Los Angeles Mayor Announces “Great Streets” Program

City Terrain, West
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
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Rendering from My Figueroa, a proposed model of great streets in Los Angeles south of Downtown Los Angeles. (My Figueroa)

Rendering from My Figueroa, a proposed model of great streets in Los Angeles south of Downtown Los Angeles. (My Figueroa)

Last Thursday in his keynote address to the Transit Oriented Los Angeles conference, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the creation of the “Great Streets Initiative.”  In an executive directive—his first since taking office on June 30—Garcetti outlined a program that “will focus on developing streets that activate the public realm, provide economic revitalization, and support great neighborhoods.” Continue reading after the jump.

Frederick Fisher Gets Gold in Los Angeles

West
Monday, October 14, 2013
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Frederick Fisher. (Courtesy AIA/LA)

Frederick Fisher. (Courtesy AIA/LA)

The AIA Los Angeles has awarded its 2013 Gold Medal to Frederick Fisher. Founder and principal at Frederick Fisher & Partner Architects, Fisher has been practicing architecture in LA for more than 30 years. During the late 1970s he was part of the “L.A. School,” a group of architects including Thom Mayne, Frank Gehry, and Eric Owen Moss who staged exhibitions at Mayne’s in-home architecture gallery.Fisher worked in Gehry’s practice for several years, yet in his own designs Fisher eschews the mind-bending geometry for which Gehry and some of his other contemporaries are known. Instead, Fisher’s work is characterized by a combination of lightness and restraint.

Continue reading after the jump.

New homes in Palo Alto will need wiring for charging electric cars.  New homes in Palo Alto will need wiring for charging electric cars In Palo Alto, California, the city council recently approved a proposal (9-0) to alter the city’s building code, requiring new homes to install wiring for electric car charging stations. Pre-wiring for the 240-Volt Level 2 charging stations costs about $200, while many homes in the city sell for over $1 million. The proposal would also make it easier for homeowners to get permits to retrofit their homes for the charging stations. (Photo: Steve Jurvetson / Flickr) Read the full post

 

Facebook’s Latest App: Housing in Menlo Park

West
Thursday, October 10, 2013
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Anton Menlo partial aerial view

Anton Menlo partial aerial view (KTGY Group, Inc., Architecture + Planning)

Facebook is planning to move from the virtual to the physical world with its latest venture: a 394-unit infill housing development known as Anton Menlo. The company is collaborating (in an advisory role) with California developer St. Anton Partners and architecture firm KTGY on the project, located on 10 acres of former industrial land near Marsh Road in Menlo Park. The development is within walking distance of Facebook’s headquarters and new West Campus.

Continue reading after the jump.

Celebrating Design Monterey Style

West
Friday, October 4, 2013
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MDC_LOGO-SIG3-designed by Rebeca Mendez

Last weekend’s Monterey Design Conference had many special moments–beyond those spent walking the spectacular grounds of the Asilomar center on the Pacific ocean. The conference, which is essentially the bi-annual meeting of the California AIA, is trying to re-brand itself the “MDC” in hopes of encouraging the general public to attend. But the conference has been M.C.ed for the past dozen years by Robert Ivy, Chief Executive Officer of the AIA and once again he did a brilliant job (with help from Larry Scarpa) of keeping the event moving along between wine tastings, a small trade show and attendees’ desire to escape the darkened conference hall for a walk on the beach. Read More

LA’s Grand Avenue Project Gets One Final Chance

West
Friday, October 4, 2013
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Rendering of the Grand Avenue Development (Grand Ave L.A.)

Rendering of the Grand Avenue Development (Grand Ave L.A.)

Back in 2004 it seemed like Downtown Los Angeles would be getting one of the largest developments in the city’s history: the $1.8 billion, 3.8 million square foot Grand Avenue Project. Overseen by a city/county entity called the Grand Avenue Authority and developed by the Related Companies, the project would insert residential, retail, hotel, and park spaces into the city’s long-struggling core. Just a week ago it seemed like that dream was dead, when the Grand Avenue Authority voted unanimously to reject new architectural plans by Related, which included a sharply reduced scope, and a whole new team of designers. (Gone is Frank Gehry, in for the master plan is Gensler.) But on September 30 the Authority voted to give the developer a four month extension to adjust the plans. Whether the authority will move ahead after is still very much in doubt.  The only sure things at this point are the 16-acre Grand Park, across from The Music Center, and Arquitectonica’s 19-story residential tower, just south of The Broad, which broke ground several months ago.

Solar Decathlon Goes So Cal

West
Friday, October 4, 2013
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Solar Decathlon Village in Assembly (U.S. Department of Energy)

Solar Decathlon Village in Assembly (U.S. Department of Energy)

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon has officially moved west. The bi-annual event, in which college teams vie against each other to build top-tier solar powered homes, opened yesterday at the Orange County Great Park. After a decade in Washington D.C. the competition had overstayed its welcome on the National Mall, and was looking for a new place to get the word out about sustainability, said event founder Richard King. The Great Park beat out sites in 20 cities around the country.  Read More

Eavesdrop> Never Built, the VIP Party

Eavesdroplet, West
Thursday, October 3, 2013
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A line forms at the Never Built: Los Angeles opening. (Courtesy Guy Horton / KCRW)

A line forms at the Never Built: Los Angeles opening. (Courtesy Guy Horton / KCRW)

We at Eavesdrop don’t like to toot our own horn, but sometimes we can’t help ourselves. So we have to point out the scene for the late July opening of Never Built Los Angeles, co-curated by our very own Sam Lubell. The event looked more like a Hollywood club opening than an exhibition opening, with a line that snaked around the corner and angry would-be partygoers trying to convince the bouncer (a.k.a. the fire marshal) to let them in. We especially love the description by AN contributor Guy Horton, here writing for KCRW’s blog: “The line of black clothing wrapped around the corner and kept going, reaching all the way down to a stretch of houses where local residents nervously peeked out to see what was going on. Cars were pulling all sorts of questionable maneuvers on Wilshire and adjacent streets as distracted, anxious architects hustled for parking. People were walking in from blocks away as if drawn from some invisible force. At any moment I was expecting police helicopters to appear overhead. That would have made my night complete.”

Pictorial> Amazon Domes 2.0 in Seattle by NBBJ

Pictorial, West
Thursday, October 3, 2013
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(Courtesy NBBJ)

(Courtesy NBBJ)

As AN reported in our latest West Coast issue, designs for the Amazon headquarters in downtown Seattle have gone through another revision since this past May. Though still channeling greenhouses and conservatories, renderings reveal an update to the three interconnected domes on Block 19 that architecture firm NBBJ has dubbed “conjoined Catalan spheres.” With a skin of white painted steel, the new design has moved beyond more traditional cross-hatching, and now nods to the pentagons of a soccer ball. But these forms are expanded and pushed to create an irregular pattern that exerts a more organic geometry. Read more about the project in AN‘s article or check out an expanded gallery of renderings below.

View a gallery of renderings after the jump.

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Friday> Join AN at the West Edge Design Fair in Santa Monica

West
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
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photo

Have you ever wondered why our buildings are not as digitally smart as our phones? Well that’s changing fast, and AN West Coast editor Sam Lubell will be moderating a panel on the topic this Friday at the West Edge Design Fair in Santa Monica. The panel is entitled “Embracing Technology: The Client Wants it, Are you Prepared?

It will include Santa Monica architect Peter Grueneisen, who has developed a speciality working for music companies and tech-savvy clients, as well as several technology experts from around the city. A major focus will be on home technologies, but the panel will also explore technology in the hospitality and commercial realms. We bet you didn’t realize how much work goes into making home tech systems seem simple and seamless? How much coordination must take place between tech experts and architects? How much security is becoming an issue? And how our homes will in fact quickly merge with, yes, our phones.

Monterey Design Conference Kicks Off This Weekend at Scenic Asilomar

West
Friday, September 27, 2013
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Asilomar is hosting the 2013 Monterey Design Conference in California. (William Menking / AN)

Asilomar is hosting the 2013 Monterey Design Conference in California. (William Menking / AN)

The California AIA’s biennial Monterey Design Conference is on the next two days—September 27th and 28th—at Asilomar, the glorious Julia Morgan– and John Carl Warnecke–designed center on the Pacific Ocean in Pacific Grove. The conference will feature lectures by Thom Mayne, Marlon Blackwell, Thomas Phifer, Kengo Kuma, and AN board member Odile Decq.

But first up this morning was Greg Otto from Buro Happold who presented various Happold projects that were created using a multi-disciplinary approach and discussed design and legal issues around responsibility and how these “stress traditional design assumptions.” Otto also discussed his ongoing New York projects with Jeff Koons who wants to make large steel structures look “like marshmallows.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Who Needs an Oscar? California Senator Boxer Named National Asphalt Legislator of the Year

Eavesdroplet, West
Thursday, September 26, 2013
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Senator Barbara Boxer. (Street photo by Isma Monfort Vialcanet / Montage by AN)

Senator Barbara Boxer. (Street photo by Isma Monfort Vialcanet/Flickr; Montage by AN)

California Senator Barbara Boxer has won many accolades over the years, to be sure. But none has been quite like the honor she was bestowed this month: National Asphalt Legislator of the Year, according to the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA). The group said it was particularly impressed with her role in the passage of MAP-21, the $105 billion 2012 Surface Transportation Funding Bill. NAPA Board of Directors Chairman John Keating pointed to Boxer’s ignoring of “naysayers who said a bill would never pass.”

To be fair the bill provided for billions in mass transit funding, but nonetheless Boxer has helped the state refurbish hundreds of miles of roads, and even build quite a few new ones. Not exactly a claim to fame in our transit-friendly design world. Ahem, don’t tell Elon Musk.

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