Stalled No More? Downtown Los Angeles Developments Could See New Life

Development, Eavesdroplet, West
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
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Julia Morgan's Herald Examiner Building in Downtown Los Angeles. (Floyd B. Bariscale)

Julia Morgan’s Herald Examiner Building in Downtown Los Angeles. (Floyd B. Bariscale)

Speaking of zombies, two of Downtown LA’s most long-stalled projects appear to be rising from the dead. The mixed-use project revolving around Julia Morgan’s beautiful Herald Examiner Building on Broadway is apparently finally getting underway, now developed by Forest City, and no longer designed by Morphosis. The designer has yet to be revealed.

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James Beard Deadline Approaching.  James Beard Deadline Approaching If you’ve designed a beautiful restaurant in the last few years, the James Beard Foundation Restaurant Design Awards want you. But you better hurry: the deadline for their annual awards, known as the “Oscars of the food world,” is January 20. Among the previous winners is New York’s Le Bernardin by Bentel & Bentel Architects & Planners in 2012 (pictured). This year’s notable jury includes Kristina O’Neal of New York firm AvroKO, interior design legend Adam Tihany, and Marion Weiss of WEISS/MANFREDI. Visit here to submit. Winners will be announced at a Lincoln Center Gala on May 5. (Photo: Courtesy Le Bernardin).

 

Michael Graves’ Portland Building Could Be In Jeopardy

News, Newsletter, Preservation, West
Monday, January 13, 2014
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Portland Building (Flickr/Camknows)

Portland Building (Flickr/Camknows)

If several Portland city commissioners have their way Michael Graves‘ alternately loved and hated Portland Building (1982), now facing a $95 million renovation, will be torn down. One of the most famous examples of postmodern architecture in the United States, the 15-story, 31-year-old structure is known for its small square windows, exaggerated historical motifs, playful, varied materials, gaudy colors, and, of course, its cameo on the opening to the show Portlandia (also the name of the larger-than-life statue over the building’s front door).

Continue reading after the jump.

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

gothic-details-01

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!

On View> “Tacita Dean: JG” at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles

Art, On View, West
Friday, January 10, 2014
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(Courtesy Hammer Museum)

(Courtesy Hammer Museum)

Tacita Dean: JG
Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles
Through January 26, 2014

JG, the latest work in film from British-born, Berlin-based artist Tacita Dean, is inspired by her correspondence with British author J.G. Ballard and the connections between his short story, “The Voice of Time,” and Robert Smithson’s landmark earthwork, Spiral Jetty.

Continue reading after the jump.

Arup and Buro Happold Join Downtown LA Rush

News, Shft+Alt+Del, West
Friday, January 10, 2014
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The view from Buro Happold's new Downtown LA Offices (Buro Happold)

The view from Buro Happold’s new Downtown LA Offices. (Buro Happold)

Maybe it’s because AN moved our West Coast offices here? Or maybe (more likely)  there’s finally a critical mass of talent, clients, and opportunity? Either way, it seems like Downtown Los Angeles is becoming the place for architecture and engineering firms these days.

Recent moves there include Gensler, SOM, SAA, LeanArch, SDA, Freeland Buck, Nous,  MADA, and Ahbe Landscape Architects, to name a few. Now these firms are being joined by two engineering giants: Arup and Buro Happold.

Read more after the jump.

Designer Pleads No Contest To Manslaughter In Los Angeles

West
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
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The home, repaired after the fire, sits in the Hollywood Hills (MLS)

The home, repaired after the fire, sits in the Hollywood Hills (MLS)

In a case being watched closely by architects, German designer Gerhard Becker last week pleaded no contest to a charge of involuntary manslaughter for his “disregard for public safety and building codes” in the construction of a Hollywood Hills mansion whose ceiling collapsed in a 2011 fire, killing one fireman.

Continue reading after the jump.

At SCI-Arc, the Magic is Inside the Box; Eric Owen Moss Explains Why

SCI-ARC IS PLANNING A NEW DIGITAL FABRICATION LAB KNOWN AS THE "MAGIC BOX" (SCI-ARC)

SCI-ARC IS PLANNING A NEW DIGITAL FABRICATION LAB KNOWN AS THE “MAGIC BOX” (SCI-ARC)

“Actually, the box isn’t magic, so don’t be disappointed you didn’t get ahold of Merlin the Magician,” Eric Owen Moss said at the start of a recent interview. Moss, director of the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), was referring to the school’s new digital fabrication lab.

Dubbed the Magic Box, the two-story, prefabricated steel structure will be constructed at the south end of the SCI-Arc building. But Moss didn’t want to focus on the laboratory itself, which was designed by several architects affiliated with SCI-Arc (including Moss’s own firm). Instead, he said, “the game is, what’s inside is magic. It’s not so much the object, but what the object contains.”

Continue reading after the jump.

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)

 

Cooling Los Angeles, From the Roof Down

UNDER LA'S NEW COOL ROOFS ORDINANCE, ALL NEW OR RENOVATED BUILDINGS MUST HAVE REFLECTIVE ROOFS (HEAT ISLAND GROUP - LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY)

UNDER LA’S NEW COOL ROOFS ORDINANCE, ALL NEW OR RENOVATED BUILDINGS MUST HAVE REFLECTIVE ROOFS (HEAT ISLAND GROUP – LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY)

What’s the coolest place in Los Angeles? It may be right over your head. Starting in 2014, thanks to an update of the Municipal Building Code, all new or refurbished buildings will be equipped with “cool roofs.” A cool roof is built of reflective rather than absorptive material. Compared to traditional roofs, cool roofs can be as much as 50 degrees cooler on the roof surface, and can lower interior building temperatures by several degrees. Los Angeles is the first major American city to pass a cool-roof ordinance.

Read more after the jump.

Now Playing at a Theater Near You: Five Los Angeles Landmarks

Preservation, West
Thursday, January 2, 2014
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johnies

JOHNIE’S COFFEE SHOP (JOEINSOUTHERNCA/FLICKR)

In November, the Los Angeles City Council named Armet & Davis’ Johnie’s Coffee Shop, the restaurant at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax, a historic cultural landmark. That’s a win for preservationists concerned with the legacy of the Googie style, the auto-oriented, steel-and-neon aesthetic that spawned diners and coffee shops across Southern California from the 1940s through the 1960s.

It might also give a leg up to locals interested in seeing Johnie’s returned to its original use. Because Johnie’s Coffee Shop isn’t a coffee shop, and hasn’t been for over a decade. Since 2000, it’s been closed to the public and used exclusively for filming. The restaurant’s film credits, both before and after its conversion to a 24/7 theatrical set, include The Big Lebowski and Reservoir Dogs.

Read more after the jump.

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