Feds Hope for Extensive Solar Projects in the West

West
Thursday, July 26, 2012
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Rendering of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert (Ivanpah)

New federal solar incentives should be bringing a lot more solar energy to the west. Unveiled yesterday, the government’s strategy calls for solar projects on 285,000 acres of federal land in six western states, and the opening of 19 million acres of California’s Mojave Desert for power plants that could generate up to 24,000 megawatts by 2030.

The 17 “solar zones” were chosen because they avoided major environmental, cultural, or other conflicts, a move that has been praised by several environmental groups. Incentives include lower land lease payments and reduced bond costs, and the plan is expected to be finalized in about a month. “It’s hard to overstate what a significant milestone this is for our administration,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told the LA Times.

Women Rule A+D Museum’s Annual Come In! Exhibition

Newsletter, West
Monday, July 23, 2012
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Noesis, installation art by Amy Jean Boebel. (Kenneth Johansson)

Noesis, installation art by Amy Jean Boebel. (Kenneth Johansson)

Femmes are front, center, and all around in Los Angeles’ Architecture and Design museum’s third installation of its summer series, Come In! Usually a fun-filled event, this year’s exhibition strikes a chord in an industry often criticized for not being more gender equal.

Issue aside, this year’s Come In! Les Femmes exhibit offers a look into the unique perspective of 25 women from varied art and design disciplines. As expected, in dealing with gender, one can’t escape the occasional critique of women’s roles in society and this exhibition is no exception. By juxtaposing blissful bridal images with symbols of domestic drudgery like irons and cookware, graphic designer Petrula Vrontikis asks us to contemplate the thin line that divides princess from domestic peasant in what she calls, “Brides = Maids.” Meanwhile, rather than using a standard canopy, installation artist Amy Jean Boebel fashioned a charcoal aluminum wire mesh into a giant frilly top in “Noesis.” Inside, a television set broadcasts the changing roles of women through the years. Apparel was also architect Doris Sung’s starting point. Inspired by age-old corsets, Sung creates a sculpture made out of thermobimetal that contracts and expands according to ambient heat.

Continue reading after the jump.

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One Day You Might Zip 600 Feet Through the Air at Venice Beach

West
Thursday, July 19, 2012
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Venice Zip Line rendering. (Courtesy Hans Walor)

Venice Zip Line rendering. (Courtesy Hans Walor)

If all goes well, Venice Beach’s latest attraction could be you, screaming in delight across a 600-foot long zipline. In consideration since May, a proposal to build a temporary zipline by the beach has been slowly making its way through the public process.

As proposed, the zipline would be in place for a three-month trial period. Operated by Canada-based Greenheart Conservation Company, the zipline could potentially generate revenue for the city. Part of the profits would go toward improving maintenance in public restrooms and trash clean up along the boardwalk.

Continue reading after the jump.

PROFILE> Kevin McClellan + Andrew Vrana Decode Parametric Facades, July 27

Newsletter, West
Friday, July 13, 2012
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Winning entry by Vlad Tenu by TEX-FAB's REPEAT competition.

Winning 2011 entry by Vlad Tenu by TEX-FAB's 2.0 and REPEAT competition.

Kevin McClelland and Andrew Vrana of TEX-FAB, the Texas-based fabrication think tank, are also pioneering members of the Digital Fabrication Alliancean international network of  digital fabricators, academics, architect, designers, and developers of hardware and software with a goal of sharing information and knowledge. The TEX-FAB partners bring their expertise into the classroom at Texas A&M, and also host the annual REPEAT conference and competition.

On July 27  McClellan and Vrana will delve into the making of such facades in “Parametric Facade Tectonics,” a special workshop that is part of AN‘s upcoming conference Collaboration: the Art and Science of Building Facades, taking place July 26-27 in San Francisco.

Continue reading after the jump.

A Lifeline in Sight for Orange County Great Park?

West
Thursday, July 12, 2012
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The OC Great Park's North Lawn (Sam Lubell)

One of the biggest casualties since the death of California Redevelopment has been the Orange County Great Park. The 1,360-acre expanse on the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station near Irvine has seen more than $1 billion in funds redirected to other state priorities, putting its future in severe jeopardy.

One (very) partial solution just emerged, according to the LA Times: developer Fivepoint Communities would more than double the number of residences  surrounding the park in exchange for chipping in $200 million to the city of Irvine to aid with park construction.

Of course that’s just a small fraction of what’s needed, leaving many wondering if the park, which is not even one-tenth complete, will ever be finished. But City Council member Larry Agran disagrees: “The fact of the matter is, the Great Park will be built. It may take longer than 20, 25 years, maybe 30 or 40 years. We’re making progress, and major construction is underway right now at the Great Park.”

Shortlist to Replace Los Angeles’ Iconic Sixth Street Bridge Revealed

West
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
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Sixth Street Viaduct (John Humble)

We learn from our friends at Curbed that Los Angeles’ Sixth Street Viaduct Competition, replacing one of the most famous—and fragile—landmarks in LA, has a shortlist. The 3,500-foot-long, art deco span was recently deemed beyond repair, and the winner will build a $401 million, cable-stayed bridge in its place. The teams, all present at an LA Bureau of Engineering meeting last night, are AECOM, ARUP, HNTB, Parsons, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and SOM. Three of those teams will present their plans in September, with a winner chosen in October.

Nation’s First Rooftop Community Garden Prepares to Open Atop a Seattle Parking Garage

West
Friday, July 6, 2012
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Fresh sod in front of a repurposed Airstream tool shed. (Courtesy UpGarden P-Patch)

Fresh sod in front of a repurposed Airstream tool shed. (Courtesy UpGarden P-Patch)

Installation of the first community rooftop garden in the United States—UpGarden—is almost complete. Located in the shadow of Seattle’s Space Needle, the project will convert close to 30,000 square feet on the top of the Mercer parking garage into an organic, edible, herb and flower garden with 100 plots for lower Queen Anne neighborhood residents. Landscape architecture firm Kistler Higbee Cahoot is leading the design, organizing community workshops and construction of the garden with a volunteer crew.

Continue reading after the jump.

BUCKY ON FILM.  BUCKY ON FILM There’s something about Buckminster Fuller. Already there have been a spate of documentaries about the eccentric, geodesic dome-loving designer. They include The World of Buckminster Fuller, by Robert Snyder; Buckminster Fuller: Thinking Out Loud, by Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon; and A Necessary Ruin, by Evan Mather. But now we hear a rumor that filmmaker Steve Reiss is working on a full-length feature about Fuller called “Bucky,” based on a screenplay by Ron Bass. Stay tuned as we get more details. And hold on to your domes.

 

Design Submission.  Design Submission David Hecht of San Francisco firm Tannerhecht recently presented the plans for a mid-rise condo in the city’s SoMa district in a community meeting held on site at an S&M Club. No, the architects are not into bondage. In fact Hecht had originally been told the site was vacant, but it turned out that the longstanding club was still around, so instead of presenting in a community hall the plans were displayed, we hear, among leather costumes and lots of Purell bottles.

 

A Mobile Sound Booth Disguised as a Silver Orb for Los Angeles

West
Thursday, July 5, 2012
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(KCRW)

Angelenos might soon see a “silvery orb” roving around their neighborhood. Don’t worry, it’s not an alien visitation, it is radio station KCRW’s newest portable sound booth for Sonic Trace, a new media and radio series project that charts the Mexican and Central American immigrant experience in Los Angeles. After a few weeks of deliberation, KCRW chose California-based Mat-ter Design+ Build Studio’s La Burbuja as the winning entry. Translated as “the bubble,” the design is a highly reflective orb that encloses its subjects in “a non-space that is elegant but not intrusive,” said Hugo Martinez, who co-founded the studio with Christin To.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Artists X Architects through July 31

West
Friday, June 29, 2012
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(Kristina Cambell)

(Kristina Cambell)

Artists X Architects
Joe’s Restaurant
1023 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice
Through July 31

As technology progresses and information expands, the line between art and architecture blurs. LA journalist Tibby Rothman knew this well when she put together the new exhibition Artists X Architects, presented by arts group V-SCAPE at Joe’s Restaurant in Venice. The event paired 11 local architects with 11 local artists. The conceit was simple: the designers met and selected existing work that revealed the similarities in their approaches. The result is more powerful than you might think, exposing two professions that have a lot to learn from each other. Some similarities are uncanny, revealing the fields’ parallels in research, material, form, and feeling. Kulapat Yantrasast’s building blocks for a bridge over the LA River, embedded with debris (including scrunched underwear), evoke the raw loneliness of Laddie John Dill’s excavated carvings out of textured stone. A resin-coated block of soda cans made for a Santa Monica housing project by architect Lawrence Scarpa was accompanied by a woven artwork (above) of soda cans by Alexis Smith. Smith’s artwork looks like mosaic tile while the block looks like a piece of sculpture. The three-dimensional sketches of architect Duane Oyler look like art while the precise graphite sketches of a cut diamond by artist Jennifer Wolf look like architecture. Pieces of Mark Mack’s sketches appear to be extracted from the colorful, amorphous art of Huguette Caland.

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Mixed Use Complex Planned for Downtown LA

West
Friday, June 29, 2012
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(Astani Enterprises)

Downturn? What downturn? It looks like Downtown Los Angeles will get its first mixed-use development in some time when construction begins on the Eighth and Grand project on the south edge of downtown. Developer Sonny Astani recently sold the land to limited liability corporation CPIVG8, who the LA Times says will probably start work “in the next couple months.” The $300 million building is set to have 700 residential units, a rooftop pool, 36,000 square feet of retail and nearly an acre of open space (and perhaps too many parking spaces: 737). Renderings show a wavy glass, steel and concrete facade, but that design appears to still be schematic. In fact no architect has been mentioned in any story on the project and calls to the developer about an architect have not been returned. We’ll keep you posted when a design and an architect are confirmed.

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