Los Angeles-based firm Synthesis Design + Architecture (SDA) has won the “Switch to Pure Volvo” competition to design a portable pavilion showing off the Swedish car company’s V60 plug-in electric hybrid. The 13-foot-tall, 16-foot-wide project’s sinuous form is composed of a moiré-patterned, vinyl-coated polyster fabric imbedded with flexible photovoltaic panels tensioned over CNC-bent aluminum rods. The display’s three sections echo the three modes of the car—hybrid, gas, and all-electric—and its curving form is also practical—its torqued compression between frame and skin enables the structure to stand without any extra support.
In 2005, the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles became one of the most notable buildings in U.S. history to be torn down. Now a new documentary, After 68: The Rise and Fall of the Ambassador Hotel, is hoping to tell its story. Its filmmakers are raising money to finish the project through a Kickstarter campaign. Directed by Camilo Silva, the film explores the history of the hotel, once a symbol of LA’s opulent westward expansion.
The Ambassador hosted, among others, Albert Einstein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Winston Churchill, Amelia Earhart, Salvador Dali, Buzz Aldrin, Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Frank Sinatra, and Charlie Chaplin, and every U.S. president from Herbert Hoover to Richard Nixon. And of course Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at its Coconut Grove nightclub, a location that also hosted six Academy Awards ceremonies.
In 2005 the beleaguered hotel was torn down to build a $600 million school complex for the LA Unified School District. The film digs into the building’s past and the controversy over its end, and captures the oral histories that are some of its only remaining memories. The Kickstarter campaign ends in two weeks.
We like to think of the Hollywood Palladium, recently renovated by Coe Architecture, as a groovy place to see a show. But it looks like it’s about to become a whole lot more, as one of the future centers of Hollywood’s unprecedented building boom. Curbed LA reports that a mixed use development is now being planned on the parking lots behind the landmark theater, including residential units, street level shops and restaurants, and, potentially, a hotel.
Welton Becket’s 1958 Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, once a beacon of midcentury optimism, this weekend shuttered its doors. The bending, intricately ornamented auditorium hosted several Academy Awards in the 1960s, as well as concerts by the likes of Eric Clapton, Frank Sinatra, James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Prince, and Bob Dylan.
But the facility recently fell on hard times, as bands gravitated to larger venues (leaving it mostly hosting trade fairs), and as a planned $52 million renovation was recently cancelled when California abolished its Community Redevelopment Agencies.
Santa Monica Civic, a working group strategizing the venue’s future, told the LA Times that it will take several months to develop a new plan for the landmarked structure, including film screenings, live theater, or even restaurants.
The other day, AN revealed details of Fentress Architects’ new Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, with its arched, light-infused spaces and fancy new retail offerings. Variety takes a closer look at LA- and Montreal-based media company Moment Factory’s contribution: a series of interactive displays, including an 80-foot LED “Welcome Wall” that greets visitors, two “Concourse Portals” consisting of 10 video columns that respond to movement, and the 72-foot “Time Tower,” a four-sided LED experience surrounding the terminal’s main elevator. The system, which can be updated and adapted, is the most sophisticated of any in the country. And the production, as you can see from the video above, rivaled that of many motion pictures.
In other airport news, we plan to head over to Long Beach to see the renovation of several of its airport concourses, part of a $140 modernization plan. We’ll keep you posted.
The San Francisco Academy of Sciences has okayed a small new dining pavilion designed by Mark Cavagnero, to sit adjacent to its Renzo Piano-design museum, reports the San Francisco Chronicle‘s John King. The 12-foot-tall, 1,450 square foot space will be located in a corner of the museum’s west garden, replacing an unused aviary.
The project is still in conceptual stages, but so far it looks as though it would be rectilinear, lightweight, and glassy, with a large cantilevered flat roof providing shade. Museum guests can bring food out to the pavilion, or just use the space for relaxation. The rather minimal construction should make a good counterpoint to Piano’s dynamic, undulating one. “When cultural facilities hire star architects to attract attention and set a new tone, the follow-through is as important as the first-year buzz,” pointed out King.
Don’t look now, but LAX—the airport everyone loves to hate—is starting to complete its major makeover. The biggest change is the brand new $1.9 billion (yes, billion) addition to the Tom Bradley International Terminal, designed by Fentress Architects and unveiled in 2008. Its curving roofline, emulating waves breaking on the nearby beach, pops up behind the original Tom Bradley structure, which itself was recently renovated (for the cost of $723 million) by Leo A Daly.
The developer of the two-tower Millennium Hollywood, located just next to the Capitol Records building in Hollywood, has agreed with the city of Los Angeles to limit the buildings’ heights to 35 and 39 stories, reports Curbed LA. The original proposal put forth heights of 485 and 585 feet (that’s roughly 48 and 58 stories). Millennium said that the total square footage of the project—more than one million square feet—and the number of residential (492) and hotel (200) units will not change. The agreement was reached at LA City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee.
This means the buildings will dwarf the iconic Capitol Records building slightly less, although the move probably won’t soothe locals fears about increased congestion. Meanwhile according to the LA Times, the California Department of Transportation has accused city of officials of ignoring their concerns about the project’s impact on the city’s freeways. Stay tuned as this drama unfolds.
While you might not make a habit of visiting parking lots for the fun of it, if you haven’t been to SCI-Arc‘s parking lot lately, you’re missing out. Installations dot a big chunk of the concrete expanse, including Oyler Wu‘s billowing Storm Cloud installation, which was built for the school’s recent graduation; the steel frame of P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S‘s gigantic League of Shadows installation, which will be done by September, and the wooden frame of DALE, SCI-Arc and Caltech’s entry for the Solar Decathalon, which is being held this year at the Orange County Great Park.
Major news in the world of architectural scholarship. Wim de Wit, Head of the Department of Architecture and Contemporary Art at the Getty Research Institute (GRI), is stepping down. He’s moving to Stanford, where he will be Adjunct Curator of architecture and design at the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts. De Wit’s wife, Nancy Troy, has been a professor of art at Stanford since 2010.
If you’re near LA’s Little Tokyo this Sunday you should check out On The Road, a one day exhibition made up of 17 emerging studios and individuals showing off their in-progress investigations inside and around a caravan of U-Haul Trucks. The location: the corner of Temple and Alameda Streets, a.k.a. the MOCA Parking Lot. The date, June 2, and the location, MOCA, are not an accident. They match the original plan for MOCA’s New Sculpturalism show, which has been delayed until later in the month. “The MOCA show looks at the last 25 years, we want to look at the next 25 years,” explained curator Danielle Rago, who notes that the exhibition will showcase the city’s experimental tradition, but in a completely new way, for instance blurring the boundaries that once divided architecture from other disciplines. Participants’ models, boards, and installations will be grouped three to four in a truck, and some will be shown outside the trucks altogether. Designer Jimenez Lai, for one, will be putting together a “six hour endurance drawing project” on the exterior of the trucks. The show will take place on Sunday from 12pm to 6pm. See previews of the work below.
LA architect Shawn Keltner, whose day job is lead designer at Los Angeles-based tecDESIGN (the design branch of Swiss firm tecARCHITECTURE), is doing some important work on the side: developing a wondrous play structure for his two young daughters, Kelty and Kree, aged five and two. The irregularly-shaped, 50-square-foot building, which he will put together on his family’s sloped lot in Glassell Park, will be made out of home-made SIPs and clad with Hardie Panels and polycarbonate.