OVERDRIVE: LA Constructs the Future, 1940-1990
The J. Paul Getty Museum
Through July 21
Gleaming cars speeding down an intricate freeway system, flashy movie theatres, quirky coffee shops, sleek corporate towers and residential spaces, drive-in churches, the infamous Hollywood sign, LAX Airport (above), and a lucrative petroleum industry are just some of the many impressive characteristics associated with the rich culture of Los Angeles. This exhibition at The J. Paul Getty Museum explores a metropolis that remained in “overdrive” throughout the 20th century, implementing cutting-edge architectural design to effectively respond to civic, environmental, and socioeconomic challenges that plagued the city. In just 50 years, the city rapidly evolved into one the most influential industrial, creative, and economic capitals in the world. Through drawings, photographs, models, animations, oral histories, and ephemera, the exhibition celebrates the notable transformation of the city of Los Angeles from 1940–1990.
At the recent Interieur 2012 Biennale in Kortrijk, Belgium, Venice, California-based Greg Lynn shared his vision of the future of housing: architecture that rotates to accommodate different uses. The model above, called “RV Prototype” (RV stands for Room Vehicle), part of the Biennale’s Future Primitives exhibition program exploring our future living environment, rotates via a robotic stepper drive and consists of a super-lightweight structure built with a carbon shell lined with a foam core.
As its name suggests, the proposal is just a scale prototype, but if enlarged and tricked out, Lynn argues it could contain living spaces on one side and a kitchen or bedroom on another, for example. All you have to do is spin. The device is now on a boat returning to Los Angeles from Belgium. We’ll let you know when the future arrives—and where to store your forks and pillow when they’re upside down.
The Future is always a draw, especially if it comes with fresh croissants and coffee. And so some hundred or more AEC industry types showed up this morning for a smartly-packaged and wide-ranging keynote and panel called “A View from the Future,” organized by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation. The opening talk was by Edie Weiner, president of futurist trend consultants, Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc.
Glimpses of New York and Amsterdam in 2040 at the Center for Architecture (through September 10) is a clarion call for designers to redefine sustainability in architecture. Though it didn’t start with this intention, the visions of 10 young architecture firms imagining future landscapes of New York and Amsterdam raise questions about what changes are imminent for urban development and what part architects can play. The projects suggest both practical and fantastical interventions to improve the prospect of urban growth in the face of ecological, geographic, and demographic shifts.
Could this be the future of architectural photography? The LA Times this weekend published a wonderful virtual tour of Ray Kappe’s own house on a heavily wooded lot in the Palisades. Thanks to huge glass walls, skylights, clerestories, floating interior planes and cantilevered wooden decks, trellises and platforms, the house appears to float over its sloping site.
It’s truly one of the most spectacular houses ever built. And the tours of its facade, main room, kitchen, and deck do it more justice than any two dimensional pictures could. Now if only Kappe could get more props himself. When is he gonna win a Pritzker already?
The simmering opposition to the New Domino plan from the local community and especially its City Council rep has been well-noted, but the reaction from the design community has been more muted. And while the approval from the City Planning Commission, and the forthcoming showdown at with Councilman Steve Levin mean the project is pretty much headed for an up-or-down, maybe slightly tweaked if not entirely scrapped vote, design writer Stephen Zacks had made a bolder proposal, calling for the plan to be scrapped not because it is too dense and under invested, but because it is not visionary enough. “These unique sites are opportunities to generate new forms of urbanism and orders of magnitude greater revenue, instead producing the high volumes of similar units that are now languishing on the market,” Zacks declares in a letter to the Council (in full, after the jump). He has a few ideas of his own, something called Domino University, but is also soliciting them from others. Feel free to leave them in the comments section, or on his Facebook page. Read More
The future has let us down in so many ways—still waiting on that jet pack you promised, Hollywood!—but this sweet new gadget should tide us over for a little while, at least. Straight out of Star Trek, it was demonstrated at last month’s SPAR 2010 conference in Houston by Austin-based company Zebra Imaging. The technology produces strikingly realistic holographic models, printed on two-dimensional sheets of plastic. Each hologram is the product of thousands of still images, stored in any format from satellite photographs to (calling all architects!) CAD models. These images are then compiled and printed onto a sheet of photographic film up to two feet wide and three feet long. Read More