Construction Watch: Tattuplex

West
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
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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

Going West: Palm Springs Modernism Week, February 16-26

West
Friday, February 17, 2012
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The Sunnylands visitors center in Palm Springs designed by Frederick Fisher.

The Sunnylands visitors center in Palm Springs designed by Frederick Fisher. (Courtesy Palm Springs Modernism Week)

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

Bogey at Pebble Beach: Another Neutra House in the Rough

Newsletter, West
Thursday, February 16, 2012
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Neutra's Connell House, Pebble Beach (Anthony Kirk)

While Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were busy fighting for supremacy at Pebble Beach last weekend, another important battle was taking place just down the street (unbeknownst to almost everyone). Richard Neutra’s 4,124 square foot Connell House (1958) in Pebble Beach is being slated for demolition in favor of a 12,000 square foot behemoth mega-mansion. The new home was proposed in December, and still needs several permissions for approval.

Author Barbara Lamprecht, author of Richard Neutra: Complete Works (Taschen), has written a letter to the Monterey County Planning Department urging it to save the “aesthetically compelling, spatially complex house,” with its “careful asymmetric composition of volumes and opposing opaque (stucco) and transparent (glass) planes.” She encourages others to contact the department as well. Think of it as a pro/am for architecture buffs.

Unveiled> Bjarke Ingels Does the Twist in Vancouver

West
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
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BIG's proposed tower in Vancouver. (BIG/Courtesy Vancity Buzz)

BIG's proposed tower in Vancouver. (BIG/Courtesy Vancity Buzz)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> LA’s Academy Museum Shortlist Revealed

West
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
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The former May Company building on Miracle Mile.

The former May Company building on Miracle Mile.

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.

LA Parking Lot becomes Urban Oasis

Newsletter, West
Monday, February 13, 2012
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PDR rendering of the South Los Angeles Wetland Park (courtesy of LADPW)

PDR rendering of the South Los Angeles Wetland Park. (Courtesy LADPW)

What’s the best place to build a wetland? How about at the site of an old MTA bus lot in South Los Angeles? It took more than $26 million and nearly three years to complete the transformation from parking lot to urban wetland. Open to the public as of February 9, the new South Los Angeles Wetland Park that doesn’t only efficiently process storm water runoff–it also provides crucial community green space. Read More

Obit> Norma Merrick Sklarek, 1926-2012

West
Friday, February 10, 2012
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Norma Merrick Sklarek.

Norma Merrick Sklarek.

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Moby Jams to Architecture

West
Thursday, February 9, 2012
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(Courtesy Moby)

(Courtesy Moby)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Populous Reveals Massive Pixelated LA Convention Center

West
Friday, February 3, 2012
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(Populous/ AEG)

Yesterday AEG unveiled its design for a 200,000 square foot convention center expansion in downtown Los Angeles.  Replacing a wing of the LA Convention Center, the new structure, called LACOEX (LA Convention and Exhibition Hall) and designed by Populous (which, it so happens, is also designing Majestic Realty’s proposed stadium in the City of Industry) the elevated center would stretch over Pico Boulevard and connect directly to the company’s planned football stadium, the Gensler-designed Farmers Field.

The highly graphic, glass paneled exterior would be complemented by restaurants and patios outside the base of the hall,. The plan, of course, won’t go forward until LA gets a new NFL team for the new stadium/convention complex. Look for an update with more information soon.

More renderings after the jump.

Don’t We all Need One of These? SPUR Opens San Jose Office

West
Friday, February 3, 2012
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(Courtesy SPUR)

(Courtesy SPUR)

One of the Bay Area’s most effective urban instigators, SPUR (San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association) is opening an office in San Jose. The move came about for a few reasons, says the group. First, San Francisco has a declining share of the region’s population, so it makes sense to branch out. And second, most planning decisions are made locally, so SPUR needs to establish footholds in the area’s major cities.

The new branch office was made possible by a successful $1 million fundraising campaign that will fund operations over the next three years. Leah Toeniskoetter will head up the new office and brings a background in real estate and economic development and finance.

“San Jose wants to be walkable, it wants more transit-oriented development and sustainability,” SPUR Director Gabriel Metcalf told the San Francisco Business Times. “In many ways, San Jose’s challenge is America’s challenge.” A move to Oakland could be next on SPUR’s agenda.

Video> Eames Elephants Go On Safari

West
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
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If you love the Eames Office (and who doesn’t?) you need to see this new video by Eames Demetrios, grandson of Charles and Ray Eames, who took several of their famous elephants on safari with him at the Malamala Game Reserve in South Africa. The stop-action video accomplishes what few in the design world have been able to: it brings the already playful pieces to life, wearing pith helmets, bumping around in their jeep, wrestling and checking out zebras, water buffalo, and other creatures (but curiously no elephants). Good news: it appears there will be more safaris to come.

Read More

Dustup as UCLA Considers Selling Bel-Air Japanese Garden

West
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
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(Ann Bingley Gallops)

Try selling one Japanese garden, and all hell breaks loose. That’s what UCLA is discovering after announcing plans to sell the UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden in Bel-Air, which it has owned for more than 50 years, since 1964. The property also contains a lovely Georgian Colonial house and a traditional Japanese tea house.

UCLA claims that the move is necessary due to budget cuts (the site costs over $100,000 a year to maintain, it says), and because the property serves no academic or research purposes. But garden and architecture lovers fear that the site—regarded as one of the nation’s preeminent postwar gardens—will be in jeopardy if it transfers hands. UCLA says it hopes to find a responsible owner. We’ll see how this shakes out.

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