Pedal to the metal at Los Angeles’ Union Station

Development, Urbanism, West
Thursday, September 18, 2014
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Proposed new east entrance to Union Station (Grimshaw/Gruen/Metro)

Proposed new east portal to Union Station (Grimshaw/Gruen/Metro)

After refining their master plan over the last several months, Metro, Grimshaw, and Gruen are ready, as Metro Deputy Executive Officer for Countywide Planning Jenna Hornstock put it, to “put the pedal to the metal.” They’re asking the Metro Planning and Programming Committee to approve several recommendations (PDF) to begin the implementation of their Union Station Master Plan, including the development of a Program Environmental Impact Report. Last night they presented to the committee, and a vote is expected at the next gathering on October 15.

Continue reading after the jump.

Three big-name teams shortlisted for Mesa, Arizona plaza

City Terrain, Landscape Architecture, West
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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Colwell Shelor+West 8+Weddle Gilmore proposal (City of Mesa)

Colwell Shelor+West 8+Weddle Gilmore proposal (City of Mesa)

If all goes according to plan, Mesa, Arizona is going to have one heck of a public plaza in the center of its downtown. The city just unveiled schemes from three teams, selected from a recent RFQ (PDF), to design the space, located on an area currently occupied mostly by local government buildings and surface parking lots. According to the city, the site, meant to accommodate up to 25,000 people, would host annual events like the Mesa Arts Festival, Arizona Celebration of Freedom, and the Great Arizona Bicycle Festival.

Continue reading after the jump.

Los Angeles Convention Center releases competition shortlist

Aerial View of LA's Convention Center and Staples Center (LA Convention Center)

Aerial View of LA’s Convention Center and Staples Center (LA Convention Center)

The Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering’s competition for a $350 million expansion and renovation of the LA Convention Center has been narrowed down to three final teams. And they are: AC Martin/LMN, Gensler/Lehrer Architects, and HMC/Populous. According to the project’s Task Order Solicitation (PDF), the teams will each receive $200,000 to “develop and present conceptual designs,” including models, renderings, plans, cost estimates, phasing plans, etc. Designs are due on December 8.

Continue reading after the jump.

AECOM’s Merger Mania: Los Angeles–based firm doubles in size

Architecture, National, News, West
Thursday, September 11, 2014
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Both AECOM and URS have been active on the World Trade Center site in New York (AECOM)

Both AECOM and URS have been active on the World Trade Center site in New York (AECOM)

As the economy continues to hum along, it’s time once again for merger mania. By far the most significant example is Los Angeles–based construction giant, AECOM, which in the span of just a couple of months has more than doubled its size. In past years the company has bought firms like DMJM, EDAW, Ellerbe Becket, and Tishman, but it’s been nothing like this year’s spree.

Continue reading after the jump.

Los Angeles “Dress Rehearsal” removes a lane of Broadway for pedestrians

Landscape Architecture, Urbanism, West
Friday, September 5, 2014
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Tables, chairs, planters and umbrellas on Broadway (Sterling Davis/ Curbed LA Flickr Pool)

New York’s Broadway has company: Tables, chairs, planters and umbrellas on LA’s street of the same name (Sterling Davis/ Curbed LA Flickr Pool)

It may not look like Los Angeles’ next great street yet, but Broadway is changing fast. The latest development in the street’s ongoing transformation is the city’s Broadway Streetscapes Master Plan, which is revamping the historic thoroughfare for pedestrians and urban activity. The project just completed its $1.5 million”Dress Rehearsal.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Preservationists taken by surprise as demolition begins on Wexler’s Palm Springs Spa Hotel

Architecture, News, Newsletter, Preservation, West
Thursday, September 4, 2014
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Palm Springs Spa Hotel (Julius Shulman)

Palm Springs Spa Hotel. (Julius Shulman)

As preservationists steam, demolition teams working in the desert heat have begun to tear down Donald Wexler’s famed Spa Hotel in downtown Palm Springs. The hotel was closed in early June by its owners, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.  To add insult to injury, the demolition has begun with the hotel’s most famous element: it’s elegant, concrete-vaulted colonnade. Read More

Video> Drone footage shows construction progress at Norman Foster’s Apple Campus

Architecture, In Construction, Newsletter, West
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
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apple-video2apple-video1

 

Perhaps the most hyped corporate campus in history, Apple’s Norman Foster–designed campus in Cupertino, is starting to come out of the ground. YouTube user jmcminn recently uploaded a video of a (loud) drone flying over the top secret construction site, where work began a few months ago and should continue through 2016. The circular foundations appear to be over a quarter complete.

Watch the video after the jump.

Could Olmsted & Bartholomew’s 100-year-old parks plan finally happen in Los Angeles?

Emerald Necklace Expanded Vision Plan (The Conservation Fund)

Emerald Necklace Expanded Vision Plan (The Conservation Fund)

One of the highlights of this author’s recent exhibition, Never Built Los Angeles, was a comprehensive, and interconnected, parks plan for Los Angeles assembled by the landscape firm Olmsted and Bartholomew in 1930. That old plan is seeing some new life in the Los Angeles community. If the proposed Emerald Necklace Expanded Vision Plan is realized, that idea would come to life almost a century after it was proposed.

Continue reading after the jump.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin School of Architecture is losing its accreditation

Architecture, Dean's List, Midwest, News, West
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
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Talisen West Studio and Reflecting Pool (Judith Bromley)

Taliesin West Studio and reflecting pool. (Judith Bromley)

Frank Lloyd Wright, who founded the Taliesin Fellowship in 1932, can’t be pleased about the latest news from the school. Architectural Record reported that in 2017 the Taliesin School of Architecture—which currently offers Masters of Architecture degrees at its campuses in Scottsdale, Arizona and Spring Green, Wisconsin—will lose its NAAB accreditation.

Continue reading after the jump.

Hollywood’s Freeway Cap Park Begins Environmental Review Process

4b-la-freeway-park4a-la-freeway-park

 

We’ve been following Los Angeles’ several proposed Freeway Cap Parks (in Downtown LA, Hollywood, and Santa Monica among other places) for years now, with a healthy amount of skepticism. But the first of these is (really? really!) moving toward reality. Friends of the Hollywood Central Park, a non-profit organizing a cap park over the 101 Freeway near the center of Hollywood, along with LA’s Department of Recreation and Parks have begun the environmental review process for the transformative 38-acre space.

Continue reading after the jump.

Observers sound off on San Francisco’s 49ers Stadium, the house that tech built

Architecture, West
Thursday, August 21, 2014
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Inside Levi's Stadium (Levi's Stadium)

Inside Levi’s Stadium. (Courtesy Levi’s Stadium)

San Jose Mercury News columnist (and frequent AN contributor) Alan Hess took on HNTB’s Levi’s Stadium, the new $1.3 billion home of the San Francisco 49ers. Hess compares the “starkly utilitarian,” 68,500 seat stadium to Silicon Valley’s high tech environments, and even to its high-end gadgets. The building “translates the high-def experience of a game we see on TV—the roaring crowd, the superhuman action of the players, the intense color of the grass under the TV-studio lighting, the camaraderie of loyal 49ers fans celebrating (or commiserating) en masse—into an enormous three-dimensional architectural spectacle,” Hess wrote.

Continue reading after the jump.

Redevelopment projects piling up along the Los Angeles River

View of the new Marsh Park (SMMC Archives)

View of the Marsh Park expansion (SMMC Archives)

Although the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has yet to secure funding for its planned $1 billion restoration of the Los Angeles River, projects along the waterway’s banks are sprouting up regularly, including parks, cafes, trails, and even new buildings. The latest, reported KCET, is the Elysian Valley Marsh Park, a three-acre landscape expansion on what was once an auto body complex in LA’s Elysian Valley neighborhood.

Read More

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