Santa Monica Civic Auditorium Getting Facelift

Other, West
Thursday, June 2, 2011
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After attending the recent Alt Build Expo in Santa Monica it became clear to us at AN that the aging Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, a Decorative Modernist structure designed by Welton Becket back in 1958, was in serious need of an update. (Becket, by the way, designed the Capitol Records Building, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and a good deal more of mid-Century Los Angeles.)

Well it looks like our wish is coming true: On May 26 the Santa Monica City Council voted to approve a $47 million remodel and seismic retrofit of the auditorium, using Santa Monica Redevelopment Agency funds (the vote to allocate funds was sped up because such monies may soon be frozen once the state budget is passed).

No firm has been chosen, but we will keep our eyes peeled on the RFP, which was posted here last month.  “They anticipate a design build contract,” said Santa Monica spokesperson Carol Lemlein, who noted that perspective teams will be made up of  architects, contractors, engineers, and preservation experts. Read More

Video> The Guggenheim′s Mute Button Dials Down the Urban Din

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
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The Guggenheim teams up with Improv Everywhere in Prospect Park. (Video still)

The Guggenheim teams up with Improv Everywhere in Prospect Park. (Video still)

The Guggenheim has been blurring the boundaries of what makes a traditional museum lately, and among their latest forays into the streets of New York is stillspotting nyc, a series investigating urban life (a previous program, Sanitorium, explored what keeps city dwellers sane as they rush about their hectic lives). Now, The Mute Button, a collaboration between the Guggenheim and Improv Everywhere, continues this trend by staging 23 under-cover actors and two dogs at the entrance to Prospect Park at Grand Army Plaza. The troup is a noisy bunch, until–presto!–the din of the city turns silent. A camera was on hand to catch the reactions of befuddled passers by. (Via Gothamist.)

Watch the video after the jump.

QUICK CLICKS> Revitart, Public Heliport, Marketing Transit, Tony Tenants

Daily Clicks
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
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Pretty pictures in Revit are possible. (Courtesy Black Spectacles)

A Little Help from Friends. You can generate beautiful images in Revit. Marc Teer of Black Spectacles says that with a little patience and help from other programs, pretty pictures are possible. Teer advises that certain elements, such as line weight, take a little legwork, but other elements, such as the level of detail, can be managed within the program. Finally, take it over to Illustrator and InDesign to clean up overlaps and polish your drawing off with a wider array of fancy font choices.

Public Transit. Who says Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey doesn’t endorse alternative transportation? The Star Ledger reports that the governor rode a spanking new State Police helicopter to his son’s baseball game yesterday.

Branding Transit. If all of us had a state funded helicopter at our disposal, we wouldn’t have to be convinced to take public transportation, but, alas… A new report from EMBARQ says that if public transport wants to compete with General Motors, then it had better go toe to toe with GM’s $21 billion advertising budget. The World Resources Institute gives an overview of the report. (Via Planetizen.)

Fill ‘er up. The World Trade Center is doing just swell, thank you very much. With Anna Wintour and Graydon Carter planning to pull up in their big black Town Cars, Crain’s reports that now UBS may pluck their staff from their Stamford, CT locale and put them up in one of  the downtown towers.

Sculptures by Sol LeWitt Stand Tall In Lower Manhattan

Detail of Splotch 15 (Branden Klayko/AN)

Detail of Splotch 15 (Branden Klayko/AN)

Last week, Mayor Bloomberg and a cadre of arts enthusiasts from the Public Art Fund gathered at City Hall Park to officially open a retrospective on conceptual artist Sol LeWitt titled Structures, 1965-2006. Comprised primarily of sleek white cubes and forms and one colorful Splotch, the installation of 27 sculptures represents the first outdoor retrospective of LeWitt’s work as well as the largest public art display at City Hall Park, billed by Nicholas Baume, chief curator for the Public Art Fund, as New York’s “museum without walls.”

Check out the sculptures after the jump.

Video> A Cry for Modernism in NOLA

A shot of Phillis Wheatley from A Plea For Modernism

Filmmaker Evan Mather, one of the country’s few architectural filmmakers, makes a viral appeal for Charles R. Colbert’s Phillis Wheatley Elementary School in New Orleans, which is set for demolition this summer. Appropriately titled A Plea for Modernism, the 12 minute short makes the case that buildings like Phillis Wheatley are disappearing throughout the Crescent City (watch the video after the jump).

The school–owned by the Recovery School District and located in the historic neighborhood of Tremé–is one 30 schools in the city from the postwar Modernist Movement of the 1950s and 60s (only four of those schools still stand). New Orleans is also home to Moisant Airport, the Greater New Orleans Bridge, and other works by the likes of Goldstein, Parham & Labouisse, Modjeski & Masters, and Curtis & Davis.

Watch the video after the jump.

QUICK CLICKS> Altophobia, Old Archphobia, Parkphobia, Sunset

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
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Scared of heights? Courtesy NYTimes/Rothstein

High up. The New York TimesEdward Rothstein went out on a ledge for the paper today. The critic took on the glass boxes that protrude from the Willis Tower in Chicago known appropriately as the Ledge. The critic waxes poetic about the vulnerability of the city and the fully human sensations that occur when floating some 1,353 feet above the street. He also takes the opportunity to point out the redundancy of the Ledge’s cousin, the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

Tear Down. Christopher Hawthorne balked at SFMOMA‘s public relations campaign to portray the museum’s new Snøhetta-designed wing as a wallflower respecting its Mario Botta-designed neighbor. But as Hawthorne points out in the LA Times, the new building is anything but quiet. Rather it’s more a “chiseled behemoth.”  Hawthorne finds the museum’s affront to its Botta as part of a larger trend in the American museum world where the tendency is to drop good, but alas, old architecture in lieu of ever newer names and trends. Read: Whitney, MoMA, Barnes, to name but a few.

Put a Lid on It. In a totally biased and unabashedly opinionated piece for City Watch, Jack Humphreville writes that a back room deal may have LA ratepayers of the Department of Water and Power footing the bill for a new twelve-acre park designed to cap the underground reservoir replacing the Elysian Reservoir. Humprhies argues that the $85 million park should fall under the auspices of the City and the Department of Recreation and Parks.

Manhattanhenge. Gothamist reminds us that tonight at 8:17PM the full sun will set in perfect alignment with east west axis of Manhattan’s street grid. Remember not to stare, mesmerized, for too long.

 

 

 

Quick Clicks> Capping Highways, Flying Meteors, Infrastructure Pop, Old School Ivy

Daily Clicks
Thursday, May 26, 2011
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Proposed highway-straddling structure in Santa Monica. (Courtesy Curbed)

Proposed highway-straddling structure in Santa Monica. (Courtesy Curbed)

Capping Santa Monica. Curbed LA got some great renderings from students at USC who where charged with imagining even more highway caps for the Pacific Coast Highway, this time from Arizona to California Avenues. Beyond freeway parks, the students proposed housing, hotels, and community centers.

Breaking Whitney. With the deal signed for the Met to take over the Whitney‘s Breuer building on Madison, directors at the ground breaking for the new branch at the High Line had all the more reason to celebrate. DNA reminds readers that the museum is actually retuning home. Ol’ Gerty got the ball rolling on 8th Street way back in 1930.

Dylan Sings. Happy B-day Bobby! Bob Dylan turned 70 on Tuesday and in celebration the Infrastructurist presents Dylan’s Ten Best Infrastructure Songs, including “The Levee’s Gonna Break” and “Marchin’ to the City.”

Old School. Design New Haven has the Robert A.M. Stern drawings for “street calming measures” at Yale that are part of the $600 million for renovations, including two new residential colleges. The plan includes mixed use buildings intended to encourage street life at all hours and improved access to the Farmington Canal Greenway .

Johnson′s Glass House: the Anti-McMansion?

East, National, Newsletter
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
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Courtesy Philip Johnson Glass House

Courtesy Philip Johnson Glass House

Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, CT clocks in at under 2,000 square feet–tiny compared to the McMansions being built just a stone’s throw away. The transparent house is widely known as one of the earliest and most influential modernist homes in the United States, but its size is also a lesson in sustainable living.

Continue reading after the jump.

Fly Denari Airlines

Having worked there on and off for the last 25 years Neil Denari is huge in Japan. His latest achievement in the country was just unveiled yesterday: the complete design for Japan’s first ever low-cost regional airline, called Peach. Read More

Filed Under: , ,

Infrastructure Blues: ULI Report Assesses National & Global Policy

Once again, the results of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) /Ernst & Young annual global infrastructure report don’t look good for America. According to the document, “The United States notably continues to lag its global competition—laboring without a national infrastructure plan, lacking political consensus, and contending with severe federal, state, and local budget deficits that limit options.” The end of the federal stimulus package in 2013 makes the picture even bleaker. “The stimulus helped, but it was only a down payment on what’s needed,” said Ernst & Young Global Real Estate Leader Howard Roth at a recent ULI meeting in Phoenix.

Continue reading after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Parklet Lost, CityGarden Love, Chatham Scratched and Directing Traffic

Daily Clicks
Monday, May 23, 2011
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Parklet in Oakland goes missing. (Courtesy Actual Cafe)

Parklet in Oakland goes missing. (Courtesy Actual Cafe)

Missing Parklet. Who would steal a parklet? The Oakland Local spotted a worried Facebook page for Actual Cafe whose parklet, pictured above, disappeared last week. San Francisco is the city that invented the parklet concept–transforming parking spaces into extensions of the sidewalk–and we hear they’re quite popular, so what gives? The cafe has security footage of the early-morning incident.

Celebrating CityGarden. St. Louis’ much acclaimed urban sculpture park, CityGarden, has been awarded ULI’s 2011 Amanda Burden Open Space Award, named for NYC’s Planning Commissioner who sat on the selection jury. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said the garden topped projects in Portland, OR and Houston to claim the $10,000 prize.

Chatham Scratched. DNA reports that plans to transform Chinatown’s Chatham Square at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge have been put on hold. The $30 million project would have reconfigured the busy confluence of seven streets to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety, but with other construction projects already clogging the area, the city didn’t want to make matters worse. Funds will be used for other Lower Manhattan projects instead.

Directing Traffic. Robert Puentes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, has penned a feature-length article on the future of transportation for the Wall Street Journal. In recounting the good, the bad, and the ugly of transportation policy, Puentes calls for innovation and sustainability along with increased access to boost the economy.

QUICK CLICKS> Flyways, Pitstops, Bikes and the City

Daily Clicks
Friday, May 20, 2011
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Time lapse photography reveals an enlightened path (Courtesy Lost at E Minor).

Heavenly highways. No, this isn’t a preview of the Rapture (whose marketing graphics leave much to be desired)–it’s a series of time lapse photographs of the quotidian take-offs and landings of airplanes, courtesy of Lost At E Minor.

Out of Gas. Sunday Zipcar drivers take note: when the current lease runs out, the Gaseteria-turned-BP at the corner of Lafayette and Houston Streets in Manhattan will become the site of a new “super-secret five- to seven-story commercial loft development with luxury retail” reports The Observer.

Pro “Roberta Moses.” In her article “Anatomy of a Take Down,” Karrie Jacobs of Metropolis deftly deconstructs the critical pile-on around DOT Commissioner Janet Sadik-Khan and her transformation of New York City’s streets. If Jacobs were mayor, she says, she’d throw Sadik-Khan a ticker-tape parade.

Two-wheeled Commute. Happy National Bike to Work Day! Dissuaded by inclement weather in the northeast? For inspiration, check out Street Films’ video–after the jump–of Lucette Gilbert, in her “very late 70s,” who has been getting around New York by bike since the transit strike of 1980.

Watch the video after the jump.

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