Last Saturday LA’s new X Repertory Theater Company (XRT) celebrated the opening of its mammoth headquarters—which they call Location X— on 1581 Industrial Street in the city’s Arts/Warehouse District. Members of the company spent weeks prior to the party sandblasting (yes, they did it themselves, respirators and all..) the 10,000 square foot former warehouse’s plaster walls to reveal gorgeous brick; Read More
Today AIA/LA’s Director of Government & Public Affairs, Will Wright, testified to LA’s planning commission regarding a revised sign ordinance controlling the erection of billboards in the city. A moratorium on all new signs was passed by LA’s city council in December, while the city’s original sign ordinance—considered by many to be ineffective— was passed in 1986. Wright requested that the commission delay a vote and consider a revised ordinance “until comprehensive visual analysis of the proposed regulations is completed.” A vote on the revised ordinance is expected in the next few weeks. Read More
Yesterday we toured Morphosis’ new Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Caltech. The 100,000 square foot, $50 million building’s most notable architectural features are its cracks, fissures, tilts, and expanding and contracting walkways and apertures; elements that seem to suit it more to a seismology building, but also work to represent the epic tumult of space. Read More
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
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/
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.
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
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.
Blue Velvet designed by Tag Front
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.