Oyler Wu, Take 2

West
Thursday, September 20, 2012
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Oyler Wu’s torqued steel shells shelter guests at the SCI-Arc Graduation. (Scott Mayoral)

Last year we showcased Oyler Wu’s SCI-Arc graduation pavilion, a swooping steel, fabric, and rope construction that floated above the event like a billowing sail. For last week’s graduation the firm added a small addition while making significant improvements. The addition, which sat school directors and special guests, became a stage for diploma presentation. Made of a torqued steel shell fitted with twisting fabric (Wu calls it a three dimensional twist), the addition is no replication: it creates a simpler, more unified complement to the original, which involves a more complex web of fabric and roping. As for the original pavilion, they replaced its (disturbingly) dirty fabric with darker material and re-oriented the whole thing toward the school itself. Next year’s pavilion will be designed by Marcelo Spina. We can’t wait.

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GENSLER’S GROWING PAINS.  GENSLER’S GROWING PAINS We’re big fans of Gensler’s new downtown LA offices, which open up to a central atrium, keeping employees visually and physically connected. But the firm’s growth has forced it to partially abandon that model, moving extra employees to the decidedly-less-airy upper floors of their building, City National Plaza. Even in the most democratic offices, you can’t escape hierarchy!

 

On View> Field Conditions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

West
Monday, September 17, 2012
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Lebbeus Woods' Conflict Space 3, 2006. (Lebbeus Woods)

Lebbeus Woods’ Conflict Space 3, 2006. (Lebbeus Woods)

Field Conditions
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street, San Francisco, CA
Through January 6, 2013

Blurring the distinction between conceptual art and theoretical architecture, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art investigates the conception and experience of space by using the notion of “field” as a reference. Curator Joseph Becker describes the pieces in the exhibition as “spatial experiments,” united by the use of architectural devices to describe a spatial condition. The term “field conditions” derives from the 1996 essay by architect Stan Allen in which he describes a shift from traditional architectural form toward an understanding of systems and networks, a “field” being described by the interconnections of discrete points that constitute the whole. Many works in the exhibition deploy a process of serializing and accumulating, describing spatial qualities through deformation (such as Conflict Space 3, 2006, by Lebbeus Woods, above).

Denari Takes Keelung

International, West
Monday, September 17, 2012
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(image courtesy Michael Speaks)

Neil Denari Architects have won the challenge everyone is talking about: the international competition to design the Keelung Harbor Service Project in Taiwan. According to Keelung’s web site the project will become the “Gateway to the Nation,” developing unused waterfront land into a passenger and cargo terminal, a transfer station, an arts plaza, and a wharf for more industrial activity.

According to images posted by jury member Michael Speaks, Denari’s plan consists of carved out metallic-skinned masses floating above narrow bases above raised plazas. Surfaces are textured with graphic components including repeating angular window patterns and lime green and powder blue colors. The curved buildings interconnect forming internal courtyards and, at one point, a huge framed view onto the waterfront. The $140 million project is meant to accelerate development in the surrounding areas, including several commercial buildings near the site. Read More

Zaha to Take Parametric Design a Step Further at SCI-Arc

Newsletter, West
Friday, September 14, 2012
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Rendering of Zaha Hadid's Pleated Shell Structures installation at SCI-Arc. (Courtesy Zaha Hadid)

Rendering of Zaha Hadid’s Pleated Shell Structures installation at SCI-Arc. (Courtesy Zaha Hadid)

Prepare yourselves Angelenos: Zaha is coming to town. Her installation Pleated Shell Structures will be on display at the SCI-Arc gallery beginning October 12. The installation’s details are still limited, but it appears that it will further push Hadid’s and partner Patrik Schumacher’s legendary experimentation with parametric design, giving smooth forms a more tactile, imbedded surface. So if parametric design is 3D, could this be 4D? Which dimension are we in now, anyway?

Dan Meis on the Move… Again

Eavesdroplet, Newsletter, West
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
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Meis’s planned Sports City Stadium in Qatar

Big-time sports architect Dan Meis, who has designed, among other projects, LA’s Staples Center and Seattle’s Safeco Field, is on the move yet again. In the span of just a few years he has shuffled from his own practice to Aedas, then back to his own firm to Populous, to his own firm again, and now he is joining Australian firm Woods Bagot Sport to become its global director. Exciting opportunties? Commitment issues? “I’m not crazy about having been with a couple of different firms in a short time period,” admitted Meis. But he sees it differently: “For me it feels like I’ve been in the same practice all along. It just feels like I’ve been associated with a lot of firms.”

Continue reading after the jump.

LYNN PROJECT SINKS.  LYNN PROJECT SINKS Bummer. SFMOMA, soon closing for several months for its Snøhetta-designed expansion, was hoping to keep things interesting by hiring Greg Lynn to design a floating exhibition in the San Francisco Bay. The project, coordinated with sail maker North Sails, would have included 200 sculptural chairs (made out of carbon fiber—the same material used in America’s Cup boats’ sails) under a large canopy on a large barge, providing clear views of the America’s Cup, which will soon be held in San Francisco. According to North Sails, Lynn may now produce some of the chairs for Vitra instead.

 

Video> Visit A Prefab In The Mojave Desert

West
Friday, September 7, 2012
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(Blue Homes)

(Blue Homes)

On September 15th and 16th modular home builder Blu Homes is hosting its own home tour in Joshua Tree in the Mojave Desert. The three-bedroom house on view was factory built, transported by truck and recently unfolded on site (see video after the jump). Of course large windows, shaded outdoor spaces, and a constant connection to the outdoors work in other places too, but it’s certainly dramatic in the desert. If you want to see for yourself, RSVP here (and bring your sunscreen).

But how do you find the land to build a home like this? Blu and real estate site Redfin are teaming up to help potential buyers identify and buy properties on which to build their prefabs. This seems to have been the missing link for this type of home, so perhaps they’re on to something?

Watch the video after the jump.

Announcing the Gehry Prize.  Announcing the Gehry Prize Frank Gehry has won every architecture award you can think of, from the Pritzker to the AIA Gold Medal. Now he has one named after him, thanks to his $100,000 donation to SCI-Arc. The Gehry Prize will be awarded annually to the school’s best graduate thesis. The first prize will be handed out this Sunday at SCI-Arc’s graduation. Gehry has been a SCI-Arc trustee since 1990, and has been involved with the school since its inception in 1972. Which reminds us: SCI-Arc will be 40 next year.

 

Political Overreach? Lehrer’s Community Center Scrapped

Eavesdroplet, West
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
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Lehrer Architect's San Angelo Community Center. (Courtesy Lehrer Architects)

Lehrer Architect’s San Angelo Community Center. (Courtesy Lehrer Architects)

Despite the recent opening of LA County’s Grand Park, County Supervisor Gloria Molina generally seems to have it in for contemporary design. Add to her list of architect victims Lehrer Architects, whose striking San Angelo Community Center north of Los Angeles was set to move forward, receiving community reviews and preliminary local sign off. In stepped Molina, who apparently didn’t like the modern look of the project. She killed it immediately. Now that’s power.

Congressmen Attack New LA Courthouse Proposal

West
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
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One of Downtown LA’s two existing courthouses, on Spring Street. (fark.com)

Two congressmen really seem to have it in for the planned new U.S. courthouse and federal building in downtown Los Angeles, for which several prominent LA firms have been shortlisted.

According to the LA Times, California Representative Jeff Denham earlier this month called the proposal a “sham,” insisting that the judiciary should be able to share courtrooms more efficiently at their current spaces (there are currently two federal courthouses downtown).

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> California’s Designing Women, 1896 to 1986

West
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
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(Courtesy The Autry)

(Courtesy The Autry)

California’s Designing Women
The Autry in Griffith Park
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles
Through January 6, 2013

It was uncommon for women to practice industrial design throughout late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, California’s newness and frequent population growth provided various opportunities for women to get involved with the creation and production of design. Autry National Center’s California’s Designing Women, 1896–1986 with works from over fifty women designers from California celebrates female designers who made major contributions to Californian and American design. The exhibition displays approximately 240 examples of textiles, ceramics, furniture, lighting, tapestries, jewelry, clothing, and graphics all inspired by California’s amalgam of society which include Indigenous American, Chinese, Japanese, Anglo, and Mexican cultures. Upholding California’s reputation for unlimited creativity, the displayed work includes materials such as wood, abalone, glass cotton, steel, silver, acetate, acrylic, and fiberglass, spanning a century of design movements from arts and crafts to art deco to mid-century modern and beyond.

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