AN Facades Conference A Hit On The West Coast

West
Monday, August 6, 2012
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Snøhetta’s Craig Dykers presents his Alexandria Library in Alexandria, Egypt. (Eric Lum)

The West Coast edition of AN’s 2012 Facades Conference, “The Art and Science of Building Facades,” held at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center on July 26 examined the state of the art in building envelope design. The common thread: collaboration. The first speaker, Phil Williams, VP of Webcor Builders, set the tone by emphasizing early team integration in developing innovative design. Dennis Sheldon, CTO of Gehry Technologies, spoke on how their software facilitates a deeper and more integrated collaborative process between architects, contractors, and fabricating teams.

Continue reading after the jump.

Proposals About New Microapartments Highlight Benefits and Drawbacks

East, West
Monday, August 6, 2012
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Planning commissioner Amanda Burden, Mayor Bloomberg, and HPD Commissioner Wambua stand in a spatially accurate visualization of a possible Micro-Apartment layout for New York City’s Kips Bay competition. (Courtesy of NYC Mayor’s Office)

Take a minute to imagine what you would do if you had to cram your life into 270 square feet. In a typical ranch-style home, 270 could be a master bedroom, or a small living room, or a one-car garage. Now how about 220 square feet? It might make a shed or a bedroom. Now imagine this 15 by 18 foot or 15 by 15 foot space as your home.

Though it might sound more like another Ikea advertisement, two high-rent cities—New York and San Francisco—have been playing with the concept of permitting very small “micro-apartments” to alleviate high rents. By creating smaller housing, the idea goes, prospective renters will have a less expensive option and the city will be able to increase the density of residential units without increasing building size, always a contested point in neighborhood planning.

Continue reading after the jump.

Moving Time on the West Coast.  (chirastar/Flickr) It’s that time again. With the economy still gasping, it’s time for struggling firms to get bought by behemoths and for other firms to split up. Among the rumors we’ve been hearing, LA firm Kanner Architects is rumored to be close to being swallowed by New York firm Ronnette Riley. Dan Meis, who only just recently left Populous to go off on his own, may soon get bought out, although we’re not sure by whom. And after Phoenix-based Will Bruder’s partners recently bought him out his firm Will Bruder + Partners is now split into two firms called WORKSBUREAU and Will Bruder Architects. Why can’t we just stay together anymore? (Image: chirastar/Flickr)

 

Slideshow> Hollywood Hills Construction Defies Gravity

West
Monday, July 30, 2012
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(All images courtesy Yves Lefay)

(All images courtesy Yves Lefay)

On Friday we revealed Francois Perrin’s precariously-situated house, a sleek stack of glass boxes embedded into the Hollywood Hills on a concrete base. Terrain aside, the project is stunning for its views of the city, for its glassy connection between indoor and outdoor space, and for its minimal lines. Perhaps even more amazing, though, is how the house was built in the first place, requiring crews to literally move mountains and dangle from cables off the side of a ravine. To reveal the process beneath the building, AN compiled a slideshow of the work in action.

Check out a construction slideshow after the jump.

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.

 

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