Los Angeles-based landscape architect and indie filmmaker Evan Mather is crowd-funding his to way to his first feature-length film. After having produced a series of experimental time-lapse videos about the built environment—including 12 minutes to Vegas— he’s launching a Kickstarter campaign to help fund From Sea to Shining Sea, a 105-minute documentary celebrating the diverse American landscape. Moviegoers will be able to cruise the Interstate Highway System from coast to coast through the extensive video collage, which Mather hopes to complete some time next year.
Los Angeles-based Synthesis Design & Architecture (SDA) in association with Shenzhen General Institute of Architectural Design and Research have won an invited competition to design the 1.9 million-square-foot, mixed-use Shanghai Wuzhou International Plaza in Shanghai.
Their slick “Urban Canyon” concept summons images of a magnificent gorge cutting through the city with its two nested cliff-like structures that have been carved from the landscape by staggered, pebble-looking buildings. The facades’ and roofs’ grooved titanium-zinc cladding adds to the metaphor while mimicking the energy and vibrancy of the city.
Divided into two blocks, the northern area houses luxury retail shops and developer Hong Kong Wuzhou International Group’s corporate offices. The southern section is a retail, lifestyle and entertainment complex anchored by two office towers. Sky bridges connect the buildings and outside, plazas, landscaping, seating areas, and dynamic lighting are integrated. Practical details are still being finalized.
The expansion of LA’s Metro Rail Gold Line is well underway with a stunning new piece of infrastructure: The Gold Line Bridge. Completed last week, the 584-foot dual-track bridge, stretching over the eastbound lanes of the I-210 Freeway, will provide a light rail connection between the existing Sierra Madre Villa Station in Pasadena and Azusa’s future Arcadia Station. The rail line itself is scheduled for completion in 2014.
Made from steel reinforced concrete with added quartz, mica crystals, and mirrored glass, the monochromatic, abstract design, conceived by artist Andrew Leicester, pays homage to the region’s historic American Indian basket-weaving tradition and includes a carriageway and a post-and-lintel support beam system. The 25-foot baskets adorning each of the posts, “metaphorically represent the Native Americans of the region…and pay tribute to the iconic sculptural traditions of Route 66,” wrote Leicester.
The Hollywood sign, whose facelift we’ve been tracking in recent weeks, has been fully restored. After nine-weeks of priming and painting, the nine shiny white letters are once again the talk of Tinseltown. Thanks to Sherwin Williams and the Hollywood Sign Trust, who funded the facelift, the 45-foot-tall letters gracing LA’s Mount Lee are all set for its upcoming 90th anniversary celebration next year. And if you missed it in person, check out the time lapse video documenting this milestone below.
The days of airport as shopping and entertainment destination are in full swing. Construction of the new 40,000 square foot passenger concourse at the Long Beach Municipal Airport (LGB) will be finished next month. And this is no ordinary concourse. As part of a $140 million modernization project, the two-year renovation not only includes waiting and screening areas, but also two new terminals with 10,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space along with 4,200 square feet of outdoor patio seating containing fire pits, cabanas, and outdoor performance areas.
Like any star of the silver screen, a facial peel is in order every now and then. For the famous Hollywood Sign perched atop Mount Lee overlooking Los Angeles, it’s been 35 years since its last facelift, but the 89 year-old historical landmark will soon look as young as ever. Last week, the restoration project passed the halfway mark, with the H-O-L-L-Y letters newly primed, primped, and painted. The effort started on October 2 and will be completed by year’s end. The remaining corrugated steel letters will be sanded and given a fresh coat of glossy white paint.
When all is said and done, approximately 110 gallons of primer and 275 gallons of paint will have been used. And for sign aficionados who want to duplicate the color, it’s Sherwin-Williams Emerald Exterior Paint in high reflective white. The Hollywood Sign Trust together with Sherwin-Williams is funding the project. The sign was originally built as a real estate billboard in 1923, scrapped and rebuilt in 1978 and today continues to be an international landmark.
Beverly Hills-based Poon Design has transformed a Pasadena home’s porch trellis into a modern mathematical marvel. Using a parametric algorithm, architects Anthony Poon and John Kim used translucent acrylic to create a perforated structure composed of water-jet-cut holes. Circles of varying sizes dot the trellis allowing light to softly filter in while still providing ample shade.
“The glowing pattern allows sunlight to stream in alongside constantly changing shadows,” said Poon. The wood frame of the 9-foot structure is supported by galvanized metal poles and covers a 550 square-foot deck made from wood and recycled plastic composite lumber planks. Hexagonal cut-outs pepper the deck reaching out towards the future pool, garden, and guest house. A tree will be planted in the largest opening and align with an aperture above for a truly contemporary look.
Thinking about getting a masters degree but haven’t found the right field? California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco just made it easier, announcing three new graduate programs beginning in 2013, bringing the total number of post-professional offerings to eleven. The trio of curricula includes: a Master of Architecture in Urban Design and Landscape (MAUDL), a MFA in Comics, and a MFA in Film.
The two-year MAUDL focuses on the future of urbanism and teaches a range of urban design strategies and data-visualization techniques. The three-year MFA in Comics is headed by Eisner-nominated graphic novelist Matt Silady. And CCA’s MFA in Film specializes in multidisciplinary approaches. Classes begin Fall 2013. Applications for all three programs are being accepted now through January 5, 2013 at www.cca.edu.
Cecil Balmond, who famously left ARUP to start his own firm, Cecil Balmond Studio, a couple years ago, has a mesmerizing new project. The ethereal light sculpture, dubbed Snow Words, stretches out towards the Alaskan sky and illuminates the lobby of the new Crime Detection Laboratory in Anchorage. Suspended between a glazed skylight and a mirrored floor, the 30-foot-high beacon, which opened last month, seems to float within its laser-cut cylindrical shell. Made of LED-lit rods calibrated to a unique sequence, the installation commemorates the officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
Little, leafy-green patches are sprouting up over Los Angeles as part of the city’s “50 Parks Initiative,” a public-private program designed to revive some of the city’s neediest, most densely populated communities. To date, there are actually 53 of these pocket parks planned, with one of the first parks, 49th Street Park in South Los Angeles, opening earlier this month. When completed, the small parks combined will cover a total of 170 acres, and many of the individual parks will be under an acre.
Not only are the parks small, but they will be somewhat self-sufficient. Requiring only four to six months to build, these micro-recreation areas will be decked out with “no mow” grass, drought tolerant plants, smart irrigation, and solar-powered, self-contained waste bins that can hold five times the average amount of trash. And to keep intruders out after hours, automatic time-lock gates and solar motion-activated cameras will be installed.
Los Angeles firm tec Architecture and Dutch interior designer Marcel Wanders are partnering to create Kameha Bay Portals, a luxury resort and spa in Mallorca, Spain set to open early in 2013. Located on the island’s posh south coast, the building will take shape out of a nondescript 1960′s concrete building, but according to tec Architecture the 55,000 square foot project is more a reinvention than a renovation.
If you didn’t catch the giant inflatable pop-up chapel/igloo at Silver Lake’s Materials & Applications gallery last year, now’s your chance to experience it in person. Well, it’s cousin anyway. The 25-foot-tall second rendition, Density Frames was designed by USC’s architecture director Gail Peter Borden for the school’s Religious Center courtyard. The irregularly-shaped balloon-like structure will be on display through December 15.