This week, Los Angeles voters approved a local tax on downtown landowners to help pay for a downtown streetcar, which could begin running as early as 2016. The $125 million project would—yes—run on tracks, just like the streetcars that used to dominate the city.
Cars haven’t been chosen yet, but their primary route would go south on Broadway from 1st Street to 11th Street, west to Figueroa Street, north to 7th Street, east to Hill Street, and north, terminating at 1st Street. LA’s transportation agency, Metro, began work on the project in 2011 with the city’s former Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA), with the city itself, and with Los Angeles Streetcar, Inc.
After the votes were counted, 73 percent of downtown voters approved the measure. Now the project needs to get federal approval before officially moving ahead. See more images of the historic Pacific Electric streetcars, which once dominated the city, below.
At the recent Interieur 2012 Biennale in Kortrijk, Belgium, Venice, California-based Greg Lynn shared his vision of the future of housing: architecture that rotates to accommodate different uses. The model above, called “RV Prototype” (RV stands for Room Vehicle), part of the Biennale’s Future Primitives exhibition program exploring our future living environment, rotates via a robotic stepper drive and consists of a super-lightweight structure built with a carbon shell lined with a foam core.
As its name suggests, the proposal is just a scale prototype, but if enlarged and tricked out, Lynn argues it could contain living spaces on one side and a kitchen or bedroom on another, for example. All you have to do is spin. The device is now on a boat returning to Los Angeles from Belgium. We’ll let you know when the future arrives—and where to store your forks and pillow when they’re upside down.
The days of airport as shopping and entertainment destination are in full swing. Construction of the new 40,000 square foot passenger concourse at the Long Beach Municipal Airport (LGB) will be finished next month. And this is no ordinary concourse. As part of a $140 million modernization project, the two-year renovation not only includes waiting and screening areas, but also two new terminals with 10,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space along with 4,200 square feet of outdoor patio seating containing fire pits, cabanas, and outdoor performance areas.
While it was never topped with a highway like its San Francisco cousin, San Diego’s Embarcadero has long been a car-dominated no-man’s land of wasted opportunity along the city’s stunning bay. No more! Earlier this year the city broke ground on a redevelopment of the area, including new pavilions, plazas, a 105-foot-wide esplanade, and bike and walking paths. The area will be planted with hundreds of new trees and set with new street furniture and decorative lighting.
Phase one, encompassing 1.2 miles, should be done by next summer. The project, guided by the North Embarcadero Vision Plan, is being paid for by the Port of San Diego and the city of San Diego, acting through the Centre City Development Corporation.
On Saturday, December 1st, head to a fundraiser for an exhibition co-curated by AN West Coast Editor Sam Lubell called Never Built: Los Angeles. The show, which features a mesmerizing selection of unbuilt LA work from throughout the city’s history, will be held at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum in March. But the fundraiser, held at Koning Eizenberg’s Sobieski House—a beautiful series of pavilions in South Pasadena—will take place on Saturday, December 1. You’ll be able to nosh on bites by Little Flower Cafe (the best food in Pasadena) bid on prints by Julius Shulman and many other famous Los Angeles figures, and meet Ray Kappe and others involved with Never Built projects around the city. Purchase tickets here. And preview a few Never Built projects below.
Like any star of the silver screen, a facial peel is in order every now and then. For the famous Hollywood Sign perched atop Mount Lee overlooking Los Angeles, it’s been 35 years since its last facelift, but the 89 year-old historical landmark will soon look as young as ever. Last week, the restoration project passed the halfway mark, with the H-O-L-L-Y letters newly primed, primped, and painted. The effort started on October 2 and will be completed by year’s end. The remaining corrugated steel letters will be sanded and given a fresh coat of glossy white paint.
When all is said and done, approximately 110 gallons of primer and 275 gallons of paint will have been used. And for sign aficionados who want to duplicate the color, it’s Sherwin-Williams Emerald Exterior Paint in high reflective white. The Hollywood Sign Trust together with Sherwin-Williams is funding the project. The sign was originally built as a real estate billboard in 1923, scrapped and rebuilt in 1978 and today continues to be an international landmark.
AN has been anxiously awaiting official news of an architect for Los Angeles’ long-awaited Downtown Federal Courthouse, and we’ve picked up the scent of a promising rumor. Brigham Young’s DTLA Rising blog has heard from a “source at a large architectural and design firm in Downtown LA” that SOM has won the commission, beating out a short list of teams including Yazdani Studio and Gruen Associates, Brooks + Scarpa and HMC Architects, and NBBJ Architects.
The new $322 million courthouse will be located on a 3.7-acre lot in Downtown LA at 107 South Broadway and will contain 600,000 square feet incuding 24 court rooms. The General Services Administration (GSA), the federal agency in charge of building the new courthouse, hopes to have the project completed by 2016. The former art-deco courthouse at 312 North Spring Street will be sold to help pay for the new structure, drawing criticism from some politicians.
The GSA is expected to make an official announcement soon, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated as news comes in.
After an anonymous buyer stepped in to save a threatened Frank Lloyd Wright house in Phoenix, it appears that the future the David & Gladys Wright House is not so sunny after all. AN previously noted that an anonymous buyer was throwing the iconic home a $2.4 million cash life line to save it from demolition, the real estate broker announced this week that the home would be placed back on the market after the purchase agreement fell through.
The buyer cited “personal and business” reasons for rescinding the offer, according to The Phoenix Business Journal. After much urging and a petition by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, the Phoenix City Council will vote on December 4 on whether or not to designate the home as a historic landmark, thus preventing its demolition. The house, built in 1952, is considered by some to be an architectural foreshadowing to the continuous circular movements seen in the spirals of Wright’s Guggenheim Museum.
Beverly Hills-based Poon Design has transformed a Pasadena home’s porch trellis into a modern mathematical marvel. Using a parametric algorithm, architects Anthony Poon and John Kim used translucent acrylic to create a perforated structure composed of water-jet-cut holes. Circles of varying sizes dot the trellis allowing light to softly filter in while still providing ample shade.
“The glowing pattern allows sunlight to stream in alongside constantly changing shadows,” said Poon. The wood frame of the 9-foot structure is supported by galvanized metal poles and covers a 550 square-foot deck made from wood and recycled plastic composite lumber planks. Hexagonal cut-outs pepper the deck reaching out towards the future pool, garden, and guest house. A tree will be planted in the largest opening and align with an aperture above for a truly contemporary look.