The above might be the most spectacular project to (n)ever happen. In 1992, The Fremont Street Experience, by the Jerde Partnership, became the project that was built to save downtown Las Vegas, at a time when the boom of casinos along “The Strip” was siphoning business from the city’s core. But no one knew—until now—that apparently the real winner of that project’s competition was Gary Goddard and his team, who claim to have proposed to build a full-scale Starship Enterprise in downtown Las Vegas. The spectacular mirage-city in the Nevada desert is the only place where a project this amazing could ever (not) happen.
Architecture lovers, time to get motivated. This Earth Day (April 22) you can celebrate Richard Neutra’s 120th birthday by participating in the Neutra Run-Walk for Health, a 4k or 8k jaunt around LA’s Silver Lake Reservoir. “Neutra always stood for health, so it made sense to host this event,” said Dion Neutra, son of the famous architect. Neutra says he hopes the walk will become an annual event for the Neutra Institute.
Breaking Ground: Chinese American Architects in Los Angeles (1945–1980)
The Chinese American Museum
425 North Los Angeles St., Los Angeles
Through June 3
As part of the Pacific Standard Time initiative, the Chinese American Museum presents Breaking Ground to showcase the pioneering contributions made by four Southern California–based Chinese American architects. These architects, Eugene K. Choy, Gilbert Leong, Helen Liu Fong, and Gin Wong, all made contributions to the development of postwar California architecture, from Choy and Leong’s playful Chinatown Modernism to Wong’s radical masterplan for LAX and Fong’s development of the Googie style (think neon signage and cantilevered boomerang-shaped roofs). Original and reproduced photographs, blueprints, renderings, and drawings of works by the architects are on display, including original photographs by architectural photographer Julius Shulman (above, The Choy House).
In the interest of getting students to build physical things, three years ago, USC introduced Top Fuel, a week-long design-build workshop accompanied by lectures, exhibitions, and panels. This year’s workshop, “Filters Funnels Flows,” wrapped up earlier this week. It focused on pneumatic (aka inflatable) structures, teaching students about the “inseparable relation between form and performance of pneumatic systems.” Indeed, produce the wrong form here (or material, or structure) and the piece doesn’t inflate. Students also explored lighting, temperature, and other environmental issues.
In a city obsessed with spectacle, it seems only fitting that graduate architecture students at UCLA would investigate the subject in one of its most literal forms. The students (including the author of this blog post) have designed objects, known collectively as Space Oddities, or Variations on the Disco Ball, for a 10-week technology and construction seminar led by professor Jasson Payne. The pieces, morphed from their disco ball origins, are now neither spherical nor symmetrical. Hung in a darkened gallery, they cast a dizzying array of reflections, shapes, shadows, and forms across the room.
LA’s proposed 44-acre Hollywood Central Park, which would be set atop the capped 101 Freeway between Santa Monica and Hollywood boulevards, made new friends in Washington last week, according to the LA Daily News. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met with local congressman Adam Schiff and Friends of the Hollywood Central Park (FHCP), a non-profit formed in 2008 to raise funds for the park. LaHood expressed interest in the project, and provided insights on its development and possible benefits. He also offered to have members of his staff contribute to its planning process.
The real estate roulette wheel known as the San Francisco America’s Cup is still in spin. In the latest turn of events, the city has kicked in a modest $8 million or so to complete partial repairs to Piers 30-32, which had previously been removed from the deal by the privately-run America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA). Then, citing difficulties in securing corporate sponsors, the Authority named a new CEO and cut its staff in half.