[ Updated 02.08.2011: Added the interview video, a gallery of Scarpa's 502 Colorado project, and more. ]
You know you’ve hit the big time when you’re not only invited to appear on Oprah, but you’re interviewed by Leonard DiCaprio on Oprah. Such is the case with Larry Scarpa, of Santa Monica firm Brooks + Scarpa, who talked to Leo about his former firm Pugh + Scarpa’s 502 Colorado in Santa Monica, which DiCaprio calls the “first green affordable housing project in the country.”
After years of trying, it looks like SCI-Arc is finally going to own its building in Downtown LA’s Arts District. According to the school the project should close escrow before this May. According to blogdowntown, the school will pay $23.1 million for the 100,000-square-foot building and its surrounding 4.75 acre lot. The deal had been held up because of property owner Meruelo Maddux’s continuing bankruptcy, but the company just settled with its debtor, Legendary Investors Group, which has pledged to honor the deal. “We don’t want to be renters anymore. SCI-Arc is absolutely committed to downtown,” SCI-Arc director Eric Owen Moss told AN when recently discussing the project. Interesting facts about the building: The quarter-mile-long Santa Fe Train Depot was converted into the school’s campus in 2000. Built in 1907, the depot was designed by Harrison Albright. At 1,250 feet long, if it were upended, it would be as tall as the Empire State Building.
Could this be the future of architectural photography? The LA Times this weekend published a wonderful virtual tour of Ray Kappe’s own house on a heavily wooded lot in the Palisades. Thanks to huge glass walls, skylights, clerestories, floating interior planes and cantilevered wooden decks, trellises and platforms, the house appears to float over its sloping site.
It’s truly one of the most spectacular houses ever built. And the tours of its facade, main room, kitchen, and deck do it more justice than any two dimensional pictures could. Now if only Kappe could get more props himself. When is he gonna win a Pritzker already?
Now THIS is what we call a hotel. On March 4 interior designer Tracy Beckmann and furniture maker Ryan Trowbridge will open the Hotel Lautner: their painstaking renovation of John Lautner’s Desert Hot Springs (CA) Motel, originally built in 1947, and still one of Lautner’s masterpieces. We stumbled upon the renovation this weekend on a trip to Palm Springs and bring you the details.
We’ve learned that after 25 years at it’s helm, Peter Noever has announced plans to step down as head of Vienna’s MAK (Museum of Applied Arts). Here in LA, Noever opened the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House in West Hollywood and also added the Fitzpatrick-Leland House in the Hollywood Hills to the MAK’s stable.
According to The Art Newspaper, the Austrian Green Party had “submitted an inquiry to parliament this fall following allegations that he had mismanaged resources.” This includes problems with the recent Austrian entry at the Venice Bienale. “There has been a media campaign against me,” Noever told The Art Newspaper. According to the paper Noever has since been offered a job working with former Guggenheim director Thomas Krens.
Wait a minute… Two spurned high ego museum directors working together? Now THIS should be interesting.
After years in the spotlight it appears that University of Southern California (USC) uber-alum Frank Gehry has decided it’s time to give back. The school announced today that Gehry has been named the school’s Judge Widney Professor of Architecture. He’s also taught at Columbia and Yale, but this is his first time teaching at his Alma Mater.
It’s not clear yet what classes he’s going to lead. Gehry, 81, graduated from USC (B.Arch) back in 1954. He’s arguably the school’s most famous alumnus, but there is good competition, including architects Thom Mayne and Gregory Ain, astronaut Neil Armstrong, filmmaker George Lucas, and, of course, O.J. Simpson.
An interesting piece in this month’s Architect magazine about architects’ personalities. After giving 100 architects Myers-Briggs tests, business consultant Robert Gaarder discovered that many scored ENTJ, which stands for Extraversion, Intuition, Thinking, and Judging. That combination, said Gaarder, only shows up in about 2 percent of the normal population.
We learn from our friends at Curbed LA that LA’s CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) is scrambling to put away funds for about a billion dollars in projects before being potentially done away with later this year. You see, earlier this month California Governor Jerry Brown proposed— among $12.5 billion in budget cuts— “phasing out” funding for all of the state’s redevelopment agencies, a move that, according to Brown, “will return billions in property tax revenues to schools, cities and counties and help pay for public safety, education and other services.”
According to Curbed, the CRA just “quickly put together a draft agreement with the city that socks away $938 million for future projects.” That includes money for The Broad‘s new parking garage, for a new office tower on Vine Street in Hollywood. No matter what you think of redevelopment agencies, the move will hurt architects and builders. So stay tuned next week for AN‘s comprehensive article on just how much it will hurt. Sounds fun, right?
Our favorite mobile, architecture-loving ice cream sandwich maker, Coolhaus, has added another truck to its growing arsenal. But this time the treats aren’t for humans. The new truck, Phydough, sells gourmet dog treats, ranging from duckfat-flavored biscuits to foie gras doggie ice cream.
Yes, this is no joke. Coolhaus founders Natasha Case and Freya Estreller started as consultants on the project—overseen by Patrick Guilfoyle, owner of Burbank-based doggie daycare Doubledog Dare Ya, which as far as we know is one of the world’s only dog kennels located in a contemporary-style home—but are now helping to operate the truck as well.
And world domination is on the horizon. Read more.
Finally. The design for Eli Broad’s new contemporary art museum in Downtown LA, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is being unveiled on Thursday, according to a press release sent out today. The event will take place at 11:00 am at Walt Disney Concert Hall (next to the new museum site), giving us lazy journalists plenty of time to make it. According to the release, the museum will be “home to the worldwide headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation,” and will provide a home for Broad’s collection of more than 2,000 works by 200 artists. Since the museum saga has dragged out over several years between several cities, and because he’s hired one of the country’s top architects, Mr. Broad has done an excellent job of building our expectations. Hope it’s good!