Another strange day at the AIA Convention in San Francisco. And perhaps the weirdest place of all is the Expo floor, where you can examine products ranging from stainless steel bathroom stalls to impact resistant drywall to powder coatings for steel systems (actually not a bad idea). But perhaps the strangest, and perhaps most intriguing product award goes to a company called Sky Factory, which manufactures “virtual windows” and “sky ceilings” which create the illusion that you have a beautiful waterfall or an ocean view outside your building. Read More
The Long Beach Press-Telegram and Curbed LA report that on Earth Day marine artist Robert Wyland painted a 2.8 acre mural of planet earth, called “Earth: The Blue Planet,” on the roof of the Long Beach Arena. Wyland did the work for free, but in corporate fashion, the mural is “inspired” by the new Disney film Earth, according to Wyland’s web site. The same week he finished a renovation of his 1992 whale and marine life mural, “Planet Ocean,” on the arena’s exterior walls. That 116,000 square foot, 10-story-tall work was declared the largest mural in the world when completed. Not bad Long Beach. Now if they could only replace one of the chain restaurants on the Harbor with a local eatery…
As Gothamist and Curbed have pointed out today, workers up on the High Line have begun removing one of the elevated track cum park’s dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of graffitos, as seen in the picture above. Everyone seems to be worried about this one mediocre piece, but it’s our sorry job to report that the tragedy goes far deeper than that. Read More
As part of Earth Day New York’s annual festival, taking place today and tomorrow at Grand Central Terminal, Brooklyn-based eco-friendly buildings products supplier Green Depot is debuting their new Pop-Up store, which promotes the company’s Do-It-Yourself motto while providing sustainable building materials, products, and accessories to an commuter consumer-base on the go. Read More
But please, only in moderation. Inhaling too deeply at a new London bar may leave you, well….drunk. 2 Ganton Street, once an unused storefront, has reopened as a self-contained, walk-in gin and tonic. Imbibers at Alcoholic Architecture simply slip into provided plastic jumpsuits, breathe, and enjoy the buzz. The creators of the bar, Bompas and Parr, have effectively revolutionized the bar experience by removing the traditional, and oh so painstakingly boring, order and sip protocol.
On Saturday LA residents and park rangers alike celebrated the opening of the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook in Culver City. Located on a hill 500 feet above the city, the new 50 acre state park has probably the most complete view of Los Angeles that exists, with close to 360 degree vistas that stretch from Downtown LA to the Pacific Ocean. Read More
The LA Times has reported that Los Angeles County Auditor-Controller Wendy Watanabe is investigating the January 16 firing of former LA County Planning Chief Bruce McClendon. According to the paper, McClendon has said he was fired for protecting his staff from the efforts of County Supervisors’ aides to influence zoning and development decisions in the county. The results of the investigation should be released “in the coming weeks.” One possible conflict: Watanabe was appointed by the board of supervisors only months ago. But, she assured the Times that her office would be able to carry out an independent investigation. “My integrity and reputation are at stake,” she said.
First the Pritzker, now the Pulitzers. This year’s journalism awards were announced today, and a few of the awards and nominees might be of especial note to the architectural community. First up is the prize for public service journalism–the industry’s highest honor–which was awarded to the Las Vegas Sun for a series exploring a chilling spate of construction deaths on the Strip, including at the starchitect-laden City Center. Elsewhere, Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron was named a finalist for the criticism prize for “her fascinating and convincing architectural critiques that boldly confront important topics, from urban planning issues to the newest skyscraper.” (We think she should have won out over Times art critic Holland Carter.) There were even flashes of impressive architectural photography in the breaking news photo category. And who knew editorial cartoonist Steve Breen was such a capable renderer?
In the 17th century, the Dutch republic was booming, and the public clamored for paintings celebrating the iconic forms of their cities. The art world’s response to that demand is on display in the National Gallery of Art’s Pride of Place: Dutch Cityscapes of the Golden Age , a captivating collection of paintings that is less like a window on cities of the past, and more like a lens, distorting and idealizing its subject in fascinating ways. Read More