Another Planner Down

Other
Thursday, January 22, 2009
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Just weeks after LA City Planning Commission President Jane Usher resigned, Southern California is down another major planner: The LA Times has reported that LA County’s chief planner Bruce McClendon (pictured) was just fired by County Chief Executive Officer William T. Fujioka.

McClendon told the Times that he believed the firing was likely in retaliation for becoming a whistle-blower against the Board of Supervisors. He said he had told Fujioka that supervisors’ aides often tried influencing hearing officers’ decisions on whether to permit development plans. “It was illegal, and they can go to jail for doing it,” McClendon told the Times. Read More

Your Chance To Fix LA’s Transit Mess!!!!

Other
Thursday, January 15, 2009
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image courtesy Benny Chan

Isn't she beautiful? NOT! (Courtesy Benny Chan)

What do Thom Mayne, Eric Owen Moss, Neil Denari, LA Planning director Gail Goldberg, and Aspet Davidian,  engineering director at the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority have in common? They’re all on the jury for The Architect’s Newspaper and SCI-Arc’s new competition, A NEW INFRASTRUCTURE: Innovative Transit Solutions for Los Angeles. Read More

The Scarlet Letter

Other
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
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The board of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) today made a formal proposal to merge with the financially struggling Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). According to a press release (top portion, above) issued today by LACMA, the goal of the move would be to to “preserve the independence and integrity of both institutions while combining their operations and infrastructure.” To save money MOCA has already shut down its Geffen Contemporary for six months, and is said to be pondering the sale of some of its artworks.
According to the release if a merger were to occur MOCA’s collections would not only be exhibited at LACMA’s Grand Avenue location and at the Geffen, but also at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM), and at LACMA’s planned Stewart Resnick Pavilion. LACMA’s $68.2 million budget is more than three times that of MOCA’s $20 million. According to the L.A. Times, MOCA’s trustees met today to discus proposals, including a $30-million bailout offer from Eli Broad. According to Curbed LA, LA City Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilwoman Jan Perry introduced a motion to allocate $2.8 million in Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) funds to the struggling MOCA, provided the museum adheres to its stipulations. Stay tuned….

Start Your Engines!!!!

Other
Thursday, December 4, 2008
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A high speed video game design by panelist Scott Robertson

A high speed video game design by panelist Scott Robertson

AN’s California Editor Sam Lubell will be hosting a panel about the creation of new and unconventional design at Gensler and USG’s Design Process Innovation Symposium this Saturday at 10:55 a.m. at the A+D Museum. Panelists will include none other than Gaston Nogues, of inventive Silver Lake architecture/art installation/sculpture firm Ball Nogues; Matthew Melnyk, of the omnipresent and hyper-advanced design and engineering firm Buro Happold; Richard Whitehall, whose firm, Smart Design, patterns everything from cool-looking thermometers to Serengeti sunglasses; Scott Robertson, a creator of ultramodern, books, bikes, and even the cars used in video games; and Tali Krakowsky, of Imaginary Forces, who co-designed the flashy set for this year’s Victoria Secret fashion show. Another talent-loaded panel, at 2:30 p.m., will be hosted by KCRW and Dwell’s Frances Anderton.

Tickets ($70, $45 for students) are still available: visit http://www.gensler.com/xtr/dpi2/

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LA Live! (ugh)

Other
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
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A hopeful rendering: L.A. Live excitement

A hopeful rendering: L.A. Live excitement

LA Times critic Christopher Hawthorne yesterday summed up the problems with L.A. Live!, the behemoth development in Downtown LA’s South Park district, whose second phase is now opening. Hawthorne decries its “placelessness,” its buildings that “have almost nothing to say to or about downtown Los Angeles,” and worst of all, its inability to help the rest of the area.

“When we trap the energy of an urban crowd inside this sort of self-contained world,” he writes, “and when we allow developers and their architects to heighten the differences between that world and the streets around it so dramatically, we help keep the rest of our blocks underused and, as pieces of the city, undernourished.”

Amen brother. While the development, with its mix of residences, hotels and entertainment venues, should certainly bring activity and money downtown in tough times, it is still a wasted opportunity.

Getting Schooled

Other
Monday, November 24, 2008
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Leo A Dalys

Leo A Daly's LAUSD High School #9

Last Thursday AN California Editor Sam Lubell (author… ahem… of this post) moderated the first in a series of panels hosted by the AIA/LA called Design Dialogues. The discussion centered around educational design, and panelists included Hraztan Zeitlian of Leo A Daly Architects, John Enright of Griffin Enright Architects, and John Friedman of John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects. Read More

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Noshing In Style

Other
Friday, October 24, 2008
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Without further ado, here are the winners of the AIA LA’s 4th Annual Restaurant Design Awards. The awards were announced on October 16, and judges included architects David Montalba and Michael Hogdson, Joachim B. Splichal, founder of the Patina restaurant group, and LA Weekly writer Margot Dougherty.

JURY WINNERS:

RESTAURANT
Blue Velvet designed by Tag Front

Eric Axene

Read More

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Another one bites the dust

Other
Monday, October 20, 2008
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The Los Angeles Business Journal reports that Jean Nouvel’s 45-story tower in LA’s Century City, 10000 Santa Monica Blvd. (pictured above), has been put on hold. The “Green Blade,” as it had been  nicknamed, was to have an extremely thin 50-foot floorplate, permitting north and south glazing for all of its 177 units. Each unit was also to be wrapped outside with plants, resting on projecting podiums.

“We have been unable to obtain assurances of continued funding that would allow us to move forward with confidence at this point in time,” the building’s developer, SunCal, said in a statement.

According to the Journal’s story, vacancy rates have doubled in parts of Los Angeles, Class A office buildings are opening without tenants, and high-profile marquee projects are “being all but abandoned.” Yikes.

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Anti Sprawl/ Pro Transit… in California??!!

Other
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
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This.. is....SPRAWL

This.. is....SPRAWL

After weeks of waiting, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger finally passed anti-sprawl bill SB 375 into law today, reports the LA Times. Among other things the measure will reward sustainable, dense, and transit-oriented communities with more state funds and will also discourage development on valuable untouched land. It will also call for state agencies to study new developments’ effects on transit patterns and on greenhouse gas emissions.

Next up: Measure R, Read More

BIG TIME

Other
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
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Two blockbuster California buildings are set to open this week:

Renzo Piano’s California Academy of Sciences opens to the public this Saturday. We’re working on a critique of the building and another story about the unheralded team that put the project together with Renzo Piano’s firm for our October California issue. The amazing LEED Platinum structure, with its undulating Green Roof, has already received some critiques. Alan Hess, writing for the San Jose Mercury News, finds the design  “timid.” Despite praising the roof, Hess worries that it’s not well integrated into the rest of the project. As for the rest, it doesn’t manage to “draw attention to itself.” Inhabitat, meanwhile, considers the Academy a “crowning achievement of sustainable architecture.”

Meanwhile SOM’s Cathedral of Christ the Light, in Oakland, opens this Thursday. According to SOM, “With the exception of evening activities, the Cathedral is lit entirely by daylight to create an extraordinary level of luminosity.” Indeed. Douglas fir beams also help warm the interior, while glass and concrete will create a unique exterior shell. Can’t wait to see it when it opens.

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