OMA Moving Ahead on Major Mixed-Use Project in Santa Monica After All

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The Plaza at Santa Monica (OMA)

After being sent back to the drawing board last fall, OMA’s mixed use Plaza at Santa Monica appears to be moving ahead once again. Located on a prime piece of Santa Monica–owned real estate on Arizona Avenue between 4th and 5th streets, the development—part of a glut of new mixed-use projects in the city—will be OMA’s first ever large scale project in Southern California. They are partnering with local firm Van Tilberg, Banvard & Soderbergh (VTBS).

Continue reading after the jump.

Los Angeles Earthquake Report: Be Afraid

West
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
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Hospital in Sylmar destroyed by the San Fernando Earthquake.  (US Geological Survey)

Hospital in Sylmar destroyed by the San Fernando Earthquake. (US Geological Survey)

If you live or work in one of LA’s many older concrete buildings and happened to read the  Los Angeles Times recent story, “Concrete Risks,” your building, as swanky and detailed as it may be, may never be experienced in quite the same light. The report sounds the alarm on over 1,000 concrete buildings in the city and throughout the region that “may be at risk of collapsing in a major earthquake.”

Continue reading after the jump.

OMA’s Santa Monica Scheme Sent Back To The Drawing Board; BIG Back In The Running

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
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Rendering of The Plaza at Santa Monica (OMA/ Metropolitan Pacific Capital)

Rendering of The Plaza at Santa Monica (OMA/ Metropolitan Pacific Capital)

Back in July it looked like Rem Koolhaas was about to land his first large-scale commission in Los Angeles with The Plaza at Santa Monica, a mega-mixed-use complex that would have graced a city-owned parcel at Fourth and Arizona streets. City officials seemed genuinely wowed by OMA’s theatrically-terraced design and a city selection committee recommended to Santa Monica City Council that they enter formal contract negotiations with the project’s developer, Metropolitan Pacific Capital.

But last week, the city council issued a resounding, “Not so fast,” voting almost unanimously against the recommendation, citing concerns over a lack of affordable housing.

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Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Proposal Pushes California To Look Toward Future of Transportation

West
Friday, August 16, 2013
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Sketches of Hyperloop Alpha's mobile pods (Tesla Motors)

Sketches of Hyperloop Alpha’s transit capsules (Tesla Motors)

When Elon Musk makes plans he makes no little ones. And he feels California shouldn’t either. This is the rationale behind Hyperloop Alpha, a supersonic, solar-powered, air-cushioned transit system (and future “Never Built”?) he views as the bolder alternative to conventional high-speed rail. It’s not a train, exactly. It’s more a hybrid between high-speed rail and the Concord.

Continue reading after the jump.

Gehry Lets Loose on Los Angeles, Downtown Ambitions

Eavesdroplet, West
Thursday, August 1, 2013
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biennale_frank_gehry

Writer Anne Taylor Fleming recently interviewed Frank Gehry for Los Angeles Magazine, getting a glimpse into what the architect thinks about Los Angeles and the meaning of his work there. Gehry tells Fleming about some of the missed planning and architectural opportunities that continue to challenge the city, including the push to make a bona fide downtown, which he believes stems from clinging to old ideas about what a city should be.

Continue reading after the jump.

KPF Working on Major Exterior Redesign for Peterson Automotive Museum

Newsletter, West
Monday, July 29, 2013
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One of KPF's conceptions for the Petersen. (Courtesy KPF)

One of KPF’s conceptions for the Petersen. (Courtesy KPF)

LACMA isn’t the only museum in town planning a significant redo in Los Angeles. The Petersen Automotive Museum, just across and down Wilshire Boulevard from LACMA, has retained Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) to imagine a radical redesign of the exterior of the museum’s home, a former department store. Museum officials have stated the time has come to finally retrofit the building to be more suitable for its program. This early design sketch, above, is just one of several that KPF has been presenting to museum directors.

Continue reading after the jump.

Controversial Malibu Lagoon Restoration Opens

City Terrain, West
Monday, May 6, 2013
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The "Bird Blind" at the revamped Malibu Lagoon. This will be thick with reeds in a year or two. (Guy Horton)

The “Bird Blind” at the revamped Malibu Lagoon. This will be thick with reeds in a year or two. (Guy Horton)

On May 2, the ever-controversial Malibu Lagoon Restoration Project—designed to restore the lagoon to its natural shape after years of disruptions and enhance the visitor experience—had its official ribbon cutting ceremony. Or, in this case, kelp cutting ceremony. The newly revamped lagoon glinted in the sun as egrets skittered along the water’s surface. Inappropriately-dressed (dark suits and ties) state officials and project leaders posed for photographs, congratulated team members, and handed out certificates while protesters (some shirtless and in shorts), brandishing hand-made signs saying “Paradise Lost” and “Lagoonicide,” booed and shouted at every opportunity. It was another beautiful day at the beach.

Continue reading after the jump.

Leading West Coast Architects Celebrate DnA’s Relaunch in Santa Monica

West
Thursday, March 21, 2013
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Eventgoers outside the Tesla Store in Santa Monica. (Micah Cordy)

Eventgoers outside the Tesla Store in Santa Monica. (Micah Cordy)

On Monday, members of LA’s design and architecture cognoscenti descended on the Tesla store on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade to celebrate the official relaunch of KCRW’s DnA (Design and Architecture). The event featured a discussion between DnA host and executive producer Frances Anderton and Elon Musk, the visionary founder-CEO of Tesla and Space X. Those present included Michael Rotondi, Ray Kappe, Thom Mayne, developer Tom Gilmore, and Getty architecture curators Wim de Wit and Christopher Alexander.

Continue reading after the jump.

SCI-Arc Alums To Celebrate SCI-Arc Alums With New Installation

West
Thursday, March 7, 2013
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Farmers and Merchants Bank, site of the 40/40 installation. (Michael Smith / Flickr)

Farmers and Merchants Bank, site of the 40/40 installation. (Michael Smith / Flickr)

SCI-Arc is hosting a competition—called 40/40—open to all graduates for the design and construction of an installation capable of digitally presenting the work of the school’s alumni. The installation will celebrate the school’s upcoming 40th anniversary. To tie into the April 11 Downtown Art Walk, the exhibition will first be installed—or rather the winner of the competition has to figure out how it will be installed—in the lobby space of the monumental downtown Farmers and Merchants Bank. It will subsequently move to SCI-Arc for the 40th Anniversary Celebration Weekend of April 19-21, 2013.

Continue reading after the jump.

Redondo Waterfront May Get Major Redesign

West
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
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Developer's proposed boutique hotel. (Courtesy CenterCal)

Developer’s proposed boutique hotel. (Courtesy CenterCal)

El Segundo, CA-based developer CenterCal recently revealed plans for a revamped Redondo Beach waterfront near Los Angeles, which includes parts of the Redondo Beach Pier, as well as the nearby boardwalk and Seaside Lagoon. According to The Daily Breeze, CenterCal presented its plans to residents, local business owners, and community groups at a meeting on February 23.

Continue reading after the jump.

Los Angeles Developer Endows New City-Centric Position at SCI-Arc

Dean's List, West
Monday, February 11, 2013
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Gilmore turned the Continental Building in Downtown Los Angeles  into residences. (you-are-here.com)

Gilmore turned the Continental Building in Downtown Los Angeles into residences. (you-are-here.com)

Once upon a time, being at SCI-Arc meant development was a four-letter word, and developers were akin to the destroyers of cities. Eric Owen Moss, SCI-Arc’s director, played a significant role in changing that perception by working with developer Tom Gilmore, who, since 2001, has also been on SCI-Arc’s board of trustees. Mr. Gilmore, founder of Gilmore Associates, is a former architect, so he  has a great appreciation for architecture’s potential, especially in formerly blighted areas of Downtown Los Angeles, where his vision has been unfolding since the early 1990s. This might explain why he recently included SCI-Arc in his estate plans by setting up an endowed chair to the tune of a cool $1 million, the first gift of this magnitude the institution has ever received.

The gift will fund the Gilmore City Chair, a position dedicated to supporting educational initiatives focused on the dynamics of urban development around the world. Moss, in an expression of gratitude quoted Machiavelli, saying, “I believe the greatest good to be done is that which one does to one’s own city.” Further details regarding the scope of the Gilmore City Chair will be forthcoming and may even be revealed by Mr. Gilmore himself when he presents a public lecture at SCI-Arc this Wednesday, February 13 at 7:00 p.m.

Libeskind U: Prof. Daniel Libeskind Teaching Online Course on Ideal Cities

International
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
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Right now you can log on to Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany’s Leuphana Digital School and participate in online courses being led by none other than Daniel Libeskind. Professor Libeskind, on the faculty at Leuphana since 2007, is collaborating with other professors and a team of tutors to guide students on the “Ideal City of the 21st Century.” The university conceived of the project as a “cost- and barrier-free academic course for collaborative web-based learning.” Online students will participate in six team assignments through the end of April. Their goal: to design an ideal city and invite others to experience it through digital visualization.

Enrollment is on-going so students can enter for any of the assignments and even arrange for college credit with home institutions. Students are asked to upload text, diagrams, photographs, and videos as the project progresses. Video lectures will also be presented by Libeskind and participating faculty. In the end, a winning team will be announced and all material could eventually be published. We’ll be sure to report on the outcome of the project once it’s complete.

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