Google Moves Into Gehry’s Binoculars Building

Newsletter, West
Thursday, November 3, 2011
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(©Darrell G)

In an effort to consolidate its efforts in LA Google has leased 100,000 square feet of office space in three buildings in Venice, including space inside Frank Gehry’s Chiat/Day Building, a.k.a. the Binoculars Building. Why is it called that? Because one entryway is shaped like a gigantic pair of binoculars, of course. Finished in 1991 on Main Street, the space is probably the most famous of Gehry’s forays into…shiver… Post Modernism. The binoculars themselves were designed by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The new Venice Googleplex will hold many more employees than its present collection of buildings in Santa Monica, which contain about 300. Earlier this week Google announced that it would be adding 6,000 total employees this year. Recession? What recession? Not in Google’s world.

Denari Cleans Up At AIA/LA Awards

West
Friday, October 28, 2011
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HL23 (courtesy HL23.com)

Without a doubt the big winner at Wednesday’s AIA/LA Design Awards, held in the shadow of Cesar Pelli’s almost-done Red Building at the Pacific Design Center, was Neil Denari. In an unprecedented display of dominance his firm‘s No Mass House took home Best in Show for unbuilt work (Next LA Awards), his firm’s HL23 Residential Tower in New York took home Best in Show for built work (Design Awards) and then Denari won the AIA/LA Gold Medal. Now that’s a good night. (By the way, we thought Best In Show was reserved for dog shows, but that’s besides the point…) In accepting the medal Denari, who was born in Texas, talked about being inspired not only by the light and sunshine of California, but also by its darkness, a tension that’s palpable in his work. To check out more of the design awards winners check out the AIA/LA’s new app on iTunes. And to check out the new Red Building you’ll have to wait until it’s finished early next year.

More of Denari’s work after the jump.

Taking a new PATH in Portland

Shft+Alt+Del, West
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
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Corey Martin. (Paula Watts)

Corey Martin. (Paula Watts)

Corey Martin, co-founder of Portland-based PATH Architecture (we featured their Butler Residence in our pages a little while back) has left the five-person firm to become a principal at 45-person Portland firm THA Architecture. Martin worked at Richard Potestio and Allied Works prior to starting PATH in 2005 with partner Ben Kaiser. The firm has gone on to produce critically acclaimed projects ranging from the Park Box multi-family residence to a locker room for the University of Oregon.

Continue reading after the jump.

Gehry To The Rescue, With a Star-Studded Board

Newsletter, West
Thursday, October 20, 2011
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Gehry Technologies' BIM Model for the New World Symphony in Miami.

Frank Gehry is trying to save architecture, and it’s about time. His company Gehry Technologies, which provides technology and related services to design and construction firms, on Tuesday announced a plan to bring together “the world’s most distinguished architects” in a “strategic alliance” intended to transform the building and design industries through technology.

In other words they’ve put together a really impressive advisory board. The list of architects, designers, and business leaders includes: David Childs, Zaha Hadid, Greg Lynn, Laurie Olin, Wolf Prix, David Rockwell, Moshe Safdie, Patrik Schumacher, and Ben van Berkel. That’s no joke. Among other things, the group will strive to promote higher quality projects, greater efficiency, and more cost effective techniques.

Continue reading after the jump.

Just Can-Tastic: RTKL wins Canstruction LA 2011

West
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
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HMC and Buro Happold's "Feed Back Loop" won for best structural ingenuity (Tom Bonner)

When you see architects working feverishly into the night to arrange food cans into strange sculptures it can only mean one thing: CANstruction is back again! This year CANstruction LA took place at Westfield Culver City and featured creative designs from the likes of RTKL, HKS, Callison, and several other architecture and engineering firms. This year’s big winner was “Take a Bite out of Huger,” by RTKL, made of beans emerging from water waves to feast on tiny goldfish, but other fun designs included UFOs, abstract sculptures, and even food trucks. The event was organized by the Society for Design Administration, and all cans used go to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

If you want to vote for the Peoples’ Choice award, go to Westfield Culver City’s Facebook page.

Check out more can-sculptures after the jump.

Neutra’s Kronish Saved at Last

Newsletter, West
Monday, October 17, 2011
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Kronish House (courtesy LA Conservancy/©J Paul Getty Trust)

After a lengthy battle Richard Neutra’s Kronish House in Beverly Hills has been saved. Completed in 1955, the house, considered one of Neutra’s finest (and largest), came very close to its demise this summer after its new owners refused preservationists’ pleas and began the demolition process. But after the outcry got louder, the owners placed the demolition on hold, and now a buyer with an interest in restoring the home has just closed on the house.

Continue reading after the jump.

Gensler’s Downtown Dealings Revealed

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
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Rendering of Gensler's new HQ inside the Downtown LA "Jewel Box".

We heard back in April that architecture giant Gensler’s move to Downtown LA was spurred largely by a million dollar enticement arranged with the city. But it’s only now that we get to see the details behind the move. The LA Times‘ Steve Lopez was able to dig up the emails that set the process in motion, and they include corporate requests to pave the way for federal community development block grants (usually reserved for low income communities) to go to Gensler. The emails were sent from big-time developer Thomas Property Group to an aide in councilperson Jan Perry’s office. This seamless connection between business and government, we all know, is how things work in LA. But it’s rare to “look inside the sausage factory,” as Lopez puts it.

Richard Neutra’s VDL House: There’s an iPad App for That

Other
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
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Two screen views of the Neutra VDL iPad app.

Two screen views of the Neutra VDL iPad app.

Steve Jobs would have been proud. So would Richard Neutra. The Neutra VDL House in Silver Lake now has its own iPad App. Developed by Sarah Lorenzen and David Hartwell, the app includes stunning new pictures of the iconic modernist house, tons of information about Neutra, an annotated historic timeline of the home, guided virtual tours, and information about the house’s design, construction, and materiality. We especially love the 3d models, plans, and sections, which can be rotated on axis, giving you a new understanding of the house and providing some classic iPad fun.

Reyner Banham Facebook Mystery Solved

West
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
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In last issue’s Eavesdrop we noted that world famous LA architectural writer Reyner Banham (Architecture of Four Ecologies), who died back in 1988, now has a Facebook page with over 600 friends, most of whom think he’s still around. We’ve discovered who’s behind the fake page. Architect Parsa Khalili tells us he started it for an assignment in a seminar course at Yale School of Architecture in 2008. Khalili says he forgot about the account until one day he signed in and saw 30 people waiting to be his friend. Since then Banham has accrued friends from around the world, sending him birthday wishes and thanking him for the great honor of friending them. “Honestly I have no idea why I even bother but it has become such an absurdity it’s hard to totally let go,” explained Khalili.

Architects Say the Darndest Things

West
Monday, October 3, 2011
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UC Irvine Comtemporary Arts Center by Ehrlich Architects. (Courtesy Ehrlich Architects)

UC Irvine Comtemporary Arts Center by Ehrlich Architects. (Courtesy Ehrlich Architects)

If you’ve ever wanted to know more about LA’s architects than the results of their projects in steel and stone, check out Success By Design by writer and photographer Jenn Kennedy. The book profiles 25 of them, including Steven Ehrlich, Barton Myers, Ray Kappe, the late Stephen Kanner, and Hodgetts + Fung. Architects divulge all sorts of secrets like Myers’ insecurities about getting upstaged by students; Art Gensler’s original desire to start a “small” firm (his firm, Gensler, has over 2,000 employees); Randy Peterson of HMC’s amazing lack of free time; Kanner’s struggles with fees; and Kappe’s surprising facility with the business end of architecture. The book recently launched its digital version and a web site. See some interesting quotes below.

Continue reading after the jump.

October is for Architecture in Los Angeles, Too!

West
Monday, October 3, 2011
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Westwood Village (here shown in the early 20th Century) will be the topic of the panel Curse and Vision on October 10.

New York isn’t the only city celebrating Archtober. In Los Angeles, October has officially been “Architecture Month” since Mayor Villaraigosa declared it so back in 2007. The AIA/LA hopes the month-long festivities will help to “educate the public about architecture and architects, celebrate the profession and encourage the dialogue between those interested in the built environment.”

Check out the highlights after the jump.

In Other WEHO News..

West
Monday, September 26, 2011
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Courtesy City of West Hollywood

Despite the controversy over Ed Fickett’s now-endangered West Hollywood Library, the city’s new library, designed by architects Johnson Favaro, is set to open to the public this Saturday. The 32,000 square-foot project, with its undulating white facade, will feature two large murals by artist Shepard Fairey (part of a collaboration by Vanity Fair magazine and Cadillac) as well as an interior installation by artist David Wiseman. The master plan for the area calls for 2.5 acres of parkland and open space, new tennis courts and 400 parking spaces in two municipal garages. We’ll be taking a closer look at all this after the library opens, so stay tuned…

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