Synthesis Wins Shanghai Competition With “Urban Canyon” Concept

International, West
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
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04Ne perspetive

Street perspective of development. (SDA)

Los Angeles-based Synthesis Design & Architecture (SDA) in association with Shenzhen General Institute of Architectural Design and Research have won an invited competition to design the 1.9 million-square-foot, mixed-use Shanghai Wuzhou International Plaza in Shanghai.

Their slick “Urban Canyon” concept summons images of a magnificent gorge cutting through the city with its two nested cliff-like structures that have been carved from the landscape by staggered, pebble-looking buildings. The facades’ and roofs’ grooved titanium-zinc cladding adds to the metaphor while mimicking the energy and vibrancy of the city.

Divided into two blocks, the northern area houses luxury retail shops and developer Hong Kong Wuzhou International Group’s corporate offices. The southern section is a retail, lifestyle and entertainment complex anchored by two office towers. Sky bridges connect the buildings and outside, plazas, landscaping, seating areas, and dynamic lighting are integrated. Practical details are still being finalized.

More renderings after the jump.

Dome, Sweet Dome: Artist Knits a Hat For Rem Koolhaas

Eavesdroplet, West
Monday, January 21, 2013
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Rem Koolhaas, the Koolhaas Hat, and the Seattle Public Library. (Montage by AN)

Rem Koolhaas, the Koolhaas Hat, and the Seattle Public Library. (Montage by AN)

We’ve always known that Rem Koolhaas has a special relationship with textiles and those who make them. But watch out Petra Blaisse, someone else may be hoping to knit his way into Rem’s heart. According to the blog Knitting Daily, artist Jared Flood has created the wool “Koolhaas Hat,” a toboggan whose diamond-shaped pattern is inspired by the facade of OMA’s Seattle Public Library. We hope Flood will send a sample directly to Rotterdam. Watching a recent video of Rem accepting the annual Charles Jencks Award at RIBA in London, the formidable noggin looked particularly windswept.

Goldberger Sets Sail With Gehry and Lynn

Eavesdroplet, West
Monday, January 21, 2013
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Frank Gehry pilots his boat, FOGGY. (Paul Goldberger)

Frank Gehry pilots his boat, FOGGY. (Paul Goldberger)

Some recent tweeting by Paul Goldberger revealed that the Vanity Fair contributing editor had set sail off the coast of L.A. with architects/ seamen Frank Gehry and Greg Lynn. Broadcasting from FOGGY, Gehry’s Beneteau First 44.7 fiberglass sailboat, Goldberger sent out a rakish pic of Gehry at the wheel. (The name “FOGGY,” in case you couldn’t guess, it based on F.O.G., the maestro’s initials; the “O” stands for “Owen”). We hope to hear more about the voyage in an upcoming VF article and that the story involves pirates and lost treasure.

Developer Gone Good? Century Plaza Towers Get Approval

West
Thursday, January 17, 2013
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Century Plaza, with new towers behind and new public space in front. (Pei Cobb Freed)

Century Plaza, with new towers behind and new public space in front. (Pei Cobb Freed and Partners)

Well, it happened. After years of strife over the project, the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved the $2 billion, 1.5 million square foot redevelopment of the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City. Back in 2009 the developer, Next Century Associates, threatened to tear down Minoru Yamasaki’s curving midcentury Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel to make way for the project. But  a parade of preservationists, including the LA Conservancy and Diane Keaton, stood in their way. The result: a compromise in which the hotel would be preserved by Marmol Radziner and surrounded by two three-sided, 46-story residential towers by Pei Cobb Freed as well as a 100,000-square-foot retail plaza and over two acres of public open space by Rios Clementi Hale. The executive architect is Gensler. City Council certified the scheme’s Environmental Impact Report and approved a 15-year development agreement. Let the construction begin on another major Los Angeles development. Momentum is building.

Another view after the jump.

Getty Kicks Off Pacific Standard Time Presents: “Modern Architecture in LA”

West
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
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Doug White, Shopping Bag Market (Huntington Library)

Doug White, Shopping Bag Market, from the Huntington’s upcoming show Form and Landscape: Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Basin. (Huntington Library)

In front of a packed room inside the Capitol Records building in Hollywood yesterday, the Getty announced details of the next installment of Pacific Standard Time, the popular series of art and architecture exhibitions that helped reframe Los Angeles’ position on the map of worldwide arts and culture. Sporting a new moniker, Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. will be smaller in scope than the previous iteration, with eleven exhibitions and accompanying programs in and around Los Angeles scheduled for April through July 2013.

Continue reading after the jump.

Feds Give Sacramento $135 Million Boost for Light Rail

West
Monday, January 14, 2013
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Rendering of Sacramento's upcoming Morrison Creek Station (SACRTD)

Rendering of Sacramento’s upcoming Morrison Creek Station. ( Courtesy SACRTD)

While Los Angeles is getting most of the attention in California for its rapidly expanding light rail system, it appears that Sacramento is well on its way to a major overhaul of its own. Earlier this month the US Department of Transporation announced  $135 million in federal matching money for the Sacramento Regional Transit District’s light rail system. Much of that will go toward the 4.3 mile Blue Line extension linking downtown Sacramento with the city’s emerging South County corridor. To see a list of current Federal Transit Administration projects go here. And for a look at all the emerging rail lines on the west coast take another look at AN‘s feature documenting rail expansion from San Diego up to Seattle.

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Huell Howser: A Remembrance

West
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
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Legendary TV host Huell Howser. (Courtesy Chapman University)

Legendary TV host Huell Howser. (Courtesy Chapman University)

AN contributor Guy Horton remembers California icon Huell Howser, who passed away on January 7. 

I once emailed Huell Howser about an idea I had for an episode of “California’s Gold,” his much-loved public television show that for nineteen years took him and viewers all over the state. He even did fifteen shows devoted to Downtown LA, its communities, history, and architecture. I knew he would get it. Read More

Friday> LA Mayoral Candidates To Talk Affordable Housing

West
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
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LA Mayoral candidates Garcetti, Greuel, and Perry.

LA Mayoral candidates Garcetti, Greuel, and Perry.

This Friday evening, Los Angeles mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel, and Jan Perry  will take part in an unprecedented conversation about affordable housing. The topic is an important one, particularly because several funding sources for affordable housing—including state redevelopment funds and federal HOME funds—have been diminished or completely halted in recent years, causing a $72 million drop in public funding from 2008 to 2013.

The moderator, USC housing economist Raphael Bostic, doesn’t intend to pull punches. His questions will include confirming candidates’ commitment to the creation of a $100 million annual city budget for low- and moderate-income housing and finding out specific plans for addressing the city’s notorious homelessness problem. The event is being hosted by Housing For A Stronger Los Angeles, a coalition of housing providers, businesses, social service organizations, and other interested in affordable housing. It’s scheduled for Friday, January 11 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, at the Conference Center at Cathedral Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles, 555 West Temple Street.

Carpooling with Corporations: Exactly Who Is in the Passenger Seat?

West
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
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(Justin Cozart / Flickr)

(Justin Cozart / Flickr)

Carpool lanes typically are meant to reduce congestion, not make political statements, but one Bay Area HOV lane finds itself at the center of a national controversy. NBC News reported that Jonathan Frieman has been trying to get pulled over for more than a decade, and now that he’s been slapped with a $481 minimum fine for driving alone, he’s hoping to challenge his case in court.

The twist? Frieman claims he did have another person riding with him, brandishing his incorporation papers. According to California vehicle law and long-established U.S. federal law, corporations legally represent a person. More recently, in 2010, the Supreme Court issued its contested Citizens United decision, stating that corporate funding of political campaigns is protected under the First Amendment. Frieman, who opposes the concept, hopes to take the case to court in an attempt to overturn corporate personhood.

NBBJ Designing Samsung’s New Silicon Valley Campus

Newsletter, West
Monday, January 7, 2013
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New courtyard at Samsung's new San Jose Campus. (Courtesy NBBJ)

New courtyard at Samsung’s new San Jose Campus. (Courtesy NBBJ)

As Apple and Facebook have proven, corporate complexes are all the rage these days in Silicon Valley. Samsung (Apple’s phone nemesis) is the latest tech titan to add to the roster of architectural Bay Area campuses, rivaling Apple’s planned circular headquarters and Facebook’s Gehry-designed West Campus. The company plans to build a 1.1 million square foot sales and R&D headquarters on its current North San Jose site. Designed NBBJ, it will include a 10-story tower, an amenity pavilion, and a parking garage.

Continue reading after the jump.

Construction Heating Up in Downtown Los Angeles: DS+R and Arquitectonica To Hit Benchmarks

West
Friday, January 4, 2013
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Broad Museum construction as of January 4, 2013. (Courtesy Broad Foundation)

Broad Museum construction as of January 4, 2013. (Courtesy Broad Foundation)

Next Tuesday, January 8, The Broad in Downtown Los Angeles (not that Broad Museum), Eli Broad’s new contemporary art museum with an arresting net-like “veil” facade by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, will top out at the corner of Grand Avenue and Second Street. The project is set to open next year and will contain 120,000-square-feet over three-levels, including 50,000 square feet of gallery space on two floors, a lecture hall for up to 200 people, a public lobby with display space and a museum shop.

Continue reading after the jump.

Seattle’s Gingerbread Village Keeps Holidays Alive

West
Thursday, January 3, 2013
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Hey Diddle Diddle: Weber Thompson, David Mestl (Ariel Rosenstock)

Hey Diddle Diddle: Weber Thompson, David Mestl (Ariel Rosenstock)

In case you still can’t let go of the holidays (we know, it’s not easy), take a look back at Seattle’s 21st annual gingerbread festival, which just closed at the city’s downtown Sheraton Hotel. Six local architecture firms partnered with the hotel’s culinary team to produce a dizzying array of giant candy-fied creations to benefit the the Northwest chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The theme this year was nursery rhymes, officially dubbed, “There’s a Rhyme and a Reason this Holiday Season”. (In case you missed it, last year’s theme was fairy tales.)

Among the highlights: a cow jumps over a moon above a whimsical winter village built from sweets and icing in “Hey Diddle Diddle” by firm Weber Thompson; an almost four-foot tall ship of gingerbread with marshmallow-like sails filled with marzipan sailors, white mice and a duck captain depict the plot from the rhyme “I Saw a Ship A-Sailing” by 4D Architects, Inc; and Jack and the beanstalk hover over the lower Queen Anne Seattle neighborhood–Space Needle and all (by Callison).

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