Steven Spielberg has captured some dicey events on film: World War II, Alien Invasions, and Dinosaurs gone wild. But none of that can prepare him for the mess that he’s about to cover: the World Trade Center. Spielberg is producing a documentary for the Science Channel called Rebuilding Ground Zero, a six-part series set to run next year. The show is the brainchild of architect Danny Forster, who hosts and produces the Science Channel’s Build It Bigger, and it will be directed by Jonathan Hock, who shot Through the Fire, a documentary about Coney Island basketball star and NBA dud Sebastian Telfair. Each episode of Rebuilding will chronicle one aspect of the ultra-slow redevelopment, including the Freedom Tower, the memorials, the park, the museum, and the transportation hub. Perhaps Spielberg will conjure up some CGI magic to make the site look like more than a hole in the ground? We’ll have to wait and see.
Just when we thought that Santa Monica was all set to get Eli Broad’s new art museum (Santa Monica City Council is expected to vote on an “agreement in principal” for the museum on January 19), the LA Times gets an email from the Broad Foundation saying it wouldn’t make up its mind on a location for a few months. In the email, dated January 13, the Broad Foundation said: “There are more than three cities that have expressed an interest in the Broad Art Foundation headquarters/museum. Discussions are still ongoing, so we can’t say more at this point. But we’re keeping our options open and hope to make a decision on a location this spring.” The story also seems to resolve the location of that mysterious third possible location for the museum: a 10-acre parcel on the campus of West L.A. College in Culver City (although West L.A. College President Mark Rocha said he hasn’t heard a peep from Broad). This saga will obviously be drawn out until 2050, so we prescribe patience for those who want an answer soon.
Stanley Saitowitz’s highly original Conduit restaurant in San Francisco, which used slender and sculptural copper piping as a unique design focus, closed its doors in mid-January. Located on Valencia Street, the restaurant had won several design awards, including a 2008 AIA San Francisco Honor Award. On its Facebook page owner Brian Gavin noted: “The dining population shrank. We had a great first year,… then a roller-coaster second year. We just didn’t have enough diners.”
There’s hope for the greening of Downtown LA…. Last month the AIA’s Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT), a group of eight sustainability experts (including architects, landscape architects, urban designers, transportation planners, business development professionals, and workforce training experts) from across the country, presented their preliminary ideas for Downtown to the local community. The event came thanks to a grant awarded to the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC) by the AIA’s Center for Community Design. The team recommended that the DLANC’s Sustainability Committee start or continue working on small scale interventions like tree plantings, community gardens, bike lanes, rerouting buses, its Harlem Place stormwater management/open space project, a sustainability website, Parking Day LA and other outreach events. It also proposed developing a vision that included a checklist of reminders that for all began with E (Empowerment, Equity, Environment, Economy, and Example). The SDAT team’s final report is to be delivered to the Neighborhood Council in early February 2010. We’ll let you know what they come up with.
According to the Santa Monica Daily Press (via our senseis at Curbed) Santa Monica has basically claimed victory in its battle against Beverly Hills for Eli Broad’s new contemporary art museum. According to the story the Santa Monica City Council could vote on the deal as soon as this Tuesday. “I feel that the vast majority of issues have been discussed thoroughly and agreed to,” City Councilman Bob Holbrook told the Daily Press. Meanwhile in Beverly Hills city spokeswoman Cheryl Burnett told the Daily Press she wasn’t aware of any new developments in negotiations with the Broad Foundations. Doesn’t look good for Beverly Hills.. Read More
The LA Times has finally solved the mystery as to why LA Community Redevelopment Agency CEO Cecilia Estolano stepped down late last year. According to The Times (and Curbed LA), Estolano warned LA mayor Villaraigosa that she would resign before moving her agency to a building on the western edge of downtown, which the mayor had requested. ‘The mayor may want to know that he will lose the CEO of his CRA/LA over this,” Estolano wrote in one memo. The paper said that “Villaraigosa’s executive team was baffled by Estolano’s defiance and asked for her resignation.” In an interview with the Times Estolano disputed the claim that she was pushed out. Either way, she’s one of several top officials to leave or be pushed out by the mayor in his final term, as the story states. It’s a wild, uncertain time here in LA.
Architect Kemper Nomland, who built Case Study House #10, has died at age 90, reports the LA Times. Nomland, who was born in California, joined with his father to create the firm Nomland & Nomland after WWII. Their most famous commission was #10, the only Case Study to be built in Pasadena. The house, constructed in 1947, was designed for the sloping corner lot in its hillside neighborhood, with rooms placed strategically on several levels. Rooms were placed on several levels. Like most Case Study houses the project connected indoors and out with large glass walls and used affordable, off-the-shelf construction materials. According to the Times, after working with his father Nomland worked for several architectural firms, and at one point he designed a house for actress Jane Russell. He designed dozens of other homes, including his own.
It being the last day of 2009, we at AN’s California edition thought we’d remind you of some of the year’s best architecture by sharing the awards presented by the AIA chapters from around California. Wow, there are a lot of chapters in this state. We only link to the ones that have posted their award winners (a little depressing to see that several chapters latest awards postings are from 2006 or so..). Here you go: Read More
Unfortunately not a good thing. According to MSNBC (and via Curbed LA), architects saw the most job losses of any profession in 2009. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job losses in the profession jumped 17.8 percent, bringing the total number of employed architects to 189,000 in the first three quarters of 2009, compared to 230,000 in the same period a year earlier. The good news: The BLS predicts a 10% jump in architecture jobs by 2018. But can we make it till then? The list, by the way, was rounded out by the following big job losers: carpenters, production supervisors/assembly workers, pilots, computer software engineers, mechanical engineers, construction workers, tellers, and bookkeepers.
Curbed LA reports that Julius Shulman’s house (above) in Laurel Canyon has been put on the market for $2.495 million. Shulman passed away this July, and his daughter Judy Mckee has been taking care of the house since. The steel frame three-bedroom, three-bath home, located at 7875 Woodrow Wilson Drive, was designed by famed Modernist architect Raphael Soriano. It was declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1987, so at least its exterior can’t be altered. According to Redfin, the realtor is RE/MAX of Valencia.
And so it begins. MGM Mirage’s 67-acre, 18 million square foot, $7.8 billion CityCenter, one of the biggest developments in the history of mankind, officially opened today. It includes buildings by Cesar Pelli, Daniel Libeskind, Rafael Viñoly, Helmut Jahn, KPF and Norman Foster. We can’t wait to put together our commentary. Here are some initial thoughts after our first day here: Read More
Whoah, Dude… The LA Times reports that a group including skateboarding legend Tony Hawk is backing a proposal to build a neighborhood skate park about 40 yards from LA’s Watts Towers. The colorful towers, made of twisting steel and shards of ceramics, among many other things, were built by Italian immigrant Simon Rodia between 1921 and 1954. They’re arguably South LA’s most important landmark. According to the story the skate park—whose circular bowls are reminiscent of the towers’ plans—is being pushed by councilwoman Janice Hahn and the Wasserman Media Group, an L.A. sports management and marketing company. And “Although no formal plan has been submitted, a conceptual plan has been drawn and fundraising is already underway, with an early boost from Hawk.” Most in the Towers’ camp seem irked by the idea, fearing excess noise and distraction. “It sounds like it would be great for Watts, but not near the towers,” said Michael Cornwell, chairman of the Committee for Simon Rodia’s Towers in Watts. Should be interesting…