Street Artists In The News

West
Friday, December 17, 2010
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We're guessing WEHO City Council decided to listen to this guy

Shortly after street artist BLU’s installation on the wall of the Geffen Contemporary in downtown LA was whitewashed, we learn via Curbed LA what our Eavesdrop column had rumored weeks before: that another street artist, Shepard Fairey, is in the architecture news as well.

The legendary/notorious “Hope” poster creator was just chosen by the West Hollywood city council to design an art piece for the almost-complete West Hollywood Library (MDA Johnson Favaro’s really really big white structure across from the PDC with an equally big garage ) more than a year after the council un-selected him amidst controversy.

This is getting confusing… The library is also working with artist David Wiseman, whose swoopy white forms seem well matched to the building’s swoopy white aesthetic.

LA Stadium Designs To Be Unveiled

West
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
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Is there another large downtown venue in store?

In a breathless press release, developer AEG and its partners have revealed that they will be unveiling renderings from the three finalists for the proposed downtown LA stadium tomorrow evening at 5pm (December 15).

According to Sports Business Journal, the three firms chosen via an RFP are HKS,  HNTB, and Gensler (who designed the Ritz Carlton/JW Marriott where the press conference will be held.. hmm..).

The stadium’s proposed location is the site of the LA Convention Center’s West Hall. We will of course share the renderings with you after the presser, so stay tuned.

Of course, LA still has no football team, nor does it have an approved location for a stadium. But this is Hollywood! We know how to dream!

In other downtown news, City Council on Thursday will vote on the fate of the proposed Wilshire Grand redevelopment, which would include two large towers designed by AC Martin. Stay tuned everybody!

USC Reviews Go Way Way Up

West
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
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Inside the 50th floor of City National Plaza's North Tower yesterday.

Limited by the constraints of its scattered design buildings, USC’s School of Architecture yesterday held its final reviews on the 50th and 51st floors of City National Plaza’s North Tower in Downtown LA. The giant review, called Blue Tape: Super Review, included 48 studios, about 70 professors, and over 700 students, including those studying architecture and urban design, landscape architecture, and historic preservation. Yours truly got to sit in on Jennifer Siegal’s studio: Generation Mobile: exploring the deployable free-range cuisine truck culture, which featured some mind-bending re-imaginings of today’s fairly traditional food trucks. The two floors, which used to contain offices for Bank of America (sorry guys) was donated by Thomas Properties, which owns both of the towers at City National. The 52-story buildings, by the way, were designed by A.C. Martin in 1972. We wonder where they’ll do their next reviews? Read More

Lost In The Architecture

West
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
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37 first year SCI-Arc students have just finished a mesmerizing new installation in the school’s parking lot called Sway. The project is made of 228 thin bundled steel rods, bolted into the ground and joined via flexible (and wild) wire units above. The vast and tightly-packed array of bendy rods are responsive to subtle changes in wind force (and not-so-subtle pushing by visitors), enabling the structure to move around like trees in a forest, or a collection of organisms. At night they catch the light in changing and surprising ways.

The 1A Studi0—which produces a large installation every year— was led by professors Nathan Bishop, Eric Kahn and Jenny Wu. Bishop accurately called the piece an “encompassing environment.” Which is what makes it so great: the chance to walk right into the art and interact with it.

Check out more pix after the jump.

The Coolest Video We’ve Ever Seen

International
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
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Street artist Blu recently made LA headlines when his commissioned mural for MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary (featuring coffins draped by dollar bills) was subsequently whitewashed by MOCA itself. In a statement, MOCA called the mural, which was across from the LA Veterans’ Affairs Hospital, “inappropriate,” and the move has angered (to say the least) the street art community.

For those of you unfamiliar with Blu, please take a look at this video, called Big Bang Big Boom. There are no special effects, just stop-action animation; a dazzling combination of architecture and art. It’s unclear where he shot this piece, but he obviously needed to find an area with lots of empty, and largely abandoned, walls and lots. We’re blown away, so to speak.

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NBC Tries To Forget Conan Through Architecture

West
Monday, December 13, 2010
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Conan's NBC set, before the big breakup..

Most of us move on from difficult breakups by eating ice cream or going on long walks. Not NBC. They build things. Now that Conan O’Brien has started his own show on TBS, NBC  has awarded IA with a commission to redesign his former Tonight Show sound stage in Studio City (which reportedly cost $50 million to build) into a two story newsroom for local and network news. IA has signed a non-disclosure agreement, so they can’t talk about it. But according to the RFP, the 70,000 square foot project, awarded earlier this fall, will include studios, control rooms, edit rooms, offices and and storage. It should be finished by June 2012. So basically they want to obliterate any memory of Conan? Well, yes, our inside source tells us, that’s exactly it…

Emeryville Art Center Short List On Display

West
Thursday, December 9, 2010
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Edmonds+ Lee's plan removes the site's existing building altogether

The SF Chronicle’s John King today shares the shortlist for the new Emeryville Center For the Arts. The six contestants are some of the city’s best young firms. In fact organizer David Meckel—stressing this push for emerging talent— initially said that the winner should not be a fellow of the AIA. The finalists include:  Aidlin Darling, Edmonds + Lee, Jensen Architects, Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects, Schwartz and Architecture, and Envelope A+D. Their plans are currently on display at Emeryville City Hall, next to which the arts center will eventually sit . All except Edmonds+Lee include the site’s existing 1940′s brick building. Aidlin Darling includes a sloped green roof for film watching; Ogrydziak Prillinger layers spaces in and out of the structure; and Jensen architects opens it up with large, movable glass walls. The winner will be announced next week, so stay tuned.

New Eagle Rock Arts Hub Opening In Style

West
Monday, December 6, 2010
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Workers put the finishing touches on Live Arts LA

This Saturday night LA’s newest arts center will be opening its doors for a sneak peek: Live Arts LA, a 5,000 square foot space for theater, dance, and the visual arts is built into a former warehouse in Eagle Rock/Glassell Park (our favorite up-and coming hipster neighborhoods). The cavernous open span building was renovated entirely out of repurposed materials by a team led by Hollywood set builder Daryl Lee. Saturday’s event will be a fundraiser for performance troupe Whiskey Carousel, a sassy cast of characters that performs a combination of vaudeville, cabaret, and burlesque. The night will also have performances by other dance groups as well as live music and art installations; including a piece by LA architects Layer, called Squid Capsule, a collection of transparent vinyl membranes hanging from steel cables that you may have seen installed at the Silver Lake gallery Materials & Applications. Live Arts LA will officially open later this month, offering everything from Afro-Caribbean dance classes to rehearsal rooms. Buy tickets to the event here, and get a preview below. Read More

LA Planners Learning From Zappos

West
Friday, December 3, 2010
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A template for city planning documents?

According to the LA Downtown News, LA Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner is proposing an interesting model to help reform LA’s archaic development process: Internet clothing seller Zappos. At a public presentation of his development reform plan last month at the LA Chamber of Commerce, Beutner cited Zappos’ customer service operation, lauding the fact that “any time someone makes a Zappos purchase, they can go online and find exactly where the package is in the shipping process.” Hence if his idea moves ahead it would make it easier for developers and architects to know where their projects were in the pipeline. The reform project, largely overseen by consulting firms KH Consulting Group and Woolpert, could also streamline the amount of departments needed to approve projects, allow design and permitting to happen concurrently, and assign specific planners to each project, among other things. Stay tuned.. And happy shopping?

Earthquake conference scares the heck out of us

West
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
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Damage from California's last major temblor, 1995's Northridge Earthquake

Be afraid. Be very afraid. That was the theme at today’s LA symposium, Imminent Danger: Earthquake Disaster and Risk Reduction in US Cities. The UCLA-hosted event brought together seismologists, engineers, architects, assessors and others to discuss preparation for the inevitable Big One, which, as everyone agreed, is not a question of if, but when. Despite the LA Times’ questions about whether the conference’s sponsors stood to gain from spreading earthquake fear, the insights to us seemed sincere and terrifying. We’ve compiled a few of the more sobering points, which should get you caring a little more about seismic retrofits and earthquake kits. Read More

The Best Urban Planning Books Of 2010

Other
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
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One of the year's ten best books, according to Planetizen

Move over NY Times Holiday Guide… Our friends at Planetizen have come out with something wonkier: their annual top 10 list of books in urban planning, design and development. The winners were based on a combination of editorial reviews, popularity, reader nominations, sales figures, recommendations from experts and books’ potential impact. Some of our favorites include Los Angeles In Maps, a visual history of maps in LA that makes sense of the city’s crazy grids and charts development over the years; What We See: Advancing The Observations of Jane Jacobs, a collection of essays putting a fresh perspective on Jacobs’ views on topics like preservation and urban planning; and Reinventing the Automobile: Personal Urban Mobility for the 21st Century, which suggests shifting automobiles to “Ultra Small Vehicles,” which could mean far less gas use and even automated driving. Any of these would be a perfect gift for anyone who knows what FOR, CEQA, or TOD stand for..


First Ever Igloo In LA

West
Monday, November 29, 2010
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Our friends at Curbed just reminded us of the latest creation at Silver Lake archi-gallery Materials & Applications: Light Frames, an installation by LA architect Gail Peter Borden. The project consists of two parts: the “igloo”-looking segment, seen above, is what Borden calls an enclosed “chapel,” built out of translucent vinyl plastic and perfect for meditation. The second is a hand-assembled dome—its triangulated metal structure completely exposed—resting at the entrance to the gallery’s courtyard.  Together they resemble, perhaps, the love child of an Eskimo and Buckminster Fuller. Or at least that’s how this strange mind sees it. Read More

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