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.

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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.

Just Wrapped: Long Pictures, Copious Pools and Punk Installations

West
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
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View of the Los Angeles River in Linear City at WUHO Gallery

View of the Los Angeles River in Linear City at WUHO Gallery (Lane Barden)

Occasionally we can’t cover an exhibition until it’s too late. But we want to share some excellent shows that recently closed in Los Angeles: Heather Flood’s Punk’d at SCI-Arc Gallery and  WUHO Gallery’s Linear City and The Big Atlas of L.A. Pools. Read More

Oakland A’s Exploring New Stadium

Architecture, West
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
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Oakland County Coliseum (Oakland A's)

Oakland County Coliseum (Oakland A’s)

The Oakland A’s are the best team in baseball this year. Maybe that’s why they’re considering a move from one of the sport’s most outdated stadiums, the Oakland County Coliseum (AKA the Overstock.com Coliseum). According to the San Francisco Chronicle, A’s owner Lew Wolff has begun talks with an architect to build a stadium at the Coliseum site. The team just signed a 10-year contract with the Oakland Coliseum board to stay on the site at least through 2018.  Read More

George Lucas replaces Modernist masterpiece with Cape Cod on a California Beach

Architecture, Eavesdroplet, West
Monday, August 11, 2014
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Lucas's new house (Tom Marble)

Lucas’s new house (Tom Marble)

George Lucas is making architectural waves again. And it has nothing to do with a museum. In 2012 AN reported that Lucas had torn down 3389 Padaro Lane, a 1981 Modernist masterpiece on the beach by sculptor and architect Sherrill Broudy in Carpinteria, just east of Santa Barbara. Now he’s finished the replacement—designed by Appleton & Associates. And let’s just say it’s less of a masterpiece.

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

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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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Neutra and Alexander’s Orange Coast College buildings facing threat

Neutra and Alexander's Business Education Building (Les Katow)

Neutra and Alexander’s Business Education Building (Les Katow)

Here at AN we’ve seen our share of Richard Neutra tear downs in recent years. The latest possible victim is Neutra and Robert Alexander’s campus-wide buildings at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, which are being threatened by the school’s bond-supported Vision 2020 plan (pdf). If the plan passes the school could tear down the duo’s classrooms, library, business education building, and science wing, as well as extensive landscaping by famed landscape architect Garrett Eckbo, in favor of new buildings, an Urban Street, and a Grand Lawn. The undertaking would be largely funded by 2012′s $698 million Bond Measure R, and total about 250,000 square feet of new construction.

Continue reading after the jump.

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