As the United States’ prototypical car-oriented freeway town, Los Angeles continues to edge its way toward becoming a pedestrian-friendly metropolis. The city’s Great Streets Initiative, a program intended to redesign public space to be more pedestrian- and cyclist-friend, officially moved forward this week as Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the first 15 streets that will be targeted for improvement throughout the city.
In the second significant departure this week from the Syracuse University School of Architecture, professor Jonathan Massey has been named the Director of Architecture at California College of the Arts (CCA). Massey, who chaired the Bachelor of Architecture program at Syracuse from 2007 to 2011, succeeds Ila Berman in the position.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic has a thing for star architects. As part of a trilogy of Mozart operas directed by Gustavo Dudamel (himself a global celebrity), in 2012 Frank Gehry designed the set for Don Giovanni, in 2013 Jean Nouvel designed one for The Marriage of Figaro, and this month Zaha Hadid Architects has designed the backdrop for Così fan tutee, the trilogy’s finale.
According to the Los Angeles Conservancy, yet another John Lautner building is in imminent danger. This time it’s the architect’s Crippled Children’s Society Rehabilitation Center, now known as the AbilityFirst Paul Weston Work Center, in Woodland Hills. Current owner AbilityFirst and Oakmont Senior Living, the potential buyer, submitted for a demolition and new construction permit in February, hoping to build a new Eldercare facility on the site, and the project was presented at a city Zoning Administration public hearing this week.
Neil Denari‘s firm NMDA was recently awarded the commission for the Wildwood School, a 65,000 square foot building for 500 students on Olympic Boulevard in West Los Angeles. Other firms considered for the commission included Koning Eizenberg and Gensler. Since the selection was based on a team, not a scheme, “We are starting from scratch basically,” Denari said, adding that the “politics, culture, and academic agendas of the school are directly in line with our ideas as architects.” Stay tuned to see how that translates into a design. Meanwhile Denari is waiting for approval on another ground up structure in the area: 9000 Wilshire, a curvaceous, highly three dimensional speculative office building in Beverly Hills.
As we’ve noted before, water-surrounded Taiwan has become ground zero for ambitious port projects, from Neil Denari’s Keelung Harbor to Reiser Umemoto’s Kaohsiung Port Terminal. The latest, the Port of Kinmen Passenger Service Center, has just been awarded to Japanese firm Junya Ishigami + Associates, for a series of undulating landform buildings that all but disappear beneath their green roofs. Second and third place went to California firms, Tom Wiscombe Architecture, for a design featuring five crystalline structures hovering over a large box, and Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA), for a grid of folded triangular planes weaving through and above a public park. Runners up were Spanish firms EMBT and Josep Mias Gifre.
In sad but spectacular gossip news, we’ve been informed that Culver City firm SPF:a has been removed from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ new museum project in Los Angeles. SPF:a principal Zoltan Pali had been working with Renzo Piano on the project since 2012.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro‘s concrete-veiled Los Angeles art museum and its accompanying plaza, The Broad, named for the billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad who commissioned it, continue to rise in downtown. Meanwhile, across the street, Broad’s longtime project, MOCA, struggles to find its footing. Addressing these two projects, Broad sat down with Los Angeles Magazine, giving an unusually candid interview about the state of the city, his own giving, and much more. Here are some of his most revealing quotes from a man who, this time, departed from his usual tactic of sticking to talking points.
Boise, Idaho–based architects CTY Studio and design company Ecosystems Sciences have won an RFP to design a new public sculpture for Boise’s soon-to-be-renovated City Hall Plaza. Both the sculpture and the plaza are expected to be completed by fall 2015. The $200,000 sculpture, called Terrain, Civics, Ecology, will be made up of nine 20-foot-tall steel panels, arranged in a circle to create an enclosure that pedestrians can walk through.