Posts tagged with "West Hollywood":

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L.A. artist designs glitchy facades to revitalize stale housing models

If you are one of the many people concerned that apartments in American cities are all starting to look too much alike, there might be hope for you yet. Los Angeles–based artist and educator Elena Manferdini of Atelier Manferdini is currently working on a collection of glitchy apartment facades that aim to break up the monotony of some of those developments. With her designs, Manferdini is hoping to "re-open a discussion on the role of fantasy in art and architecture" by bringing beguiling geometric patterns and bright colors to at least seven multi-family complexes envisioned by FMB Development and a collection of other local architects, including Archeon Group, Dean Larkin Design, and Open Architects. Los Angeles–based FMB bills itself as a "community-oriented developer of luxury residential real estate," including the types of market-rate apartments that some Los Angeles homeowners might view as obtrusive in their neighborhoods. That's where Manferdini steps in by designing structures with interlocking blocks of patterned surfaces and expanses of varying opacity that work to simultaneously highlight and break down each of the proposed buildings. Manferdini explained that the designs are driven by the idea that, "facades are important for the city at large because they are inevitably the background of our public imagination." Manferdini added, "Facades negotiate how the privacy of human interactions come to terms with a surrounding cultural context." In L.A.'s densely-packed, low-slung urban neighborhoods, where privacy comes at a premium, sites are strictly limited in terms of height and allowable bulk, decorative elements help play a role in bridging the visual gap between existing housing stock and the types of multi-unit complexes needed to address the region's housing crisis. Manferdini's work for FMB builds on a series of exhibitions she crafted as part of her artistic practice, including the Graham Foundation–supported Building the Picture, a collection of drawing-photograph hybrid images that were exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015. For the exhibition, Manferdini created a series of fictional patterned facades partially inspired by some of the Chicago-based work of Mies van der Rohe. The layered, abstracted images proposed methods for obfuscating the underlying scale and window patterning of the hypothetical apartment structures by combining oblique and projected patterns on a collection of planar and faceted building forms. Manferdini explained further, saying, "The work insinuates that surfaces now have an unprecedented ability to be embedded simultaneously with optical affect and cultural associations," a concept that is ideally suited for testing in the real world through its application on the apartment buildings in question, according to the artist.

At 1017 Sierra Bonita, for example, Manferdini uses blue, white, and black Trespa panels, custom fritted glass, and gray stucco to lend a three-story apartment block atmospheric qualities. Hanging plants and balconies filled with hedges and landscape design by Green Republic Landscapes further dematerialize the five-unit building.

The Trespa panels make another appearance in red, blue, and black at 1408 Poinsettia, where Manferdini has arranged ascending striped patterns with vertical building elements that camouflage each of the three-bedroom small-lot subdivision homes. At 1139 N. Detroit, Manferdini pursues a more subdued approach by using custom-designed mosaic tiles and painted stucco. In each of the projects, Manferdini works to play off of the architectural elements using unconventional patterning and color choices, perhaps a welcome approach for Hardie-panel weary observers. The designs are due to come online soon: Many of the projects are currently undergoing planning review, and 1408 Poinsettia is currently under construction.
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A “brutalist” apartment building is on the way in West Hollywood

Love it or hate it, Brutalism is definitely back. For proof, look no further than Los Angeles, where local architect Marcello Pozzi is working on designs for an upscale “brutalist” courtyard apartment building that is wrapped in rough concrete finishes. Urbanize.LA reported that the project, a five-story, 10-unit complex located at 8615 West Knoll Drive, was recently submitted to the City of West Hollywood Design Review Subcommittee for approval. The development includes a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, including a pair of double-height ground floor apartments that each contain a mezzanine bedroom level. Although brut in its outer finishes, the complex will be nothing like your grandparents’ Brutalist housing schemes. Instead of dank, cold apartments, the complex is designed to embrace the Southern California sunshine and features warm wood finishes and lots of glass. Generous 11-foot floor-to-floor heights throughout the building will complement thin floor plates and pass-through apartment layouts to provide well-lit and open living spaces, according to a project statement. The development will also be marked by wide but shallow balconies along its principal facade. These exaggerated Juliet-style balconies aim to enhance the indoor-outdoor qualities of the main living spaces for each unit. A 17-foot-tall passageway along the ground floor will link to a 19-foot-by-31-foot planted courtyard designed by landscape architects Viriditas Design, as well. Architect Gwynne Pugh, who sits on the review subcommittee, issued a report for the building’s design, highlighting the “brutalist” elements and the development’s thoughtful site and apartment design. In the report, Pugh writes, “This has been put together very thoughtfully and elegantly. The simple forms [act] as a backdrop to the visceral experience of the environment.” Pugh also praised the ground floor landscaping for its “park-like” qualities while also highlighting that the design represents a “highly sophisticated project that has been thought through thoroughly.” Pugh added, “It is a relatively quiet building in its visual aspect but highly detailed in its simplicity. This is an appropriate project to be considered as exemplary.” A timeline for the development has not been revealed. Design and planning reviews for the project are currently pending.
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Sunset Strip Hustler store to make way for Gwyneth Paltrow–backed Arts Club

The London-based Arts Club’s new Gensler-designed California outpost has won planning approval from the City of West Hollywood. The 132,000-square-foot mixed-use complex is partially backed by wellness impresario Gwyneth Paltrow and represents the latest members-only club establishment to take root in Southern California. The new arts-focused clubhouse will be located on the Sunset Strip on the site of the original Hustler store, one of the former mainstays of the district. The proposed building is set to contain restaurants and a public art gallery on the ground floor, with private offices located on two of the floors above. The Arts Club facilities will be located on the uppermost floors and will contain private dining spaces, a movie screening room, up to 15 hotel rooms, and a rooftop pool. Renderings for the complex depict a dramatic structure that slopes into the site from the street edge, creating a semi-pyramidal building. The wedge-shaped complex is shown wrapped in vertical louvers with floor-to-ceiling glass-walled exposures located beyond the shading elements. A dining terrace on the third floor along the back of the building is set into the mass of the complex while a dual-level roof terrace steps back at the top floor to reveal a pool deck studded with cabanas. The Arts Club was originally founded in London in 1863 by cultural figures including Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, and Frederic Leighton. The private, members-only club also boasts a location in Aspen, Colorado. In recent years, a spate of members-only arts-focused clubs has spread across Los Angeles, with the Neuehouse opening at the nearby Columbia Square development in 2016 and a new outpost of SoHo House slated to open in L.A.’s Arts District in coming years. The Arts Club is headed toward construction with an anticipated 2020 completion date.
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Neil M. Denari Architects releases revised renderings for West Hollywood hotel

Neil M. Denari Architects (NMDA) has unveiled new renderings for its 1040 La Brea hotel project in West Hollywood, California. The latest images come as the project team attempts to move through the design review process and were made in response to design critiques leveled at a previous review session.  The fundamentals of the project remain the same. The 110-foot-tall building will contain 90 hotel units and eight apartments, with a collection of retail spaces and a new porte cochere occupying the ground floor along an alleyway. The nine-story “L”-shaped block features softly-curved geometries, including along its faceted corners and set-back faces. The structure’s four-story podium is topped by an amenity deck that is overlooked by the hotel rooms and apartments.  Design changes include condensing and moving automobile access for the project away from busy La Brea and into the alley in order to improve the pedestrian experience along the street. The building has also changed color. The previous project was wrapped in nearly-black metal panels; These elements have been lightened in the new renderings. The mass of the building has also changed, with the latest version showing a series of inset loggia spaces overlooking the alley. Wehoville reports that Gwynne Pugh, a contract design consultant for the city of West Hollywood and principal at Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio, gave the revised proposal high marks in a report he presented in review of the project. Pugh’s report reads: “This is a very elegant and sophisticated building well-thought-out. The issues of previous concern have largely been addressed.” The project is up for review once again on Thursday evening. A timeline for the construction of the project has not been announced. 
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Sinuous, twisting hotel tower coming to L.A.’s Sunset Strip

According to recently-submitted documentation, a sinuous hotel tower designed by Culver City–based R&A Design slated for the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, California is one step closer to coming to fruition. Developer Charles Company recently submitted the project—located at 9034 Sunset Boulevard—for approval by the City of West Hollywood. If built as planned, the 19-story tower-and-podium complex will include 185 hotel rooms, 17,000 square feet of hotel-related banquet and event spaces, 5,700-square feet of retail space, a 7,500-square-foot restaurant, and a 915-square-foot art gallery. The project also calls for 550 parking stalls to be located in a four-story underground parking garage. The project would also include 14 apartment units and a helipad on its roof, Wehoville reports. The so-called Sunset Tower project is set back from the street and is located on a 1.3-acre T-shaped lot. The tower portion of the project features curved and rotating floor plates that project beyond the building envelope to create outdoor spaces as the floors rise and shift in position. Renderings for the project also depict the tower’s upper levels with much taller floor-to-floor heights, indicating that those levels will likely contain public spaces. The project’s retail and restaurant uses will be organized within a three-story podium structure that will meet the sidewalk. The podium structure is depicting as having a rooftop pool and other amenity spaces. The hotel tower complex comes as the West Hollywood area continues to add sizable numbers of new hotel complexes on and around Sunset Boulevard. Neil M. Denari Architects recently proposed a 91-unit hotel for a nearby site that features black metal panel cladding. A hugely controversial hotel tower project by Gehry Partners is slated for 8150 Sunset Boulevard and has been held up with lawsuits and community outcry for its height as well as the developer’s plans to tear down an iconic mid-century modern bank that currently occupies the site. A timeline for approval of the Sunset Tower project has not been announced.
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Renderings revealed for LOHA’s faceted 30-unit condominium complex in West Hollywood

Architects Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA) and owner National Construction have released renderings for a new 30-unit condominium complex in West Hollywood that features cantilevered corners, faceted facades, and perforated metal panel and wood cladding. The four-story complex at 1030 N. Kings Road is located in the same neighborhood as the firm’s much-heralded Habitat 825 complex. 1030 N. Kings Road is designed to break down in scale as it rises and features a series of geometric cut-outs along its facades. The cut-outs establish viewsheds for individual units while also allowing for natural daylight to flood into the building’s common areas, which include a shared gym and communal seating spaces. The cut-outs also contain screened outdoor balconies and terraces accessible to building units. The development’s two large amenity spaces are located along the building’s most prominent facades, which are wrapped in the various cladding types. Renderings for the project depict a faceted housing block with large windows, a double-height entry lobby, and well-lit corridors. The 41,500-square-foot project comes as LOHA expands its footprint in the L.A’s bustling multifamily housing sector. The firm recently completed work on a starburst-shaped apartment complex in Los Angeles. In addition to moving forward on the 1030 N. Kings Road project, Lorcan O'Herlihy will also be presenting at AN's Facades+ conference in Los Angeles this October. See the Facades+ website for more information. The project is currently under construction and is expected to be completed in mid- to late-2018.
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Neil Denari designs nine-story West Hollywood hotel development

Neil M. Denari Architects (NMDA) has unveiled renderings for a new mixed-use hotel and apartment complex in West Hollywood, California that features filleted corners, tapered walls, and wedge-shaped windows. The midrise block would bring a 91-key hotel as well as eight apartments to a corner site along the city’s La Brea Avenue corridor. The somewhat sleepy quadrant of the city that has seen renewed investment interest in recent years, especially from the hotel industry, Wehoville reports. NMDA’s proposal rises nine stories and is arranged with its tallest levels hugging the street. The hotel’s double-loaded corridor configuration is supplemented along lower levels by the building’s parking podium, which wraps around the hotel program, taking up the entirety of the site. The four-level podium is topped by an amenity deck that contains a swimming pool and lounge, among other uses.   The building also features ground floor retail spaces that are set back from the sidewalk and exist below overhanging building elements. The structure is supported by large piers along the street that carve up storefront spaces and demarcate the building’s lobby areas. The tower’s facade is studded with gridded, floor-to-ceiling window assemblies that are interrupted by alternating vertical window bands. The exterior of the structure is clad in what appear to be black metal panels. NMDA’s proposal would take over an existing car garage and would help to spread development southward from the city’s bustling Sunset Boulevard, where Gehry Associates is attempting to build its controversial 8150 Sunset project. Gehry’s project has drawn community ire for being perceived as too tall for the area and for not having enough parking. Initial reaction to NMDA’s hotel has been more muted, however, with Gwynne Pugh, principal of Urban Studio—West Hollywood’s urban design consultant—giving the project positive marks, saying, “this building will act as a significant marker and gateway into the city of West Hollywood. In addition, the choice of color, a dark grey, really creates an eye-catching and slightly foreboding vision.” A timeline for the project has not been announced.
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11-unit apartment complex coming to West Hollywood

The West Hollywood Planning Commission (WHPC) has approved a small-scale, 11-unit apartment building designed by Culver City-based R&A Architecture+Design. The project is designed as an intimate courtyard apartment complex, with a series of two- and three-bedroom units organized around a central, shared open space. The dispersed masses of the complex are clad in a variety of surface materials, including corrugated sheets of aluminum, vertically-oriented wood siding, and expanses of glass. The more solid sections of the building are studded with punched openings that signal windows, doorways, and passageways into the courtyard in a manner that corresponds to the surrounding low-level density of the neighborhood. Units in the project average 1,585-square feet in size, according to a press release, and are connected to various types of outdoor spaces, including rooftop gardens and balconies. The project is designed to facilitate natural cross-ventilation via the courtyard, exterior staircases, and unit doors that are clad in louvers and screens. The units are also designed with concrete floors throughout that will act as thermal massing for each home. Christian Robert, principal at R&A explained the contextual massing of the project in a press release, saying, “(the) segmented massing respects the scale of nearby homes. As architects, we thoughtfully pay attention to the context and work to maintain the community spirit.” The intense contextual focus of the project is no mistake on the part of the designers, as the project comes on the heels of several controversial developments in the city, like the Gehry Associates-designed 8150 Sunset project. Recent, density-oriented projects have rankled locals in the densifying municipality and across the Los Angeles region. Los Angeles voters recently defeated a controversial and anti-development measure that sought to curb new housing production in the city, but a weariness toward dense development has taken root nonetheless. Construction on the R&A Design project is scheduled to begin spring 2018.  
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Hodgetts+Fung redesign project to save gay culture landmark in West Hollywood

A recently-revamped proposal for new retail and hotel project in West Hollywood by Los Angeles-based architects Hodgetts+Fung and West Hollywood-based developer Faring Capital has taken a turn toward preservation. The proposal originally intended to demolish a historic gay culture monument occupying the site of the Robertson Lane project, replacing the structure with a pedestrian-oriented, 250-room hotel and retail complex. That monument, known as “The Factory,” is a formerly-industrial brick structure built in 1929 to house manufacturing facilities for the Mitchell Camera Corporation. After the camera film manufacturer relocated their operations in the 1946, it underwent a series of transformations, eventually being converted in 1974 into a gay nightclub called Studio One. The discotheque become a safe space for the gay community during an era which inclusive, open environments were scarce. It also was seen as a beacon for rising consciousness, when it hosted the country’s first major AIDS research fundraiser in 1984. The Factory was listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's “11 Most Endangered Historic Places” list in 2015 alongside New York City’s South Street Seaport and the Grand Canyon. The designation, a powerful tool for moving public opinion toward preservation, no doubt helped the developer’s position toward the structure evolve to incorporate reuse. Hodgetts+Fung’s revised plans involve moving and rotating the structure 90 degrees so that it’s longest facade is aligned with the streetfront. Under this arrangement, The Factory will become the entry point for a paseo bisecting the site, instead of being demolished by it. A timeline for the project has not been released.
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Zaha Hadid, Gensler, and more, vying in Sunset Strip billboard competition

The Sunset Strip, a 1.5 mile stretch of West Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard, has established a reputation for eye-catching billboards. Attempting to magnify this, city authorities issued a formal Request for Proposals (RFP) for "The Sunset Strip Spectacular Pilot Creative Off-Site Advertising Sign" on 8775 Sunset Boulevard. Subsequently, a select number of teams were solicited to "design a technologically advanced, engaging, one-of-a-kind, billboard structure... The Sunset Strip Spectacular should inspire a 21st century vision with contemporary digital and interactive technologies, media and multi-dimensional graphic design." From this, nine applications were submitted and four were selected for further deliberation: JCDecaux and Zaha Hadid Project Management Ltd.; Orange Barrel Media/Tom Wiscombe Architecture/MoCA; Outfront Media/Gensler/MAK Center; and Tait Towers Inc. The proposals feature a range of ideas from kinetic design to viewer engagement through social media platforms and strategy for an adjacent multi-use public square. In Hadid's design, titled The Prism, the billboard becomes a civic gateway operating as a an "innovative, captivating hybrid environment." The sculptural brushed aluminum form, in classic Hadid style, twists elegantly as it rises into the air. Nearby, a public plaza uses shaded seating, drought-tolerant landscaping, and various lighting techniques to create a tranquil environment. Gensler, working alongside Outfront Media, have put forward an "unfolding sunset." Its series of moveable panels create an illusory experience that blends adverts with art, performance, and social media, coalescing into a single image as viewers travel toward and past the billboard. Tom Wiscombe, on the other hand, aims to reinterpret the classical billboard of old. "Our design is a vertically-oriented, three-dimensional media monolith, in contrast to the ubiquitous flat, horizontal billboards of the strip," the design team said in their proposal. Using LED technology, high-resolution systems, and an array of lighting devices, social media content will be displayed while the billboard promotes events and shows art curated by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA). Interestingly, only one quarter of the billboard's surface area will be used to display commercial content. Finally, the most unique design is the aptly named Spectacular by TAIT. It features a rotating billboard that's meant to mimic the bow-ties worn at the Sunset Strip's infamous black-tie clubs of the 1930 and '40s. The billboard is set to display both static and animated content using multimedia commercials.
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Gwyneth Paltrow hires Gensler to design private Hollywood club to rival SohoHouse

Golden Globe–winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow has unveiled plans for a private club in West Hollywood with a design by California-based Gensler. "The Arts Club," as it will be known, is touted to cost $3,000 a year, and will occupy a 132,000-square-foot plot. The club includes a wellness center, night club, selection of restaurants, creative office space, gallery, cinema, and 15 guest rooms. A multi-story underground parking garage will also be located on Hilldale Avenue. The club hopes to emulate the successes of the SohoHouse private club that originated in London in 1995. SohoHouse has since expanded to New York, Chicago, and West Hollywood. According to Curbed LA, the club will take the place of the former Hustler building on the Sunset Strip. That structure, owned by Larry Flynt, had occupied the space for 18 years. The adult magazine will move its offices to Hollywood Boulevard. In a marked transition, Paltrow has reportedly deemed the club a no swearing zone.

As for Gensler's design, the nine-story building uses a vertical aluminum fin system that pivots upon axial fittings attached to the building's facade. Besides the aforementioned amenities, the rooftop terrace will be the building's main attraction, offering a luxury pool with a view over L.A.

Paltrow's dream isn't quite ready for construction yet, however, as the proposal still awaits permission for various aspects of design, notably the structure's height.
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On View> Mapping the Information Age: Microchips become high art at the Pacific Design Center

If the adage is true that “God is in the details,” then the current exhibition at Christopher W. Mount Gallery in West Hollywood might grant the venue some status as a holy site. On view through January 20, 2016,  in the second floor space of the Pacific Design Center’s “Blue Whale” and entitled Mapping the Information Age, the exhibition is comprised of a collection of thirteen large, intricately detailed and color-coded microchip circuitry diagrams, framed and accompanied by a projected slideshow of historic imagery from the companies that produced many of the prints, such as Intel Corporation, Synaptics, Inc., and Hewlett-Packard, among others. “The complexity is appealing,” said gallery director Christopher Mount, as he discussed the strong impression conveyed through the diagrams. “There’s rigor here, even if we don’t understand it.” The diagrams, upwards of four to six feet wide, were used by microchip engineers and designers if something went wrong in the development process. “If you were designing a chip and it just wasn’t working, you’d bring these out,” said Mount. “Somebody would make sure that the memory was connected in the right way. You would spend days with them.” Mount, who has curated exhibitions at MOCA and LACMA, and held directorial positions at the Pasadena Museum of California Art and Parsons, first became interested in the prints while working on an exhibition at MoMA in 1990 that was organized by Cara McCarty, titled Information Art: Diagramming Microchips. The prints currently on view at Mount’s gallery were culled from that show. The collection engages with a discussion about the status of the drawing in contemporary design practices. The idea that such visually substantial prints, which are well suited to the gallery context, are the outcome of technological troubleshooting or routine “debugging” processes on the part of the microchip makers, raises questions about the expectations that we generally have of drawings. Designers and architects often use drawings to present idyllic possibilities, usually before the constraints of reality have come to bear on the design. The visually intricate microchip diagrams, however, are themselves the outcome of an error, a means to visualize and correct a problem. “These were not intended as art,” Mount noted. “But as functional design drawings.” For Mount, the question of authorship is another complicating factor: “People walk in here all the time and say, 'So, who’s the artist?' And I have to explain: 'Well, it’s Hewlett-Packard, or it’s Intel, or it’s Rockwell Technologies.'” The visual abstractions captured in the diagrams suggest a number of interesting and alternative readings. Mount recalled that some visitors see patterns for textiles, others see architectural plans. “They look like cityscapes, or any kind of urban complex.” he said. “They have the spirit of Corbusier.” In the precisely ordered, nanoscale grid of the plans, the viewer can read systems and interactions at a scale that is more relatable to everyday life; imagining some processor components as parking garages, others as apartments, and the green spaces in-between as parks. “The colors are all particular to the companies,” he explained, but are generally used to convey the visual depth and order of how the components would be stacked. “The lightest colors go deeper, the darker colors are higher up on the chip.” The diagrams might also reveal a sense of collective anxiety about how little we actually understand about computational processes. As smart devices occupy more of our time and attention, how important are the inner workings that these “black boxes” obscure? “We all use a computer every day, but you forget that this is the thing inside,” Mount said of the processor components. “People forget that in 1990 these were brand new.” Because desktop computers and microchip processors were less common twenty-five years ago, there tended to be a greater appreciation for the efforts and outcomes in the development of computer hardware.“Now, I think everybody comes in and recognizes them as microprocessors.” The computational complexity seems to be taken for granted, which means viewers are more interested in the formal qualities of the diagrams. Perhaps the shift from technological wizardry to mundane ubiquity is the neglected aspect of the information age that demands a more detailed mapping. As such, the diagrams on display might also reveal something about how we relate to designed objects more broadly. “I think everyday things aren’t appreciated,” said Mount of the objects that we often take for granted. “I’ve always been a real advocate for design.I like the fact that it’s available to everyone. I like the idea of a calculator that’s wonderful to look at and makes you happy, and can sit on your desk for twenty-five dollars.”