Last summer, AN reported on Renzo Piano’s City Center at Bishop Ranch, the architect’s re-invention of the typical shopping center, mixing walkability, culture (including an integrated performance stage), community (including a public “piazza” space”) and commerce. In a new short film about the project, Piano spoke about keeping people outside, creating open and transparent storefronts, making a building that will “practically fly above the ground.”
While California’s High Speed Rail system broke ground last month in California, Elon Musk’s dream of a Hyperloop, a rocket-propelled system that would shuttle passengers (and/or freight) across the state (and perhaps the country) in minutes, not hours, is making surprising progress, with new teams, and visions emerging.
The first-ever Los Angeles Facades + conference, organized by The Architect’s Newspaper and Enclos, held in the shadow of Bunker Hill’s glassy towers, showcased the city’s technical and creative talent while introducing participants to the building envelope field’s latest technologies and trends.
Keynote speaker James Carpenter set a sophisticated tone, showing off richly complex work that explores both the “cinematic” and “volumetric qualities of light.” His World Trade Center 7 base, he pointed out, uses a subtle shift in plane to create an ethereal glow, while another project for Gucci in Tokyo uses prismatic light to recreate the qualities of a Japanese lantern. Other highlights included his louvered Israel Museum and his new exploration of optical aluminum, thin glasses, and computer etched glass.
Jon Jerde, founder and chairman of Venice, CA–based Jerde Partnership, died Monday after a longstanding illness. Jerde, whose firm has designed more than 100 urban places worldwide, was known for reinventing shopping centers as energetic entertainment destinations, bringing Hollywood pizazz and big city walkability to the once staid world of retail design.
Sad news for California architecture. Los Angeles architect Duncan Nicholson, known for ambitious residential work like a multi-use addition to John Lautner’s Sheats Goldstein House, passed away last week after a battle with cancer.
A statement from his firm, Nicholson Architects, is a beautiful tribute to Nicholson’s creativity and his ability to inspire those around him. “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our founding principal, mentor, and friend, Duncan Nicholson, who succumbed to his brief battle with cancer earlier this week (Jan 20). He was a man of simple truths and timeless beauty, two rare things in this world.”
Last week, the courtyard of the University of Southern California (USC) architecture school served as a parking lot for two fascinating pieces of auto/architecture by architects Jennifer Siegal and Mark Mack. Siegal’s piece, Aero, is composed of a small Taylor-Dunn electric truck attached to an unfolding and cantilevered unit load device, wrapped with sail material, that can be used for meetings and even lodging. Mack’s, entitled S/LMP, combines a towing trailer with a DJ booth, a scissor lift, kitchen, and two shrink-wrapped clamshell covers that look like a giant takeout container.
According to a report in Las Vegas Weekly, the Conservation Lands Foundation is pushing to make a project by land artist Michael Heizer, of “Levitated Mass” fame, a national monument. The newly threatened City installation is a still-incomplete collection of giant abstract structures stretching for more than a mile into the Nevada Desert.