Controversial Malibu Lagoon Restoration Opens

City Terrain, West
Monday, May 6, 2013
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The "Bird Blind" at the revamped Malibu Lagoon. This will be thick with reeds in a year or two. (Guy Horton)

The “Bird Blind” at the revamped Malibu Lagoon. This will be thick with reeds in a year or two. (Guy Horton)

On May 2, the ever-controversial Malibu Lagoon Restoration Project—designed to restore the lagoon to its natural shape after years of disruptions and enhance the visitor experience—had its official ribbon cutting ceremony. Or, in this case, kelp cutting ceremony. The newly revamped lagoon glinted in the sun as egrets skittered along the water’s surface. Inappropriately-dressed (dark suits and ties) state officials and project leaders posed for photographs, congratulated team members, and handed out certificates while protesters (some shirtless and in shorts), brandishing hand-made signs saying “Paradise Lost” and “Lagoonicide,” booed and shouted at every opportunity. It was another beautiful day at the beach.

Continue reading after the jump.

Stanford University Breaksground on a New Hospital designed by Rafael Viñoly

Other, West
Monday, May 6, 2013
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STANFORD BREAKS GROUND ON NEW HOSPITAL (RAFAEL VIÑOLY ARCHITECTS)

STANFORD BREAKS GROUND ON NEW HOSPITAL (RAFAEL VIÑOLY ARCHITECTS)

In the wake of the completion of the $111.9 million Bing Concert Hall in January, Stanford University has kicked off construction on a new seven-story hospital as part of the ongoing renewal of its medical center. Designed by New York City–based Rafael Viñoly Architects, the facility features a modular layout that allows for incremental horizontal extensions to the building. This development strategy seamlessly merges with the low-rise campus. “This project represents an unprecedented endeavor in the hospital’s successful 50-year history of healing humanity,” said the ever-modest Viñoly in a statement. “By reinterpreting and updating the Stanford campus and the original hospital through a modular plan, it is poised to adapt to evolving medical technology while continuing to provide advanced care and treatment—in a healing environment unique to Stanford—to patients from surrounding communities and beyond.” One of the largest developments currently underway on the San Francisco Peninsula, the new hospital will be open for patient care by 2018.

Read More

A Global Bicycle Trek from Portland, Oregon to London’s Portland Place.

Newsletter, West
Friday, May 3, 2013
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(Grant Smith)

(Grant Smith)

Peter Murray, of the New London Architecture center, together with a dozen architects and planners, is biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place in London, studying how cities are responding to the demand for better cycling infrastructure. He reports from the start of his ride. The Architect’s Newspaper is USA media sponsor of the trip and will post periodic updates of these architects on bicycles.

Portland is to America what Copenhagen is to Europe: everyone looks to it as an exemplar cycling city, and it has been continually improving its cycling infrastructure for more than 40 years – the first Bicycle Masterplan was published in 1973. As a result, 6 per cent of Portland commuters now bike to work and the Active Transport Alliance’s annual Bike Commute Challenge attracts over 700 participant companies. Cycling is undoubtably a part of Portland’s culture with its Neighbourhood Greenways, bicycle boulevards, routes across key bridges, safe routes to school and the Eastbank Esplanade – a wide path shared with walkers and joggers overlooking the Willamette river. The city was awarded platinum status by the League of American Bicyclists and acclaimed by Bicycling magazine as number one for cycle-friendliness.

Continue reading after the jump.

Where’s the Money, MOCA? Questions surround the possible cancellation of A New Sculpturalism

West
Thursday, May 2, 2013
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Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall. (Courtesy Gehry Partners)

Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall. (Courtesy Gehry Partners)

The intrigue continues at MOCA, whose upcoming show A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture in Southern California, is close to being cancelled, according to multiple sources. The show’s curator Christopher Mount has told AN that Frank Gehry’s withdrawal is not the cause for the exhibition’s possible demise, as was suggested yesterday in the Los Angeles Times. The real reason, he said: MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch, who halted installation of the show a few weeks ago, claiming that money for the undertaking had run out. Mount, however, says there is plenty of money left in the show’s budget. Read More

We Have A Winner at UC Davis: “Grand Canopy”

West
Thursday, May 2, 2013
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SO - IL's Grand Canopy. (Courtesy SO - IL)

SO – IL’s Grand Canopy. (Courtesy SO – IL)

Last month AN reported that UC Davis had selected a shortlist for its Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. Well we have a winner: “Grand Canopy,” by  So – IL / Bohlin Cywinski Jackson/ Whiting-Turner. The design features a 50,000 square-foot floating steel canopy which weaves together exterior and interior space for galleries, exhibitions, concerts, art studios, as well as artists’ residencies.  Jurors selected the design from a shortlist of three finalists for its unusual incorporation of light, close connection to the UC Davis campus, as well as the ability to adapt and grow over time to the changing needs of its users–the students, faculty, staff, and visitors. The museum will occupy 1.6 acres on the southern edge of the UC Davis campus.Watch Florian Idenburg, design architect and partner for SO – IL, talk about the winning design (Joe Proudman/UC Davis).

LACMA Transformation Coming Into Focus

West
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
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(Diana Lee Photography / Flickr)

(Diana Lee Photography / Flickr)

The Wall Street Journal recently published a confirmation of two things we’ve been hearing whispers of for years: One, Michael Govan is more of a builder than a museum director; and two, that Govan and Peter Zumthor are planning to basically take LACMA apart and start over. The full scope of the plans will be unveiled in June, with LACMA’s exhibition, The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA. But for now the story has gleaned that under Zumthor’s plan, four of the museum’s midcentury structures will be replaced by “curvaceous modern glass structures.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Let The Archi-Sparks Fly: Thom Mayne Fights Back Against Bad Reviews

Eavesdroplet, Newsletter, West
Monday, April 29, 2013
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Thom Mayne's Perot Museum in Dallas. (Iwan Baan)

Thom Mayne’s Perot Museum in Dallas. (Iwan Baan)

Ladies and gentlemen, we finally have a blood feud in Los Angeles. It seems that Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne doesn’t care for Thom Mayne’s work. At all. Reviewing his new Perot Museum in Dallas, he called the building, “One of the pricey, preening old breed.” Adding, “it is a thoroughly cynical piece of work, a building that uses a frenzy of architectural forms to endorse the idea that architecture, in the end, is mere decoration.”

Hawthorne has used this vitriol on other Mayne buildings, like the Caltrans building and the Cahill Center at Caltech, which, he said, employs a “skin-and-stair strategy that allows the client to make the rest of the building—every interior office or gallery—conventional at best and banal at worst.”

Mayne, not surprisingly, doesn’t appear happy. In a recent public tour of his new offices in Culver City, led by our friend and design journalist Alissa Walker, Mayne said he would not be allowing a local architecture critic to write about his new building for his firm’s offices—he was asking a science writer to do the story instead. “All local writers are horrible,” he said. “There are no good writers in Los Angeles.” We beg to differ!

Apple Makes Adjustments To Silicon Valley Campus Proposal

West
Friday, April 26, 2013
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Newly released pedestrian improvements planned for Apple's Silicon Valley headquarters. (Courtesy Apple)

Newly released pedestrian improvements planned for Apple’s Silicon Valley headquarters. (Courtesy Apple)

Apple’s spaceship-like campus plans, designed by Foster and Partners, have been criticized for—among other other things— a lack of pedestrian friendly design. It appears the company has listened. New documents presented to the city of Cupertino show extended bike paths, winding walkways and private roads both circling the grounds and running through the center of the campus.  The bike lanes would have buffer lanes to protect them from cars, pedestrian walkways would have increased lighting, a transit center would be the focal point for buses, and the plans also make room for public art projects.

Not all the changes are eco/pedestrian friendly. The new design calls for an increase in parking spaces from 10,500 to 10,980. Slated for completion in 2016, the campus has also been in the news for budget overruns and delays, with Bloomberg Businessweek reporting its cost ballooning from $3 billion to $5 billion. The first phase of the campus is scheduled to be complete by 2016.The original date was 2015.

More new renderings of Apple’s campus after the jump.

San Diego Architect Dies After Assault By Employee

West
Thursday, April 25, 2013
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Graham Downes. (Courtesy Graham Downes Architecture)

Graham Downes. (Courtesy Graham Downes Architecture)

Sad news in San Diego. Local architect Graham Downes, 55, was killed after being assaulted by one of his employees outside of his home last Friday morning, reports NBC San Diego. Downes, founder of Graham Downes Architecture, had practiced in the city for over 20 years. Local police found him unconscious in front of his house, in the Bankers Hill neighborhood, on Friday morning. Higinio Soriano Salgado, 31, was arrested and booked on attempted murder charges.

“It’s devastating. It’s difficult to imagine what tomorrow will be like, but we have to take care of tomorrow,” Alex Veen, CFO of Blokhaus, a collection of companies to which Graham Downe Architects belongs, told NBC San Diego. Downes specialized in luxury hospitality, office, and retail design. He was working on, among other projects, the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, the Palomar Hotel, Hotel La Jolla, Nico’s Bar, and shops for Charlotte Russe, Quiksilver, and Patagonia.

See more work by Downes after the jump.

Columbia Square Back From The Dead In Hollywood

West
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
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Schematic rendering of Columbia Square. (Courtesy Kilroy)

Schematic rendering of Columbia Square. (Courtesy Kilroy)

Add yet another project to the Hollywood development maelstrom. We learn from our friends at Curbed LA that the Columbia Square project—the redevelopment of the historic CBS Studios on Sunset Boulevard—is now moving ahead after a multi-year hiatus. The giant project, recently taken over by developer Kilroy Realty, would include a 22-story residential tower, 33,000 square feet of retail, three renovated historic streamline moderne structures, and two new office buildings all totaling more than 330,000 square feet. The architect of the former iteration was Johnson Fain, and now that title has gone to House & Robertson Architects. The historic complex, which opened in 1938, was designed by Swiss architect William Lescaze. It was once home to radio shows by Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, and Orson Welles and, later, to television’s Ed Wynn Show.

Lancaster, California Going For Solar Gold

West
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
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Solar panels on a house in Lancaster, California. (Thomas Hart / Flickr)

Solar panels on a house in Lancaster, California. (Thomas Hart / Flickr)

The high desert town of Lancaster, California, population 156,000, has set its sights on becoming, in the words of its mayor  R. Rex Parris “the solar capital of the world.” That means producing more electricity from solar energy than it consumes, which it would have to achieve by covering roofs, fields, and parking lots with enough solar panels to generate more than 200 megawatts citywide. The city, located about two hours north of Los Angeles in the Antelope Valley, already has about 40 megawatts built and 50 megawatts under construction, according to the New York Times; a combination of private investment and construction from the municipal utility.

Lancaster could prove to be a good case study: getting a solar permit in the sun soaked town is already much easier than anywhere in California—the number of residential solar installations have tripled in the last 18 months—and Parris is touting the initiative as an effective way to add jobs to the struggling area.

Seattle’s Ultra-Sustainable Bullitt Center Officially Opened on Earth Day

West
Monday, April 22, 2013
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Bullitt Center (Nic Lehoux, and Ben Benschneider - Courtesy Miller Hull)

Bullitt Center. (Nic Lehoux and Ben Benschneider / Courtesy Miller Hull)

The newly opened Bullitt Center in Seattle has stridden beyond the checklists of the LEED rating system to bring “real green” architecture into the public’s eye. As the self-proclaimed “greenest commercial building in the world,” the Bullitt Center seeks to meet the exacting goals of the Living Building Challenge, a more rigorous certification alternative to LEED. Located in Seattle’s Capital Hill district, which is in the process of a metamorphosis into the city’s “Eco-District,” the six-story building aims to serve as a new standard for what can be accomplished when architects and developers put ecological design at the forefront of their priorities.

Continue reading after the jump.

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