The Inside Scoop from the West Coast

Eavesdroplet, West
Monday, January 13, 2014
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Aerial view of Los Angeles. (Onny Carr / Flickr)

Aerial view of Los Angeles. (Onny Carr / Flickr)

Gossip about new projects is back! First we hear that Steven Ehrlich and Fred Fisher are teaming up for a major renovation of the Otis campus, on Los Angeles‘ West Side. Next we hear a shortlist is close to being named for Metro’s West Side expansion subway line. We’re all waiting with bated breath to see the renderings of LA firm Johnston Marklee’s addition to The Menil in Houston, which is now set to be unveiled this month. And then there’s the expansion of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s La Jolla campus. A shortlist has indeed been chosen, but museum spokesperson Leah Straub told AN, “We don’t want to damage anyone’s reputation should they not be selected.” Wow, who knew being on a shortlist could be damaging?

Trojan Style? USC Shifts From Romanesque to Gothic

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USC president Max Nikias is curious. Since taking over in 2010 he has held the torch for past president Steven Sample’s beloved “California Romanesque” style on the campus, resulting in the red brick and tight arches of buildings like AC Martin’s Ronald Tutor Campus Center and George Lucas’s School of Cinematic Arts. Now he’s shifted a few years in the future to Collegiate Gothic. AC Martin has been commissioned to design a Gothic-style building for the business school, and other firms are competing for a similar project, we hear from our moles. Perhaps he will move into French Renaissance next? Get ready for some chateaux!

Wiscombe Planning Zombie Art Museum?  Wiscombe Planning Zombie Art Museum? Hell Yeah! We hear from a little birdie that our friend Tom Wiscombe (pictured) may be designing a new museum in downtown Los Angeles dedicated to Los Angeles art. The details are still left to resolve, but we’ve been told he likens the place to a “zombie hive.” You had us at zombie, Tom. (Photo: Courtesy Tom Wiscombe Design)

 

Tunnel Rats: Does Texas Favor Building Highways Over Subways?

Eavesdroplet, Southwest
Monday, November 18, 2013
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The Waller Creek Tunnel in Austin. (Courtesy Lachel & Associates Engineers)

The Waller Creek Tunnel in Austin. (Courtesy Lachel & Associates Engineers)

According to a very confidential source, engineers currently working on the Waller Creek tunnel believe that Austin sits on top of some of the most optimal conditions for tunneling in the entire U.S. These number-crunching problem solvers claimed that a subway tunnel beneath the Texas State Capital’s downtown would cost 1/10th of the amount it would in most places in the country. However, the brainiacs also said that there are those in high places who do not want that knowledge spread around (read TxDOT) because the construction of more freeways is making certain people a great deal of money.

Carpetbagger: Dallas Extends Unconventional Welcome to Critic Mark Lamster

Eavesdroplet, Southwest
Thursday, November 14, 2013
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Mark Lamster. (Courtesy Dallas Morning News)

Mark Lamster. (Courtesy Dallas Morning News)

“New York City?!? Get a rope.” That sums up the feelings of some North Texans upon learning the origin and reading the prejudices of the Dallas Morning News’ new architecture critic, Mark Lamster. The Brooklyn-based scribbler—who also happens to be a professor in the architecture school of the University of Texas at Arlington—recently tweeted a love letter he received from one such offended reader. “You’re a carpetbagger reporter with no knowledge of—or sensitivity to—Dallas, our suburbs, or our incorporated cities and towns,” it said. To which Lamster replied, “Thanks!”

Filed Under: 

Architect Claims Google Ripped Off His Game-Changing Technology.  Architect Claims Google Ripped Off His Game-Changing Technology Israeli-American architect Eli Attia claims Google stole his life’s work—a visionary design and construction software that the company estimates could generate $120 billion annually. The technology, Google claims, has the potential to cut construction costs and the time from design to completion by 30 percent. “By stealing and bastardizing my technology,” Attie told Israli business daily Globes, “Google has deprived humanity of what it urgently needs. And, in the process, has careless and callously wasted three years of my life.” (Image: Courtesy Google)

 

Look Out, La Jolla: Mitt’s Mega-Mansion Is Coming To Town

Eavesdroplet, West
Friday, October 25, 2013
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Mitt Romney's current house will be torn down to build his new mansion. (Courtesy ABC 10)

Mitt Romney’s current house will be torn down to build his new mansion. (Courtesy ABC 10)

California Republicans (yes, there are a few, we think), your leader has arrived. After a multiyear battle, Mitt Romney has finally gotten permission to tear down their existing beachfront house and build an 11,000-square-foot mansion in La Jolla. Although it was approved in 2008 by the California Coastal Commission, neighbors were able to stymie the project—questioning whether it exceeded square footage allowances—until commissioners upheld their approval. According to the Los Angeles Times, the home is more than four times larger than the median house in the area. (As is this house by Zaha Hadid also planned for La Jolla.) It’s proof that Mitt truly loves the earth. And exploiting resources on top of it.

Watch the local television news report here.

Architects Make the World Dope: A Chronicle of Kanye West’s Forays into Design

Eavesdroplet, International
Friday, October 18, 2013
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Kanye West at Harvard's Graduate School of Design (Noam Dvir / Instagram)

Kanye West at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (Noam Dvir/Instagram)

There is little, if anything, Kanye West can’t do. That is, of course, according to Kanye. The rapper-meets-fashion designer has already declared himself the “Steve [Jobs] of the Internet” and now he has set his eyes on architecture. Perhaps next, he’ll hail himself the “Franklin Lloyd Wright of design.” In an interview this fall with BBC Radio 1 (watch after the jump), West said that he was interested in trying his hand at architecture and product design.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Eavesdrop> Let Them Drink Champagne, Daddy

Eavesdroplet, Midwest
Thursday, October 17, 2013
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Studio Gang's design for a massive lamp shade at Expo Chicago. (Courtesy Studio Gang)

Studio Gang’s design for a massive lamp shade at Expo Chicago. (Courtesy Studio Gang)

Art fairs serve three groups of clientele: the rich, who buy the art, curators and museum folks, and the poor—students, freelance writers, party-crashers. You can probably guess that Eavesdrop is in the latter, not the former, so imagine the disappointment when champagne was going for $19 per glass on opening night of Expo Chicago.

Seriously, what happened to the days of all-you-can-drink Grolsch or Basil Haydens way back in Art Chicago’s past? The sticker shock should be from the gallery price lists, not the bar.

While standing in line, Eavesdrop was flattered to be recognized by James Geier of 555 International, who hinted at a slew of new projects and fall openings. Hopefully those openings will allow the 99 percent to imbibe.

The art fair’s environment, layout and scheme, was designed by Studio Gang, although we can’t say that we were able to discern a noticeable imprint.

Wakeup Sleepy Head, It’s Time For Design at Depaul.  Wakeup Sleepy Head, It’s Time For Design at Depaul DePaul University lays claim to many superlatives, like Largest Catholic University and other stuff. We have one: The Largest Collegiate Architectural Snoozefest. That is until now. On the heels of the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts, DePaul recently cut the ribbon on its new Theater School, designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli. The new building is quite literally—excuse the cliché—a breath of fresh air, clad in materials other than brick veneer. (Photo: Jeff Goldberg / ESTO)

 

Zaha Hadid: Right Angles Bad, Dictatorships Okay

Eavesdroplet, International
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
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Zaha Hadid said she wouldn't design a prison. (Montage by AN)

Zaha Hadid said she wouldn’t design a prison. (Montage by AN)

The Guardian got up close and personal with Zaha Hadid in a recent, no-holds-barred interview where the Pritzker prize-winning architect gave her two cents on London’s “conservative” architecture climate and railed against rectangular buildings, revealing a nugget of wisdom that perhaps has eluded most designers: “The world is not a rectangle.” Beyond her dislike for conventional corner-oriented design, she also told the reporter that, at her firm, “we don’t make nice little buildings.”

While quadrilaterals and “nice” architecture are out of the question, apparently designing in Syria isn’t. That is, unless it is an un-luxurious prison. “Well, I wouldn’t mind building in Syria,” Hadid told the paper. “I’m an Arab and if it helps people, if it’s an opera house or a parliament building, something for the masses, I would do it. But if someone asks me to build a prison, I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t build a prison, irrespective of where it is, even if it was very luxurious.” What population living in a war-ravaged country doesn’t need a first-rate opera house?

Eavesdrop> Never Built, the VIP Party

Eavesdroplet, West
Thursday, October 3, 2013
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A line forms at the Never Built: Los Angeles opening. (Courtesy Guy Horton / KCRW)

A line forms at the Never Built: Los Angeles opening. (Courtesy Guy Horton / KCRW)

We at Eavesdrop don’t like to toot our own horn, but sometimes we can’t help ourselves. So we have to point out the scene for the late July opening of Never Built Los Angeles, co-curated by our very own Sam Lubell. The event looked more like a Hollywood club opening than an exhibition opening, with a line that snaked around the corner and angry would-be partygoers trying to convince the bouncer (a.k.a. the fire marshal) to let them in. We especially love the description by AN contributor Guy Horton, here writing for KCRW’s blog: “The line of black clothing wrapped around the corner and kept going, reaching all the way down to a stretch of houses where local residents nervously peeked out to see what was going on. Cars were pulling all sorts of questionable maneuvers on Wilshire and adjacent streets as distracted, anxious architects hustled for parking. People were walking in from blocks away as if drawn from some invisible force. At any moment I was expecting police helicopters to appear overhead. That would have made my night complete.”

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