In case you’ve missed it (and you certainly wouldn’t be alone), Los Angeles is voting for mayor tomorrow. And if you’re an architect, planner, or design lover, you probably want to know who will serve your interests. There are a number of resources, starting, of course, with the candidates’—Eric Garcetti’s and Wendy Greuel’s— web sites. You should also have a look at the AIA/LA’s groundbreaking candidates’ forums, moderated by city planning commissioner Bill Roschen and LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne. Among so many other debates, another favorite was this one, hosted by KCRW radio host Warren Olney.
AN just heard from MOCA that their embattled show, A New Sculpturalism, Contemporary Architecture in Southern California, is moving ahead. The date has been pushed back from June 2 to June 16, but it will still take place inside MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary, presumably featuring the same roster of both emerging and star architects, minus Frank Gehry, of course. The show had been put on hold for several weeks for reasons that vary according to whom you ask. Curator Christopher Mount had blamed mismanagement at MOCA, while others had blamed apprehension about the show’s direction, and Gehry’s withdrawal.
Less than two weeks ago, the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” sent 20 thoroughbreds racing around the track at the Kentucky Derby, but across the country, Inglewood’s Hollywood Park race track has announced that it will be ceasing all races at the end of this year. Forever.
The race track is set to be replaced by about 3,000 homes, more than 600,000 square feet of retail space, 75,000 square feet of commercial space, a renovated casino, about 25 acres of parks, and and a 300-room hotel.
Los Angeles architect Arshia Mahmoodi, founder of the firm VOID, has launched an online petition to try to help save the troubled exhibition, A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture in Southern California at MOCA. The show, scheduled for a June 2nd opening, is currently in a holding pattern, and its curator Christopher Mount told AN he feared it would be cancelled. Mount blames mismanagement at MOCA, while several news reports have pointed to general apprehension about the show, and the recent withdrawal of Frank Gehry. Mahmoodi released the petition—directed to MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch—yesterday.
A big one hasn’t hit California for a little while, which means it’s the perfect time to enact more stringent retrofit legislation. Just in case, you know… Near the end of last month San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee signed into law the city’s new mandatory soft-story retrofit program, which calls for retrofits to buildings with large openings for storefronts or garages. There are quite a few in the city: 2,800, home to about 58,000 people and 2,000 businesses, according to the Mayor’s office.
The intrigue continues at MOCA, whose upcoming show A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture in Southern California, is close to being cancelled, according to multiple sources. The show’s curator Christopher Mount has told AN that Frank Gehry’s withdrawal is not the cause for the exhibition’s possible demise, as was suggested yesterday in the Los Angeles Times. The real reason, he said: MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch, who halted installation of the show a few weeks ago, claiming that money for the undertaking had run out. Mount, however, says there is plenty of money left in the show’s budget. Read More
The Wall Street Journal recently published a confirmation of two things we’ve been hearing whispers of for years: One, Michael Govan is more of a builder than a museum director; and two, that Govan and Peter Zumthor are planning to basically take LACMA apart and start over. 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 the story has gleaned that under Zumthor’s plan, four of the museum’s midcentury structures will be replaced by “curvaceous modern glass structures.”
Apple’s spaceship-like campus plans, designed by Foster and Partners, have been criticized for—among other other things— a lack of pedestrian friendly design. It appears the company has listened. New documents presented to the city of Cupertino show extended bike paths, winding walkways and private roads both circling the grounds and running through the center of the campus. The bike lanes would have buffer lanes to protect them from cars, pedestrian walkways would have increased lighting, a transit center would be the focal point for buses, and the plans also make room for public art projects.
Not all the changes are eco/pedestrian friendly. The new design calls for an increase in parking spaces from 10,500 to 10,980. Slated for completion in 2016, the campus has also been in the news for budget overruns and delays, with Bloomberg Businessweek reporting its cost ballooning from $3 billion to $5 billion. The first phase of the campus is scheduled to be complete by 2016.The original date was 2015.
Sad news in San Diego. Local architect Graham Downes, 55, was killed after being assaulted by one of his employees outside of his home last Friday morning, reports NBC San Diego. Downes, founder of Graham Downes Architecture, had practiced in the city for over 20 years. Local police found him unconscious in front of his house, in the Bankers Hill neighborhood, on Friday morning. Higinio Soriano Salgado, 31, was arrested and booked on attempted murder charges.
“It’s devastating. It’s difficult to imagine what tomorrow will be like, but we have to take care of tomorrow,” Alex Veen, CFO of Blokhaus, a collection of companies to which Graham Downe Architects belongs, told NBC San Diego. Downes specialized in luxury hospitality, office, and retail design. He was working on, among other projects, the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, the Palomar Hotel, Hotel La Jolla, Nico’s Bar, and shops for Charlotte Russe, Quiksilver, and Patagonia.
Add yet another project to the Hollywood development maelstrom. We learn from our friends at Curbed LA that the Columbia Square project—the redevelopment of the historic CBS Studios on Sunset Boulevard—is now moving ahead after a multi-year hiatus. The giant project, recently taken over by developer Kilroy Realty, would include a 22-story residential tower, 33,000 square feet of retail, three renovated historic streamline moderne structures, and two new office buildings all totaling more than 330,000 square feet. The architect of the former iteration was Johnson Fain, and now that title has gone to House & Robertson Architects. The historic complex, which opened in 1938, was designed by Swiss architect William Lescaze. It was once home to radio shows by Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, and Orson Welles and, later, to television’s Ed Wynn Show.
The high desert town of Lancaster, California, population 156,000, has set its sights on becoming, in the words of its mayor R. Rex Parris “the solar capital of the world.” That means producing more electricity from solar energy than it consumes, which it would have to achieve by covering roofs, fields, and parking lots with enough solar panels to generate more than 200 megawatts citywide. The city, located about two hours north of Los Angeles in the Antelope Valley, already has about 40 megawatts built and 50 megawatts under construction, according to the New York Times; a combination of private investment and construction from the municipal utility.
Lancaster could prove to be a good case study: getting a solar permit in the sun soaked town is already much easier than anywhere in California—the number of residential solar installations have tripled in the last 18 months—and Parris is touting the initiative as an effective way to add jobs to the struggling area.