First Steps At Los Angeles’ Pershing Square

City Terrain, West
Friday, September 6, 2013
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Gensler's conceptual design concept for Pershing Square (Gensler)

Gensler’s conceptual design concept for Pershing Square. (Courtesy Gensler)

Last week Los Angeles councilman, Jose Huizar, announced the formation of a 21-member task force to help re-imagine Pershing Square, the beleaguered central park in the middle of downtown. The group includes local residents, design and architecture experts, business people, and government officials. Huizar said he hoped they could bring “a wide-range of ideas and perspectives to the discussion.” They’ll also have to develop an agenda and a timeline, and figure out how to fund the project.

COntinue reading after the jump.

AECOM Selected To Design New Arena for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings

West
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
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(AECOM)

(Courtesy AECOM)

AECOM, already busy working with Snøhetta on a basketball arena in San Francisco, has been chosen to design the new downtown basketball facility for the Sacramento Kings. Renderings for the  project, set to open by 2016, will not be released until the fall, but earlier images, released when the ownership team was still competing for the site, show a pillow-shaped, glass ringed structure with a steep seating bowl and, rare for such a facility, natural light.

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OMA’s Santa Monica Scheme Sent Back To The Drawing Board; BIG Back In The Running

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
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Rendering of The Plaza at Santa Monica (OMA/ Metropolitan Pacific Capital)

Rendering of The Plaza at Santa Monica (OMA/ Metropolitan Pacific Capital)

Back in July it looked like Rem Koolhaas was about to land his first large-scale commission in Los Angeles with The Plaza at Santa Monica, a mega-mixed-use complex that would have graced a city-owned parcel at Fourth and Arizona streets. City officials seemed genuinely wowed by OMA’s theatrically-terraced design and a city selection committee recommended to Santa Monica City Council that they enter formal contract negotiations with the project’s developer, Metropolitan Pacific Capital.

But last week, the city council issued a resounding, “Not so fast,” voting almost unanimously against the recommendation, citing concerns over a lack of affordable housing.

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Letter to the Editor> Master Architect or No, Gehry is Wrong About Los Angeles

Letter to the Editor, West
Friday, August 30, 2013
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(Joel Mann / Flickr; Montage by AN)

(Joel Mann / Flickr; Montage by AN)

[ Editor's Note: The following is a reader-submitted comment from the AN Blog in response to the post, “Gehry Lets Loose on Los Angeles, Downtown Ambitions,” which cites an interview Frank Gehry did with Los Angeles Magazine. It appeared as a letter to the editor in a recent print edition, AN07_08.14.2013. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com]

The only thing that makes Los Angeles unique is that so much of it was built during the auto era (albeit on an infrastructural framework established during the interurban rail era). Different parts of Los Angeles were developed in a manner that was identical to how other cities across North America were being developed at the same time. The same succession of transportation, construction, and development technologies created a downtown in Los Angeles that is nearly indistinguishable from portions of San Francisco, Chicago, and Manhattan.

Continue reading after the jump.

New Mural Ordinance Opens Floodgates For Art in Los Angeles

West
Friday, August 30, 2013
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Untitled, by Mister Cartoon & El T Loko (Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles)

Untitled, by Mister Cartoon & El T Loko (Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles)

Finally. Los Angeles’ City Council on Wednesday passed a new mural ordinance, legalizing murals on private buildings after a decade of banning them. Of course would-be public artists still have to go through an extensive permitting process, and pay a$60 fee, but if they’re persistent they can finally go crazy. That is, as long as their murals don’t contain commercial messages.

“It’s a big victory and we’re thrilled,” said Isabel Rojas-Williams, executive director of the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles. The group has been protecting the city’s murals and muralists since 1987. “Despite the recent restrictions, the city has remained one of the country’s mural capitals.”

Don’t believe us? Behold a selection below of our favorite (finally-sanctioned) murals from around the City of Angels, courtesy of the Mural Conservancy. They range from political to historical to street art / graffiti, to, well…the undefinable. Read More

Studios at the Ranch: Disney Makes Move to “Hollywood North”

West
Thursday, August 29, 2013
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Studios at the Ranch (Disney)

Studios at the Ranch (Disney)

On Tuesday, Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors voted to approve Disney’s huge new TV and film production facility on the Golden Oak Ranch near Santa Clarita. The project is being master planned by LA-based firm, Johnson Fain, and the 58-acre “Studios at the Ranch” will include more than 500,000 square feet of studios, sound stages, offices, writers and producers “bungalows” and other developments.

Continue reading after the jump.

With Revitalization Plans On Hold, Students Rethink the Los Angeles River

City Terrain, Dean's List, West
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
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LA River fashion park (BinBin Ma)

LA River fashion park (Binbin Ma)

While pathways and parks are springing up near the Los Angeles River, plans to redevelop and green the concrete stretch still need the support of the Army Corps of Engineers and the federal government. In the meantime, students from landscape architecture firm SWA’s Summer Student Program have developed these mind bending proposals for the concrete expanse. Most not only remove the concrete, which was put in place in the 1930s, but provide walkable spaces, take down walls and other barriers, and add housing and additional program.

Continue reading after the jump.

Ten Case Study Houses Listed on National Register

West
Thursday, August 22, 2013
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Case Study House #22 (Tim Street-Porter)

Case Study House #22 (Tim Street-Porter)

Thanks to the efforts of the Los Angeles Conservancy‘s Modern Committee, ten homes from Southern California’s Case Study House program have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Launched by Arts + Architecture magazine in 1945, the Case Study program emphasized experiment and affordability, and produced some of the most famous houses in U.S. history, including the Eames House (Case Study #8), and Pierre Koenig’s Stahl House (Case Study #22).

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On View> Unbuilt San Francisco Explores Architectural “What If’s” Through November

West
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
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(Courtesy AIA San Francisco)

(Courtesy AIA San Francisco)

Unbuilt San Francisco
Multiple venues
San Francisco
Through November 2013

AIA San Francisco/Center for Architecture + Design, California Historical Society/SPUR, The Environmental Design Archives at UC Berkley, and the San Francisco Public Library present this ambitious collaborative exhibition of architecture that never came to be. Spread throughout five venues, Unbuilt San Francisco describes a parallel history of “what if’s” and “could have beens” of architecture and urban design that were too fantastic or too grandiose for the City by the Bay. These unrealized visions offer San Franciscans a glimpse of the hopes and ambitions of past generations, as well as provide inspiration for the future of architecture and the city. Images offered in the exhibition include a grand casino on Alcatraz, freeways encircling the city, rejected neighborhood renewal plans, alternate designs for famous landmarks including San Francisco City Hall and the Ferry Building, and ecological provocations of today’s architectural vanguard. The opening reception will be held in Annie Alley between 678 and 654 Mission Street in San Francisco on September 6 at 5:00 p.m.

(Courtesy AIA San Francisco)

Ferry Building proposal by William Merchant. (Courtesy AIA San Francisco)

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Proposal Pushes California To Look Toward Future of Transportation

West
Friday, August 16, 2013
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Sketches of Hyperloop Alpha's mobile pods (Tesla Motors)

Sketches of Hyperloop Alpha’s transit capsules (Tesla Motors)

When Elon Musk makes plans he makes no little ones. And he feels California shouldn’t either. This is the rationale behind Hyperloop Alpha, a supersonic, solar-powered, air-cushioned transit system (and future “Never Built”?) he views as the bolder alternative to conventional high-speed rail. It’s not a train, exactly. It’s more a hybrid between high-speed rail and the Concord.

Continue reading after the jump.

wHY Architecture to Convert Masonic Temple Into a New Art Museum in Los Angeles

West
Thursday, August 15, 2013
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Millard Sheets' Masonic Temple. (Courtesy Google)

Millard Sheets’ Masonic Temple. (Courtesy Google)

Culver City firm wHY Architecture has been selected to design a new art museum in Los Angeles for Maurice and Paul Marciano, the founders of clothing empire Guess? Inc. The museum will be located inside a marble-clad, four story Scottish Rite Masonic Temple on Wilshire Boulevard near Lucerne Boulevard.

When retrofitted in 2015, the austere building, originally designed by legendary artist Millard Sheets, will contain 90,000 square feet of exhibition space, showing off the Marciano’s impressive collection, which will be open for “periodic exhibitions for the public.”

wHY has also designed L&M Arts and Perry Rubenstein Gallery in LA, an expansion of the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, and the Tyler Museum of Art in Texas. They’re also working on a Studio Art Hall at Pomona College outside of LA.

SOM’s Los Angeles Federal Courthouse Breaks Ground

West
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
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(courtesy SOM)

(courtesy SOM)

SOM’s first major project in Los Angeles in years, the Los Angeles U.S. Courthouse, broke ground last week. Those in attendance included new LA mayor Eric Garcetti, who’s just beginning his rounds of ceremonial events around the city. The downtown commission, located at First Street and Broadway, was awarded late last year.

The 600,000 square foot building will include 24 courtrooms and 32 judicial chambers and will house the U.S. District Court and the Central District of California, among other facilities. Renderings reveal a serrated, glassy cube resting on a narrow, solid pedestal, and a sky-lit central courtyard at the building’s core. The project is pursuing a LEED Platinum rating. The design build team also includes Clark Construction and Jacobs Project Management.

Completion is scheduled for summer 2016.

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