AN recently took a sneak peak at late night preparations for the fifth annual Canstruction LA, a charitable design competition—whose pieces are currently on display in the lobby of 5900 Wilshire Boulevard— that taps teams of architects, designers, builders and engineers to create large-scale sculptures using canned goods (and even a few water bottles) that will eventually be donated to the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank. What we found was a furor of activity, many boxes of pizza, and a bit of competitive banter among teams. Read More
Crain’s Chicago Business reports that big-box retailer Target is negotiating with the developers Joseph Freed and Associates for space at the venerable Carson Pirie Scott & Co. building, now named the Sullivan Center. Formerly home of the department store Carson Pirie Scott, the building, designed by Louis Sullivan, has remained largely vacant following a recent substantial rehab effort. The upper floors house the School of the Art Institute Chicago’s departments of architecture, interior architecture, and designed objects and the architectural mega-firm Gensler. The building anchors the slightly more downtrodden southern end of State Street within the Loop. Read More
HITCHIN’ A RIDE
With its price hikes, worker strife, and bureaucratic image, LA METRO doesn’t exactly set the standard for good press. But that appears to be changing as the transit authority has hired two of our favorite writers to supply in-house news and consulting. After being laid off by the Los Angeles Times in March, transit reporter Steve Hymon was hired by Metro to put together its new transit blog, The Source. On November 20, AN contributor Sam Hall Kaplan announced that he had been hired by Metro to be a transportation planning manager, with a focus on “crafting a user-friendly interface in Downtown LA between the Metro and the proposed California High Speed Rail,” in particular for stations and streetscapes. Eavesdrop hopes there’s one more spot for a guy who would like to check out the coolest cities and their metro systems for ideas—say Paris, Rome, Berlin, and Tokyo. Read More
Even Union Square, San Francisco’s high-end shopping mecca, sports the occasional empty storefront these days. To beautify a few for the holidays, the Union Square Association brought in four architecture firms to work their magic, a pro bono effort that also “highlight(s) the vibrant creativity of local architecture firms in a whole new way,” says the press release. A delightful idea–but in execution, somewhat of a mixed bag, as you will see. Read More
Last night CANSTRUCTION LA, organized by the Society for Design Administration, announced the winners of its 2009 competition at 5900 Wilshire Boulevard. All 60,000 cans—from anchovies to pumpkin pie filling— used to build the amazing structures will go directly to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, as will over $7,700 in donations. The structures will be on display at 5900 Wilshire through this Sunday. Check out this fantastic teaser video for the competition, which shows a clever can making its way from the supermarket to the venue. And here’s a video of winning team Gensler putting together their entry. All 10 participating teams produced stellar constructions, but a few stood out. They were: Read More
With its economy in the toilet and its legislature stuck in gridlock, California is .. hurting. But there is one area where the Golden State is still a leader. It’s one of the few states in the country to be developing an actual plan for rising sea levels: the California Climate Adaptation Strategy Draft. This, and other very relevant topics will be discussed tomorrow at a UC Berkeley symposium tomorrow called Battling The Sea Level Rise: Climate Adaptation Plans in California & Lessons for Developing World Cities. Read More
Gensler yesterday installed their shimmering Memorial to Fallen Officers, a 11,000 pound, backlit structure made up of hundreds of staggered brass plaques, in front of AECOM’s almost-finished Police Headquarters in Downtown LA. The structure travelled via trailer from Kansas City over the weekend. That was the good news. The not-so-good news, according to the LA Times, is that after the memorial was craned into place the designers realized it was facing the wrong way! Instead of swiveling the whole structure, they’re going to have to unscrew all the plaques and re-install them on the other side. Someone’s gonna have to investigate this one…
On Tuesday night AN, Gensler and the California Real Estate Journal (CREJ) hosted our panel discussion, Upending The Downturn at the Poliform showroom in Beverly Hills. Participants did their best to keep the tone positive, and suggested tips for surviving, and even excelling, during the recession and beyond. Most hinted that we’re almost out of the woods. Potential bright spots for architects and builders included affordable housing, government work (including slowly-moving stimulus-related projects), sustainable projects (including work in LA’s new Clean Tech corridor), health care, and design/build . Some even suggested that small projects are getting financing, and that larger ones should by the end of the year. The recession, one panelist pointed out, will be announced officially over in September. What?? And more good news: co-moderator Jennifer Caterino of the CREJ, noted that according to the Commerce Department US Construction spending rose .3 percent in June. What’s next? Constant sunshine? Oh yeah, it’s LA. There is constant sunshine.
OK, it’s time to start doing something about this economic debacle. Next Tuesday, August 4, in Los Angeles, AN, The California Real Estate Journal, and Gensler will be co-hosting a panel to devise ways for SoCal firms to cope with the downturn. Topics will include finding architectural projects, exploiting creative measures like design-build, shaking loose financing, and securing public money and jobs, among other things. The panel will include Larry Scarpa of Pugh+Scarpa; Rob Jernigan of Gensler; Dan Rosenfeld of development firm Urban Partners (and Deputy for Economic Development to LA Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas); Cecilia Estolano, CEO of the LA Community Redevelopment Agency; Denise Bickerstaff of real estate consulting firm Keyser Marston Associates; and Jerry Neuman of real estate law firm Allen Matkins Leck. The event will take place at 6 pm at Poliform, 8818 Beverly Blvd. Networking, of course, to follow. Don’t miss this chance to pull yourself up by your bootstraps!
AN’s California Editor Sam Lubell will be hosting a panel about the creation of new and unconventional design at Gensler and USG’s Design Process Innovation Symposium this Saturday at 10:55 a.m. at the A+D Museum. Panelists will include none other than Gaston Nogues, of inventive Silver Lake architecture/art installation/sculpture firm Ball Nogues; Matthew Melnyk, of the omnipresent and hyper-advanced design and engineering firm Buro Happold; Richard Whitehall, whose firm, Smart Design, patterns everything from cool-looking thermometers to Serengeti sunglasses; Scott Robertson, a creator of ultramodern, books, bikes, and even the cars used in video games; and Tali Krakowsky, of Imaginary Forces, who co-designed the flashy set for this year’s Victoria Secret fashion show. Another talent-loaded panel, at 2:30 p.m., will be hosted by KCRW and Dwell’s Frances Anderton.
Tickets ($70, $45 for students) are still available: visit http://www.gensler.com/xtr/dpi2/