Feds Hope for Extensive Solar Projects in the West

West
Thursday, July 26, 2012
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Rendering of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert (Ivanpah)

New federal solar incentives should be bringing a lot more solar energy to the west. Unveiled yesterday, the government’s strategy calls for solar projects on 285,000 acres of federal land in six western states, and the opening of 19 million acres of California’s Mojave Desert for power plants that could generate up to 24,000 megawatts by 2030.

The 17 “solar zones” were chosen because they avoided major environmental, cultural, or other conflicts, a move that has been praised by several environmental groups. Incentives include lower land lease payments and reduced bond costs, and the plan is expected to be finalized in about a month. “It’s hard to overstate what a significant milestone this is for our administration,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told the LA Times.

Frank Gehry Goes Contextual in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward

National, Newsletter
Friday, July 13, 2012
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(Chad Chenier Photography / Make It Right.)

(Chad Chenier Photography / Make It Right.)

Make It Right, Brad Pitt’s development of contemporary, LEED Platinum homes in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward—an area devastated by Hurricane Katrina and still far from recovered—has a new addition: Frank Gehry. Gehry’s new duplex on the site was completed this week. The surprisingly simple design (especially considering some of the expressive homes in the development) features a waterproof solar canopy, a roof terrace and six covered porches. Still one could argue that Gehry’s stilt-raised design, with its fiber cement siding (that looks like local clapboard siding), metal roofs and focus on outdoor space, is one of the most contextual of the bunch.

A Lifeline in Sight for Orange County Great Park?

West
Thursday, July 12, 2012
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The OC Great Park's North Lawn (Sam Lubell)

One of the biggest casualties since the death of California Redevelopment has been the Orange County Great Park. The 1,360-acre expanse on the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station near Irvine has seen more than $1 billion in funds redirected to other state priorities, putting its future in severe jeopardy.

One (very) partial solution just emerged, according to the LA Times: developer Fivepoint Communities would more than double the number of residences  surrounding the park in exchange for chipping in $200 million to the city of Irvine to aid with park construction.

Of course that’s just a small fraction of what’s needed, leaving many wondering if the park, which is not even one-tenth complete, will ever be finished. But City Council member Larry Agran disagrees: “The fact of the matter is, the Great Park will be built. It may take longer than 20, 25 years, maybe 30 or 40 years. We’re making progress, and major construction is underway right now at the Great Park.”

Shortlist to Replace Los Angeles’ Iconic Sixth Street Bridge Revealed

West
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
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Sixth Street Viaduct (John Humble)

We learn from our friends at Curbed that Los Angeles’ Sixth Street Viaduct Competition, replacing one of the most famous—and fragile—landmarks in LA, has a shortlist. The 3,500-foot-long, art deco span was recently deemed beyond repair, and the winner will build a $401 million, cable-stayed bridge in its place. The teams, all present at an LA Bureau of Engineering meeting last night, are AECOM, ARUP, HNTB, Parsons, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and SOM. Three of those teams will present their plans in September, with a winner chosen in October.

Mixed Use Complex Planned for Downtown LA

West
Friday, June 29, 2012
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(Astani Enterprises)

Downturn? What downturn? It looks like Downtown Los Angeles will get its first mixed-use development in some time when construction begins on the Eighth and Grand project on the south edge of downtown. Developer Sonny Astani recently sold the land to limited liability corporation CPIVG8, who the LA Times says will probably start work “in the next couple months.” The $300 million building is set to have 700 residential units, a rooftop pool, 36,000 square feet of retail and nearly an acre of open space (and perhaps too many parking spaces: 737). Renderings show a wavy glass, steel and concrete facade, but that design appears to still be schematic. In fact no architect has been mentioned in any story on the project and calls to the developer about an architect have not been returned. We’ll keep you posted when a design and an architect are confirmed.

MSG Buys Midcentury LA Forum Arena

West
Thursday, June 28, 2012
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Historic image of the LA Forum. (hmdavid/Flickr)

Historic image of the LA Forum. (hmdavid/Flickr)

For months rumors have swirled that developer Madison Square Garden Co. (MSG) would buy the midcentury modern LA Forum arena in Inglewood, former home of the LA Lakers and LA Kings. (Its architect, Charles Luckman, also designed Madison Square Garden.)  That deal is now official, according to Crain’s New York, who said the company just paid $23 million for the property. MSG will begin a “comprehensive renovation” of the arena later this year, and details of that job will be released this fall. The company is currently working on an $850 million renovation of Madison Square Garden, itself a taxing job that is set to be done by next year.

Inside the Architects’ Studio: California Designers Put Out the Welcome Mat

West
Monday, June 25, 2012
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(Volkan Alkanoglu)

AN‘s first-ever studio tour at our new West Coast digs in the American Cement Building was a rousing success, with hordes of visitors streaming through the concrete-veiled structure’s eight architecture offices, including DRDS, Kelly Architects, Platform For Architecture + Research, Stayner Architects, Studio Bonner, Synthesis Design + Architecture, WROAD, and VA Design. In addition to beautiful displays of work (and beautiful views of the city) architects also rolled out a taco truck and multiple DJs.

Check out a slideshow after the jump.

Lights, Zoning, Action! Blockbuster Day for Zoning in Los Angeles

West
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
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A look at Hollywood. (Courtesy Stock Footage Hollywood)

Yesterday will be remembered as a historic day for Los Angeles planning wonks. First, city council approved the Hollywood Community Plan, which, among other things, paves the way for increased density near transit, more mixed-use development, and more integrated transit plans in the ever-improving entertainment center of LA. Right afterward, we learned from Curbed LA that the council also approved the Comprehensive Zoning Code Revision Ordinance, which will help the city—through a new trust fund—overhaul its zoning code for the first time since 1946. According to LA City Planning, the new code, when completed, will “include clear and predictable language that will offer a wider variety of zoning options to more effectively implement the goals and objectives of the General Plan and accommodate the City’s future needs and development opportunities.” In other words, simpler, streamlined zoning tailored to individual neighborhoods and needs. Also in the mix, the new codes will include a dynamic, web-based zoning code, a layperson’s guide to zoning, and a unified downtown development code. Hallelujah!

Eavesdrop> SOM and Cavagnero Take San Francisco’s Moscone Center Expansion

Eavesdroplet, Newsletter, West
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
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(Courtesy Moscone Center)

(Courtesy Moscone Center)

Here’s one thing we know: No matter how gigantic convention centers and airports grow, they’re never big enough. Now we’ve heard through the grapevine that San Francisco will be the latest to loosen its belt a couple notches with the help of SOM and Mark Cavagnero Associates. The city is jumping on the expansion bandwagon with the addition of 200,000 to 450,000 square feet to the Moscone Convention Center in the South of Market neighborhood. The original center opened in 1981 and its first expansion, Moscone West, followed in 2003.

More after the jump.

Keeping Busy at ArchPaper West.  Keeping Busy at ArchPaper West We’ve got our plates full this month at Dwell on Design/LA Design Festival/AIA LA Design Conference. On Thursday, June 21 we’re hosting a studio tour at our new West coast offices, the American Cement Building, featuring eight architecture firms in one building. Next, on June 22-24 we’re hosting architect consultations at Dwell, connecting more than 20 of the city’s top architects to potential clients. Finally on June 24, West Coast Editor Sam Lubell is moderating an expert panel at the AIA Design Conference examining how architecture can contribute to the public realm.

 

Eavesdrop> Grimshaw and Gruen Take Union Station

Eavesdroplet, Newsletter, West
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
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Grimshaw and Gruen's vision plan for Union Station. (Courtesy Grimshaw/Gruen)

Grimshaw and Gruen's vision plan for Union Station. (Courtesy Grimshaw/Gruen)

This is big: Our sources divulge that UK firm Grimshaw and LA-based Gruen Associates have won the commission to master plan the six million square feet of entitlements at Union Station in Los Angeles. A formal announcement is expected this coming Monday on Metro’s web site (our leak is unconfirmed), with the Metro board approving the firms after that.  Grimshaw has made a name for itself designing infrastructure and transit stations around the world, including Lower Manhattan’s upcoming Fulton Street Transit Center and London’s Waterloo Station. Gruen recently completed design on phase one of the Expo Line and has served as executive architect on several recent projects, including the Pacific Design Center. The site around Union Station encompasses about 38 acres and is anticipated to become a transit and commercial hub for the city. It will likely include offices, residences, retail, entertainment, parks and a potential high speed rail station.

Eavesdrop> Fuksas to Redesign LA’s Beverly Center

West
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
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The notorious Beverly Center (JohnnyRokkit/flickr)

Beating out shortlisted competition including John Friedman Alice Kimm and Brooks+Scarpa, Italian firm Studio Fuksas has been awarded the commission to revamp the Beverly Center, the legendary (not to mention, ahem, aesthetically challenging) high end shopping mall in Beverly Hills. The job, overseen by Michigan-based developer Taubman Group, calls for revamping a building that has become tired both inside and out. Read More

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