Gensler’s Downtown Dealings Revealed

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
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Rendering of Gensler's new HQ inside the Downtown LA "Jewel Box".

We heard back in April that architecture giant Gensler’s move to Downtown LA was spurred largely by a million dollar enticement arranged with the city. But it’s only now that we get to see the details behind the move. The LA Times‘ Steve Lopez was able to dig up the emails that set the process in motion, and they include corporate requests to pave the way for federal community development block grants (usually reserved for low income communities) to go to Gensler. The emails were sent from big-time developer Thomas Property Group to an aide in councilperson Jan Perry’s office. This seamless connection between business and government, we all know, is how things work in LA. But it’s rare to “look inside the sausage factory,” as Lopez puts it.

On View> Unnatural Spaces: The Photography of Richard Barnes

West
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
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"Revel Casino Construction" from Atlantic City. (Courtesy OSK Studio)

"Revel Casino Construction" from Atlantic City. (Courtesy OSK Studio)

UNNATURAL SPACES:
PHOTOGRAPHY OF RICHARD BARNES
The Julius Shulman Institute at Woodbury
7500 N Glenoaks Blvd.
Burbank, CA
Through October 22

In Unnatural Spaces, co-curators Emily Bills and Eve Schillo present the featured work of photographer Richard Barnes at the Julius Shulman Institute at the Woodbury University School of Architecture. Showcasing highlighted works from his Unabomber (1999) and Animal Logic (2009) series, the exhibit suggests that architecture is both a willing participant in, and also an unknowing target of, presentation. The show encompasses commissioned works of Barnes ranging globally from Los Angeles to Kazakhstan, and new work such as “Revel Casino Construction,” from Atlantic City (above). Barnes is a Rome Prize recipient for photography and was featured in the 2006 Whitney Biennial for his work documenting the cabin of Ted Kaczyinski. The venue, the Julius Shulman Institute, was established as a cultural destination dedicated to the promotion of photography and understanding the built environment.

More photos after the jump.

Reyner Banham Facebook Mystery Solved

West
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
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In last issue’s Eavesdrop we noted that world famous LA architectural writer Reyner Banham (Architecture of Four Ecologies), who died back in 1988, now has a Facebook page with over 600 friends, most of whom think he’s still around. We’ve discovered who’s behind the fake page. Architect Parsa Khalili tells us he started it for an assignment in a seminar course at Yale School of Architecture in 2008. Khalili says he forgot about the account until one day he signed in and saw 30 people waiting to be his friend. Since then Banham has accrued friends from around the world, sending him birthday wishes and thanking him for the great honor of friending them. “Honestly I have no idea why I even bother but it has become such an absurdity it’s hard to totally let go,” explained Khalili.

Architects Say the Darndest Things

West
Monday, October 3, 2011
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UC Irvine Comtemporary Arts Center by Ehrlich Architects. (Courtesy Ehrlich Architects)

UC Irvine Comtemporary Arts Center by Ehrlich Architects. (Courtesy Ehrlich Architects)

If you’ve ever wanted to know more about LA’s architects than the results of their projects in steel and stone, check out Success By Design by writer and photographer Jenn Kennedy. The book profiles 25 of them, including Steven Ehrlich, Barton Myers, Ray Kappe, the late Stephen Kanner, and Hodgetts + Fung. Architects divulge all sorts of secrets like Myers’ insecurities about getting upstaged by students; Art Gensler’s original desire to start a “small” firm (his firm, Gensler, has over 2,000 employees); Randy Peterson of HMC’s amazing lack of free time; Kanner’s struggles with fees; and Kappe’s surprising facility with the business end of architecture. The book recently launched its digital version and a web site. See some interesting quotes below.

Continue reading after the jump.

October is for Architecture in Los Angeles, Too!

West
Monday, October 3, 2011
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Westwood Village (here shown in the early 20th Century) will be the topic of the panel Curse and Vision on October 10.

New York isn’t the only city celebrating Archtober. In Los Angeles, October has officially been “Architecture Month” since Mayor Villaraigosa declared it so back in 2007. The AIA/LA hopes the month-long festivities will help to “educate the public about architecture and architects, celebrate the profession and encourage the dialogue between those interested in the built environment.”

Check out the highlights after the jump.

LACMA Prepares its Giant Rock

West
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
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The rock is wedged against its steel transporter. (All images courtesy LACMA)

If all goes according to plan, sometime in early October an enormous boulder will leave a Riverside, California quarry and a couple of weeks later roll onto the grounds of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, to become an installation called Levitated Mass.

Continue reading after the jump.

In Other WEHO News..

West
Monday, September 26, 2011
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Courtesy City of West Hollywood

Despite the controversy over Ed Fickett’s now-endangered West Hollywood Library, the city’s new library, designed by architects Johnson Favaro, is set to open to the public this Saturday. The 32,000 square-foot project, with its undulating white facade, will feature two large murals by artist Shepard Fairey (part of a collaboration by Vanity Fair magazine and Cadillac) as well as an interior installation by artist David Wiseman. The master plan for the area calls for 2.5 acres of parkland and open space, new tennis courts and 400 parking spaces in two municipal garages. We’ll be taking a closer look at all this after the library opens, so stay tuned…

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IwamotoScott Architecture: Bookshelf Screen Wall

Fabrikator, West
Friday, September 23, 2011
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator Brought to you by:
(Courtesy IwamotoScott)

(Courtesy IwamotoScott)

Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott, principals at IwamotoScott Architecture first established a relationship with Obscura Digital, a digital media company, three years ago in order to collaborate on a new hemispheric theater encased in a geodesic dome in Dubai. While the project was scuttled by the recession, the two firms stayed in touch, and when Obscura acquired new office space in a 1940s-era warehouse in an up-and-coming San Francisco neighborhood, they again called on IwamotoScott to design it, and even invited the architects to move into their new space.

Working with a tight budget, IwamotoScott injected digitally fabricated details that would give focus and add drama to the large industrial space. A black-box conference room that Scott describes as bringing “shrink-wrap to seismic bracing” is perched on the edge of a second-floor mezzanine while a 32-foot laser-cut screen wall comprised of cells that appear to collapse into fluid scales sequesters the architect’s space within the digital media company’s headquarters.

Continue reading after the jump.

West Coast Park(ing) Day Diary

Standard's park on Sunset Blvd in LA's Silver Lake neighborhood. (Carren Jao)

What if we could transform part of the massive space we dedicate to urban parking into public parks, and what would it look like? On Friday, over 100 cities worldwide participated in the sixth annual PARK(ing) Day, where citizens and designers temporarily converted metered parking spots into open public space. While we couldn’t jet set around the world, a couple of our reporters checked out the happenings in California, where the concept was born.

Before you check out the parks, we should mention that these grassroots efforts are slowly influencing permanent change. In San Francisco, a City Planning Department collaboration with design firm Rebar, which helped begin PARK(ing) Day, has led to the creation of the “Parklets” program, where parking spots around the city are being converted into permanent plazas and outdoor seating.  And on Friday, LA City Council members Jan Perry and Jose Huizar announced a partnership with local neighborhood groups in downtown LA and Eagle Rock to begin a Parklets pilot program in Los Angeles.   Read More

What’s Out There Weekend San Francisco: September 17-18

West
Friday, September 16, 2011
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At the Oakland Museum of California, Dan Kiley's roof terraces are on the tour circuit in What's Out There Weekend San Francisco. Courtesy T.L. Cheung

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to many landmark works of  modern landscape architecture. While the names of Lawrence Halprin, Robert Royston, and Dan Kiley may not be known to a general public that just recently latched on to Eames and Neutra, the Washington, D.C.-based Cultural Landscape Foundation is trying to change that. This weekend, it is holding What’s Out There Weekend San Francisco, free tours of publicly accessible landscapes across the region, from San Francisco proper to Oakland down to Santa Clara. Read More

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Arquitectonica Cozies Up to DS+R in LA

West
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
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Arquitectonica's potential addition to Grand Avenue in LA. (courtesy blogdowntown)

Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Broad center for contemporary art features a distinctive structural honeycomb facade. It may be getting a neighbor with another notable facade, a new 19 story apartment building with staggered windows in a variety of sizes designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica. According to blogdowntown, the building would include 258 units with 52 set aside for affordable housing and 308 parking spaces in a three level below-grade garage. Developed by Related Companies, the tower would share the plaza with DS+R’s museum and back up to the planned Regional Connector light rail station.

Mesmerizing SCI-Arc Graduation Pavilion

Newsletter, West
Monday, September 12, 2011
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Courtesy Oyler Wu Collaborative

SCI-Arc held its graduation ceremony on Sunday in the parking lot in front of its building in LA’s Arts District. And they did it in style: in front of a billowing 60 x 110 foot canopy designed by LA firm Oyler Wu Collaborative, whose principles Dwayne Oyler and Jenny Wu are both SCI-Arc professors.  Read More

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