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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Mesmerizing SCI-Arc Graduation Pavilion

Newsletter, West
Monday, September 12, 2011
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Courtesy Oyler Wu Collaborative

SCI-Arc held its graduation ceremony on Sunday in the parking lot in front of its building in LA’s Arts District. And they did it in style: in front of a billowing 60 x 110 foot canopy designed by LA firm Oyler Wu Collaborative, whose principles Dwayne Oyler and Jenny Wu are both SCI-Arc professors.  Read More

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Burning Man Amazes Yet Again

Newsletter, West
Thursday, September 8, 2011
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Temple of Transition (Michael Holden)

Temple of Transition (Michael Holden)

For the second year in a row (check out last year’s report here) we’d like to share some of the most amazing, ridiculous, and inspiring architecture of Burning Man, which just wrapped up in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. And like last year the Playa’s temporary installations didn’t disappoint; displaying an aggressive level of imagination and ambition for Burning Man’s 25th anniversary (has it really been that long?).

The theme this year was Rites of Passage, although we’re not sure the artists here are interested in following any rules. Photographer Michael Holden was on the ground to document the event. Here are our favorites from Burning Man 2011:

Continue reading after the jump.

UCSB Shortlist Has All The Big Names

West
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
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The San Joaquin Apartments will be located within the red circle above (courtesy UCSB)

Yes, things are slow these days, so we’re looking at every RFP we can. One of the biggest in Southern California is for the new San Joaquin Apartments at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), which will include two buildings housing 1,000 students as well as a revitalized neighborhood center. The RFP was issued in June, and we just got our hands on the shortlist, which was posted on August 26. The winner should be announced very shortly. Below are the finalists, including some very impressive names.

Check out the list after the jump.

Eric Owen Moss to Receive Jencks Award

West
Friday, September 2, 2011
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Moss' proposed Jefferson Tower in Culver City

LA architect Eric Owen Moss will receive the 2011 Jencks Award, an annual prize named for British architect and critic Charles Jencks recognizing “major international contributions to the theory and practice of architecture.” Previous winners of the award include Zaha Hadid, Foreign Office Architects, Peter Eisenman, Cecil Balmond, UNStudio, Wolf PrixCoop Himmelb(l)au, Charles Correa, and Steven Holl. The award will be presented on December 6 at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London.

Best known for his highly experimental work in Culver City’s Hayden Tract, a former industrial area transformed into creative offices, Moss is now planning several projects around Los Angeles. Below is a small collection of recent and upcoming work from his firm:  Read More

Help! Only Two Votes Needed To Fix California’s Infill Policy

West
Thursday, September 1, 2011
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California Capitol Building. (Courtesy jjkbach)

California Capitol Building. (Courtesy jjkbach)

Okay, let’s take advantage of this Democracy thing, folks… Today you have the rare opportunity to shape urban planning policy in California by convincing a few swing voters in the state’s Senate to support AB 710, the Infill Development and Sustainable Community Act of 2011. Apparently the bill is two votes shy of passage. If passed it would do a number of things to improve the state’s sprawling urban development policy, including… Read More

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