San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has seen some success in his time in office. But one element still remains a thorn in his side: MUNI, the city’s transit agency. In his State of the City address the other day (watch full speech below) Lee vowed to improve the notoriously late and overcrowded system, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. ”We need to modernize our system…to better match up with 21st century patterns of where people live, work, and shop,” said Lee.
A few remedies that Lee has suggested: the formation of a task force to help develop a plan for modernizing the system and dealing with the city’s growing population; expansion of BART, the Bay Area’s regional transit system; new work rule reforms; and a bevy of new technologies. ”Truly great cities have great transportation systems—Paris, New York, London, Tokyo,” Lee said. “I say San Francisco is pretty great, too, and deserves one as well.” The city is in fact adding a new transit line, the downtown T-Central, to help alleviate congestion problems. It’s slated to open in 2019. Check out images of the city’s upcoming line below.
We’ve known for some time that SOM will be designing the new US Courthouse in Downtown Los Angeles. We’ve even gotten some glimpses of their scheme. But the firm has just unveiled new images of the project, filling out the picture of this new landmark for the city on the corner of 1st Street and Broadway.
The familiar image of a cube-like, 550,000-square-foot structure in the middle of the city is now accompanied by a closer view of a folded glass façade imbedded with a United States seal. The building, which floats above a central core, appears to cantilever outward on all sides, with ramps and a small park leading the way to the entry. Inside we get a peek at a large central atrium rising several stories, and walls made of some kind of blond stone. Exposed central stairs appear to make climbing upward a public process. SOM is still unable to comment on their scheme, but we’ll let you know when that changes.
Well, it happened. After years of strife over the project, the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved the $2 billion, 1.5 million square foot redevelopment of the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City. Back in 2009 the developer, Next Century Associates, threatened to tear down Minoru Yamasaki’s curving midcentury Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel to make way for the project. But a parade of preservationists, including the LA Conservancy and Diane Keaton, stood in their way. The result: a compromise in which the hotel would be preserved by Marmol Radziner and surrounded by two three-sided, 46-story residential towers by Pei Cobb Freed as well as a 100,000-square-foot retail plaza and over two acres of public open space by Rios Clementi Hale. The executive architect is Gensler. City Council certified the scheme’s Environmental Impact Report and approved a 15-year development agreement. Let the construction begin on another major Los Angeles development. Momentum is building.
While Los Angeles is getting most of the attention in California for its rapidly expanding light rail system, it appears that Sacramento is well on its way to a major overhaul of its own. Earlier this month the US Department of Transporation announced $135 million in federal matching money for the Sacramento Regional Transit District’s light rail system. Much of that will go toward the 4.3 mile Blue Line extension linking downtown Sacramento with the city’s emerging South County corridor. To see a list of current Federal Transit Administration projects go here. And for a look at all the emerging rail lines on the west coast take another look at AN‘s feature documenting rail expansion from San Diego up to Seattle.
This Friday evening, Los Angeles mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel, and Jan Perry will take part in an unprecedented conversation about affordable housing. The topic is an important one, particularly because several funding sources for affordable housing—including state redevelopment funds and federal HOME funds—have been diminished or completely halted in recent years, causing a $72 million drop in public funding from 2008 to 2013.
The moderator, USC housing economist Raphael Bostic, doesn’t intend to pull punches. His questions will include confirming candidates’ commitment to the creation of a $100 million annual city budget for low- and moderate-income housing and finding out specific plans for addressing the city’s notorious homelessness problem. The event is being hosted by Housing For A Stronger Los Angeles, a coalition of housing providers, businesses, social service organizations, and other interested in affordable housing. It’s scheduled for Friday, January 11 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, at the Conference Center at Cathedral Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles, 555 West Temple Street.
Next Tuesday, January 8, The Broad in Downtown Los Angeles (not that Broad Museum), Eli Broad’s new contemporary art museum with an arresting net-like “veil” facade by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, will top out at the corner of Grand Avenue and Second Street. The project is set to open next year and will contain 120,000-square-feet over three-levels, including 50,000 square feet of gallery space on two floors, a lecture hall for up to 200 people, a public lobby with display space and a museum shop.
The fabrication team cut, folded, and welded 264 aluminum panels into 66 uniquely shaped sun shades.
One of the challenges of designing affordable housing, points out Kevin Daly, principal at LA firm Daly Genik Architects, is “managing a balance between the economic forces that demand repeatability and the risk that monotony comes with that repetitiveness.”
Daly Genik and LA fabricators Machineous came up with a great solution for Broadway Apartments, an affordable project at the corner of Broadway and 26th Street in Santa Monica, developed by Community Corporation of Santa Monica. Read More
Just weeks after architect Lebbeus Woods’ death at age 72, SFMOMA is getting the word out about a new exhibition of his work that will run from February 16th through June 2nd, 2013. The show, entitled Lebbeus Woods, Architect, will feature 75 pieces from the eccentric designer’s portfolio—most of them mutating forms in pencil— including Nine Reconstructed Boxes (1999) and High Houses (1996), which are currently in the SFMOMA collection. From SFMOMA’s exhibition description:
Acknowledging the parallels between society’s physical and psychological constructions, architect Lebbeus Woods (1940 – 2012) depicted a career-long narrative of how these constructions transform our being. Working mostly with pencil on paper, Woods created an oeuvre of complex worlds—at times abstract and at times explicit—that present shifts, cycles, and repetitions within the built environment. His timeless architecture is not in a particular style or in response to a singular moment in the field; rather, it offers an opportunity to consider how built forms are transformative for the individual and the collective, and how one person contributes to the development and mutation of the built world.
See more images from the museum’s impressive Woods’ collection below.