AIA/LA hosted its annual Design Awards last night at LACMA, an event that while not too full of people (that pesky recession) was full of astoundingly good projects. The AIA made us really happy, awarding AN a Presidential Award (Thanks AIA/LA President Paul Danna) for “Architectural Interpreter”. Aw Shucks.. Other notable winners included Firm of the Year Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects and Gold Medal winner Brenda Levin. Since there were a hefty number of Design Award winners, we’ve decided to pick out a few of our favorites. And so without further ado we present the first ever, completely unofficial, AIA/LA Awards Awards! Read More
This weekend marks what would have been the 100th birthday of legendary LA photographer Julius Shulman, on 10/10/10. To commemorate the event there are no less than three major events happening around the city (and probably more that we don’t know of). This includes a symposium celebrating his legacy at Woodbury University this Saturday, a MAK Center tour of the famous houses he photographed this Sunday, and a show of his early, personal work put on by his gallerist, Craig Krull, opening on October 16. Get ready to celebrate our favorite cranky shutterbug, who happens to be the best architectural photographer LA has ever seen.
The Daily Beast features a very interesting article about LA’s “Culture King” Eli Broad. The writer, LA Weekly’s Tom Christie, details Broad’s incredible spending spree on culture (not to mention on education and science), from the Broad Stage in Santa Monica to his new museum downtown, putting him in the company of other legendary—and, um, challenging— LA philanthropists like Norton Simon and J. Paul Getty. While art world figures like Michael Govan take their shots, few architects appear willing to talk on record about the intrusive client (Broad calls himself “strong willed” in the story). But one of them is Thom Mayne, who doesn’t pull many punches, although in the end seems to have an affinity for Broad. As for their failed partnership on the downtown museum, Mayne gets in a little dig: “We worked for a while, and we just reached a mutual understanding that we weren’t going to work together… It’s my city, and I didn’t want to produce a building I wasn’t proud of.”. Another revealing tidbit “I think he’s crazy as a loon half the time, and I don’t agree with him. But I have great admiration for him, and I actually like him.” For his part Broad gets in a slap at those who criticize his style: “Why don’t they join in the L.A. cultural life, rather than [sit] back and [offer] commentary?”
It’s been three weeks since John Lautner’s sleek and gently curving Shusett House (1950), which Frank Escher calls one of the two major houses of Lautner’s early career, was torn down. Sadly the owner, Enrique Mannheim, refused the overtures of the John Lautner Foundation, while the Beverly Hills City Council refused to issue a stay of execution. Our friends at Architizer were able to obtain pictures of the demolition, taken by photographer Mark Haddawy. Contrasted with images of the house still standing the shots—of the house in shambles, with wood members scattered on the ground and windows and walls gone— are a painful reminder that LA’s preservation movement still lacks the muscle it should, while citizens and municipalities stand idly by. Read More
The new L+M Arts gallery in Venice, designed by wHY Architecture, is set to open with a hip gala on September 25 (We will be featuring it more in the coming weeks). The project is a beautiful renovation of a WPA-era power station, with a lofty new, diamond-shaped brick addition adjacent, attached via a minimal bar that contains the gallery’s offices. We really recommend you take a look. Oh, and while you’re there, you may want to see something that will either make you gleeful or nauseous. Giant, moving animatronic sculptures of George Bush having sex with pigs, by artist Paul McCarthy. There’s really not much more we want to say about this, except to say that these sculptures perform very efficiently. They will haunt our nightmares. Did we say the gallery looks really nice? Here are some more pix to cleanse your mind: Read More
Overshadowed by the sadness surrounding West Hollywood Urban Designer John Chase’s death was the loss of another great supporter of Southern California architecture: Elaine Jones, the widow of architect A. Quincy Jones. San Francisco writer and publicist Kenny Caldwell, a close friend, writes a stirring tribute on his blog. In it we get—among other smart observations—a glimpse into her dedication to architecture, to her friends, and to the ideals of her late Husband A. Quincy Jones. At a time when “wow” architecture is still dominant, it’s refreshing to hear another approach. Says Caldwell: “She would say that Quincy’s design was rooted in the experience of the building as people moved through it. I came to appreciate the humility it took to focus on spatial experience over object.”
For you last-minute types, the deadline to register for AN and SCI-Arc’s Clean Tech Corridor Competition is the end of the day tomorrow. The competition asks architects, landscape architects, designers, engineers, urban planners, students and environmental professionals to create an innovative urban vision for Los Angeles’ CleanTech Corridor, a several-mile-long development zone on the eastern edge of downtown LA (which includes a green ideas lab and a Clean Tech Manufacturing Center). Entries should look beyond industrial uses; creating an integrated economic, residential, clean energy, and cultural engine for the city through architectural and urban strategies. That could include not only sustainable architecture and planning, but new energy sources, parks that merge with buildings, new transit schemes, and so on. While registration is due tomorrow, entries are due on September 30. So get a move on!! You can download the brief here.
AN has just learned that Gwynne Pugh of well-known Santa Monica firm Pugh + Scarpa has decided to leave the firm to start his own company, Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio. Pugh and Lawrence Scarpa have led the firm for the past 22 years—Pugh actually hired Scarpa in the ’80s. Pugh’s new company, which “specializes in the design of structures, urban design, planning, sustainability, and consultation to companies and public entities,” launched on September 1. In 2011, firm principal (and Scarpa’s wife) Angela Brooks, who now runs Pugh+Scarpa’s sustainable development department, will be elevated to principal-in-charge, precipitating a new firm name: Brooks+Scarpa. The firm would not comment on the changes (and Pugh’s profile is already off the firm’s site), but we will keep you informed as more information becomes available.
According to a story in Governing Magazine, while LA is only dreaming of building its freeway cap parks, several US cities are either planning or have completed their own. Dallas’ 5.2-acre park over its Woodall Rodgers Freeway downtown will be done by 2012. Other cities that have completed decked freeway parks include Boston (the Big Dig of course!), Phoenix, Seattle, Trenton, N.J., and Duluth, Minnesota. And besides LA Cincinnati and St. Louis are also proposing deck parks. While quite expensive, the article points out, the parks help knit cities back together, provide valuable civic space, are built on free land, and send adjacent property values skyrocketing. In short: Let’s Do This People!! Pix of more parks can be seen here: Read More
Proving our theory that the best architecture these days is installation architecture, the work on display this year at Burning Man is blowing us away. The theme this year is Metropolis: The Art of Cities, making for some even more inspired (and, of course out there..) art/architecture installations, which include: Read More
Leave it to Eli Broad, who is putting up his own museum in Downtown LA, to make a mockery of the public process. Despite getting a great deal on one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the city he still hasn’t shared any of the designs for the new museum. His only nod was inviting the LA Times Christopher Hawhthorne to see the contending models a few weeks ago, and not letting any other members of the press in. Hawthorne, it appears, could not publish his thoughts until after a winner was chosen, and even then his article didn’t show any photos. And the Broad Foundation doesn’t plan to share any images of the winning scheme until after ground is broken. This is a disaster for LA, which will effectively have no say over one of the most important cultural institutions in its history.