London Sees Red

Other
Friday, December 19, 2008
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Lord Fosters Bus. 

Lord Foster's Bus.

Two blue chippers Aston Martin and Foster + Partners raked in a not-much-needed  $38,000 (£25,000) and a first-prize award along with Capoco Design for re-jiggering London’s famous double decker bus, the Routemaster. Read More

Strike Two? Not So Fast

Other
Thursday, December 18, 2008
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The Vanderbillt Yards await transformation. (Courtesy threecee/Flickr)

The Vanderbilt Yards await transformation. (Courtesy threecee/Flickr)

First Laurie Olin, now Frank Gehry. That was the news earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal reported that the Santa Monica-based architect had laid off “more than two dozen” staffers involved with Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project. What followed was a string of cheers predicting the troubled Brooklyn mega-development’s demise. After all, how could it go on without its signature architect?

While considering this question, I kept thinking of a comment made by Kermit Baker yesterday, during an interview about the abysmal November billings index. Given what’s going on elsewhere in the industry, the termination of a handful of architects may not signal the doomsday scenario the project’s critics would like, and instead may be one more credit-related payroll pause like many others around the nation: Read More

Green ’70s Flashback with Smiles and Shades of Blue

Other
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
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Craig Hodgetts’ 1978 vision for the cult novel “Ecotopia” includes balloon generators over San Francisco Bay, with a maintenance gondola in the foreground.

A recent New York Times article piqued not only a literary memory of the cult classic Ecotopia, but also a visual memory from an early work by the exemplary West Coast practitioner Craig Hodgetts.

Writing from what used to be called “Berserkley,” California, Scott Timberg begins his article with these observations:

“Sometimes a book, or an idea, can be obscure and widely influential at the same time. That’s the case with Ecotopia, a 1970s cult novel, originally self-published by its author, Ernest Callenbach, that has seeped into the American groundwater without becoming well known. Read More

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The Scarlet Letter

Other
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
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The board of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) today made a formal proposal to merge with the financially struggling Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). According to a press release (top portion, above) issued today by LACMA, the goal of the move would be to to “preserve the independence and integrity of both institutions while combining their operations and infrastructure.” To save money MOCA has already shut down its Geffen Contemporary for six months, and is said to be pondering the sale of some of its artworks.
According to the release if a merger were to occur MOCA’s collections would not only be exhibited at LACMA’s Grand Avenue location and at the Geffen, but also at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM), and at LACMA’s planned Stewart Resnick Pavilion. LACMA’s $68.2 million budget is more than three times that of MOCA’s $20 million. According to the L.A. Times, MOCA’s trustees met today to discus proposals, including a $30-million bailout offer from Eli Broad. According to Curbed LA, LA City Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilwoman Jan Perry introduced a motion to allocate $2.8 million in Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) funds to the struggling MOCA, provided the museum adheres to its stipulations. Stay tuned….

Voluntary Prisoners of Downtown Miami

Other
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
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CIFO's urban jungle mosaic facade, garden, and entry patio.

Contemporary art curator and AN colleague Leanne Mella has organized a potent and compelling exhibition entitled The Prisoner’s Dilemma for the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, known as CIFO, in downtown Miami.

With noble intentions, given the socio-political climate of the recent past, the work in Mella’s exhibition showcases the ways in which artists respond to the exercise of power in contemporary life. The politics of the show are highly nuanced, visually stunning, and often quite poetic. Read More

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Hope for Housing (Update: And Carrión)

Other
Sunday, December 14, 2008
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President-elect Barack Obama named Shaun Donovan, chair of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD bio), to serve as his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The announcement came during his weekly web-address:

Read More

Miami Vices

Other
Friday, December 12, 2008
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The trading floor.

The trading floor.

Designer and AN friend Ken Saylor, of saylor+sirola, reports from Art|Basel|Miami Beach:

For the seventh year in a row, the international art world descended upon Miami Beach to instantly transform the city into a galaxy of cultural production, salesmanship, and hopefully, with this year’s delicate economy, elite consumption. If you add cars, champagne, mojitos, and cigars, provided by the current corporate sponsors, one’s experience of Art|Basel|Miami Beach was a decadently over-the-top trip to the beach.

With 24 auxiliary fairs attaching themselves to the main event, it is impossible to see everything, although everyone runs around the city in frantic abandon—entourages in tow—to openings, parties, parties, and, yes, more parties. Read More

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The Long Arrivederci

Other
Thursday, December 11, 2008
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The Venice biennale will just not end! It opened in the warmth of September with mobs of well-known architects in attendance and officially closed on a cold November Sunday with scores of Italian schoolchildren roaming the pavilion grounds. I locked the doors of the U.S. Pavilion, put models and drawings into shipping containers (the show will be reprised at Parsons School of Design in February), and floated our Kartell-donated furniture down the Grand Canal on a barge—just in time for the highest floods in La Serenissima’s post–global warming history. Read More

How Much Is That Building Really Worth To You?

Other
Thursday, December 11, 2008
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Shigeru Ban sketch on the block for SCI-Arc

Shigeru Ban sketch on the block for SCI-Arc

If you’ve got some extra cash this year—and really, who doesn’t?—why not invest in architecture? Not the pricey, unlikely-to-be-built, brick-and-mortar kind. We’re talking about 2D architecture, the kind you can hang on your wall. Shigeru Ban, Daly Genik, Hodgetts + Fung and Michael Maltzan are just a few of the architects you could have in your home by Christmas, thanks to this auction where you can bid on their drawings and renderings, with all the proceeds going to SCI-Arc.

Read More

Heath Ceramics Finally Out of the Kiln

Other
Thursday, December 11, 2008
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A new space for Heath Ceramics, by Eric Nakamura

Pottery people, by Eric Nakamura

The Los Angeles branch of mid-century institution Heath Ceramics materialized last Friday night in a sweet corner location on Beverly that will serve as a studio, gallery and first retail store outside of its Sausalito headquarters. The space designed by local firm Commune was clean and bright, wine served in teeny sake cups and a keg on the patio made for a festive feel, and all anyone talked about was the economy. But Heath Ceramics owners Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey were especially buoyant, telling Frances Anderton that a downturn would actually inspire more people to seek out lovingly handcrafted items. New partner Adam Silverman (of Atwater Pottery) was also all smiles, his wild hair providing its own interpretation of uplifting, as he called his new relationship with his longtime crush “a perfect match.”

Read More

City Listening Hears LA’s Great Voices in Architecture

Other
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
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John Chase and his pimp-tastic outfit

John Chase and his pimp-tastic outfit, by Keith Wiley

Architecture was heard and not seen at City Listening, the latest installation of de LaB (design east of La Brea), LA’s semi-regular design gathering hosted by AN contributors Haily Zaki and Alissa Walker (the writer of this post, but better known to you as “we“). Monday night’s event was held at the new Barbara Bestor-designed GOOD Space in Hollywood, where design writers and bloggers crawled out from under their keyboards to show us their faces, and in some cases, their feelings. The evening was packed with AN contributors and readers, including two pieces out of seven read that were originally published in AN!

Read More

MoMA and Taniguchi Get Comfortable (with a little help from Pipliotti Rist)

Other
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
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When the Modern reopened its Yoshio Taniguchi-designed doors in 2004, critical opinion of the new building was split. Some critics and museum visitors complained that the building, and the institution it housed, seemed to lack a point of view, and that it was geared more toward moving hoards of tourists than to contemplative art viewing. One longtime MoMA watcher, however, cautioned me, “We always hate the new MoMA. Then you get used to it and grow to love it.” Read More

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