San Francisco’s huge 5M Development releases Environmental Impact Report

Architecture, Urbanism, West
Thursday, October 23, 2014
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Historic photo of Chronicle Building at Fifth and Mission (Forest City)

Historic photo of Chronicle Building at Fifth and Mission (Forest City)

Forest City has announced that it is moving forward with a plan to build a residential and office complex on four acres around the San Francisco Chronicle building, a 1924 structure located on the corner of 5th and Mission streets in the South of Market (Soma) neighborhood. The developer published the Environmental Impact Report (PDF) for the plan, known as “5M,” last Wednesday and presented it at a public hearing of the city’s Planning Commission this week. The design team for the project includes architect Kohn Pederson Fox, urban designer SiteLab, and historic resources consultant Architectural Resources Group.  Read More

Rios Clementi Hale’s IAC lattice tilts the traditional green roof on its side in West Hollywood

Rios Clementi Hale's Green Grid for IAC (RCH)

Rios Clementi Hale’s Green Grid for IAC (RCH)

What’s a cross between a green roof and a living wall? IAC, the company that brought you Frank Gehry’s billowing building by the High Line in New York, is commissioning Rios Clementi Hale to “drape” its white brick building on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood with a six-story sculptural steel lattice—like a living roof turned 45 degrees— containing native plantings irrigated by recaptured underground water.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> Jerde Surprise: Christopher Hawthorne smitten with new LA apartment tower

Architecture, Eavesdroplet, West
Friday, October 10, 2014
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The Vermont. (Courtesy Jerde Partnership)

The Vermont. (Courtesy Jerde Partnership)

In one of the more surprising analyses of his tenure as architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times, Christopher Hawthorne recently came out with breathless praise for The Vermont, a green glass residential tower by Jerde Partnership on Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue. According to Hawthorne, the building’s “sleek steel-and-glass profile is a reminder that new apartment buildings in Los Angeles can be something other than bland, stucco-covered, stick-built neo-dingbats.” Eavesdrop is no architecture critic, but let’s just say we do not totally agree.

BCJ’s Civic Center an Exercise in Democracy

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Bohlin Cywinski Jackson's design upends convention in favor of metaphorical and literal transparency. (Nic Lehoux)

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s design upends convention in favor of metaphorical and literal transparency. (Nic Lehoux)

Newport Beach’s central government complex emphasizes transparency, sustainability.

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson‘s (BCJ) Newport Beach Civic Center is in one sense classically Southern Californian. With its light steel structure, plentiful windows, emphasis on indoor-outdoor spaces, and roofline inspired by ocean waves, it evokes a timeless delight in Pacific coast living. But it also represents something new, both for the city of Newport Beach and for civic architecture more generally. Built on a marshy site that had previously been written off as uninhabitable, the LEED Gold Civic Center and adjacent 16-acre park, designed by BCJ in cooperation with PWP Landscape Architecture, acts as a different kind of anchor for the automobile-oriented community. “It was shaped in part by a desire to create a great public space,” said principal in charge Greg Mottola. “How do you make an urban civic space in the context of the suburbs?” Read More

Zip over Apple’s under-construction headquarters and take a seat in its newly-unveiled auditorium

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
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Apple's auditorium pavilion (Poltrona Frau Group)

Apple’s auditorium pavilion (via Poltrona Frau Group)

The excitement over Apple’s new mega-campus in Silicon Valley continues to build. First, we got an aerial drones-eye-view of the under-construction Apple Campus 2 in Cupertino, California (check it out after the jump!). And now, we get to see the corporate auditorium where the company will show off its new products once complete in 2016.

Continue reading after the jump.

“Breaking New Ground” Competition Tackles Affordable Housing in the Coachella Valley

Architecture, West
Monday, September 22, 2014
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Resort communities and and shanty towns exist side by side in California's Coachella Valley. (Orin Zebest / Flickr)

Resort communities and and shanty towns exist side by side in California’s Coachella Valley. (Orin Zebest / Flickr)

Architectural competitions with substantial cash prizes tend to focus on monuments, museums, and other high-brow concerns. Such is not the case for Breaking New Ground: Designing Affordable Housing for the Coachella Valley Workforce. Sponsored by The California Endowment, a Los Angeles–based private health organization, Breaking New Ground targets the gap between the people who come to the Eastern Coachella Valley to play and those who keep its $4 billion agriculture and tourism industries running.

Continue reading after the jump.

Observers sound off on San Francisco’s 49ers Stadium, the house that tech built

Architecture, West
Thursday, August 21, 2014
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Inside Levi's Stadium (Levi's Stadium)

Inside Levi’s Stadium. (Courtesy Levi’s Stadium)

San Jose Mercury News columnist (and frequent AN contributor) Alan Hess took on HNTB’s Levi’s Stadium, the new $1.3 billion home of the San Francisco 49ers. Hess compares the “starkly utilitarian,” 68,500 seat stadium to Silicon Valley’s high tech environments, and even to its high-end gadgets. The building “translates the high-def experience of a game we see on TV—the roaring crowd, the superhuman action of the players, the intense color of the grass under the TV-studio lighting, the camaraderie of loyal 49ers fans celebrating (or commiserating) en masse—into an enormous three-dimensional architectural spectacle,” Hess wrote.

Continue reading after the jump.

George Lucas replaces Modernist masterpiece with Cape Cod on a California Beach

Architecture, Eavesdroplet, West
Monday, August 11, 2014
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Lucas's new house (Tom Marble)

Lucas’s new house (Tom Marble)

George Lucas is making architectural waves again. And it has nothing to do with a museum. In 2012 AN reported that Lucas had torn down 3389 Padaro Lane, a 1981 Modernist masterpiece on the beach by sculptor and architect Sherrill Broudy in Carpinteria, just east of Santa Barbara. Now he’s finished the replacement—designed by Appleton & Associates. And let’s just say it’s less of a masterpiece.

Continue reading after the jump.

Gensler Goes Hollywood with “Vertical Campus”

The 14-story Icon at Sunset Boulevard will house office space for creative and entertainment professionals. (Courtesy Gensler)

The 14-story Icon at Sunset Boulevard will house office space for creative and entertainment professionals. (Courtesy Gensler)

Hudson Pacific Properties is banking on the continued appeal of Hollywood office space with its Icon at Sunset Bronson Studios, a 14-story tower designed by Gensler. Targeting creative professionals, Icon reconfigured the suburban campus typology for an urban setting. Gensler associate Amy Pokawatana called the development a “vertical campus,” blending “work, relaxation, and recreation.” Part of a $150 million studio expansion, the project takes its cue from a six-story building the developer finished on the Sunset Gower Studios lot in 2008.  Read More

Beverly Hills Loses Another Mid-Century Modern Icon

The Beverly Hilton-adjacent Robinsons-May department store has been demolished. (Kimberly Reiss)

The Beverly Hilton-adjacent Robinsons-May department store has been demolished. (Kimberly Reiss)

Beverly Hills gained a vacant lot this week as crews demolished the former Robinsons-May department store at 9900 Wilshire Boulevard. The four-story, marble-clad building, designed by Charles O. Matcham, Charles Luckman, and William Pereira in 1952 with interiors by Raymond Loewy and Associates, was retailer J.W. Robinson’s first store in suburban Los Angeles.

Continue reading after the jump.

Will Beverly Hills High’s Plans Destroy The City’s Most Famous Oil Derrick?

Beverly Hills' Oil Derrick (D Boone)

Tower of Hope as seen from Pico Boulevard. (D Boone)

One of the insider landmarks of Beverly Hills is the Tower of Hope, an art-covered oil derrick that sits at the edge of Beverly Hills High School, clearly visible from Pico Boulevard. Covered with fabric panels painted with colorful flowers by young hospital patients, the 155-foot-tall tower is a remnant from the days when the area was covered with oil fields (the high school once contained almost 20), and it’s become a popular visiting spot. It also still pumps oil, for Denver-based Venoco, with some of the proceeds going to the school. But Beverly Hills High’s major expansion plans call for removing the well altogether.

Continue reading after the jump.

Packard Foundation Goes Green With EHDD

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EHDD designed the David and Lucile Packard Foundation headquarters as a model of cutting-edge green building techniques. (Jeremy Bittermann)

EHDD designed the David and Lucile Packard Foundation headquarters as a model of cutting-edge green building techniques. (Jeremy Bittermann)

Net zero energy, LEED Platinum project raises the bar on eco-friendly office design.

For its new headquarters in Los Altos, California, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation put its building budget where its mouth is. The philanthropic organization, whose four program areas include conservation and science, asked San Francisco-based EHDD to design a net zero energy, LEED Platinum building that would serve as a model of cutting-edge green building techniques. “They wanted to achieve net zero in a way that was replicable, and that showed the path forward for others to follow,” said project manager Brad Jacobson. “It was not just a one-off thing, not just a showcase.” The building’s facade was fundamental to its success as an example of sustainable design. “We were surprised at how significant the envelope is, even in the most benign climate,” said Jacobson. “Pushing the envelope to really high performance made significant energy and comfort impacts, and could be justified even on a first-cost basis.” Read More

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