Our friends at Oyler Wu are putting the finishing touches on their collaboration with artist Michael Kalish that brings a pixelated face of Muhammad Ali to L.A. Live’s plaza in Downtown Los Angeles. The sculpture, reALIze, which has its official unveiling tomorrow night, consists of a large frame of hundreds of aluminum tubes on which 1,300 speed bags are hung via steel cables. From most angles it looks like a bit of a jumble, but from straight on, the composition of light and dark bags indeed forms an impressive likeness of the champ.
When anyone thinks of U.S. immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries they picture Ellis Island. But the West Coast’s counterpart was the US Immigration Station at Angel Island, a 1910 collection of modest timber buildings located off the coast of Tiburon, just outside San Francisco.
Until the end of World War II thousands of immigrants arrived here; most from the far east. And while Ellis Island was no picnic, this was an even harder place. Technically a detention center, its crowded barracks held hundreds of people for up to a year at a time. Thanks to California State Parks’ recent $20 million renovation by SF-based Architectural Resources Group and Tom Eliot Fisch, you can now visit.
In response to the lack of, ahem, any money in architecture these days, AIA/LA has announced a new scholarship to help members pay for the chapter’s ARE (Architect Registration Exam) seminars. The Saturday seminars usually cost $85 each for members, so if someone wants to take all ten, that’s worth $850. Preference goes to unemployed or under-employed architects, and right now there’s no limit to how many will be handed out. The chapter is about to award its first six scholarships today, says Matt Krinsky, AIA/LA’s Director of Programs and Events. By the way, for those struggling young architects hoping to get inspiration, check out the winners of the AIA’s Arch Is competition — Freeland Buck and Marcelo Spina— at LA’s A+D Museum tonight.
Take a look at the responses to our March 17 event, BetterHomeBuilding, at SPF:a Gallery in Culver City. The VERY lively panel of architects and developers discussed (often at top volume) how to improve large-scale home building in Southern California, and how to get architects more involved.
Participants included legendary architect William Krisel; Leo Marmol of Marmol Radziner Architects, Zoltan Pali of SPF: architects; Neal Payton of Torti Gallas and Partners; Harlan Lee of Lee Homes; Frank Vafaee of Proto Homes; and Brian Geis of Brookfield Southland.
Last month we reported on the LAUSD’s push to design new schools and temporary facilities using innovative prefab prototypes designed by Hodgetts + Fung, SLO, and Gonzalez Goodale. But today we learned from the LA Times that the jump starter of that project, LAUSD facilities chief James Sohn, has just resigned (among other things, the Times story noted questions about various conflicts of interests with contractors). So the fate of this, and other LAUSD projects may be up in the air.
The good news: According to Richard Luke, LAUSD’s Deputy Director of Planning and Development, “there should be no impact” on the prototypes program. “We’re proceeding with those, and we’re trying to move to the next step,” he tells AN. We’ll be watching to make sure all goes ahead with those and other new plans at the district.
AIA/LA has just announced the winners of its second annual “Arch Is” competition, open to California designers who have graduated from architecture school in the past five to twelve years. The victors are two of our favorites: FreelandBuck, headed by David Freeland and Brennan Buck, and P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S, led by Georgina Huljich and Marcelo Spina. Both are on the cutting edge of digital fabrication and complex, layered (not to mention curvy) design. See some of their work, below. And stop drooling. And check out a public forum featuring the winners at LA’s A+D Museum on March 24 a 7pm. Read More
Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design has always been ambitious about building. But after some pushback, it’s toning things down. Most architecture buffs know about the school’s iconic black steel hillside campus designed by Craig Ellwood, and its equally ambitious downtown campus designed by Daly Genik, located inside a former Douglas Aircraft wind tunnel.
But after its last director, Richard Koshalek, got pushed out largely for his super ambitious $150 million expansion plan, including a $45 million Frank Gehry-designed research center (many thought the school was putting more emphasis on facilities than teaching and students), the school’s new expansion plans, confirmed this week, involve renovations and smaller expansions, not big gestures, reports the Pasadena Star News.
Do you ever wonder why tract housing is so banal? Why Mediterranean knockoffs have become the vernacular of American residential architecture? Why our favorite architects don’t get involved in this gargantuan world? Then join us on March 17 at 7pm at the SPF:A Gallery (8609 Washington Blvd) in Culver City for a panel called BetterHomeBuilding, which will join architects and homebuilders in a discussion to not only improve the quality of tract residential developments but get architects more involved.
Last night we enjoyed a sold-out lecture at LACMA by the force that is Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. At age 36 the founder of BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) has accomplished more than most architects do in their lifetimes. How does he do it? We’re still trying to figure that out. Here are a few theories: 1.) He acts on every smart and/or crazy impulse and actually follows through. 2.) He marries utopian ideas with pragmatism 3.) He’s an amazing speaker and marketer. 4.) He seems to have more energy than just about anyone.
Take for example, the video (after the jump) of Ingels riding a bike through his spiral-shaped Danish Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo. What better way to show off his architecture and his boundless energy. Genius. Stay tuned for our interview with Ingels, coming soon…
Over the past year or so we’ve been hearing grumblings about how the LA Community College District has been conducting its huge $5.7 bond-funded building program. So had the LA Times, which yesterday kicked off a large investigative series documenting the corruption and the incompetence prevalent in that campaign.
The verdict, according to the Times: “Tens of millions of dollars have gone to waste because of poor planning, frivolous spending and shoddy workmanship.” The first story uncovers an email from the LACCD’s construction manager Larry Eisenberg admitting that quality control was “horrible,” and that, “We are opening buildings that do not work at the most fundamental level.”
Our favorite example of waste: The district paid photographers up to $175 an hour to take pictures of trustees at a construction award banquet. We also learn that the district’s board has little to no experience with construction. And that’s just the beginning. Check out the piece and fear for our public programs. Who said investigative journalism was dead?
Last week we checked out the opening of the new Lafayette Park Recreation Center, right outside of Downtown LA. Designed by Kanner Architects, the 15,000 square foot, $9.8 million complex represents a complete about-face from what was once a decrepit senior center with a drug and weed infested park.
It includes the airy renovation of 60′s architect Graham Latta’s whimsically modern 1962 senior center (with its barrel arched concrete canopies), a light-infused new gym (thanks to a large double-layered glass curtain wall—why don’t most gyms have those?), and new fields and picnic tables.