Voters Approve Streetcars Tax Measure in Downtown Los Angeles

West
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
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Return of the historic Red Car? (Courtesy Metro Transportation Library)

Return of the historic Red Car? (Courtesy Metro Transportation Library)

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.

More images after the jump.

Video> Greg Lynn’s House of the Future Radically Redefines “Mobile Home”

West
Friday, November 30, 2012
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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.

See Lynn’s sketches of the apparatus after the jump.

Long Beach Airport Reimagined as a Locavore Cabana With Fire Pits and Outdoor Seating

West
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
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Yes, this is an airport. (Courtesy Studio One Eleven)

Yes, this is an airport. (Courtesy Studio One Eleven)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Could LA’s Transit Measure Still Pass?  By all accounts Measure J, the LA County ballot proposal to extend 2008′s Measure R funds and speed up transit projects around Los Angeles, appears doomed to failure. But it seems that the vote counting isn’t done, and it’s getting closer. According to LA Metro’s blog, The Source, the measure now has 65.66 percent of the vote (up about a half percentage point from earlier tallies), about one percent shy of the 66.67 it needs for approval. There are about 100,000 votes yet to be counted, and by Metro’s own admission it’s unlikely, but possible, that it will pass. Stay tuned for the final update by December 4.

 

San Diego’s Embarcadero Getting Long-Needed Makeover

West
Monday, November 26, 2012
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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.

Check out Embarcadero renderings after the jump.

Join AN for the “Never Built: Los Angeles” Fundraiser on December 1

West
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
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Koning Eizenberg’s Sobieski House will host the fundraiser.

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.

More images after the jump.

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Hollywood Sign Now Has Half A Facelift

West
Monday, November 19, 2012
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Workers apply paint to the sign's "W" (Sherwin-Williams)

Workers apply paint to the sign’s “W” (Sherwin-Williams)

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.

More photos of the restoration in progress after the jump.

SOM Rumored to Have Been Chosen for Los Angeles Courthouse

Eavesdroplet, West
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
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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.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Iconic Phoenix House on Thin Ice Once Again

West
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
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Thompson Photography

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.

Poon Design Uses Parametric Algorithms to Create Geometric Trellis in Pasadena

West
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
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(Courtesy Poon Design)

(Courtesy Poon Design)

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.

Another image after the jump.

Tuesday! Discuss Downtown LA’s Resurgence at the A+D Museum

West
Monday, November 12, 2012
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Student rendering of a re-thought MOCA, from Grand Illusion. (USC)

Student rendering of a re-thought MOCA, from Grand Illusion. (USC)

As we’ve reported quite a bit, downtown LA is seeing a formidable resurgence. An equally formidable panel will meet at LA’s A+D Museum on Tuesday to debate the phenomenon, looking at the architectural development of Grand Avenue, adaptive reuse in the historic corridor, hip emergence and clean tech in the arts district, and so on.

Panelists include architect Michael Maltzan; AN West Coast Editor Sam Lubell; KCRW’s Frances Anderton; Ayahlushim Getachew, Senior Vice President at Thomas Properties Group; Bob Hale, Principal at Rios Clementi Hale Studios;  and Carol Schatz, President and CEO of Downtown Center Business Improvement District and the Central City Association. The event will also include a signing of Anderton’s illuminating new book on Grand Avenue, Grand Illusion. 

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Saved? Gehry’s LA Aerospace Hall Gets Listing on California Register

Newsletter, West
Friday, November 9, 2012
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Frank Gehry's Air and Space Gallery. (Guggenheim Museum Publications)

Frank Gehry’s Air and Space Gallery. (Guggenheim Museum Publications)

AN found out today that Frank Gehry’s Aerospace Hall at the California Science Center (now known as the Air and Space Gallery) in Los Angeles has now been listed on the California Register by the California Office of Historic Preservation. As we’ve reported, the museum’s fate has been in doubt as the Science Center makes plans for a new building to house the Space Shuttle Endeavor, and refuses to comment on what it plans to do with Gehry’s building, which was shuttered last year.

The listing doesn’t guarantee the building’s protection, but it could slow down any threats. It may trigger an environmental review if another building were to replace it. At the very least, the museum would need to review the impact of a demolition or major change. The angular, metal-clad building, built in 1984, was Gehry’s first major public building.

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