Little, leafy-green patches are sprouting up over Los Angeles as part of the city’s “50 Parks Initiative,” a public-private program designed to revive some of the city’s neediest, most densely populated communities. To date, there are actually 53 of these pocket parks planned, with one of the first parks, 49th Street Park in South Los Angeles, opening earlier this month. When completed, the small parks combined will cover a total of 170 acres, and many of the individual parks will be under an acre.
Not only are the parks small, but they will be somewhat self-sufficient. Requiring only four to six months to build, these micro-recreation areas will be decked out with “no mow” grass, drought tolerant plants, smart irrigation, and solar-powered, self-contained waste bins that can hold five times the average amount of trash. And to keep intruders out after hours, automatic time-lock gates and solar motion-activated cameras will be installed.
LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s “Vision Team,” a group of eight architects consulting on the city’s planned football stadium and convention center expansion have issued a damning report on the latter project, reports the LA Daily News. The center is being designed by Populous and developed by AEG. “This is not good city design,” Norman Millar, dean of Woodbury University School of Architecture, and a Vision Team member, told the Daily News this week. Among the team’s complaints, they worry about having visitors enter the new hall through a dark passage created by bridging the building over Pico Boulevard. The team also frets about possible fumes under the tunnel, the configuration of the center’s huge ballroom, and the amount of natural light that would enter the building. The Vision Team also includes Hitoshi Abe, chairman of Architecture & Urban Design at UCLA; Scott Johnson of Johnson Fain; Joseph Coriaty, a partner at Frederick Fisher and Partner; and Paul Danna, principal at SOM. The group has met at least three times. Villaraigosa’s spokesman Peter Sanders told the Daily News that the mayor knew about the Vision Team’s concerns. ”We believe we have the best plan given the constraints that exist,” Sanders wrote. The project’s EIR goes before LA City Council tomorrow. Read More
On Friday AN visited Michael Maltzan‘s new art space, Regen Projects, on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood. The gallery, founded by Stuart Regen and Shaun Caley Regen, moved to its current gritty location from West Hollywood, and showcases artists like Doug Aitken, Catherine Opie, Andrea Zittel, Dan Graham, and Anish Kapoor. From the outside, the 20,000 square foot project resembles its own urbanscape, with stacked and staggered white boxes taking on the appearance of abstracted buildings in a skyline. Inside, light glows warmly into the main gallery through a system that Maltzan created in which the light from a long rooftop skylight is split via a metallic divider into two separate scrim-covered wells.
Since AN first looked at the proposed design for Amazon’s three-tower complex in the Denny Triangle neighborhood in Seattle last May—and after feedback from the Seattle community and meetings with the Design Review Board over the summer—NBBJ has released new renderings. And the project now has a nickname—Rufus—a nod to the late “Amazon dog,” a Corgi who kept employees company in the office since the early days.
In response to recommendations, the evolved design includes updates to elevations, details along the lower stories, weather protection, and open spaces. Facades are asymmetrical, stepped, and diverse. In a skin study, the office tower on the southeast Block 14 sports a façade of operable windows, glass, pre-finished metal panels and gold accent trim, which connects to the neighboring meeting center via a sky-bridge. Other perspectives reveal glass curtain walls on the six-story meeting center, leaving the auditorium and stairwell exposed. On Block 19, to the southwest, a covered walkway would provide protection during Seattle’s rainy winter months. There are retail storefronts on the lower levels, which will augment the outdoor public parks and plazas.
Last year we showcased Oyler Wu’s SCI-Arc graduation pavilion, a swooping steel, fabric, and rope construction that floated above the event like a billowing sail. For last week’s graduation the firm added a small addition while making significant improvements. The addition, which sat school directors and special guests, became a stage for diploma presentation. Made of a torqued steel shell fitted with twisting fabric (Wu calls it a three dimensional twist), the addition is no replication: it creates a simpler, more unified complement to the original, which involves a more complex web of fabric and roping. As for the original pavilion, they replaced its (disturbingly) dirty fabric with darker material and re-oriented the whole thing toward the school itself. Next year’s pavilion will be designed by Marcelo Spina. We can’t wait.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street, San Francisco, CA
Through January 6, 2013
Blurring the distinction between conceptual art and theoretical architecture, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art investigates the conception and experience of space by using the notion of “field” as a reference. Curator Joseph Becker describes the pieces in the exhibition as “spatial experiments,” united by the use of architectural devices to describe a spatial condition. The term “field conditions” derives from the 1996 essay by architect Stan Allen in which he describes a shift from traditional architectural form toward an understanding of systems and networks, a “field” being described by the interconnections of discrete points that constitute the whole. Many works in the exhibition deploy a process of serializing and accumulating, describing spatial qualities through deformation (such as Conflict Space 3, 2006, by Lebbeus Woods, above).
Neil Denari Architects have won the challenge everyone is talking about: the international competition to design the Keelung Harbor Service Project in Taiwan. According to Keelung’s web site the project will become the “Gateway to the Nation,” developing unused waterfront land into a passenger and cargo terminal, a transfer station, an arts plaza, and a wharf for more industrial activity.
According to images posted by jury member Michael Speaks, Denari’s plan consists of carved out metallic-skinned masses floating above narrow bases above raised plazas. Surfaces are textured with graphic components including repeating angular window patterns and lime green and powder blue colors. The curved buildings interconnect forming internal courtyards and, at one point, a huge framed view onto the waterfront. The $140 million project is meant to accelerate development in the surrounding areas, including several commercial buildings near the site. Read More
On September 15th and 16th modular home builder Blu Homes is hosting its own home tour in Joshua Tree in the Mojave Desert. The three-bedroom house on view was factory built, transported by truck and recently unfolded on site (see video after the jump). Of course large windows, shaded outdoor spaces, and a constant connection to the outdoors work in other places too, but it’s certainly dramatic in the desert. If you want to see for yourself, RSVP here (and bring your sunscreen).
But how do you find the land to build a home like this? Blu and real estate site Redfin are teaming up to help potential buyers identify and buy properties on which to build their prefabs. This seems to have been the missing link for this type of home, so perhaps they’re on to something?