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.
We’ve learned from Curbed LA and the LA Times that John Lautner’s Shusett House (1951) in Beverly Hills is just days away from demolition. The crescent-shaped (and apparently legally unprotected) house was one of the architect’s first residential commissions. According to Curbed, in a last ditch effort the Lautner Foundation is writing the home’s owners, the Mannheims, to ask if they’ll allow moving the house off their property. Of course they need a buyer for the new house. And that’s where you come in. If interested please contact the Lautner Foundation before it’s too late.
Today, Frances Anderton shares her loving tribute to West Hollywood urban designer and dear friend to the LA design world John Chase. If you wish to share your own, friends and family will gather in West Hollywood for a memorial service this afternoon. Technically it’s considered a “celebration of his life.” And in that spirit all are encouraged to “dress as if John picked out your outfit.” That means bright and cheery, to say the least—no architect’s black allowed. We can’t wait to see what people choose to wear in his honor. The event takes place from 4pm to 7pm at Fiesta Hall in Weho’s Plummer Park at on his beloved Santa Monica Boulevard.
UPDATE: Below are a few fashionable pix from the event. The colorful clothes were a perfect tribute that John would have no-doubt loved. Read More
The red carpet is not a place where architects usually spend their time. But on Sunday Diller Scofidio + Renfro took home a Breakthrough Award, for their work in architecture. The prizes, handed out at the Pacific Design Center (AN was there believe it or not..) went to emerging performers like The Kids Are Alright’s Josh Hutcherson (Actor in Film) and Modern Family’s Sophia Vergara (Actress in TV). So how did Architecture wind up on the roster? “We’ve noticed that architects are starting to be known by name again,” said Jan Hall, Marketing Director for MMC, which runs the competition. On Monday, we’ll find out if DS+R win Eli Broad’s coveted new museum commission downtown. If they do, they’ll no doubt catapult into the elite starchitect sphere… Perhaps this is a harbinger of things to come?
The accolades keep pouring in for former West Hollywood Urban Designer John Chase. Frances Anderton is busy writing the obituary for us (and her blog for KCRW’s Design and Architecture is full of Chase memories). Here’s a lovely tribute from Marissa Gluck and Josh Williams at Curbed LA. And one from AN contributor Alissa Walker. And below is a moving piece from AN contributor Tibby Rothman:
In Memory of John Chase, Formidable Friend, Daring Dresser, Urban Enthusiast
LA planner James Rojas just posted this: “LA has lost its greatest urban planner. John Chase has passed away.”
But John Leighton Chase was also a writer. And, he was better than the rest of us at it. I remember reading his stuff for the first time, and knowing very clearly that I’d never be that good. Read More
We’re still reeling from the tragic death of Stephen Kanner, and now we have learned that two more of LA’s brightest lights, Elaine Jones and John Chase, have also died. Jones was A. Quincy Jones’ widow, and Chase was the urban designer for the City of West Hollywood. Both were valuable advocates for architecture and good friends. We’re still gathering information and will get it to you as soon as we can.