Maltzan, BIG, and West 8 Shortlisted in St. Pete

East, West
Friday, December 2, 2011
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Michael Maltzan's Proposal.

Maltzan's "Lens" would become the active center of St. Petersburg as well as transforming its image. (courtesy City of St. Petersburg)

The city of St. Petersburg, Florida has chosen a blockbuster group made up of Michael Maltzan Architecture, BIG (Bjarke Ingels Design) and West 8 Urban Design and Landscape Architecture as the three finalists to redesign its famous pier. Taking a leap of faith, in 2010 the city voted to demolish the current iteration, a 1970’s inverted pyramid structure and 1980’s “festival market” that St. Petersburg’s web site refers to as “the most visible landmark in the history of the city.” But the pier’s market has fallen on hard times and the city was ready to redefine both the pier itself and the city at large. As their proposals show, any one of these three architects will give St. Pete a sculptural design that will become a new landmark, to say the least. The winner will be chosen in late January.

Check out all the proposals after the jump.

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Mallorca Marvel: LA Architects Wrap Resort In Futuristic Seaweed

International, West
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
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The patterned facade will create dappled interior light (LH&E)

Yes, that is a waterfall running down the building (LH&E)
Los Angeles firm tec Architecture and Dutch interior designer Marcel Wanders are partnering to create Kameha Bay Portals, a luxury resort and spa in Mallorca, Spain set to open early in 2013. Located on the island’s posh south coast, the building will take shape out of a nondescript 1960′s concrete building, but according to tec Architecture the 55,000 square foot project is more a reinvention than a renovation.

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Architectural Desserts: Coolhaus Expands with Bricks & Mortar

West
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
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(Andrew Echevarria)

(Andrew Echevarria)

Everybody’s favorite ice cream sandwich comes from the Coolhaus ice cream truck, where you can stuff your face with cleverly-named creations like Mies Vanilla Roe and ponder how Rem Koolhaas’ name ever got made into a dessert brand. Now Coolhaus’ owners, architects Freya Estreller and Natasha Case, who are opening Coolhaus trucks across the country and have even helped design a dog treat truck, have set up a permanent store in Culver City. The storefront abstractly references their trucks, from corrugated rubber that wraps around the service area to a windshield/menu  to chrome detailing throughout.  If you’re really ambitious you can buy make-at-home Coolhaus kits including hand-packaged dough and pints of ice cream, but you probably won’t be able to wait that long.

More images after the jump.

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Gensler’s New Los Angeles Digs Filled With Energy

West
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
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Inside the atrium at Gensler's new office. (Ryan Gobuty)

Inside the atrium at Gensler's new office. (Ryan Gobuty)

With all the news coming out of Gensler lately we’ve officially declared November Gensler Month. The latest is the firm’s new offices inside the Jewel Box building in Downtown LA, a glassy former bank branch located between huge towers at City National Plaza.

Continue reading after the jump.

Metal In Bloom at M&A

West
Friday, November 18, 2011
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Tomorrow LA gallery Materials and Applications will open the installation “Bloom,” a twisted sculpture (video of its installation above) whose metallic surface reacts to changes in temperature and sunlight. When the metal is cool, the surface looks like a solid object, but once heated the overlapping bi-metal panels (for you non techies, that’s panels made of two different types of metal pressed together) adjust and fan out to allow for air flow and increased shade. The best part is that if you’re lucky you can actually see, and hear, this change taking place. The structure, which rests on a steel frame in M&A’s courtyard, was designed by Doris Sung and Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter with Matthew Melnyk. The opening will take place from noon to five on Saturday.

© Sam Lubell

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Wings Sprouting Again in San Diego

Newsletter, West
Thursday, November 17, 2011
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Tucker Sadler & Associates

It looks like wings are hot in San Diego (and apparently LA, too). Recently we reported that Zaha Hadid was building a wing-like house in La Jolla, and now we learn via the San Diego Union-Tribune that the Midway aircraft carrier museum has proposed “Wings of Freedom,” a 500-foot-tall  sculpture consisting of two wings (they’ve also been described as sails, a tribute to maritime activity on San Diego Bay) on the south end of the city’s Navy Pier. The structures, designed by Tucker Sadler & Associates, would be made of titanium shaped around a steel frame.

Continue reading after the jump.

A Winged Stadium for Los Angeles?

West
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
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Courtesy Gensler

Yesterday, Gensler unveiled its newest plans for Farmers Field, Downtown LA’s proposed football stadium, which, of course, is still awaiting a team to play in it (as are several other proposed stadiums in California). The biggest changes to the design involve the roof, which will now have large projecting wings (likely made of ETFE, said one Gensler architect). The roof will no longer be retractable, but “deployable,” meaning the roof can be taken off, but not instantaneously, which will bring the structure’s cost down significantly, Gensler pointed out. The new roof design, which will open up views to the city, was likened to “shoulder pads” by Curbed LA, perhaps a fitting design for a football stadium?

So that the stadium doesn’t dwarf the rest of the adjacent LA Live, it will be partially sunken into the ground, noted Curbed. Meanwhile two levels of stadium meeting and suite space will connect directly to the new convention center that developer AEG is also planning for the site. AEG hopes to have the stadium ready by the 2016 football season.

More renderings after the jump.

Bay Bridge Bungle

West
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
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Construction on the new Bay Bridge (courtesy Bay Bridge 360)

You may have heard that the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is being replaced. (Technically the west span is being retrofitted and the east span is being replaced.) But the $6.3 billion project, which has been underway since 2002, has hit a snag: We learn via the Sacramento Bee that the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has fired two employees after a Bee investigation showed that the technician responsible for testing the new bridge foundation’s structural integrity falsified and fabricated test results on other projects. The two fired were: Duane Wiles,who tested foundations for bridges and other freeway structures and Brian Liebich, who supervised Wiles as chief of the agency’s Foundation Testing Branch. The Bee‘s investigation examined about 50,000 internal Caltrans reports and test data documents and reported that Caltrans officials knew about the problems for years, but never conducted a serious investigation. Oops. The new bridge is expected to open to the public by 2013. Hopefully.

A rendering of the New Bay Bridge's self-anchored suspension span. (Bay Bridge 360)

 


Bye Bye, Behnisch Architekten in Los Angeles

Shft+Alt+Del, West
Monday, November 14, 2011
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Behnisch's LA office designed the Park Street Clinical Lab Building in New Haven (Roland Halbe)

Just when we were getting used to Behnisch Architekten having an office in Venice we learn that leader Christof Jantzen is leaving and the office is closing. Stuttgart-based Behnisch opened the outpost back in 1999 and the location has worked on projects ranging from a lab at Yale, student housing at UC Berkeley, and an upcoming parking garage in Santa Monica. Now Behnisch’s only U.S. office is in Boston.

“It’s an evolution,” described Jantzen. “We had a successful story together.”

Here comes the good news: Jantzen is starting his own firm, Christof Jantzen Architecture, just down the street, and he hopes to take some of Behnisch’s eight Los Angeles employees with him. Jantzen described the venture as on the “smaller scale” to begin but noted, “we’ll see how it develops.” The web site isn’t yet live, but it will be www.cjantzen.com.

Video> Brawling Buildings in NYC and LA

East, West
Friday, November 11, 2011
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Noting the rivalry between his new home, Los Angeles, and New York while visiting the Big Apple last week, Conan O’Brien launched a new segment , the Fight to the Death Building Battle to settle the cities’ differences once and for all. Curbed spotted these epic architectural fights posted online at Team Coco’s blog, and we couldn’t help but share on this Friday afternoon, 11/11/11. While in New York, Conan pitted the Empire State Building (“weighing in at 365,000 tons of limestone”) against LA’s Scientology Book Store (“the best building they could come up with.”) Of course, the Empire State soundly won. Back in LA, he revoked his New York show as “playing to the New York crowd,” and held another match between the Empire and a trio of LA buildings: the Capitol Records Building, a Lady Foot Locker from a Venice Boulevard strip mall, and later Randy’s Donuts. Remember, whatever side you choose, as Conan pointed out, “You’re booing a building.”

Big Architecture Weekend in Los Angeles

West
Friday, November 11, 2011
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Check out "California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way"

Every once in a while forces converge and we get an epic architecture weekend. One of those weekends is happening now. Here are some of the events going on in LA this weekend:

1.) Hollywood Wilshire Boulevard Focus Weekend, featuring free admission at the A+D Museum, Hammer Museum, Craft and Folk Art Museum, MAK Center, Fowler Museum along Wilshire Boulevard as well as events at all the institutions. All revolve around the Getty’s epic Pacific Standard Time series of exhibitions. These include: A discussion called The Legacy of the California Design Exhibitions at LACMA; a talk with Deborah Sussman about Eames Designs at A+D; a panel about Mapping Another L.A.: The Chicano Art Movement at the Fowler, a discussion about Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960 – 1980 at the Hammer; and a  about Sympathetic Seeing: Esther McCoy and the Heart of American Modernist Architecture and Design at the MAK Center.

2.) Launch of the exhibition, Architecture—A Woman’s Profession at WUHO Hollywood and a Saturday panel discussion at the MAK Center, moderated by AN‘s Sam Lubell and featuring author Tanja Kullack as well as Barbara Bestor, Monica Ponce de Leon, Dagmar Richter, and Ingalill Whlroos-Ritter.

3.) Inglewood Open Studios, featuring visits to the studios of more than 30 artists (and a few architects) in this emerging arts district, but showing off great arts spaces like the 32,400 square foot Beacon Arts Building.

Video> Burning Man: The Life and Death of a Desert City

West
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
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Each year, we’re continually amazed at the pop-up architecture that rises in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for Burning Man only to be destroyed in one grand flash of fire. What’s equally awe-inspiring is the pop-up city that forms around the festival. We just came across this time-lapse video of the rise and fall of the city of Burning Man, which shows how the urban form, like the installations, slowly builds before igniting in the night and fading away. Set against the black of the desert night, the video shows how active and dynamic the site really is when the sun goes down. The festival comes alive with the darting about of lights around fixed centers of music and art. At the end, the calm of an abandoned desert returns for another year. [h/t Lost at E Minor.]

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