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!
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
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
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.
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!
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.