Support Ball-Nogues Desert Drama

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Everyone’s favorite installation architects, Ball-Nogues Studio, are producing one of their most ambitious works to date: The Yucca Crater, a 24-foot-tall installation in the middle of the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree. The project’s wavy wood shell will contain rock climbing holds on its interior, rising out of eight feet of water (the basin, the firm describes, is a nod to abandoned suburban swimming pools scattered across the Mojave).

The wood will come from the formwork of another Ball-Nogues project, Talus Dome, in Edmonton, Canada. It is being built for High Desert Test Sites (HDTS), an initiative that invites artists to create experimental projects scattered among towns near Joshua Tree National Park like Joshua Tree, Pioneertown, Wonder Valley, Yucca Valley, and 29 Palms.

Continue reading after the jump.

Video> Explore California’s “Accidental” Sea

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We just came across The Accidental Sea, a fascinating documentary about California’s bewildering Salton Sea, an artificial lake created by flooding the Colorado River southeast of Palm Springs. It quickly turned into a resort and then (after subsequent environmental degradation) into a ghost town. The film by Ransom Riggs explores the history of the site and looks at the eeriness there now, from rusted out cars to abandoned spas and homes. Makes you wonder about the tenuousness of our civilization and makes you want to explore California’s other modern ghost towns like California City, an 80,000 acre development once intended to be the third largest city in the state (it’s population is now just over 8,000 people).

Read More

Dwell Editor, Design Director Both Leaving

National, Shft+Alt+Del
Thursday, August 11, 2011

In case you missed the news, Dwell magazine editor-in-chief Sam Grawe (pictured) is stepping down. He had been EIC for five years and with the magazine for eleven. No word yet on why he decided to leave, but we did get this (below) statement from Dwell marketing director Nancy Alonzo, which mentions that Grawe turned down an offer to stay with the magazine as editor at large.

Continue reading after the jump.

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LA Votes to Keep CRA

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

LA City Council is busy these days. Just one day after approving a downtown football stadium it voted today to approve the CRA/LA Continuation Ordinance, a move that will allow its city redevelopment agency to keep running. As part of the state’s so-called “Voluntary Alternative Redevelopment Program,” the city had to pay $97 million to the state this year, and will need to pay $26.5 million in future years. The program came as a result of state budget bills that would have simultaneously dissolved the state’s CRAs and given them a monetary out. According to Curbed LA, other cities that have opted in so far include Long Beach and Irvine. We’ll wait to see who else antes up.. Meanwhile the California Redevelopment Association’s lawsuit against the legislation is still pending.

Will Google’s new campus outdo Apple’s?

Newsletter, West
Monday, August 8, 2011

After Apple unveiled its plans for a spaceship-like new headquarters by (we think) Norman Foster at a recent Cupertino city council meeting, it appears that their chief rival Google is now looking, as usual, to outdo the Apple-ites. We hear from our sources that edgy—and super green—German architect Christoph Ingenhoven is set to design the Google HQ addition, supplementing the massive GooglePlex in Mountainview (which already contains more than 65 buildings).

According to the San Jose Mercury News the company has already leased an additional 9.4 acres from Mountain View at a price of $30 million and is planning to build the new office space there, accommodating new recruits, among others. Perhaps the offices will do a better job of engaging their Silicon Valley environs? Stay tuned. Or just keep Googling it. And check out some Ingenhoven designs below:

Continue reading after the jump.

Honors> Ehrlich Receives California’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The American Institute of Architects California Council (AIACC) has named Steven Ehrlich the 2011 Maybeck Award recipient for lifetime achievement in architecture. The award recognizes an architect’s body of work for outstanding design achievement extending over a career of 10 years or more. Named in honor of Bernard Maybeck, only 14 awards have been given since its inception in 1992.  Ehrlich joins Thom Mayne, Frank Gehry and Joseph Esherick, among others.  Read More

Eureka! California Redevelopment Agencies Sue To Save Selves

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Eureka is right!

As we recently predicted, the California Redevelopment Association and the League of California Cities yesterday filed a lawsuit in the California Supreme Court over the recent passage of bills to eliminate, or at least “ransom” its more than 400 redevelopment agencies. AB 1X 26 eliminates redevelopment agencies while AB 1X 27 allows agencies to exist if they agree to pay their share of $1.7 billion this year and $400 million annually.  Read More

Finally! Frank Lloyd Wright Ennis House Sold After Two Year Wait

Friday, July 15, 2011

Courtesy Ennis House Foundation.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House in Los Angeles, which went on the market back in June 2009 for $15 million has finally sold for less than a third of that: $4.5 million. Local business mogul Ron Burkle, who also owns the historic Greenacres/Harold Lloyd Estate in Beverly Hills, is, according to Ennis House Foundation Chair Marla Felber, “committed to complete rehabilitation” of the beleaguered house, which despite a recent rehabilitation still needs a lot of work. “While we did receive some other offers, they didn’t come from sources that could meet our main objective of finding a good steward for the house,” Felber told AN, adding that the Foundation was “thrilled,” to find the right buyer for the house, despite the lower sale price.

Continue reading after the jump.

Held Up: Stalled Projects at CRA/LA

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Improvements to the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center are now on hold pending resolution of the CRA/LA's status.

On Monday we reported that redevelopment agencies around the state have had to put the brakes on upcoming projects until their uncertain futures are sorted out. Because of recent state legislation cities will have to pay their share of $1.7 billion by this fall in order to preserve their respective agencies. Here’s a good example of the impact. CRA/LA has provided us a list of more than 20 current projects put on hold since the passage of the new legislation. They include the following:

Check out the list after the jump.

Dude! Behold The Skate House

International, Newsletter, West
Monday, July 11, 2011

Skateboarders, commence drooling. Behold this prototype for the PAS House, a Malibu home in which every surface will be skate-able. The secret? There will be no corners. From the living room to the kitchen to the bedroom the ground becomes the wall and then the ceiling in a continuous surface forming a tube with a 10 foot radius. The furniture is also curved for skating, including some groovy looking tables and beds.

The project, located at the top of Las Flores Canyon in Malibu, will by sometime next year be the home of skateboarder Pierre Andre Senizergues (hence the name PAS), a former world champion skater, and owner of skateboard company Sole Technology. It’s being created by designer Gil Lebon Delapointe and LA architect Francois Perrin, who for the prototype of the living area bent plywood, previously soaked in water, using a traditional skateboard ramp fabrication technique.

Skate on after the ollie…

Populous is Hypothetically Popular in Los Angeles

Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Populous' proposal for the City of Industry stadium.

Populous' proposal for the City of Industry stadium. The firm is now working for that project's competitor.

It turns out that sports arena architects Populous (formerly HOK Sport) have bagged not just one, but two of the biggest hypothetical projects in Los Angeles. Not only has the firm designed Majestic Realty’s proposed football stadium for the City of Industry, but they were just named by AEG as designers of its competition: The LA Convention Center’s relocated West Hall, which would be coupled with Gensler’s new downtown football stadium if that project gets approval.

Both projects, of course, have yet to receive that elusive approved status and, perhaps of greater concern, LA still has no football team, but it’s still a coup for Populous, whose Dan Meis would not comment on the company’s new commission. “We are laying a bit low on commenting on this given we have been involved with both projects,” he told AN. Still a Populous spokesperson told the LA Times, “We’re not currently performing work for a competing NFL stadium in Los Angeles,” and that the firm had Majestic’s blessing.  Only time will tell if this situation gets tense.

Bye Bye Libeskind in LA?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Thanks to a report from our friends at Curbed LA, we’ve learned that Daniel Libeskind’s proposed tower for Downtown LA may be dead in the water. Apparently its 1.32 acre site, 1340 South Figueroa, showed up on commercial sale site Loopnet in late May with a sale price of $17 million. According to Curbed the listing mentions the designs for the Libeskind tower (an angular design that includes 273 residences on 35 floors), but also that “the possibilities for this site are unlimited.” That’s not a good sign, despite the fact that the project received city approval two years ago. Let’s wait and see if yet another high profile proposed building in LA is about to go under… (KPF’s Park Fifth in Downtown LA, Jean Nouvel’s Green Blade in Century City, Etc, Etc)

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