Urbana’s Shape-Shifting Parking Garage Facade

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Urbana Studio designed an interactive aluminum facade for an existing parking structure at Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis. (Serge Hoeltschi)

Urbana Studio designed an interactive aluminum facade for an existing parking structure at Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis. (Serge Hoeltschi)

Folded aluminum panels deliver the illusion of movement to passersby.

During their recent expansion, Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis approached Urbana Studio with an unusual request. The hospital wanted the Los Angeles-based art and architecture firm to design an interactive facade for a recently completed parking structure. “With Indianapolis’ really extreme weather patterns, we gave a lot of thought to: how can we make something that’s interactive but won’t be broken in a year?” said Urbana principal Rob Ley. “Unfortunately, the history of kinetic facades teaches us that that they can become a maintenance nightmare.” Urbana’s solution was to turn the relationship between movement and the object on its head. Though the aluminum facade, titled May September, is itself static, it appears to morph and change color as the viewer walks or drives by.
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Eavesdrop Grab Bag> The latest gossip from the west coast

Eavesdroplet, West
Friday, August 15, 2014
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The Jacobs Engineering Building in Pasadena. (Courtesy Google)

The Jacobs Engineering Building in Pasadena. (Courtesy Google)

Word has it that Art Center, which seems to already own all of Downtown Pasadena, has just bought the area’s massive Jacobs Engineering Building. Also on the move, USC Dean Qingyun Ma has relocated his firm’s offices to none other than Downtown LA’s Bradbury Building. How’s that for pressure? And we’ve learned of the initiation beverage of our favorite architecture-related women’s drinking and discussion group: Denise Scotch Brown. What group would Venturi inspire? We shudder to think… Something about Vermouth?

Los Angeles’ grand Spring Arcade coming back to life

View of the Spring Arcade's cleaned up three-level arcade (BRC Advisors)

View of the Spring Arcade’s cleaned up three-level arcade (BRC Advisors)

Another symbol of downtown Los Angeles’ transformation is the ongoing renovation and rebranding of the Spring Arcade Building. Modeled after the great Beaux Arts arcades of Europe, the space has long been a grubby home for non-distinct shops. The Arcade—actually two 12-story towers connected by the skylit, glass roofed, three-level arcade—was built in 1924 by architects Kenneth McDonald and Maurice Couchot. With its Spanish Baroque entryway, it originally contained 61 shops, and later added a Venetian-style bridge across its center. It now contains space for 21 shops and restaurants and still contains the landmark KRKD radio towers on its roof.

Continue reading after the jump.

Gehry and (fer) Making Their Mark In Watts

Architecture, News, West
Friday, August 8, 2014
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Frank Gehry (Bustler)

Frank Gehry (Bustler)

We like to give Frank Gehry a hard time for his foibles, but he has actually undertaken a lot of pro bono work, including a Make It Right home in New Orleans and the Pasadena Playhouse and Jazz Bakery Theater in Los Angeles. His latest effort is in one of the most troubled neighborhoods in Los Angeles: Watts. Gehry Partners has agreed to design a new campus for the Childrens Institute (CII), a social services non-profit. They’re collaborating with Inglewood firm (fer) Studio, who will be Executive Architect.

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Parklet Down! Motorist Rams Downtown Los Angeles’ First Parklet

la-parklet-destroyed

The scene. (oneironaut11 / Instagram via LAist)

It seems like just yesterday that Los Angeles opened its first downtown Parklet, a sparkling new design on Spring Street by architects utopiad.org, designers Berry and Linné, and builders Hensel Phelps. But a few weeks ago that design (already getting a little shabby from weather and use) was rammed and badly compromised by an errant motorist, leaving it closed, and leaving downtown without a parklet to speak of more than two years after the city’s parklet program began.

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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.

And Now A Gehry Tower For LACMA? What’s Next?

Model of Zumthor's newest scheme for LACMA, along with massing study of new tower. (Courtesy LACMA)

Model of Zumthor’s newest scheme for LACMA, along with massing study of new tower. (Courtesy LACMA)

The surprises keep coming at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). After learning that the museum plans to shift its proposed Peter Zumthor–designed building southward (partially bridging Wilshire Boulevard) to avoid damaging the La Brea Tar Pits, now comes news that the museum is hoping to partner with LA’s transit agency, METRO, to build a tower across the street.

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“Walk For The Dead” Urges Pedestrian Improvements in Los Angeles’ Highland Park

Protesters gather outside councilman Gil Cedillo's office in Highland Park. (NELA Art Gallery Night)

Young protesters gather outside councilman Gilbert Cedillo’s office in Highland Park. (NELA Art Gallery Night)

While Los Angeles implements plans for new bike lanes and other pedestrian improvements along its streets, there is still plenty of work to do. As part of that struggle, Highland Park residents and local activists this week staged the “Walk For The Dead,” along North Figueroa Street, wearing Day of the Dead makeup and costumes as a reminder of the pedestrians and bikers who have been killed by cars on the thoroughfare.

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More Info on LA Convention Center Competition

Architecture, West
Thursday, July 10, 2014
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Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC)

Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC)

As AN recently reported, AEG’s plans for an expanded Los Angeles Convention Center are looking dim, so LA’s Bureau of Engineering’s is planning a design competition for the facility’s expansion and renovation. The Bureau recently released its Task Order Solicitation (PDF) for the project, shedding more light on what’s to come.

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Victory in Round 3 for Los Angeles’ MyFigueroa Streetscape Project

A recent compromise among stakeholders means that the project can now move forward. (Courtesy MyFigueroa)

A recent compromise among stakeholders means that the project can now move forward. (Courtesy MyFigueroa)

After four years of stops and starts, MyFigueroa, the $20 million proposal to transform Los Angeles’ Figueroa Corridor from a regional throughway to a bike- and pedestrian-friendly destination, appears to be moving ahead. Overseen by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) with design assistance from Melendrez, Troller Mayer Associates, and Gehl Architects, MyFigueroa will add separated cycle tracks or buffered bike lanes, bike racks, and improved transit shelters, lighting, and landscaping to 4.5 miles of streets between LA Live and Exposition Park.

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On View> No Further West: The Story of Los Angeles Union Station

(Courtesy Getty Research Institute)

(Courtesy Getty Research Institute)

No Further West: The Story of Los Angeles Union Station
Los Angeles Public Library, Central Library
630 West 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA
Through August 10

Known as the “Last of the Great Railway Stations,” Los Angeles Union Station receives due recognition with the exhibition entitled No Further West: The Story of Los Angeles Union Station. Organized by the Getty Research Institute, the exhibition will span from the station’s construction in 1939, when its construction became an incidental platform for racial issues of the era, to today, when it serves 60,000 commuter passengers daily. Photographs, architectural drawings, and other archival items will all relay the story of the station’s journey from a basic transportation hub to an important centerpiece of Southern California architecture. The Los Angeles Public Library—an iconic cultural centerpiece itself—hosts the exhibition until August 10.

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