Going Local.  Courtesy Google Maps We hear that the mighty Pritzker family from Chicago (namely Anthony Pritzker) has built an ultra-large estate in Beverly Hills. A 49,000 square foot chateau, to be exact. We haven’t been able to identify who the architect is, but it’s apparently a firm “from Paris.” What ever happened to hiring locally? The compound brings new meaning to the concept of mega-mansion, but plans for an even larger house of 70,000 square feet for a Saudi prince are taking shape nearby. But maybe this means a sop to a West Coast architect for the next Pritzker?

 

Renaissance Critic.  Renaissance Critic It’s common knowledge that before Michael Kimmelman became the New York Times’ architecture critic he used to be one of the paper’s art critics. But did you know that before delving into the visual arts, Kimmelman had a passion for the lively arts? He even considered a professional career as a concert pianist. In fact, on his days off you can still find Kimmelman performing, most recently on May 19 and 20 with Bargemusic, a chamber music group that holds concerts on a barge near the Brooklyn Bridge. The pianist in a quartet, Kimmelman was down for a little Hayden, Beethoven, and Mozart. “Hoping people will come to my concerts at Bargemusic,” the critic tweeted beforehand, in what may count as one his few reviews of an actual, if nautical, structure. “Nice program, cool place.”

 

To Russia, With Love.  To Russia, With Love Is Russia the new China? Probably nyet, but there are a couple of projects to watch in Putinland. Rem Koolhaas has locked up the commission to transform a crumbling Soviet-era building into a hip new home for the Garage (pictured), the contemporary art center in Moscow run by Dasha Zhukova. Bankrolling the creation of a 58,000-square-foot kunsthalle, complete with the obligatory café, shop, and “learning center,” is billionaire Roman Abramovich, Zhukova’s longtime boyfriend.

 

WTF WI-FI.  WTF WI-FI That didn’t take long. We hear that the funds promised for the LA Unified School District’s innovative prefabricated prototype schools by the likes of Craig Hodgetts, Swift Lee and Gonzalez Goodale have been routed instead to updating LAUSD schools’ wifi systems. We know that getting on the Internet without a cord is cool, but more important than shelter from the storm? Say it ain’t so! Now that the program is on hold there is one silver lining. It appears that LA’s charter schools are jumping over themselves to get a prefab prototype. Stay tuned.

 

Eavesdrop> Grimshaw and Gruen Take Union Station

Eavesdroplet, Newsletter, West
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
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Grimshaw and Gruen's vision plan for Union Station. (Courtesy Grimshaw/Gruen)

Grimshaw and Gruen's vision plan for Union Station. (Courtesy Grimshaw/Gruen)

This is big: Our sources divulge that UK firm Grimshaw and LA-based Gruen Associates have won the commission to master plan the six million square feet of entitlements at Union Station in Los Angeles. A formal announcement is expected this coming Monday on Metro’s web site (our leak is unconfirmed), with the Metro board approving the firms after that.  Grimshaw has made a name for itself designing infrastructure and transit stations around the world, including Lower Manhattan’s upcoming Fulton Street Transit Center and London’s Waterloo Station. Gruen recently completed design on phase one of the Expo Line and has served as executive architect on several recent projects, including the Pacific Design Center. The site around Union Station encompasses about 38 acres and is anticipated to become a transit and commercial hub for the city. It will likely include offices, residences, retail, entertainment, parks and a potential high speed rail station.

High Holiday

East, Eavesdroplet
Friday, May 4, 2012
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The world's tallest Holiday Inn under construction in Manhattan. (Rendering via ReBusiness Online)

The world's tallest Holiday Inn under construction in Manhattan. (Rendering via ReBusiness Online)

We heard rumblings, but now it’s official—a 400-room, 50-story high Holiday Inn will be joining the ranks of downtown hotels at 99 Washington Street near the World Trade Center. It will be the world’s tallest Holiday Inn and the go-to architect for New York hotels, Gene Kaufman of Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman & Associates Architects, will be doing the honors. Kaufman’s other high-profile hotel projects, the Chelsea Hotel renovation and the new Hyatt near Union Square, seem to be moving full steam ahead, despite legal wrangling at the Chelsea. The Holiday Inn will likely open to guests by the end of this year.

Gehry Hearts Asia.  Opus Hong Kong by Frank Gehry. (Courtesy Swire Properties) Frank Gehry’s first residential project in Asia, a twisty residential tower called Opus Hong Kong, is complete. Total project cost for the 12-story, 12-apartment building? A mere $27,000 a square foot, according to Swire CEO Martin Cubbon. “I would just quit everything and come and just work for them forever,” said Gehry on a recent press blitz in Hong Kong, where he praised the “interest and respect” he was afforded.

 

RAD & RED at Storefront for Art & Architecture’s Spring Fundraiser

East, Eavesdroplet
Friday, March 30, 2012
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Storefront Director Eva Franch and the red Woolworth Building. (William Menking)

Storefront Director Eva Franch & a red Woolworth Building. (Montage by The Architect's Newspaper)

The Woolworth Building just a few short blocks from Zuccotti Park—the spiritual home of the Ocuppy movement—was itself bathed in radical red last night to celebrate the iconic “red” work of Barbara Krueger and Bernard Tschumi. The two celebrated figures were being honored by the Storefront for Art and Architecture at their annual Spring fundraiser.

Continue reading after the jump.

Google Fires Ingenhoven from Mountain View Headquarters Project

Eavesdroplet, Newsletter, West
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
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An early conception of the campus created by the city of Mountain View.

You can’t even, well, Google it yet, but we’ve picked some meaty news from the grapevine: Google has fired German firm Ingenhoven Architects as the designers of its new headquarters in Mountain View, California. The building, to be located on 18.6 acres next to the current “Googleplex,” off of North Shoreline Boulevard, would measure a maximum of 595,000 square feet and house 2,500 to 3,000 employees, including executives, engineers, and scientists.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Eavesdrop> AIA/LA Has Architecture Center Envy

Eavesdroplet, Newsletter, West
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
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AN’s annual resource list may be published every year but it is never the same. Painstakingly drawn from extensive interviews by our editors with the architects and builders of the best architecture of 2011, these names are the too-often unacknowledged cornerstones that guarantee the quality and excellence of today’s architecture. We both herald and share them with you.

New York's Center for Architecture: model for LA?

It appears that AIA/LA is serious about opening a new architecture center, a storefront, multi-use space similar to that of the Center for Architecture in New York (above). According to a now expired post on Idealist.org, they’re looking for (and rumored to have already hired) a new fulltime “Campaign Director” for an $8 to 15 million capital campaign to “support the acquisition and renovation of an existing building for the new Center for Architecture and Urban Design Los Angeles,” and “create an endowment to maintain this new property.”

According to the post the center will be “a highly collaborative organization that builds strong relationships with other organizations to carry out its mission.” The center is rumored to contain not just AIA offices and exhibition and event spaces, but perhaps spaces for the A+D Architecture and Design Museum and the Urban Land Institute’s Los Angeles chapter.

Diamond studded Eco-Developer?  Diamond studded Eco-Developer? Having successfully covered the world (or at least all 11 outposts of the global Gagosian empire) in colorful spots, Damien Hirst is turning his attention to architectural matters. The artist is planning to build more than 500 homes on the land he owns in Devon, England as part of a broader expansion of the glam seaside resort town of Ilfracombe. Mike Rundell of London-based MRJ Rundell+Associates is putting his undergrad degree in fine art to good use and working with Hirst on the project. “He has a horror of building anonymous, lifeless buildings,” said Rundell of his artist client. Pressed for details, Rundell described the houses as modern and possibly incorporating eco-friendly touches such as photovoltaic panels and wind turbines nestled in the roofs. Pickled sharks or spin art not included.

 

Foster on Film

Eavesdroplet
Thursday, February 2, 2012
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Norman Foster, who, as writer Mark Lamster has noted, “even in his 70s, has the look of a heavy in a Guy Ritchie film,” skis, sketches, and visits his childhood home in Manchester, England, in the film How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?, a documentary produced by the architect’s wife that screened on January 25, at the IFC Center. Directed and dreamily photographed by Norberto Lopez-Amado and Carlos Carcas, the film moves seamlessly between irresistible images of Foster’s buildings, and the man himself, dashing between projects, reflecting on his career, and earning praise from scriptwriter Deyan Sudjic on everything from his work ethic to his wardrobe. “Everything inspires me,” says Foster early in the film. “Sometimes I think I see things others don’t.”

Watch the movie trailer.

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