Slideshow> Libraries Galore as San Francisco’s Branch Improvement Program Comes To A Close

West
Thursday, February 14, 2013
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Marina Branch Library, Field Paoli (David Wakely)

Marina Branch Library, Tom Eliot Fisch/Field Paoli. (David Wakely)

San Francisco’s North Beach library, which AN reported on today is finally under construction after more than two years of delays, is the last of more than 20 city library branches to be repaired or rebuilt thanks to a $105 million bond measure that SF voters passed in 2000 called the Branch Library Improvement Program (with the unfortunate acronym, BLIP). The measure has spurred innovation from several of the city’s top firms, and we couldn’t resist sharing more of their work in the slideshow below. Only two remain: North Beach and the Bayview Branch Library, designed by THA Architecture in collaboration with Karin Payson A+D, which is scheduled to open later this month. Find a full list of library projects here.

View a slideshow of libraries after the jump.

Video> Los Angeles’ Regional Connector Subway Line Coming Into Focus

West
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
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A new video released by LA METRO gives us all a much clearer conception of the construction sequencing of the Regional Connector, the 1.9 mile downtown underground light rail line that will connect Los Angeles’ now-dispersed Gold, Blue, and Expo lines. The $1.3 billion connector, funded largely by 2008’s Measure R sales tax increase, is set to begin construction later this year. It will travel primarily under Flower Street and 2nd Street, and is set to open by 2019. Movement of utilities around the line began in December. Yes, more transit in Los Angeles. This is really happening!

Building a Better LAX? Terminal 4 Connector Shortlist Revealed

Eavesdroplet, West
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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Los Angeles Airport. (brewbooks / Flickr)

Los Angeles Airport. (brewbooks / Flickr)

It looks like things at long-maligned LAX are looking up. First AN reported that AECOM is working on a big makeover of the airport’s roadway spaces and that Fentress Architects is completing a new Tom Bradley Satellite Terminal. Now we’ve gotten our hands on a secret shortlist for LAX Terminal 4 Connector, the next component of the airport’s international spaces. And the finalists are… Corgan (with Turner) and Gensler (with Hensel Phelps). Now if only they could get the subway to go there, LAX might actually become a world-class airport!

Los Angeles Developer Endows New City-Centric Position at SCI-Arc

Dean's List, West
Monday, February 11, 2013
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Gilmore turned the Continental Building in Downtown Los Angeles  into residences. (you-are-here.com)

Gilmore turned the Continental Building in Downtown Los Angeles into residences. (you-are-here.com)

Once upon a time, being at SCI-Arc meant development was a four-letter word, and developers were akin to the destroyers of cities. Eric Owen Moss, SCI-Arc’s director, played a significant role in changing that perception by working with developer Tom Gilmore, who, since 2001, has also been on SCI-Arc’s board of trustees. Mr. Gilmore, founder of Gilmore Associates, is a former architect, so he  has a great appreciation for architecture’s potential, especially in formerly blighted areas of Downtown Los Angeles, where his vision has been unfolding since the early 1990s. This might explain why he recently included SCI-Arc in his estate plans by setting up an endowed chair to the tune of a cool $1 million, the first gift of this magnitude the institution has ever received.

The gift will fund the Gilmore City Chair, a position dedicated to supporting educational initiatives focused on the dynamics of urban development around the world. Moss, in an expression of gratitude quoted Machiavelli, saying, “I believe the greatest good to be done is that which one does to one’s own city.” Further details regarding the scope of the Gilmore City Chair will be forthcoming and may even be revealed by Mr. Gilmore himself when he presents a public lecture at SCI-Arc this Wednesday, February 13 at 7:00 p.m.

We Built It: Moby Riffs On LA Architecture for Pacific Standard Time Presents

West
Friday, February 8, 2013
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It’s obvious that Moby, whose L.A. architecture blog has become quite the sensation, has now become the official mainstream spokesperson for the city’s design community. First he made the big address starting off the AIA/LA awards in Santa Monica. Now he put together a video (above) to accompany his address for the kickoff of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. Some of Moby’s many statements about LA architecture: “baffling,” byzantine,” “mind-numbingly complicated,” “fantastically uncohesive,” and, a little better, “LA has the most diverse, interesting architecture of any city on the planet.” Now we can only guess where he’ll pop up next. Meanwhile he becomes the latest in a line of celebs the Getty has tapped to promote its offerings, from Ice Cube to Anthony Kiedis. Move over Starchitects. Here come architecture stars.

Los Angeles’ New Parklets Bring Color, Fun To the Street

West
Friday, February 8, 2013
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Enjoying LA's newest Parklet. (Sam Lubell / AN)

Enjoying LA’s newest Parklet. (Sam Lubell / AN)

Earlier this week, AN reported on the opening of Los Angeles’s first parklet in Eagle Rock. Thursday saw the arrival of the city’s second and third sidewalk-extending mini-parks, located on Spring Street in Downtown LA’s historic core. Created by architects/developers utopiad.org, designers Berry and Linné, and builders Hensel Phelps, the 40 foot by 60 foot parklets, located just a few parallel parking spots from each other, are impressively detailed and fitted, with wood planter boxes, minimalist bench seating, stone pavers, hardwood decking, and quirky touches like seat swings, astro turf, bar seats, colorful fences, foosball tables, and exercise bikes.

Continue reading after the jump.

San Francisco’s Shipping Container Village Grows Up, Adds High-Style Retailer

West
Thursday, February 7, 2013
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Aether's jutting glass mezzanine. (Peter Prato)

Aether’s jutting glass mezzanine. (Peter Prato)

There’s a new couture addition to PROXY, the temporary shipping container village in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley, designed by architects Envelope A+D.  Adding to PROXY’s cool coffee shop, ice cream parlor, and Biergarten is a new store for clothing company Aether, made up of three forty foot shipping containers stacked atop one another, supported by steel columns.  The guts of the first two containers have been carved out, making a double story retail space, with a glass mezzanine above jutting to the side, providing display space and views. A third container for inventory storage is accessible via a custom-designed drycleaners’ conveyor belt spanning all three floors. Workers can literally load garments from the ground floor and send them up to the top.

Continue reading after the jump.

SCI-Arc’s “Hispanic Steps” Ready For Lectures & Performances

Dean's List, Eavesdroplet, West
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
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(Courtesy Artplace)

SCI-Arc’s Hispanic Steps. (Courtesy Artplace)

Our favorite new naming triumph: SCI-Arc’s “Hispanic Steps.” The new indoor amphitheater, paid for in part by a recent ArtPlace grant and located in the middle of the SCI-Arc building in Los Angeles, is used for lectures, performances, symposia, film series, and community meetings. At a recent meeting to discuss SCI-Arc’s Arts District plans that are also part of the $400,000 ArtPlace grant, officials posed on the newly completed steps for a photo. Included are SCI-Arc’s Chief Advancement Officer, Sarah Sullivan (front center) and Chief Operating Officer, Jamie Bennett (upper right).

Grand Avenue Gets Another Extension, But May Lose Gehry?

West
Monday, February 4, 2013
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Gehry's towers and ebullient retail may be on their way out (Gehry Partners)

Gehry’s towers and ebullient retail may be on their way out. (Gehry Partners)

Los Angeles supervisor Gloria Molina has confirmed what we suspected all along. The Grand Avenue committee—chaired by Molina—has granted the Related Companies a third extension on its lease to develop The Grand, a multi-billion dollar, mixed-use development on top of the city’s Bunker Hill. The project’s Civic Park, designed by Rios Clementi Hale Studios, opened last summer, and the first built project, an apartment by Arquitectonica, broke ground earlier this month. But the rest of the project, including 9 acres encompassing at least 2,100 residential units, a hotel, shopping, and dining, still remains dormant. Related would not commit to its original designer, Frank Gehry, when AN talked with them last year, nor would they confirm his continued involvement in a recent interview with the LA Downtown News. More images of Gehry’s perhaps-defunct plan below.

Read More

San Francisco Mayor Pledges Improved Transit

West
Thursday, January 31, 2013
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Inside T-Central's Chinatown station (SFMTA)

Inside T-Central’s Chinatown station (SFMTA)

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has seen some success in his time in office. But one element still remains a thorn in his side: MUNI, the city’s transit agency. In his State of the City address the other day (watch full speech below) Lee vowed to improve the notoriously late and overcrowded system, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. “We need to modernize our system…to better match up with 21st century patterns of where people live, work, and shop,” said Lee.

A few remedies that Lee has suggested: the formation of a task force to help develop a plan for modernizing the system and dealing with the city’s growing population; expansion of BART, the Bay Area’s regional transit system; new work rule reforms; and a bevy of new technologies. “Truly great cities have great transportation systems—Paris, New York, London, Tokyo,” Lee said. “I say San Francisco is pretty great, too, and deserves one as well.” The city is in fact adding a new transit line, the downtown T-Central, to help alleviate congestion problems. It’s slated to open in 2019. Check out images of the city’s upcoming line below.

Watch the State of the City address after the jump.

EVENT> Exploring The Connection Between Paris and Los Angeles

West
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
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Inside the Schindler House, site of the first "Dialogue". (www.visitwesthollywood.com)

Inside the Schindler House, site of the first “Dialogue.” (www.visitwesthollywood.com)

Starting Wednesday, January 30, LA’s MAK Center and arts promoter ForYourArt will begin hosting Dialogues: Art/Architecture, Paris/Los Angeles, a series of events bringing together architects and artists from those two cities. Events include four discussions at the Schindler House in West Hollywood, an exhibition of drawings and models at ForYourArt in Miracle Mile, and the launch of a  publication compiling participants’ work and discussion.

More details after the jump.

Stretch of LA River To Become Recreational Zone This Summer

West
Monday, January 28, 2013
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river-master-plan

(Mia Lehrer + Associates)

Those of you who live in Los Angeles may know that much of the LA River is already tacitly open to activity like biking and jogging. But it’s all been very unofficial—until now. Last week, AN attended a meeting about an upcoming program to open a 4.6 mile portion of the Los Angeles River known as the Glendale Narrows—stretching from Griffith Park to Elysian Park—to public recreational use this summer. “Recreational use” includes walking, hiking, fishing, birdwatching, and yes, even boating (portions of the river have been open to guided kayak tours, but not to general boating)—but, alas, no tubing.

COntinue reading after the jump.

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