Designer Pleads No Contest To Manslaughter In Los Angeles

Tuesday, January 7, 2014
The home, repaired after the fire, sits in the Hollywood Hills (MLS)

The home, repaired after the fire, sits in the Hollywood Hills (MLS)

In a case being watched closely by architects, German designer Gerhard Becker last week pleaded no contest to a charge of involuntary manslaughter for his “disregard for public safety and building codes” in the construction of a Hollywood Hills mansion whose ceiling collapsed in a 2011 fire, killing one fireman.

Continue reading after the jump.

Dissecting Natural Design at the LA Natural History Museum

Monday, March 18, 2013
(Sam Lubell/ AN)

Staggered rocks contain plant life that sprout from their many in between spaces. (Sam Lubell / AN)

On Saturday I moderated one of two AIA/LA-sponsored panels about bio-inspired design at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum. The first panel looked at the general influence of nature on design, from the Mars Rover to the San Diego Zoo, and ours zeroed in on architecture’s envelopes and skins, with insights about breaking away from the static, heavy, and largely-unresponsive architecture of today by architect Tom Wiscombe, Arup engineer Russell Fortmeyer, and evolutionary biologist Shauna Price. Speaking of bio-inspired design, before the panel I got an early look at the new gardens at the Natural History Museum, designed by Mia Lehrer + Associates.

Continue reading after the jump.

Our Man At The AIA/LA Awards

Friday, November 2, 2012

Caffe Bene, Yazdani Studio, one of the Next LA Award winners.

[Editor’s note: Our fearless correspondent Guy Horton shares his thoughts—Gonzo Style—on the AIA/LA Awards Ceremony that took place on the Broad Stage in the Santa Monica Performing Arts Center. And he was surprisingly assured by it all.  Read ahead, if you dare. And enjoy the slideshow of the Design Award winners at the end.]

To those who missed it,

Man you should have been there. It was crazy. Honestly, the most insane Awards I’ve been to in years. Moby was there. You know he’s been doing this LA architecture blog. He called LA urbanism a “shit show.” Can you believe that? Brilliant. That got repeated a lot and I imagine it will become the buzz-word for the 2012 Awards: The Shit Show. In a good way, of course. He looked a little nervous. Saw him before he went on stage to introduce things. Told me the whole architecture economic situation really sucks. I know, I told him. But that’s OK. We get by.

Read More

Eavesdrop> AIA/LA Has Architecture Center Envy

Eavesdroplet, Newsletter, West
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
AN’s annual resource list may be published every year but it is never the same. Painstakingly drawn from extensive interviews by our editors with the architects and builders of the best architecture of 2011, these names are the too-often unacknowledged cornerstones that guarantee the quality and excellence of today’s architecture. We both herald and share them with you.

New York's Center for Architecture: model for LA?

It appears that AIA/LA is serious about opening a new architecture center, a storefront, multi-use space similar to that of the Center for Architecture in New York (above). According to a now expired post on, they’re looking for (and rumored to have already hired) a new fulltime “Campaign Director” for an $8 to 15 million capital campaign to “support the acquisition and renovation of an existing building for the new Center for Architecture and Urban Design Los Angeles,” and “create an endowment to maintain this new property.”

According to the post the center will be “a highly collaborative organization that builds strong relationships with other organizations to carry out its mission.” The center is rumored to contain not just AIA offices and exhibition and event spaces, but perhaps spaces for the A+D Architecture and Design Museum and the Urban Land Institute’s Los Angeles chapter.

Denari Cleans Up At AIA/LA Awards

Friday, October 28, 2011

HL23 (courtesy

Without a doubt the big winner at Wednesday’s AIA/LA Design Awards, held in the shadow of Cesar Pelli’s almost-done Red Building at the Pacific Design Center, was Neil Denari. In an unprecedented display of dominance his firm‘s No Mass House took home Best in Show for unbuilt work (Next LA Awards), his firm’s HL23 Residential Tower in New York took home Best in Show for built work (Design Awards) and then Denari won the AIA/LA Gold Medal. Now that’s a good night. (By the way, we thought Best In Show was reserved for dog shows, but that’s besides the point…) In accepting the medal Denari, who was born in Texas, talked about being inspired not only by the light and sunshine of California, but also by its darkness, a tension that’s palpable in his work. To check out more of the design awards winners check out the AIA/LA’s new app on iTunes. And to check out the new Red Building you’ll have to wait until it’s finished early next year.

More of Denari’s work after the jump.

October is for Architecture in Los Angeles, Too!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Westwood Village (here shown in the early 20th Century) will be the topic of the panel Curse and Vision on October 10.

New York isn’t the only city celebrating Archtober. In Los Angeles, October has officially been “Architecture Month” since Mayor Villaraigosa declared it so back in 2007. The AIA/LA hopes the month-long festivities will help to “educate the public about architecture and architects, celebrate the profession and encourage the dialogue between those interested in the built environment.”

Check out the highlights after the jump.

Yummy! AIA-Los Angeles Serves Up Restaurant Awards

Newsletter, West
Thursday, July 7, 2011

Grace Restaurant in Portland, ME, designed by R. Dean Bingham and Tivi Design

Last week the AIA/LA announced its choices for this year’s most notable food-friendly architecture mavericks with its annual Restaurant Design Awards. Designs ranged from an up-cycled (in this case, stripped down and revamped Lina Bo Bardi style) pizza parlor in Culver City to a Guggenheim Museum centerpiece to a repurposed church in Maine.

Check out the winners after the jump.

Talking Transportation In Los Angeles

Newsletter, West
Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hollywood and Highland Metro Station

Yes, it’s conference time again in LA. The AIA Los Angeles Design Conference, part of Dwell on Design, kicks-off on Friday with an all day symposium, The Architecture of Transportation, which will discuss ideas to help transform L.A.‘s transportation system into an economically and socially viable network. Participants like policy makers, activists, urban designers and architects, will investigate a wide range of transportation-related ideas, like connecting people to their communities, influencing regional prosperity and helping cities compete globally.

Continue reading after the jump.

Back To School Thanks To AIA LA

Dean's List, West
Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In response to the lack of, ahem, any money in architecture these days, AIA/LA has announced a new scholarship to help members pay for the chapter’s ARE (Architect Registration Exam) seminars. The Saturday seminars usually cost $85 each for members, so if someone wants to take all ten, that’s worth $850. Preference goes to unemployed or under-employed architects, and right now there’s no limit to how many will be handed out. The chapter is about to award its first six scholarships today, says Matt Krinsky, AIA/LA’s Director of Programs and Events. By the way, for those struggling young architects hoping to get inspiration, check out the winners of the AIA’s Arch Is competition — Freeland Buck and Marcelo Spina— at LA’s A+D Museum tonight.

Kudos to Young Turks

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Patterns' FYF Residence in Argentina

AIA/LA has just announced the winners of its second annual “Arch Is” competition, open to California designers who have graduated from architecture school in the past five to twelve years. The victors are two of our favorites: FreelandBuck, headed by David Freeland and Brennan Buck, and P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S, led by Georgina Huljich and Marcelo Spina. Both are on the cutting edge of digital fabrication and complex, layered (not to mention curvy) design. See some of their work, below. And stop drooling. And check out a public forum featuring the winners at LA’s A+D Museum on March 24 a 7pm. Read More

Some of Our Faves from the AIA LA Awards

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Eric Owen Moss’s Samitaur Tower, one of our faves

AIA/LA hosted its annual Design Awards last night at LACMA, an event that while not too full of people (that pesky recession) was full of astoundingly good projects. The AIA made us really happy, awarding AN a Presidential Award (Thanks AIA/LA President Paul Danna) for “Architectural Interpreter”. Aw Shucks.. Other notable winners included Firm of the Year Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects and Gold Medal winner Brenda Levin. Since there were a hefty number of Design Award winners, we’ve decided to pick out a few of our favorites. And so without further ado we present the first ever, completely unofficial, AIA/LA Awards Awards! Read More

Young Architects, Start Your Engines

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The AIA/LA, which just hosted its lavish awards ceremony at the Egyptian Theater last night (more on that soon..) on Monday sent out a call for entries for its new ARCH IS___ Competition, set to pick 2 standout young LA architects or firms, who will win a $500 cash prize, give a lecture at the Pacific Design Center, and be featured on the AIA/LA chapter website. Competitors must have graduated from architecture school in the last 5 to 12 years, so sorry Mssrs. Mayne and Gehry. The jury will include UCLA Architecture Dean Hitoshi Abe, LA Times Architecture Critic Christopher Hawthorne, curator Brooke Hodge, and architects Scott Johnson and just-awarded AIA/LA Gold Medalist (and outed newlywed) Michael Rotondi. Registration must be completed by December 8, and 20 page digital portfolios must be submitted to the AIA by January 8.  The winners will be announced on February 16. Good luck young ones! Any more questions? Email Carlo Caccavale at

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