Michael Graves’ Portland Building Could Be In Jeopardy

News, Newsletter, Preservation, West
Monday, January 13, 2014
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Portland Building (Flickr/Camknows)

Portland Building (Flickr/Camknows)

If several Portland city commissioners have their way Michael Graves‘ alternately loved and hated Portland Building (1982), now facing a $95 million renovation, will be torn down. One of the most famous examples of postmodern architecture in the United States, the 15-story, 31-year-old structure is known for its small square windows, exaggerated historical motifs, playful, varied materials, gaudy colors, and, of course, its cameo on the opening to the show Portlandia (also the name of the larger-than-life statue over the building’s front door).

Continue reading after the jump.

Arup and Buro Happold Join Downtown LA Rush

News, Shft+Alt+Del, West
Friday, January 10, 2014
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The view from Buro Happold's new Downtown LA Offices (Buro Happold)

The view from Buro Happold’s new Downtown LA Offices. (Buro Happold)

Maybe it’s because AN moved our West Coast offices here? Or maybe (more likely)  there’s finally a critical mass of talent, clients, and opportunity? Either way, it seems like Downtown Los Angeles is becoming the place for architecture and engineering firms these days.

Recent moves there include Gensler, SOM, SAA, LeanArch, SDA, Freeland Buck, Nous,  MADA, and Ahbe Landscape Architects, to name a few. Now these firms are being joined by two engineering giants: Arup and Buro Happold.

Read more after the jump.

Designer Pleads No Contest To Manslaughter In Los Angeles

West
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
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The home, repaired after the fire, sits in the Hollywood Hills (MLS)

The home, repaired after the fire, sits in the Hollywood Hills (MLS)

In a case being watched closely by architects, German designer Gerhard Becker last week pleaded no contest to a charge of involuntary manslaughter for his “disregard for public safety and building codes” in the construction of a Hollywood Hills mansion whose ceiling collapsed in a 2011 fire, killing one fireman.

Continue reading after the jump.

Los Angeles Questions Its Flat Topped Skyscrapers Again

Architecture, West
Friday, December 20, 2013
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The less-flat roof of the upcoming Wilshire Grand in Downtown Los Angeles (AC Martin)

The less-flat roof of the upcoming Wilshire Grand in Downtown Los Angeles (AC Martin)

Los Angeles has for years been working to change its fire code to allow for skyscrapers without boring flat tops. It looks like there’s been a breakthrough. LA Councilman Jose Huizar recently announced that his office and the LA Fire Department have issued “Policy No. 10,” a step to reform the department’s decades-old policy calling for  flat rooflines for helicopter rescue.

Continue reading after the jump.

Architect Elena Manferdini Completes the Colorful, Laser-Cut “Nembi” Installation in South Los Angeles

Architecture, West
Thursday, December 12, 2013
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(Atelier Manferdini)

(Atelier Manferdini)

Until recently, talented Los Angeles–based architect Elena Manferdini had practiced all over the world, but barely  in her own city. That has definitely changed. Earlier this year she worked on two shops in Venice, and her latest project is an art installation at the entry way of the Hubert H. Humphrey Comprehensive Health Center in South Los Angeles. The colorful project is part of the LA County Art Commission’s Civic Art project, a one percent program for county facilities.

Read more after the jump.

On the Road Again: Artists Respond to Single-Family Homes in Los Angeles

West
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
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On The Road explores Frank Gehry's famed Norton House in Venice. (Jaime Kowai)

On The Road explores Frank Gehry’s famed Norton House in Venice. (Jaime Kowai)

Our friends at On the Road, a yearlong series of LA-centric architecture, art, and design programs taking place throughout the city, are at it again. Last weekend they took their talents to the residential realm, encouraging a series of designers to respond to eight single-family houses on the city’s west side through postcards placed inside the homes’ mailboxes.

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Los Angeles Bike Share Program Dies After Advertising Conflict

West
Monday, November 25, 2013
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Bike Nation kiosk set up for CicLAVia last year (Bike Nation)

Bike Nation kiosk set up for LA’s CicLAVia last year (Bike Nation)

Bad news for biking enthusiasts in Los Angeles. According to LA Downtown News, Bike Nation’s deal with the city of Los Angeles to create a Bike Share program is now basically dead. The plan, originally slated to open this April, called for an eventual 125 stations in Downtown and 400 (containing 4,000 bikes) across Los Angeles.

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Video> AN Visits the Solar Decathlon 2013

West
Friday, November 8, 2013
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For those of you who didn’t get to the Solar Decathlon this year, never fear. AN was at the event, which for the first time was held on the west coast, at the Orange County Great Park. Impressive teams combined edgy design and futuristic sustainability, with, of course, an amazing work ethic. (What were you doing in college? We bet you didn’t design and build a hi-tech house and build it in nine days on a former airplane runway.)

Team Austria took home the top prize, but every home in the competition—from sleek metallic forms to heavy wood cabins—produced more energy than it used, and implemented handfuls of emerging technologies that you’ll hopefully see in most homes in the next decade. AN took a visit to see the 19 homes in person. Take a look for yourself, and make sure to check out the next decathlon in two years.

The Los Angeles Aqueduct Memorial That Washed Away

West
Thursday, November 7, 2013
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Los Angeles Aqueduct Memorial (Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History)

Los Angeles Aqueduct Memorial (Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History)

Amidst all the excitement over the Los Angeles Aqueduct’s 100th anniversary, we should point out that not every engineering marvel related to William Mulholland’s masterpiece was completed.  As displayed in the recently-closed show, Never Built Los Angeles, co-curated by this author and Greg Goldin, city officials and architect George A. Howard had planned a 220-foot-tall memorial to the aqueduct, located in the center of Exposition Park’s Rose Garden. Consisting of a fluted, classical column with a fresco-clad base, the memorial would be topped by a statue of “Miss Los Angeles,” who would continuously pour water into a moat below. Genius. Unfortunately World War I put a stop to the plan, and a modest fountain and lily pond, built in 1921, now stand on the spot.

Ross Wimer to Lead AECOM Architecture

Shft+Alt+Del, West
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
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Ross Wimer (AECOM)

Ross Wimer (AECOM)

Architecture and Engineering giant AECOM  has taken a big step to bolster its architecture offerings with the appointment of  Ross Wimer, former  partner and design director at SOM Chicago, as the leader of its architecture practice in the Americas. Wimer was known for fighting for design at SOM, and he plans to do the same thing at AECOM, where architecture can be overshadowed by much larger, and more profitable work.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Los Angeles Coliseum and Other REALLY Important RFPs in SoCAL

West
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
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Alidipix

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Alidipix/ flickr)

The architecture business seems to be—slowly—rounding back into form in Southern California. One indicator? A bunch of Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and Requests for Qualifications (RFQs) for major public projects. One of the most significant is the $70 million renovation of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, whose management was taken over by the University of Southern California (USC) this summer. The iconic Parkinson & Parkinson–designed building will undergo long-delayed updates throughout, including improved sight lines, seating, concessions, audio/visual, lighting, restrooms, and much more. The stadium’s last major upgrade came in 1993. The shortlist for the project for now includes Populous, NBBJ, DLR, HNTB, Gensler, and 360 Architecture.

Continue reading after the jump.

Cliff Garten Inserts Sculptural “Ribbons” Into San Francisco’s 50 UN Plaza

City Terrain, West
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
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(Jeremy Green)

(Jeremy Green)

Los Angeles–based artist Cliff Garten has just completed his latest commission: Ribbons, a series of landscapes and sculptures in the courtyard of the Beaux-Arts 50 United Nations Plaza in San Francisco. The symmetrical design riffs on the existing structure’s classical uniformity by inserting a sculptural collage of paving, seating, fountains, and plantings into the building’s 20,000 square foot courtyard.

COntinue reading after the jump.

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