San Diego Architect Dies After Assault By Employee

West
Thursday, April 25, 2013
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Graham Downes. (Courtesy Graham Downes Architecture)

Graham Downes. (Courtesy Graham Downes Architecture)

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.

See more work by Downes after the jump.

Columbia Square Back From The Dead In Hollywood

West
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
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Schematic rendering of Columbia Square. (Courtesy Kilroy)

Schematic rendering of Columbia Square. (Courtesy Kilroy)

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.

Lancaster, California Going For Solar Gold

West
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
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Solar panels on a house in Lancaster, California. (Thomas Hart / Flickr)

Solar panels on a house in Lancaster, California. (Thomas Hart / Flickr)

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.

Get Going This Weekend In Los Angeles: Venice House Tour, SCI-Arc Party, CicLAvia

West
Friday, April 19, 2013
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Hopper Residence next to Arnoldi Triplex. (Larry Underhill)

Hopper Residence next to Arnoldi Triplex. (Larry Underhill)

For those of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s, it’s time to feel old. As part of its “Curating The City” series, the Los Angeles Conservancy is tomorrow hosting an amazing tour called Venice Eclectic: Modern Architecture from the 1970s and ’80s. The event features looks inside whimsical buildings by, among others, Frank Gehry (Indiana Avenue Houses/Arnoldi Triplex), Steven Ehrlich (Ed Moses Studio), Brian Murphy (Hopper House, above), Frederick Fisher, and Frank Israel. Yes, it’s time to appreciate these decades for more than disco and Madonna. After the tour there will be a panel featuring Ehrlich, Fisher, and Murphy.

And that’s just the beginning of a busy weekend for LA architecture and urbanism buffs. There’s also SCI-Arc’s 40th birthday party on Saturday night and CicLAvia—with an expanded route going all the way to the ocean for the first time—on Sunday. Get going.

View more houses on the tour after the jump.

Q+A> Is Los Angeles’ Arts District As Hot As We Think?

Newsletter, West
Thursday, April 11, 2013
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Shimoda Design's rendering of Alameda Square (Shimoda Design)

Shimoda Design’s rendering of Alameda Square (Shimoda Design Group)

Last week, AN reported on the development of Alameda Square in Los Angeles, the 1.5-million-square-foot mixed use project being designed at the old American Apparel factory site on the southwest edge of LA’s Arts District. Movement on projects like this beg the question: Just how hot is LA’s Arts District? AN‘s West Coast Editor Sam Lubell sat down for a short chat with James Sattler, a Vice President of Acquisitions at JP Morgan Asset Management, to find out.

Read the interview after the jump.

Giant Solar Array at Occidental College Wows Los Angeles

West
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
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Oxy Solar Array (Sam Lubell/ AN)

Oxy Solar Array. (Sam Lubell/ AN)

At a DeLab (Design East of La Brea) Tour this Saturday, Los Angeles-based firm Lettuce Office shared the epic story of its new solar array for LA’s Occidental College. The 1 megawatt installation, made up of 4,886-panels, follows the contours of its hilly site, with its angled panels raised just two or three feet off the ground. To guard against sliding, each set of panels had to be imbedded into the earth via concrete-supported columns.

Continue reading after the jump.

My LA2050: Vote to Change Los Angeles

West
Thursday, April 4, 2013
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Maker-13

Think LA has too many issues? Then start voting in the My LA2050 Challenge, a competition handing out $1 million in grants to some of the most innovative and creative ideas meant to tackle the city’s biggest problems. Voting, which is all online, began on April 2nd and lasts until April 17th.

More than 275 ideas have been proposed. One is AN West Coast Editor Sam Lubell’s exhibition, Never Built: Los Angeles, which brings to life more than 100 innovative, often unbelievable, unbuilt schemes—many dashed by LA’s inability to embrace innovation—and challenges the city to change its culture of public timidity and banality. Another favorite is Farm on Wheels, by LA-Más, in which food trucks will serve as citywide “hubs of healthy food.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Pelli Clarke Pelli’s Transbay Tower Breaks Ground in San Francisco

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
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Rendering of the Transbay Tower, which will be SF's tallest building.  (Courtesy Pelli Clarke Pelli)

Rendering of the Transbay Tower, which will be SF’s tallest building. (Courtesy Pelli Clarke Pelli)

Last Wednesday, Pelli Clarke Pelli’s long-anticipated Transbay Transit Tower, at San Francisco’s First and Mission streets, finally broke ground, and architect Cesar Pelli was on hand to help turn dirt with ceremonial gold-plated shovels. At 1,070 feet and 61 stories, the tower would be the tallest on the West Coast—at least until AC Martin’s Wilshire Grand opens in Los Angeles—and seventh tallest in the nation, taking the title from New York’s Chrysler Building. At the ceremony, Pelli told the San Francisco Business Times the tower is “svelte but dynamic, elegant, and very gracious.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Tonight> MAK Center’s Dialogues Series Concludes With Impressive Exhibition

West
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
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Berdaguer & Pejus, Gue(ho)st House, Delme, 2012.

Berdaguer & Pejus, Gue(ho)st House, Delme, 2012.

Dialogues, the series of conversations between architects and artists that took place at the MAK Center in Los Angeles over the last couple of months, is finishing up tonight with an exhibit of the designers’ work. The show features drawings, images, and models from a serious lineup at For Your Art on Wilshire Boulevard. Contributors include: Doug Aitken, Barbara Bestor, Escher Gunewardena, Fritz Haeg, Jorge Pardo, Linda Taalman, Xavier Veilhan, Pae White, Peter Zellner, and many many more. The show will be up until April 16.

 

Double Vision: SCI-Arc and Caltech’s DALE Splits in Two For Solar Decathlon

Dean's List, West
Friday, March 22, 2013
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DALE is tailor-made for the Southern California Climate. (Courtesy SCI-Arc)

DALE is tailor-made for the Southern California Climate. (Courtesy SCI-Arc)

This October, for the first time, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon—a biennial competition encouraging schools from around the country to create affordable, solar powered, Net Zero houses—will be held outside of Washington D.C. The new location, in the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California, gives SCI-Arc and Caltech a distinct home field advantage. The team of 16 SCI-Arc and 20 Caltech students is creating a fascinating structure, called DALE, which stands for Dynamic Augmented Living Environment (their last entry was called CHIP.. get it?) that could only be possible in the moderate Southern California climate.

Continue reading after the jump.

Pelli Clarke Pelli’s Transbay Center Glass Facade Could Become Perforated Metal

West
Thursday, March 21, 2013
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transbay_facade_01btransbay_facade_01a

 

The perforated aluminum skin would replace the previously proposed glass facade. (Courtesy TJPA)

It looks like Pelli Clarke Pelli’s Transbay Transit Center, which stretches about three blocks through the city’s Rincon Hill neighborhood, might go ahead with its first major piece of value engineering. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the architects have suggested that the building’s undulating glass skin become perforated aluminum. The move would meet federal safety guidelines and chop $17 million from the estimated $1.59 billion budget for the center’s first phase. The Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) board will be  asked to approve the change at its March 25 meeting. The structure is not expected to be complete before 2017.

Continue reading after the jump.

Dissecting Natural Design at the LA Natural History Museum

West
Monday, March 18, 2013
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(Sam Lubell/ AN)

Staggered rocks contain plant life that sprout from their many in between spaces. (Sam Lubell / AN)

On Saturday I moderated one of two AIA/LA-sponsored panels about bio-inspired design at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum. The first panel looked at the general influence of nature on design, from the Mars Rover to the San Diego Zoo, and ours zeroed in on architecture’s envelopes and skins, with insights about breaking away from the static, heavy, and largely-unresponsive architecture of today by architect Tom Wiscombe, Arup engineer Russell Fortmeyer, and evolutionary biologist Shauna Price. Speaking of bio-inspired design, before the panel I got an early look at the new gardens at the Natural History Museum, designed by Mia Lehrer + Associates.

Continue reading after the jump.

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