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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Artists X Architects
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.
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.