Las Vegas’ most interesting cultural attraction is not on The Strip. It’s the Neon Museum, which finally opened its new visitors center last weekend inside the lobby of the former La Concha Motel, a Googie masterpiece designed by Paul Williams. The Downtown Vegas museum, which opened in 1996, includes a boneyard containing over 150 neon signs from hotels, motels, roadside attractions, and businesses, dating back to the 1930s. Some of our favorites include the Atomic Age Stardust Hotel sign and a freestanding sign of a man known as the “Mullet Man.” The museum has also installed some of its signs along Las Vegas Boulevard and on Fremont Street. More pix from the boneyard below. Read More
Yesterday, AN got a first hand look at the Space Shuttle Endeavor resting inside its new home, the 18,000 square foot Samuel Oschin Pavilion at LA’s California Science Center. The verdict: go see it. No piece of architecture in recent memory has been as breathtaking as the shuttle.
Thinking about getting a masters degree but haven’t found the right field? California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco just made it easier, announcing three new graduate programs beginning in 2013, bringing the total number of post-professional offerings to eleven. The trio of curricula includes: a Master of Architecture in Urban Design and Landscape (MAUDL), a MFA in Comics, and a MFA in Film.
The two-year MAUDL focuses on the future of urbanism and teaches a range of urban design strategies and data-visualization techniques. The three-year MFA in Comics is headed by Eisner-nominated graphic novelist Matt Silady. And CCA’s MFA in Film specializes in multidisciplinary approaches. Classes begin Fall 2013. Applications for all three programs are being accepted now through January 5, 2013 at www.cca.edu.
Now this looks like a good idea: a group of architects and engineers called Urban Air are trying to turn a billboard next to LA’s 10 Freeway into a suspended bamboo garden. The technique: they remove the signage, install planters and then the bamboo, and then install water misters and sensors to make sure it’s properly irrigated. Voila! If it’s successful with the first sign the group wants to create similar gardens across the country. The ambitious plan is being crowd-funded through Kickstarter and with 46 days left has raised nearly $6,000 of its $100,000 goal as of this publishing. You can check out their Kickstarter campaign and contribute here.
Before the show closes on Monday, head over to the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery’s COLA Visual Arts Awards Exhibition to view artist/architect Heather Flood’s Wonder Wall, an intriguing application of graphic design principles in 3D construction. Inspired by the visual color effects of the tartan—a plaid cloth where interweaving thread colors give way to the appearance of a new blended color— Flood turned strips of perforated colored aluminum into a gyrating wall of mesmerizing color.
Wonder Wall is composed of interlocking vertical and horizontal anodized aluminum strips that gently rotate. Rendered in high-contrast colors (blue, yellow, and green), the piece tricks the eye for a moment to reveal new colors where the aluminum strips overlap, similar to the visual play where weft and warp threads cross each other at right angles in tartans.
“I’ve always wanted to work on a project where I could really explore the visual effects produced by a graphic means of construction,” said Flood. She is looking to extend the concept into her architectural practice, perhaps as an architectural facade, enclosure, or fencing system. The exhibition features seven other talented local artists, so make sure to visit this weekend.
This evening from 4:30-7:30 Los Angeles-based architect and hipster icon Barbara Bestor is introducing her line of gift items for LA brand SOLA (that stands for Sisters of Los Angeles) at Silver Lake store Yolk. Bestor created the vivid graphic designs for the mugs, glasses, i-phone cases, keychains, t-shirts, and more. The event will also reveal Bestor’s redesigned YOLK exterior, with its fierce yellow, red and blue patterns stemming from designs already found inside the store.
Seattle has approved Skanska USA’s controversial five-story “deep green” Brooks Sports headquarters building dubbed Stone34 at Stone Way North and North 34th Street under a new code provision that allows the developer to build 20 feet higher than zoning normally allows. While community leaders and activists opposed the project, claiming that it is out of scale with the neighborhood, Skanska says the extra height is necessary to make the project work economically.
We’ve finally gotten a reveal of Millenium Hollywood, the two residential and hotel towers planned on either side of the Capitol Records building in Hollywood. The verdict: What Capitol Records Building? New renderings suggest the landmark 1956 Welton Becket-designed structure could basically disappear from view.
Cecil Balmond, who famously left ARUP to start his own firm, Cecil Balmond Studio, a couple years ago, has a mesmerizing new project. The ethereal light sculpture, dubbed Snow Words, stretches out towards the Alaskan sky and illuminates the lobby of the new Crime Detection Laboratory in Anchorage. Suspended between a glazed skylight and a mirrored floor, the 30-foot-high beacon, which opened last month, seems to float within its laser-cut cylindrical shell. Made of LED-lit rods calibrated to a unique sequence, the installation commemorates the officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.