities. It’s a great line up of practices in the show. What were your criteria for selecting participants? Danielle Rago: The show features [six new proposals] by Los Angeles design practices—each occupies a different position in the field of architecture. Yet, we believe all approach residential design in interesting and innovative ways. SL: We also wanted a mix of emerging and established firms, and practice-oriented and research-oriented firms. We think it's a great mix, full of energy, creativity, and some surprise. How did the designers address some of Los Angeles’ hot button topics: density, affordability, accessibility, and sustainability? SL: The designers have done an excellent job addressing several of these issues. wHY, for instance, tackled both density and affordability by proposing new configurations of development in underused, residual public spaces along Wilshire Boulevard. LOHA tackled environmental issues by creating homes that utilize the aquifers near the L.A. River to capture and store water. And MAD has created a new type of outdoor living within a dense cluster of interconnected, extensively landscaped towers. DR: The invited teams all investigated one if not more of these pressing issues currently affecting Angelenos. LA Más' design addressed density and affordability by reconsidering the granny flat as a new model for low-rise high-density development in Elysian Valley along the L.A. River. PAR responded to increasing density and new transit offerings on the Wilshire Corridor with their proposal for a courtyard housing tower, where each unit maintains a visual connection to nature. And Bureau Spectacular investigated environmental challenges through the study and re-application of vernacular domestic architecture in L.A.
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The Chicago Park District starts work today on a new project by Yoko Ono. Her first permanent public art installation in the Americas will be a meditation on world peace, harmony with nature, and Japanese-American relations dubbed SKY LANDING, which is slated for a parcel of Jackson Park once home to the historic Phoenix Pavilion. Instead of a groundbreaking, construction began Friday with a “ground healing” ceremony on Wooded Island. Ono's installation, set to open in June 2016, will include a sculpture and landscape design meant to evoke a sense of harmony with nature. The details of the project are still largely undefined. “I recall being immediately connected to the powerful site and feeling the tension between the sky and the ground,” Ono said in a press statement. “I wanted the Sky to land here, to cool it, and make it well again.” Following the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the Japan Construction Company shipped several prefabricated, traditional Japanese structures to Chicago's South Side, establishing the Ho-o-den (Phoenix Pavilion). It remained on Wooded Island until fire destroyed the Phoenix Pavilion in 1946. Now home to Osaka Garden, the site is part of a public-private overhaul of Jackson and Washington Parks under the nonprofit banner Project 120 Chicago. Led by the Chicago Park District and businesspeople including Robert Karr, Jr., a lawyer and the executive vice president of the Japan America Society of Chicago, Project 120 Chicago was convened to “revitalize” Frederick Law Olmsted's South Side parks, which have suffered from years of deferred maintenance. In 2012 the group's efforts began with an initiative to plant hundreds of cherry blossom trees. They then hired architect Kulapat Yantrasast and his firm wHY to look into building a new Phoenix Pavilion. Preservation landscape architect and planner Patricia O’Donnell and her firm Heritage Landscapes were hired to lead larger preservation efforts in the parks.
For weeks we've been hearing murmurs about the hottest RFQ in California: the UC Santa Cruz Insitute of Arts and Sciences, a hilltop museum, research center, and innovation hub on one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. Finally the shortlist has been announced, and it features a group of very heavy hitters from around the country. The shortlist includes Steven Holl with TANNERHECHT; Tod Williams Billie Tsien with TEF; wHY design, Allied Works Architecture, Aidlin Darling Design, Jensen Architects with Ann Hamilton; and Fong & Chan with Patkau Architects. The list was culled from a group of 39 companies, and will be further slimmed to three by April. "We were delighted in the quality and the range of firms," explained the Institute's director, John Weber, who noted that the school was looking for design teams of varying scales and sensibilities. "We want to find the right partner to push us on how the building can respond to the mission of the Institute," Weber said. "The desire to have something like this has been around for a very long time, but it came into focus in the last couple of years," said Weber. The Institute's museum will contain interactive exhibits on topics ranging from climate change to cancer research, and the facility as a whole, measuring 27,000-31,000 square feet, will contain research and teaching facilities, seminar and conference spaces, study areas, a cafe, and more. "The vision is to engage the issues of our time through the arts, sciences, humanities and technology based on research here at UC Santa Cruz and bringing in material that complements and pushes what’s going on here," said Weber. The site, he added, is "really spectacular," wedged between a forest of Redwoods and Ancient Oaks above and a grand meadow overlooking the Pacific below. There will be a public presentation of the final three teams' schemes on April 3 at UCSC. The $32-40 million project's completion date will depend on ongoing fundraising, added Weber.
What's in a name? It seems that every time we get used to an architect's name they go ahead and change it. We're still confused by the name Ennead Architects (formerly Polshek Partnership), and we can't get our heads around monikers like Rogers Stirk Harbour (formerly Richard Rogers Partnership) and Populous (formerly HOK Sport). Not to mention the headaches when firms like AECOM swallow the likes of Ellerbe Becket and EDAW. The latest on the new name train are some of LA's brightest firms. Daly Genik Architects is now Kevin Daly Architects. And wHY Architecture is now why design. The former came as a result of shuffled leadership—partners Kevin Daly and Chris Genik parted ways amicably. The latter is a branding change to broaden the firm's scope beyond architecture. Both have completely new web sites. And both, no doubt, will puzzle us all until we finally come to terms with the inevitability of change.
Culver City firm wHY Architecture has been selected to design a new art museum in Los Angeles for Maurice and Paul Marciano, the founders of clothing empire Guess? Inc. The museum will be located inside a marble-clad, four story Scottish Rite Masonic Temple on Wilshire Boulevard near Lucerne Boulevard. When retrofitted in 2015, the austere building, originally designed by legendary artist Millard Sheets, will contain 90,000 square feet of exhibition space, showing off the Marciano's impressive collection, which will be open for "periodic exhibitions for the public." wHY has also designed L&M Arts and Perry Rubenstein Gallery in LA, an expansion of the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, and the Tyler Museum of Art in Texas. They're also working on a Studio Art Hall at Pomona College outside of LA.
The University of California Davis is becoming a cultural force. The school already has three art museums (and arts alums include artist Bruce Nauman and sculptor Deborah Butterfield), and is getting ready to add another, just releasing the shortlist for its new Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. The list is impressive, including the following design/build teams: wHYArchitecture and Gensler with BNBT Builders; HGA and DPR; Allied Works with Hathaway Dinwiddie; Westlake, Kitchell, WORK; Gould Evans, Henning Larsen, Oliver; Olson Kundig, Olveraa; and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, SO-IL, Whiting Turner. The list was culled from an initial list of 19. The 40,000 square foot museum, located on a 1.6 acre site that is part of a long-range master plan for the university’s new south entrance, is slated for completion in 2015,
We learned in October that LA's Academy of Motion Picture Sciences would be building its new museum inside the former May Company building on Miracle Mile, right next to LACMA. Now we hear that the project may soon be getting an architect. Our rumor mill has produced three shortlisted names: Morphosis, wHY Architecture, and spf:A. The last on the list, spf:A, had developed LACMA's plan for the building back when it was still going to contain the museum's art galleries. So is this a chance for them to salvage that job? Meanwhile Morphosis gets a chance to try again on a major LA museum after losing the Broad Museum commission once the project moved from Beverly Hills to downtown. We’re sure wHY has a shot at some kind of redemption as well, we just don’t know what it is.
Louisville's Speed Art Museum has unveiled plans for a new addition designed by Culver City, CA-based wHY Architecture with Reed Hilderbrand landscape architects. Located on the campus of the University of Louisville, the museum hopes to increase connections with the city and the university along with increasing gallery and educational space. The scope of wHY's work includes 200,000 square feet of new and renovated space in three phases valued at $79 million. The first phase including the new north structure will begin construction this year. A fly-through (after the jump) offers a peak at the design, which calls for a simple monumental form next to the 1920s-era Beaux-Arts main building that cantilevers over a stand of trees forming an outdoor room and cafe on the campus facing side. A large garage-like door opens out to the garden. The street facing side features an outdoor amphitheatre-like seating set in the ground and a large reflecting pool. A cantilever staircase will be visible through the street facing facade. While the designers said they were seeking to practice "architectural acupuncture" on the site, it appears that earlier additions will be cleared away entirely. The contrast between the original neoclassical building, which is largely windowless, and the highly transparent new wing is fairly stark, though the integration of landscape elements and water features makes the building seem rooted in the campus site.
Much has been made of New York's architectural Sukkahs, unveiled in Union Square a couple of weeks ago as part of Joshua Foer's Sukkah City competition. But LA is celebrating the Jewish harvest holiday in style as well. Earlier today the Skirball Cultural Center hosted a Sukkot Family Celebration exhibiting a structure created by Culver City-based wHY Architecture, with consulting from Skirball staff. Sukkahs, for those of you wondering, are built to celebrate the fall harvest and to recall the temporary dwellings the Israelites lived in during their Exodus in the desert. The sukkah at Skirball was conceived and finished just in time for this year’s seven-day celebration, which started on September 23 and will conclude on the 29th. wHY first got involved with Skirball when brainstorming ideas for its entry in the Sukkah City contest (a piece called A Human Sukkah). After that, Skirball commissioned the firm to build a sukkah made of repurposed materials. Fourteen pieces of 2x4 lumber were cut into five different lengths. Strips of woven fabric from Skirball’s past exhibition street banners were wrapped around the lumber, which created an 8-f00t-tall, 10 f00t-wide wooden frame. Palm fronds act as a roof, and fescue grass function as flooring. When asked why the firm decided to take up Skirball’s project, Thai-born architect Kulapat Yantrasast said he was interested in building a “shelter anyone can use.” The sukkah “is also about the universal ideas of transience and permanence as expressed in architecture,” he said. In two days, wHY built a sukkah that Skirball will reuse year after year. Once the holiday is over, hinges will be placed on the structure so that it can be collapsed and stored away for next year’s festivities.
The new L+M Arts gallery in Venice, designed by wHY Architecture, is set to open with a hip gala on September 25 (We will be featuring it more in the coming weeks). The project is a beautiful renovation of a WPA-era power station, with a lofty new, diamond-shaped brick addition adjacent, attached via a minimal bar that contains the gallery's offices. We really recommend you take a look. Oh, and while you're there, you may want to see something that will either make you gleeful or nauseous. Giant, moving animatronic sculptures of George Bush having sex with pigs, by artist Paul McCarthy. There’s really not much more we want to say about this, except to say that these sculptures perform very efficiently. They will haunt our nightmares. Did we say the gallery looks really nice? Here are some more pix to cleanse your mind:
On Friday, the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky announced the selection of Watertown, MA-based Reed Hilderbrand as the landscape architect for its planned renovation and expansion, led by LA-based wHY Architecture. The encyclopedic museum sits on the campus of the University of Louisville, and across from a park designed by the Olmsted firm. The museum has put a special emphasis the landscape strategy of the project, which they hope will help open up the museum to the campus and the community at large. The museum expects to release designs in Spring 2010. Known for their intensive site analysis and subtle design approach, Reed Hilderbrand is working on a number of significant institutional projects for clients such as the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA, Bennington College in Bennington, VT, the Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati, OH, and the Tyler Museum of Art in Tyler, TX.