After three decades at LA firm Altoon + Porter, founding partner James F. Porter is leaving to become a principal at the Jerde Partnership. Porter, who met business partner Ron Altoon while working at Frank Gehry’s office in the ’70s, co-founded Altoon + Porter in 1984. Hoping to leave more room for young partners, Altoon + Porter included a clause in their partnership specifying that they retire at age 65. “Sixty five came along in a nanosecond,” said Porter, who managed to adjust the agreement to stay on a little longer. But at age 70, it was time to go, he said.
Last weekend at Palm Springs Modernism Week we stumbled upon a treasure for architecture fans. The Palm Springs Art Museum is renovating E. Stewart Williams’ 1960 Santa Fe Federal Savings and Loan building, turning it into the future home of the Edward Harris Center for Architecture and Design. Williams’ International Style bank, featuring floating slabs, floor to ceiling glazing, and ultra thin columns, will contain exhibit space, public program areas, offices, an archival study center and a museum store (located in the former bank vault). On its lower level it will contain a 2,700 square foot area for the museum’s collection. The center is scheduled to open in Fall 2013, says the museum. We can’t wait! Historic pictures and renderings of the future space after the jump.
Meet architect Tom Marble’s Tattuplex. The steel-framed duplex, cantilevering off a steep hill in LA’s Silver Lake neighborhood is being built for nurse and buddhist-monk-in-training Tim Tattu. The project’s steel frame was fabricated off-site by Ecosteel, allowing it to be bolted together onsite in just a few days. And of course, it has one of the most beautiful construction sites imaginable, overlooking the Silver Lake reservoir. Read More
AN is headed out to California for the third year running for one of our favorite architecture events: Palm Springs Modernism Week (February 16-26). Palm Springs–and its surrounding towns, spas and arid California landscape–is home to what the organizers call “desert modernism.” The city is an extraordinary gridded landscape of modern car-ported flat-roofed houses and dozens of iconic homes, shops, and landscapes. The 11-day celebration focuses every year on an outstanding example of residential modern architecture, and this year it will highlight Sunnylands, the A. Quincy Jones-designed mansion (interior by William Haines) for the Annenbergs in nearby Rancho Mirage. The estate is surrounded by an art garden, labyrinth, private nine-hole golf course (currently being restored), and a new visitors center designed by Frederick Fisher. Read More
When Bjarke Ingels makes news, he really makes news. The superhero force behind the juggernaut that is BIG is in the running on Chicago’s Navy Pier, has a giant heart pulsing in Times Square, just won a competition for Kimball Art Center in Park City, Utah, and now plans for his 49-story skyscraper in Vancouver, Canada have leaked, revealing a new “twist” on the traditional skyscraper. We’ve known for over a year that Ingels was planning the Vancouver tower, but now Vancity Buzz has revealed, in addition to the renderings, project details for the Beach & Howe Tower garnered from documents filed with the city.
We learned in October that LA’s Academy of Motion Picture Sciences would be building its new museum inside the former May Company building on Miracle Mile, right next to LACMA. Now we hear that the project may soon be getting an architect. Our rumor mill has produced three shortlisted names: Morphosis, wHY Architecture, and spf:A.
The last on the list, spf:A, had developed LACMA’s plan for the building back when it was still going to contain the museum’s art galleries. So is this a chance for them to salvage that job? Meanwhile Morphosis gets a chance to try again on a major LA museum after losing the Broad Museum commission once the project moved from Beverly Hills to downtown. We’re sure wHY has a shot at some kind of redemption as well, we just don’t know what it is.
Norma Merrick Sklarek, the first African American woman to become a licensed architect in the country, died on Monday in Los Angeles, The Los Angeles Times reports. Sklarek, a native of Harlem, went to Barnard College before graduating from Columbia’s architecture school in 1950. She passed the New York State exam in 1954, becoming the first African American woman to receive her professional architecture license and earning her the nickname “the Rosa Parks of Architecture.” She later moved to California where she was turned down for work 19 times before going on to work for SOM, Gruen Associates, Welton Becket, and the Jerde Partnership.
Those of you who thought Ice Cube was the only music star to love architecture, think again. It turns out that the bespectacled hipster god Moby is an even more dedicated disciple, even producing his own blog on the topic. The web site, simply called Moby Los Angeles Architecture Blog, launched about two weeks ago. While Moby calls his ramblings “pointless,” “self-indulgent,” and “oddball,” we love it.