In 2005, the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles became one of the most notable buildings in U.S. history to be torn down. Now a new documentary, After 68: The Rise and Fall of the Ambassador Hotel, is hoping to tell its story. Its filmmakers are raising money to finish the project through a Kickstarter campaign. Directed by Camilo Silva, the film explores the history of the hotel, once a symbol of LA’s opulent westward expansion.
The Ambassador hosted, among others, Albert Einstein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Winston Churchill, Amelia Earhart, Salvador Dali, Buzz Aldrin, Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Frank Sinatra, and Charlie Chaplin, and every U.S. president from Herbert Hoover to Richard Nixon. And of course Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at its Coconut Grove nightclub, a location that also hosted six Academy Awards ceremonies.
In 2005 the beleaguered hotel was torn down to build a $600 million school complex for the LA Unified School District. The film digs into the building’s past and the controversy over its end, and captures the oral histories that are some of its only remaining memories. The Kickstarter campaign ends in two weeks.
The other day, AN revealed details of Fentress Architects’ new Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, with its arched, light-infused spaces and fancy new retail offerings. Variety takes a closer look at LA- and Montreal-based media company Moment Factory’s contribution: a series of interactive displays, including an 80-foot LED “Welcome Wall” that greets visitors, two “Concourse Portals” consisting of 10 video columns that respond to movement, and the 72-foot “Time Tower,” a four-sided LED experience surrounding the terminal’s main elevator. The system, which can be updated and adapted, is the most sophisticated of any in the country. And the production, as you can see from the video above, rivaled that of many motion pictures.
In other airport news, we plan to head over to Long Beach to see the renovation of several of its airport concourses, part of a $140 modernization plan. We’ll keep you posted.
Don’t look now, but LAX—the airport everyone loves to hate—is starting to complete its major makeover. The biggest change is the brand new $1.9 billion (yes, billion) addition to the Tom Bradley International Terminal, designed by Fentress Architects and unveiled in 2008. Its curving roofline, emulating waves breaking on the nearby beach, pops up behind the original Tom Bradley structure, which itself was recently renovated (for the cost of $723 million) by Leo A Daly.
The developer of the two-tower Millennium Hollywood, located just next to the Capitol Records building in Hollywood, has agreed with the city of Los Angeles to limit the buildings’ heights to 35 and 39 stories, reports Curbed LA. The original proposal put forth heights of 485 and 585 feet (that’s roughly 48 and 58 stories). Millennium said that the total square footage of the project—more than one million square feet—and the number of residential (492) and hotel (200) units will not change. The agreement was reached at LA City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee.
This means the buildings will dwarf the iconic Capitol Records building slightly less, although the move probably won’t soothe locals fears about increased congestion. Meanwhile according to the LA Times, the California Department of Transportation has accused city of officials of ignoring their concerns about the project’s impact on the city’s freeways. Stay tuned as this drama unfolds.
Not busy enough, Los Angeles-based design people? You’re about to be. The third annual Los Angeles Design Festival, which takes place from June 13-30, kicks off tonight at 8:00p.m. with a party at Downtown’s Standard Hotel. The Festival, which encompasses a wide range of activities related to architecture, design, and art, has grown in size, now featuring over 40 events over two weeks.
This includes Dwell‘s west side home tours on June 15 and its east side tours on June 22; SCI-Arc’s Confederacy of Heretics symposium June 14-15; the A+D Museum’s gala Preview Party for their upcoming show Never Built: Los Angeles at Union Station on June 20; the AIA/LA’s Restaurant Design Awards on June 22; de LaB’s Pecha Kucha x Ping Pong, a competitive sharing of ideas at the Standard’s new ping pong club on June 26; and UCLA’s “Runway,” a series of back-to-back architecture presentations at the school’s new Hercules Campus in Playa Vista on June 28. The closing event is at Chinatown Design Night on June 29. This is just the tip of the iceberg, so better clear your calendars!
While you might not make a habit of visiting parking lots for the fun of it, if you haven’t been to SCI-Arc‘s parking lot lately, you’re missing out. Installations dot a big chunk of the concrete expanse, including Oyler Wu‘s billowing Storm Cloud installation, which was built for the school’s recent graduation; the steel frame of P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S‘s gigantic League of Shadows installation, which will be done by September, and the wooden frame of DALE, SCI-Arc and Caltech’s entry for the Solar Decathalon, which is being held this year at the Orange County Great Park.
From June 21 – 23 architecture and design professionals will flock to the Los Angeles Convention Center for the Dwell on Design tradeshow. With over 2,000 products, 400 exhibitors, 150 speakers, and 30,000 expected attendees, this highly anticipated three-day affair has easily become America’s largest design event.
The exhibition features 20,000 square feet of space filled with prefabricated structures that highlight the most important aspects of contemporary design. The show is divided into various sections including Dwell Outdoor, the Tech Zone, the Modern Family Lounge, Furniture, and Kitchen & Bath and features renowned leaders in industrial, home appliance, and furniture design such as Miele, Kohler, GE Monogram, Resource Furniture, and Marimekko.
A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living
The Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Boulevard
Through September 8
Archibald Quincy Jones (1913–1979) was a Los Angeles–based architect known both for the glamorous homes he designed for actors like Gary Cooper, as well as his dedication to the redevelopment of middle-class housing using effective, innovative, and sustainable building methods during the 1950s and 60s. His 5,000 built projects were centered on the premise of “better living” and “greenbelt planning.” He experimented with materials like plywood, steel, and masonry block construction and intentionally built in locations where his buildings would have access to natural light, air, ventilation, and views. This exhibition is presented as a part of Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. The documentation on view—including original architectural drawings taken from the architect’s personal and professional archive, a case study house model, and vintage photographs—highlights a variety of Jones’s projects, including community developments, churches, libraries, restaurants, residential homes, work spaces, and schools.
The rumor-mill has been churning non-stop over LACMA director Michael Govan’s and architect Peter Zumthor’s plans for the museum. Basically it looks like they are planning to take LACMA apart and start over; an effort that failed when attempted by Rem Koolhaas and OMA back in the early 2000s. The full scope of the plans will be unveiled in June, with LACMA’s exhibition The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA. But for now we’ve gleaned that under Zumthor’s plan, not only would there be a new indoor/outdoor art park, but four of the museum’s midcentury structures would be replaced by “curvaceous modern glass structures.” That basically includes everything but the Bruce Goff pavilion and Renzo Piano’s new structures. Let’s see if the second time’s the charm.
LA architect Shawn Keltner, whose day job is lead designer at Los Angeles-based tecDESIGN (the design branch of Swiss firm tecARCHITECTURE), is doing some important work on the side: developing a wondrous play structure for his two young daughters, Kelty and Kree, aged five and two. The irregularly-shaped, 50-square-foot building, which he will put together on his family’s sloped lot in Glassell Park, will be made out of home-made SIPs and clad with Hardie Panels and polycarbonate.
There has been no official confirmation, but we’ve heard from several people involved with the show that Thom Mayne and his firm Morphosis are now leading the show, not curator Christopher Mount. Participants confirm that emails are now coming from Morphosis, not MOCA, while the show’s assistant curator Johanna Vandemoortele last week sent out an email that she had already departed from MOCA. Mount was not available for comment, but Mayne’s spokesperson Legier Stahl noted: “It is a collective, community effort. We are just helping to facilitate.” Rumor has it that Mayne is considering adding more participants, including Wes Jones, John Enright, Hitoshi Abe, and Qingyun. Stay tuned as the saga continues.