Los Angeles unleashes 96 million “Shade Balls” into its reservoirs to help conserve water

(Courtesy Las Virgenes Municipal Water District)

(Courtesy Las Virgenes Municipal Water District)

What appears to be an explosive invasion of tiny black orbs is actually one small part of the solution to Los Angeles’ four-year drought. Colloquially called “shade balls,” these 36 cent buoyant spheres are a part of a $34.5 million water quality protection project by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).

More after the jump.

Meet the architect behind Kanye West’s 50-foot volcano, Los Angeles mansion, and design-savvy baby-proofing

Kanye atop a mountain on his Yeezus tour. (Peter Hutchins / Flickr)

Kanye atop a mountain on his Yeezus tour. (Peter Hutchins / Flickr)

Ironically, there are few surer ways to emerge from obscurity than to be hired by Kanye West. For Romanian architect Oana Stanescu, who designed a 50-foot stage-prop volcano for the rapper’s Yeezus tour, it meant finding a way to reconcile pop culture with utilitarian design.

Continue reading after the jump.

Gehry wades into LA River master plan, stirring up ripples of praise and dissent

(KCET Departures / Flickr)

(KCET Departures / Flickr)

On Friday, the Los Angeles Times scooped the city and made public news that Frank Gehry had met with Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti and the nonprofit LA River Revitalization Corp., and that Gehry Partners was working on a master plan for the 51-mile long, mostly-concrete waterway.

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Heather Roberge’s En Pointe installation finds stability in eccentricity

Architecture, West
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
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Heather Roberge's En Point installation is a mediation on the history of the column. (Joshua White)

Heather Roberge’s En Point installation is a meditation on the history of the column. (Joshua White)

“They don’t rely on anything except each other to stand up,” noted Heather Roberge, principal of the architecture practice Murmur, as she wove through the leaning, gleaming steel columns of her installation En Pointe. “There is a structural interdependence between each member, showing that you can use strategies of eccentricity to produce stability.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Gruen Associates Clad Utility Plant in Flowing Steel

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Gruen Associates wrapped the new LAX Central Utility Plant in a sleek envelope of stainless steel and corrugated aluminum. (Courtesy Gruen Associates)

Gruen Associates wrapped the new LAX Central Utility Plant in a sleek envelope of stainless steel and corrugated aluminum. (Courtesy Gruen Associates)

Curved metal facade embodies spirit of mobility at LAX.

The commission to design a new Central Utility Plant (CUP) for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) came with a major caveat: the original 1960s-era CUP would remain online throughout construction, providing heating and cooling to adjacent passenger terminals until the new plant was ready to take over. Read More

On View> Kim Stringfellow’s Jackrabbit Homestead at The Autry

(Kim Stringfellow)

(Kim Stringfellow)

Kim Stringfellow’s Jackrabbit Homestead
The Autry in Griffith Park
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles
Through August 23

The California desert has long been an object of fascination for creatives and explorers fleeing the monotony and sprawl of Los Angeles. Artist Kim Stringfellow follows in that tradition with Jackrabbit Homestead, an exhibition that explores—through photographs and audio interviews—a collection of dilapidated 1950s cabins and the surrounding reclamation of land and structures in this harsh landscape.

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Photographer Wayne Thom captured Late Modernism like no one else, and now his archive is looking for a home

Sears, Roebuck and Company, Pacific Coast Territory Administrative Offices. Alhambra, CA.  A.C. Martin & Associates. design 1969, completion 1971. (Wayne Thom)

Sears, Roebuck and Company, Pacific Coast Territory Administrative Offices. Alhambra, CA. A.C. Martin & Associates. design 1969, completion 1971. (Wayne Thom)

As 1970s and 1980s architecture returns to vogue, a new recognition of those associated with its making and documentation also arises. So it is with Wayne Thom, long the preeminent architectural photographer of the large, Late Modern building by the large firm.

More after the jump.

On View> Sculptor Michael Parker’s disco ball sauna steams up this Pasadena gallery

Art, Newsletter, On View, West
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
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A field trip encounter with Michael Parker’s Steam Egg II (which was not heated during the student’s visit) at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena. (Ruiqi Li)

A field trip encounter with Michael Parker’s Steam Egg II (which was not heated during the student’s visit) at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena. (Ruiqi Li)

On a recent Sunday in Pasadena, a half-dozen visitors strolled barefoot across the finished wooden floors of an art gallery, some wearing swimming trunks, others in bikinis or cut-offs, beach towels draped casually across their shoulders as they viewed the work on display.

The occasion for this unlikely scene was a steam session hosted by sculptor Michael Parker at the Armory Center for the Arts, part of the exhibition After Victor Papanek: The Future Is Not What It Used to Be.

Continue reading after the jump.

Q+A> Italian icon Mario Bellini on passion, the past, and the Kar-a-Sutra

Bellini's Kar-A-Sutra (1972) was exhibited as part of MoMA's Italy: New Domestic Landscapes. (Courtesy Mario Bellini Architects)

Bellini’s Kar-A-Sutra (1972) was exhibited as part of MoMA’s Italy: New Domestic Landscapes. (Courtesy Mario Bellini Architects)

Italian designer Mario Bellini is a master of many mediums: architecture, furniture, photography, and language. He was the editor of Domus in the 1980s and designed buildings all over the world, including the Department of Islamic Art at the Louvre in Paris. At 80, he’s intensely productive as ever. Recently, Humboldt Books published U.S.A. 1972, a book photographs he shot with his Hasselblad in the early seventies.

Bellini’s collaborative relationship with Cassina goes back decades and he’s created some of the furniture company’s most iconic designs. Cassina released several new pieces—a bed, a lounge—in the Cab family, the now-classic line he first began with a chair in 1977. To celebrate, Bellini embarked on a multi-city speaking tour. AN caught up with him at the Cassina showroom in Los Angeles.

Continue reading after the jump.

New Lakers headquarters by Rossetti and Perkins+Will gives team home court advantage

A state of the art facility caters to Lakers players and fans. (Courtesy Rosetti)

A state of the art facility caters to Lakers players and fans. (Courtesy Rossetti)

As Los Angeles braces for the likelihood of one or more new football stadium projects, the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers have unveiled plans for a sports facility of its own. Rossetti, a design firm specializing in the sports and entertainment industries, teamed up with the L.A. office of Perkins+Will on a 120,000-square-foot training center and administrative headquarters. Read More

Renzo Piano’s globe gets go-ahead from LA City Council

Architecture, West
Friday, June 26, 2015
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Los Angeles City Council Approves Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Project. (Courtesy Renzo Piano Building Workshop/ Studio Pali Fekete architects/A.M.P.A.S.)

Los Angeles City Council Approves Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Project. (Courtesy Renzo Piano Building Workshop/ Studio Pali Fekete architects/A.M.P.A.S.)

And… action. In a unanimous vote the LA City Council approved Renzo Piano’s plans for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. The design, which includes a renovation of the AC Martin’s May Company Building on Wilshire and Fairfax avenues and the eye-popping addition of a 140-foot-diameter glass and steel globe sited behind the existing 1939 building, comes with at $300 million estimated construction cost and hopes to open in 2017. Read More

Playful op-art beats out fifty shades of gray in competition to design new Los Angeles Convention Center

Architecture, West
Thursday, June 18, 2015
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HMC Architects and Populous.

HMC Architects and Populous.

Call it a win for color. A bright-hued design for the renovation and expansion of the Los Angeles Convention Center by Populous and HMC Architects beat out the gray proposals by the other two finalists—Gensler and Lehrer Architects and AC Martin and LMN Architects—in a city-led competition.

Continue reading after the jump.

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