Dancing in LA City Hall (for once)

West
Friday, November 12, 2010
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Tomorrow LA City Hall—usually the scene of budget battles and slow, somber legislating—will host two uplifting performances by Collage Dance Theater, a group that specializes in making the most of  architectural settings. The company, started in 1987, has performed in laundromats (yes, dancers did fit inside of dryers), a jail, vacant lots, art galleries, an ice rink, architects’ homes, a courtroom, a church, a locker room, the former Ambassador Hotel, and many more locales. The show, called “Governing Bodies,” will, according to founder Heidi Duckler, take advantage of the 1928 Art Deco building’s beautiful interiors: from its grand rotunda to its echoing, narrow hallways to its cold, bureaucratic council chambers; not to mention allowing dancers to break out and quickly contort in otherwise buttoned-up government attire. Could be a lesson for the real bureaucrats, no?

Exclusive: Art Center Renovation Shortlist

West
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
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A historic image of Ellwood's masterpiece for Art Center

AN has managed to get its hands on the shortlist for Art Center College’s renovation of its iconic Craig Ellwood building in the hills of Pasadena. Completed in 1976, the dark structure, with its expressive exposed steel frame and amazing glass and steel bridges, is one of our favorites in California, but certainly needs a facelift. According to the RFQ the renovation includes reshaping and expanding the academic building, updating it seismically, installing new sustainable energy systems, and improving its roof and glazing systems. The four finalists are…. drumroll please… Michael Maltzan Architecture, Behnisch Architekten (LA office), Barton Myers Associates, and Krueck + Sexton. That’s three local firms and a Chicago firm, Krueck + Sexton, that renovated a similar project: Mies van der Rohe’s Crown Hall at IIT. The winner, according to competition organizer David Meckel, will be announced early next year. Make sure to take a look at these amazing historic images of the building (including campus construction shots) below, from the Art Center exhibition Hillside Campus. Read More

Woody Allen Sleeper House On The Block

West
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
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No property is safe from this economy. The futuristic house from Woody Allen’s sci-fi comedy “Sleeper”, which is actually located just outside Denver, is being foreclosed on. The house, built in 1963 by architect Charles Deaton, who also designed Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, has its foreclosure auction scheduled for tomorrow. According to the Wall Street Journal, Denver entrepreneur Michael Dunahay, who purchased the house in 2006, is delinquent on the nearly $2.8 million outstanding balance of his $3.1 million mortgage on the house. So who will buy the amazing spaceship-like abode? Allen’s co-star in the movie was LA preservation hero Diane Keaton. So maybe? Just maybe she’s interested?

Going Dutch in SF Next Week

West
Monday, November 8, 2010
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Dutch firm UN Studio's Dance Palace in St. Petersburg. Firm founder Caroline Bos will be speaking next week.

In case you didn’t watch the World Cup this year, orange is the official color of the Netherlands. And it’s the inspiration for a week of Dutch design events in San Francisco starting on November 14 called Seeing Orange. The week will feature Dutch creativity that includes not just architecture (hi Rem and friends..) but design, fashion, graphic arts, and so on. One of our favorite events is a bike tour (makes sense.. have you ever been to Amsterdam?) of Dutch design highlights led by architect David Baker and urban planner Robert Bregoff. The tour will visit places like My Dutch Bike, which sells handmade Dutch cycles and gear, Hedge Gallery, which features art by Dutch designers, Propeller, showing off sleek Dutch furniture and accessories, and several other destinations. Another highlight: UN Studio founder Caroline Bos will talk with CCA students and faculty about the firm’s “Deep Planning” techniques. Sounds mysterious, but great. The full list of events is here. No word yet on whether there will be any of those great Dutch pancakes, but we’ll keep you posted..

Does New LA firm name spell doom??

West
Thursday, November 4, 2010
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Southerland worked on Assembledge's Sunset Plaza Residence

We hear from our friends at Curbed LA that Kevin Southerland, a principal at LA firm Assembledge+, has left to form his own firm, architecture 350. And while we’re very fond of Southerland’s work, and of sustainable architecture, we’re a little overwhelmed with the name, which, according to his new site, “refers to the parts per million amount of carbon dioxide that a global consensus of scientists has deemed sustainable for human life to carry on as we know it.” Whoah. The name is relevant because we’ve reached 382, which seems like a very very concerning statistic. Does this mean that life as we know it is about to end? Meanwhile we look forward to seeing what the firm comes up with. They’ll be located on Doheny Drive in Beverly Hills, and will focus on (of course)  sustainable, contemporary residential projects.

Kanner's Many Talents on Display at A+D Tomorrow

West
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
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Kanner's sketch of his Metro-Hollywood project in LA

LA’s A+D Museum tomorrow evening launches an exhibit celebrating the work of its founder, Stephen Kanner. Kanner died this summer at age 54, a tragic loss for the LA architecture community. The show will feature images and models of Kanner Architects’ work and several of Kanner’s personal artworks and sketches. Many will be surprised by the depth of Kanner’s talents—he could sketch almost any building or neighborhood with exact precision, his cartoons were artful and hilarious, and he excelled at painting, model-making, and even carpet design— or even the breadth of his architecture, so this show is a must-see. A memorial service for Kanner will be held immediately following the opening.

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Voters Help Out CA Architects

West
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
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Despite the sting felt countrywide by largely left-leaning architects, architects in California have a lot to smile about after yesterday’s elections: particularly because a number of ballot propositions went their way. Most importantly Prop 23, which aimed to suspend AB 32, the state’s anti-pollution, pro-sustainability legislation, was trounced, preserving green building and retrofitting funds not to mention important environmental and anti-sprawl measures. Also the defeat of Prop 22, which prohibits the state from taking certain local funds (like city redevelopment funds), to replenish its coffers should help preserve money that architects often tap into. On the negative side—particularly for landscape architects—Prop 21, which would have increased vehicle license fees to help fund state parks, was defeated. And of course prop 19, which would have legalized marijuana in California, went down as well. Sorry architects. You can’t have everything!

Some of Our Faves from the AIA LA Awards

West
Thursday, October 28, 2010
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Eric Owen Moss’s Samitaur Tower, one of our faves

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

Brace for the Shulman Extravaganza

West
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
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©Undine Prohl

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.

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Mayne Opens Up About Eli Broad

West
Monday, October 4, 2010
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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?”

Sad Pictures of Lautner Loss in LA

West
Monday, September 27, 2010
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©Mark Haddawy

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

This Little Piggie

West
Friday, September 17, 2010
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Putting the finishing touches on the exhibit

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

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