PALI TALKS ABOUT ACADEMY MUSEUM

West
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
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May

As we reported last week, Zoltan Pali and Renzo Piano were tagged to design the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ new film museum inside LA’s former May Company Building. We recently caught up with Culver City-based Pali, principal of SPF:a, to discuss the project. It’s still early, so he couldn’t give many details, but he did share some Twitter-sized kernels about his approach and his upcoming collaboration. Read More

Could the Grand Avenue project be coming back to life?

West
Monday, June 4, 2012
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An early rendering of The Grand (Related Companies)

Frank Gehry and Related Companies’ left-for-dead Grand Avenue project in Downtown LA (now known as “The Grand”) may be getting a new lease on life, reports the LA Times. The $3 billion, mixed-use development, which includes condos, hotels, shops and a 12-acre park (Grand Park, which is opening this summer), was supposed to begin construction in 2007, yet no shovel has touched earth, at least not for a building. But now Related is reportedly rethinking the project’s “luxury aspirations,” toning down some of the most expensive elements and lowering rates on condos to get things moving. “We still believe we can create some of the highest values downtown….But do I think we have to be a little bit less ambitious? Yes, I would agree with that,” Related president Bill Witte told the Times. He would not comment on whether Gehry’s wavy towers would remain, but Witte did say that the project’s “dimensions, scope and scale” could be adjusted. Meanwhile Grand Park’s web site doesn’t provide a definitive completion date, so stay tuned for more on its opening.

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Last Chance to Make a Sonic Trace.  Last Chance to Make a Sonic Trace LA radio station KCRW is challenging designers to put together a portable sound booth to collect stories for its program Sonic Trace, which explores questions about community and immigration. Producers will be toting the booth all over LA’s diverse communities (ideally on the roof of their VW Wagoneer), from Koreatown to South Central, so it’s got to be lightweight and hearty. Hurry because submissions are due on June 8!

 

Strange Sentence for Phonehenge Creator

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
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(Flickr user RuggyBearLA)

(Flickr user RuggyBearLA)

For those of you that don’t know “Phonehenge,” it was one of California’s classic DIY creations (right up there with the Watts Towers and Salvation Mountain), created by former phone company repairman Kim Fahey out of old telephone poles in the Mojave Desert. Unfortunately the structure, in Acton, CA, was demolished last year because of code violations, and according to the Washington Post a judge recently sentenced Fahey to pay the $83,488 it cost to demolish it.

In an even stranger demand, the court sentenced Fahey to 63 days of community service, five of them in the county morgue. “The judge thought it was an extreme fire danger and I guess she just wanted him to see dead people,” defense attorney Jerry Lennon told the Post. But there’s a silver lining. A group called Save Phonehenge West is raising donations both to pay for Fahey’s legal bills and to rebuild Phonehenge in Kern County, to the north.

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Moss out in WeHo? Or maybe not?

Newsletter, West
Thursday, May 24, 2012
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Rendering of Moss' Sunset Strip Hotel (courtesy Eric Owen Moss Architects)

Rendering of Moss' Sunset Strip Hotel (courtesy Eric Owen Moss Architects)

While it was approved by the city of West Hollywood back in 2009 (and again in 2010), it looks like Eric Owen Moss’ large hotel on the Sunset Strip might be in trouble. Curbed LA reports that the property containing the 11-story project, which was also to include condos and retail, has been bought by Marriott hotels’ “Edition” brand of luxury hotels, which WeHo Patch has said “doesn’t seem inclined to use the Moss designs.” Our calls to Marriott were not returned.

The Moss scheme was originally proposed by developer Richard Weintraub (with no hotel operator), and Marriott’s involvement became clear when the West Hollywood planning department approved the company’s modifications (slightly increasing size, adding a nightclub) to the project last Thursday. But wait. According to West Hollywood Planning Manager John Keho, Marriott has not yet told the city who the architect of their proposal will be, nor have they given a timeline for when they might submit architectural plans. According to Moss principal Eric McNevin, “Nothing has been confirmed yet. It’s not known yet. What was reported was speculation.” Stay tuned.

Join Us For A Teaching Moment Next Tuesday

West
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
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This editor’s recent piece on the divide between architectural education and architectural practice has spurred a lot of discussion, prompting both high praise for addressing a worsening problem and charges of, ahem, “neoconservatism.” If it’s a debate that interests you, please join us next Tuesday, May 29 at Gensler’s new headquarters for the panel discussion, “A Teaching Moment.” Panelists include UCLA’s Neil Denari, Michael Maltzan, USC’s Alice Kimm, Woodbury’s Barbara Bestor, SCI-Arc’s John Enright, and Gensler’s Li Wen. At the panel we will discuss not only the schism between practice and education, but also new approaches toward technology, urbanism, and more. See you there!

Architecture is on Display at the Venice Art Walk

West
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
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Exterior of Google's new HQ in Venice. (IK's World Trip/Flickr)

Exterior of Google's new HQ in Venice. (IK's World Trip/Flickr)

Trust us, you don’t want to miss this weekend’s Venice Art Walk & Auctions (May 19-20), which in addition to showing off the area’s wealth of art studios and galleries, will introduce you to some of its finest new architecture. That’s impressive because everybody knows that Venice has more architects per square foot than pretty much anywhere else.

Continue reading after the jump.

Archi-Crime of the year: Lloyd Wright’s Moore House Destroyed

West
Thursday, April 26, 2012
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Moore House before demolition (Stephen Russo)

Lloyd Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, was one of California’s most talented modernist architects, but he was overshadowed by his father’s fame and notoriety. Wright’s lack of press largely led to the destruction yesterday of his Moore House (1958) in Palos Verdes, a ritzy beach town near Los Angeles. Apparently, when the owners of the property planned the demolition they had never heard of the architect. The city council denied an appeal from the Los Angeles Conservancy, and now the winged, x-shaped house is gone. According to Curbed, the owner wants to build a Mediterranean McMansion in its place.  Read More

Everybody Walks In LA.  Everybody Walks In LA Or at least that’s the goal of Los Angeles Walks!, a pedestrian advocacy group that aims to make walking accessible and safe in a city that has long been stereotyped as car-centric. Among other things the group recommends improvements to dangerous intersections through better crosswalk design, better way finding, road diets (aka street slimming), and various policy changes. This Saturday evening the group is hosting the Los Angeles Walks Karaoke Fundraiser at Atwater Crossing in LA’s Atwater Village. Get out there and sing! And if you drive there, at least park a few blocks away…

 

New Shortlist Jumpstarts Long-Stalled LA Courthouse

Newsletter, West
Monday, April 2, 2012
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The courthouse site in Los Angeles. (Courtesy Bing)

The courthouse site in Los Angeles. (Courtesy Bing)

The biggest new architecture project in Los Angeles just got a much smaller list of candidates. The General Services Administration (GSA) has released the shortlist for the new U.S. Courthouse in LA, a design-build project where architects are partnered with builders. When completed, the building, located on a 3.7 acre lot at 107 South Broadway, will measure 600,000 square feet. It’s projected to cost $322 million and be completed by 2016.

Continue reading after the jump.

Unbelievabubble! Inflatable Mania Overcomes USC Students

Dean's List, West
Friday, March 30, 2012
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Students check out one of the three installations.

Students examine "Sheer Pressure" from inside and out. (Pouya Goshayeshi)

In the interest of getting students to build physical things, three years ago, USC introduced Top Fuel, a week-long design-build workshop accompanied by lectures, exhibitions, and panels. This year’s workshop, “Filters Funnels Flows,” wrapped up earlier this week. It focused on pneumatic (aka inflatable) structures, teaching students about the “inseparable relation between form and performance of pneumatic systems.” Indeed, produce the wrong form here (or material, or structure) and the piece doesn’t inflate. Students also explored lighting, temperature, and other environmental issues.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Addressing Water Scarcity at A+D

West
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
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Tom Kosbau's winning vision for the Drylands Design Competition uses the LA River as a fertile agrarian center.

Tom Kosbau's winning vision for the Drylands Design Competition uses the LA River as a fertile agrarian center.

Last Thursday, we visited the opening of the A+D Museum’s new show, Drylands Design. While politicians squabble about oil and other resources, the show drives home the point that water is the reserve that will become the most fraught in the future as populations increase and climate change worsens. The Arid Lands Institute at Woodbury University culled the exhibit from the winners of their Drylands Design Competition, which encouraged architects, engineers, and urban designers to respond to the challenges of coming water scarcity.

Continue reading after the jump.

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