Top of the Glass: Students Design Shimmering Pavilion At USC

Dean's List, Newsletter, West
Friday, March 15, 2013
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(Roland Wahlroos-Ritter)

(Roland Wahlroos-Ritter)

Once again the courtyards at the USC School of Architecture are bubbling with installations as part of the second-year 2b studio, in which several teams of undergraduate students design and build structures in a very short period of time. Perhaps the most striking is the shimmering pavilion created by the 14-student class of professor Roland Wahlroos-Ritter. The studio focused  on glass’ structural, reflective, and refractive qualities.

Continue reading after the jump.

Wait, What? Now MOCA Might Team Up With National Gallery

West
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
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Inside the East Wing Atrium at the National Gallery of Art in DC. (cleita / Flickr)

Inside the East Wing Atrium at the National Gallery of Art in DC. (cleita / Flickr)

Now we’re really confused. Amidst reports that LA’s MOCA might be taken over by LACMA or USC, now we hear via the New York Times that the struggling institution might now join forces with the National Gallery in Washington D.C. According to John Wilmerding, the chairman of the Gallery’s board of trustees, MOCA is “close to working out a five-year agreement…to collaborate on programming, research and exhibitions.” The deal wouldn’t include fundraising assistance, but would obviously bolster MOCA’s ability to raise money with the National Gallery’s high profile assistance on programming, exhibitions, research, curation, and staffing. Oh, and guess who approached the National Gallery, according to the story: MOCA board chair Eli Broad, who has made it clear he doesn’t want to be swallowed by LACMA. Stay tuned as this saga plays out.

Downtown LA Update: Streetcar Moving, Tower Trading, Stadium Stalling?

West
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
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Rumors are swirling about the fate of Gensler's Downtown LA Stadium. But thus far we're still in the dark. (Courtesy Gensler)

Rumors are swirling about the fate of Gensler’s Downtown LA Stadium. But thus far we’re still in the dark. (Courtesy Gensler)

In recent weeks we’ve seen a number of important developments in Downtown Los Angeles, like the groundbreaking of the Arquitectonica-designed apartments on Grand Avenue, and the topping out of The Broad next door. The red-hot area continues to make headlines, from the advancement of its upcoming streetcar to the murkiness of its proposed football stadium.

The latest Downtown LA developments after the jump.

LACMA Makes Move For MOCA Los Angeles

Other
Friday, March 8, 2013
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MOCA's Grand Avenue location in Los Angeles. (CTG/SF / Flickr)

MOCA’s Grand Avenue location in Los Angeles. (CTG/SF / Flickr)

As confirmed on its blog yesterday, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has made a proposal to acquire the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (MOCA). “Our chief desire is to see MOCA’s program continue and to serve the many artists and other Angelenos, for whom MOCA means so much,” said LACMA director Michael Govan in an online letter. Reportedly LACMA would preserve MOCA’s two buildings, located on Grand Avenue and in Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles. According to the LA Times, the offer was made back on February 24. As part of the arrangement, LACMA would raise $100 million for the combined museums as a condition for completing the deal, according to their story.

Another suitor for struggling MOCA is the University of Southern California (USC), which has been reported to have been in talks to merge with MOCA as well. That arrangement has a model in UCLA, which is partnered with the Hammer Museum in Westwood. Either way, it looks like something has to be done about financially-troubled MOCA: “If not us, who?” Mr. Govan said in an interview with the New York Times yesterday.

Frank Gehry Unveils Mixed-Use Tower For Santa Monica

Newsletter, West
Friday, March 1, 2013
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Frank Gehry's 22-story tower for Santa Monica. (Courtesy Gehry Partners)

Frank Gehry’s 22-story tower for Santa Monica. (Courtesy Gehry Partners)

OMA and Robert A.M. Stern are not the only starchitects zeroing in on Santa Monica. Frank Gehry is designing a 22-story, 244-foot-tall tower on a 1.9 acre site on the corner of Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard.  Plans for the project were submitted to the city yesterday, according to the  Santa Monica Planning Department. The tower, located just a block from the beach and around the corner from the 3rd Street Promenade, would house a 125-room hotel, 22 condos, and two stories of retail and restaurants.  A 36,000-square-foot art museum, incorporating two landmarked structures, would also be built just north of the tower.

Read More

Bahooka is Bust: Los Angeles’ Kitsch Tiki Treasure To Close

West
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
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A fish swims above Bahooka's bar. (Sam Lubell/ AN )

A fish swims above Bahooka’s bar. (Sam Lubell/ AN )

Alas. One of LA’s greatest weird treasures, the Bahooka Family Restaurant, is set to close on March 10. The gem, which opened its Rosemead location in 1976, is perhaps the most ornate example of Tiki architecture in the city. Not only is it full of every Polynesian tchotchke imaginable—Easter Island heads, hula dancers, blowfish, diving bells—but most of its walls are covered with fish tanks, creating the feeling of being inside Sponge Bob’s home. The restaurant’s owners have said they’re simply ready to retire, which we certainly understand, but we must admit we’re a little sad.

More photos after the jump.

Google Keeping Up With the Silicon Valley Joneses, Unveils New Campus Design by NBBJ

West
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
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Rendering of Google's planned Bay View campus, by NBBJ. (Courtesy NBBJ)

Rendering of Google’s planned Bay View campus, by NBBJ. (Courtesy NBBJ)

Last week we reported on Gensler’s planned triangular Nvidia headquarters in Santa Clara, the latest addition to the architectural arms race that is Silicon Valley. (We’re seeing zoomy new headquarters for Apple, Samsung, HP, Nvidia, etc, etc.) Now there’s yet another. Google’s new project adjacent to its “Googleplex” in Mountain View, has unveiled their new designs by NBBJ.  The new campus, which is being called Bay View, is comprised of nine crimped, predominantly-four-story buildings. Each building will be connected by a bridge; a connectivity that has become a staple of NBBJ’s office work around the world, including its new headquarters for Samsung nearby. The competition to out-campus the competition seems to be heating up. Who’s next?

View more Silicon Valley headquarters after the jump.

Gensler Triangulates a New Santa Clara Headquarters for Nvidia

West
Thursday, February 21, 2013
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Rendering of Nvidia planned Silicon Valley headquarters in Santa Clara. (Courtesy Gensler)

Rendering of Nvidia planned Silicon Valley headquarters in Santa Clara. (Courtesy Gensler)

Silicon Valley definitely has the architecture bug. We’ve recently seen remarkable new designs put forth by Foster + Partners for Apple and NBBJ for Samsung. Now Gensler has released ambitious new designs for tech company Nvidia, located in Santa Clara. The 24-acre complex’s two 500,000-square-foot buildings are each shaped like triangles, a configuration that Gensler principal Hao Ko explains facilitates collaboration by allowing connections to each side of the building to be the shortest. (The triangle, he adds, is also “the fundamental primitive that defines all shapes in the digital realm.”) Undulating roofs will be made up of smaller triangle pieces, breaking down the overall mass and allowing for ample skylighting, in the in-between spaces. Construction is set to begin this summer, with completion in 2015. Apple’s circle now has geometric competition. Who’s next?

Modernism Week: Sneak Inside Palm Springs’ Future Architecture and Design Center

West
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
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Exterior of E. Stewart Williams' Santa Fe Savings and Loan, future home of the Palm Springs Architecture and Design Center (Julius Shulman)

Exterior of E. Stewart Williams’ Santa Fe Savings and Loan, future home of the Palm Springs Architecture and Design Center (Julius Shulman)

Another weekend, another Modernism Week. One of our favorites: a look inside the Palm Springs Art Museum’s future Architecture and Design Center, located inside E. Stewart Williams’ sleek Santa Fe Federal Savings & Loan (1960). The International Style building is being renovated by Marmol Radziner, who also worked on Richard Neutra’s nearby Kaufmann House. The museum has already raised more than $4 million to buy and renovate the building, and is now just $1 million shy of what’s needed to get work underway. The organizers hope to break ground in the next few months and open the center by fall 2014. But for now, its interior is still lots of quirky fun, including a chance to walk inside the old bank vaults, check out the old drive through teller, and explore the old kitchens and mechanical systems.

View the interior after the jump.

Slideshow> 2013 Los Angeles CANstruction Winners

West
Friday, February 15, 2013
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The LAX EnCANter Restaurant” by RBB Architects (Tom Bonner)

“The LAX EnCANter Restaurant” by RBB Architects. (Tom Bonner)

Every year architects across the country take their talents to CANstruction, creating fascinating structures out of tin cans. CanstructionLA recently announced this year’s winners, and there are some impressive results to share. Participants created local icons like the LAX Theme Building (RBB Architects), the California state flag (Clark Construction and Thornton Tomasetti), and the Port of LA (RBB Architects).  The jury’s favorite, Filling a (Growing) Need, by NBBJ and Buro Happold, was made up of an undulating landscape of canned kidney beans, potatoes, beets, and mixed vegetables. The event contributed  21,076 pounds of food and $12,034 to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

View more CANstructions after the jump.

Slideshow> Libraries Galore as San Francisco’s Branch Improvement Program Comes To A Close

West
Thursday, February 14, 2013
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Marina Branch Library, Field Paoli (David Wakely)

Marina Branch Library, Tom Eliot Fisch/Field Paoli. (David Wakely)

San Francisco’s North Beach library, which AN reported on today is finally under construction after more than two years of delays, is the last of more than 20 city library branches to be repaired or rebuilt thanks to a $105 million bond measure that SF voters passed in 2000 called the Branch Library Improvement Program (with the unfortunate acronym, BLIP). The measure has spurred innovation from several of the city’s top firms, and we couldn’t resist sharing more of their work in the slideshow below. Only two remain: North Beach and the Bayview Branch Library, designed by THA Architecture in collaboration with Karin Payson A+D, which is scheduled to open later this month. Find a full list of library projects here.

View a slideshow of libraries after the jump.

Video> Los Angeles’ Regional Connector Subway Line Coming Into Focus

West
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
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A new video released by LA METRO gives us all a much clearer conception of the construction sequencing of the Regional Connector, the 1.9 mile downtown underground light rail line that will connect Los Angeles’ now-dispersed Gold, Blue, and Expo lines. The $1.3 billion connector, funded largely by 2008’s Measure R sales tax increase, is set to begin construction later this year. It will travel primarily under Flower Street and 2nd Street, and is set to open by 2019. Movement of utilities around the line began in December. Yes, more transit in Los Angeles. This is really happening!

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