Breaking Ground: Chinese American Architects in Los Angeles (1945–1980)
The Chinese American Museum
425 North Los Angeles St., Los Angeles
Through June 3
As part of the Pacific Standard Time initiative, the Chinese American Museum presents Breaking Ground to showcase the pioneering contributions made by four Southern California–based Chinese American architects. These architects, Eugene K. Choy, Gilbert Leong, Helen Liu Fong, and Gin Wong, all made contributions to the development of postwar California architecture, from Choy and Leong’s playful Chinatown Modernism to Wong’s radical masterplan for LAX and Fong’s development of the Googie style (think neon signage and cantilevered boomerang-shaped roofs). Original and reproduced photographs, blueprints, renderings, and drawings of works by the architects are on display, including original photographs by architectural photographer Julius Shulman (above, The Choy House).
In the interest of getting students to build physical things, three years ago, USC introduced Top Fuel, a week-long design-build workshop accompanied by lectures, exhibitions, and panels. This year’s workshop, “Filters Funnels Flows,” wrapped up earlier this week. It focused on pneumatic (aka inflatable) structures, teaching students about the “inseparable relation between form and performance of pneumatic systems.” Indeed, produce the wrong form here (or material, or structure) and the piece doesn’t inflate. Students also explored lighting, temperature, and other environmental issues.
In a city obsessed with spectacle, it seems only fitting that graduate architecture students at UCLA would investigate the subject in one of its most literal forms. The students (including the author of this blog post) have designed objects, known collectively as Space Oddities, or Variations on the Disco Ball, for a 10-week technology and construction seminar led by professor Jasson Payne. The pieces, morphed from their disco ball origins, are now neither spherical nor symmetrical. Hung in a darkened gallery, they cast a dizzying array of reflections, shapes, shadows, and forms across the room.
LA’s proposed 44-acre Hollywood Central Park, which would be set atop the capped 101 Freeway between Santa Monica and Hollywood boulevards, made new friends in Washington last week, according to the LA Daily News. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met with local congressman Adam Schiff and Friends of the Hollywood Central Park (FHCP), a non-profit formed in 2008 to raise funds for the park. LaHood expressed interest in the project, and provided insights on its development and possible benefits. He also offered to have members of his staff contribute to its planning process.
The real estate roulette wheel known as the San Francisco America’s Cup is still in spin. In the latest turn of events, the city has kicked in a modest $8 million or so to complete partial repairs to Piers 30-32, which had previously been removed from the deal by the privately-run America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA). Then, citing difficulties in securing corporate sponsors, the Authority named a new CEO and cut its staff in half.
How can technology and science revolutionize and restore our public spaces—particularly those disconnected and decaying districts that remain after colossal events such as the Olympics, biennials, and world’s fairs? These immense programs have shaped many an urban core, for better or for worse, from the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 to the 2004 Athens Olympics.
As part of the Seattle Next Fifty, the 50th anniversary of the Seattle 1962 World’s Fair Century 21 Exposition, the Howard S. Wright Design Ideas Competition for Public Space challenged global designers, architects, and urban planners to re-imagine the 9 acre Seattle Center site that was part of the larger 74-acre campus, which hosted the original 1962 fair.
Architecture in the Expanded Field
CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
1111 8th St., San Francisco
Through April 7
Theorist and critic Rosalind Krauss’s 1979 text “Sculpture in the Expanded Field” attempts to identify the scope of sculpture in a time when artists were redefining its traditional limits to include considerations of architecture, landscape, and space. The Wattis attempts a similar redefinition of the field of architecture; installations explore material, spatial, and perceptual concerns with emerging experimental technologies outside the limits of traditional architectural practice. A full-scale installation within and outside of the gallery transports visitors into the immersive environment, while a surface component presents the mapped expanded field of architectural installation.