Video> AN Tours James Corner Field Operations’ Wildly Popular Tongva Park in Santa Monica

City Terrain, West
Monday, October 21, 2013
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Santa Monica’s Tongva Park, which had its soft opening last month, officially opened this past weekend. Already, the undulating, grassy expanse, located west of Santa Monica City Hall, has become a huge hit in the community. AN reporter James Brasuell reported on the park previously and has now returned to explore James Corner Field Operations‘s newest park in more detail in the video above.

LA’s Grand Avenue Project Gets One Final Chance

West
Friday, October 4, 2013
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Rendering of the Grand Avenue Development (Grand Ave L.A.)

Rendering of the Grand Avenue Development (Grand Ave L.A.)

Back in 2004 it seemed like Downtown Los Angeles would be getting one of the largest developments in the city’s history: the $1.8 billion, 3.8 million square foot Grand Avenue Project. Overseen by a city/county entity called the Grand Avenue Authority and developed by the Related Companies, the project would insert residential, retail, hotel, and park spaces into the city’s long-struggling core. Just a week ago it seemed like that dream was dead, when the Grand Avenue Authority voted unanimously to reject new architectural plans by Related, which included a sharply reduced scope, and a whole new team of designers. (Gone is Frank Gehry, in for the master plan is Gensler.) But on September 30 the Authority voted to give the developer a four month extension to adjust the plans. Whether the authority will move ahead after is still very much in doubt.  The only sure things at this point are the 16-acre Grand Park, across from The Music Center, and Arquitectonica’s 19-story residential tower, just south of The Broad, which broke ground several months ago.

Solar Decathlon Goes So Cal

West
Friday, October 4, 2013
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Solar Decathlon Village in Assembly (U.S. Department of Energy)

Solar Decathlon Village in Assembly (U.S. Department of Energy)

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon has officially moved west. The bi-annual event, in which college teams vie against each other to build top-tier solar powered homes, opened yesterday at the Orange County Great Park. After a decade in Washington D.C. the competition had overstayed its welcome on the National Mall, and was looking for a new place to get the word out about sustainability, said event founder Richard King. The Great Park beat out sites in 20 cities around the country.  Read More

Name Changers: Los Angeles Architects Get New Identities

West
Thursday, September 26, 2013
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why design's new home page. (Courtesy why design)

why design’s new home page. (Courtesy why design)

What’s in a name? It seems that every time we get used to an architect’s name they go ahead and change it. We’re still confused by the name Ennead Architects (formerly Polshek Partnership), and we can’t get our heads around monikers like Rogers Stirk Harbour (formerly Richard Rogers Partnership) and Populous (formerly HOK Sport). Not to mention the headaches when firms like AECOM swallow the likes of Ellerbe Becket and EDAW.

The latest on the new name train are some of LA’s brightest firms. Daly Genik Architects is now Kevin Daly Architects. And wHY Architecture is now why design. The former came as a result of shuffled leadership—partners Kevin Daly and Chris Genik parted ways amicably. The latter is a branding change to broaden the firm’s scope beyond architecture. Both have completely new web sites. And both, no doubt, will puzzle us all until we finally come to terms with the inevitability of change.

California Governor Mulling Bill Helping Architects Keep Control of Their Plans

West
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
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California Governor Jerry Brown (James Joyner)

California Governor Jerry Brown. (James Joyner)

AB 630, a bill that ensures that no one can use an architect’s “instruments of service” (i.e. plans, drawings, schematics) without his or her written permission, recently passed the California legislature without a single no vote. The bill passed the Assembly 78-0 and the State Senate 37-0. But now architects are getting nervous, since governor Jerry Brown has not decided whether he will sign it.

Continue reading after the jump.

Renovation Team Announced for Philip Johnson’s Crystal Cathedral in Anaheim

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
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Philip Johnson's Crystal Cathedral (left), Richard Neutra's Tower of Hope (center), and Richard Meier's Center for Possibility Thinking (right). (Diocese of Orange)

Philip Johnson’s Crystal Cathedral (left), Richard Neutra’s Tower of Hope (center), and Richard Meier’s Center for Possibility Thinking (right). (Courtesy Diocese of Orange)

Anaheim’s Crystal Cathedral, designed by Philip Johnson in 1980, and containing more than 10,000 panes of mirrored glass, is one of Orange County’s rare architectural treasures. Today the Roman Catholic Diocese, which purchased the church last year, announced that Johnson Fain and Rios Clementi Hale will be leading its $29 million renovation. The exterior of the building will be essentially unchanged outside of cleaning and replacing damaged glass, but the interior will be heavily remodeled to upgrade access, sight lines, finishes, and environmental comfort. The renovation will also add significant new elements to adapt to the church’s new Catholic focus (it had once been an evangelical church), including a new altar, a baptismal font, and new cathedral doors. “It’s an open palette inside,” said Diocese spokesperson Ryan Lilyengren, who likened the iconic exterior to a shell.

Continue reading after the jump.

Proposal to Build a Park Atop Los Angeles’ 101 Freeway Gets Big Push From City

West
Thursday, September 12, 2013
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Conceptual rendering of a 101 Freeway Cap Park developed by AECOM.

Conceptual rendering of a 101 Freeway Cap Park developed by AECOM.

In recent years several proposals have been floated for freeway cap parks in Los Angeles with barely any traction. Until now. On Friday LA City Council voted to have various city departments (including planning and engineering) partner with nonprofit Friends of Park 101 to raise funds for a park that would bridge the 101 Freeway, connecting Downtown’s Civic Center with Olvera Street and Union Station. Possible grants could come from local, state, and federal sources. It’s still a long way from happening, but this is a big deal. Friends of the Hollywood Central Park have created a function on their web site where users can design their own cap park, but if Park 101 gets some of these funds we could be building a park downtown for real.

First Steps At Los Angeles’ Pershing Square

City Terrain, West
Friday, September 6, 2013
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Gensler's conceptual design concept for Pershing Square (Gensler)

Gensler’s conceptual design concept for Pershing Square. (Courtesy Gensler)

Last week Los Angeles councilman, Jose Huizar, announced the formation of a 21-member task force to help re-imagine Pershing Square, the beleaguered central park in the middle of downtown. The group includes local residents, design and architecture experts, business people, and government officials. Huizar said he hoped they could bring “a wide-range of ideas and perspectives to the discussion.” They’ll also have to develop an agenda and a timeline, and figure out how to fund the project.

COntinue reading after the jump.

AECOM Selected To Design New Arena for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings

West
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
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(AECOM)

(Courtesy AECOM)

AECOM, already busy working with Snøhetta on a basketball arena in San Francisco, has been chosen to design the new downtown basketball facility for the Sacramento Kings. Renderings for the  project, set to open by 2016, will not be released until the fall, but earlier images, released when the ownership team was still competing for the site, show a pillow-shaped, glass ringed structure with a steep seating bowl and, rare for such a facility, natural light.

Read More

New Mural Ordinance Opens Floodgates For Art in Los Angeles

West
Friday, August 30, 2013
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Untitled, by Mister Cartoon & El T Loko (Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles)

Untitled, by Mister Cartoon & El T Loko (Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles)

Finally. Los Angeles’ City Council on Wednesday passed a new mural ordinance, legalizing murals on private buildings after a decade of banning them. Of course would-be public artists still have to go through an extensive permitting process, and pay a$60 fee, but if they’re persistent they can finally go crazy. That is, as long as their murals don’t contain commercial messages.

“It’s a big victory and we’re thrilled,” said Isabel Rojas-Williams, executive director of the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles. The group has been protecting the city’s murals and muralists since 1987. “Despite the recent restrictions, the city has remained one of the country’s mural capitals.”

Don’t believe us? Behold a selection below of our favorite (finally-sanctioned) murals from around the City of Angels, courtesy of the Mural Conservancy. They range from political to historical to street art / graffiti, to, well…the undefinable. Read More

Studios at the Ranch: Disney Makes Move to “Hollywood North”

West
Thursday, August 29, 2013
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Studios at the Ranch (Disney)

Studios at the Ranch (Disney)

On Tuesday, Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors voted to approve Disney’s huge new TV and film production facility on the Golden Oak Ranch near Santa Clarita. The project is being master planned by LA-based firm, Johnson Fain, and the 58-acre “Studios at the Ranch” will include more than 500,000 square feet of studios, sound stages, offices, writers and producers “bungalows” and other developments.

Continue reading after the jump.

With Revitalization Plans On Hold, Students Rethink the Los Angeles River

City Terrain, Dean's List, West
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
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LA River fashion park (BinBin Ma)

LA River fashion park (Binbin Ma)

While pathways and parks are springing up near the Los Angeles River, plans to redevelop and green the concrete stretch still need the support of the Army Corps of Engineers and the federal government. In the meantime, students from landscape architecture firm SWA’s Summer Student Program have developed these mind bending proposals for the concrete expanse. Most not only remove the concrete, which was put in place in the 1930s, but provide walkable spaces, take down walls and other barriers, and add housing and additional program.

Continue reading after the jump.

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