For the last several years, SCI-Arc’s Studio 1A has given new students the chance to literally make their mark by producing projects that become permanent fixtures at the school. On Friday, this year’s class revealed a project that started as a piece of clothing, then became a wire model, then became a mockup, and finally ended as a new undulating and faceted canopy and wall. Made of a recycled carbon fiber called Nyloboard, the project’s more than 2,000 pieces were all hand cut and, somehow, none are exactly alike. They’re attached with Gorilla Glue, nails, and screws. “It’s something that exists at the scale of the world, which can take years for an architect,” said Nathan Bishop, who along with Jackilin Hah Bloom and Jenny Wu led the studio.
Adding to his pop culture resume (appearing on the Simpsons, designing a hat for Lady Gaga, starring in a documentary) Frank Gehry has designed the official poster for the 54th Grammy Awards, which takes place in February. It appears that Gehry simply placed the Grammy trophy in front of a collection of models at his office, leaving the question, can you spot any specific projects? If so leave a comment. We’d like to see Gehry’s interpretation of the iconic gramophone made of his signature curving titanium forms. Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, said in a statement, “Frank’s exemplary creative accomplishments through a variety of artistic platforms have been inspirational. We are honored to work with such a well-respected talent who has served as an influential figure within the arts on a global scale.”
Coincidentally, Gehry will be designing sets for the LA Philharmonic’s production of Don Giovanni at Disney Hall this May. The Philharmonic is nominated for a Grammy this year for its performance of Brahms Symphony Number Four.
Earlier this fall the rapper Ice Cube pleasantly surprised us by turning up in posters promoting the Getty’s exhibition series Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980, a sweeping SoCal round-up that also covers the work of architects and designers. It turns out that before founding the group N.W.A., Ice Cube studied architectural drafting, and in the process he became a fan of Ray and Charles Eames.
In a video just released by the Getty, Ice Cube communes with the designer couple’s famous Case Study #8 house in Pacific Palisades, walking around the exterior to admire the “off-the-shelf factory windows, prefabricated walls” and then kicking back in a 670 lounge chair inside to hold forth on the Eames’ approach of mixing the new with the old, comparing it to sampling in music: ” They was doing mash-ups before mash-ups even existed.” But the most instructive part of the video may be Ice Cube’s decoding of the traffic specific to L.A. freeways…watch for it here:
For more on Ice Cube’s take on design, read his interview with the New York Times.
The developers of Santa Monica’s gallery haven Bergamot Station are planning another art center, this time in San Pedro. “Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles,” which was just approved by the Los Angeles Harbor Department (city council approval is still pending) will offer paintings, sculptures, and other artworks sold by 500 artists sitting in open stalls. The facility, set to open next summer, will be located inside the city’s warehouses No. 9 and 10, located near Cabrillo Marina. The structures, totaling 140,000 square feet, were used by the Navy during the 1940s, then later for storage. Their clerestory windows and huge doors will allow lots of light and air inside.
After being on hold since its approval in June 2010 it looks like the San Francisco 49ers new stadium is finally moving forward. On Friday the team announced it had secured financing for the $1 billion project, located next to Great America theme park in downtown Santa Clara. According to the San Jose Mercury News the money is coming from Goldman Sachs, U.S. Bank, and Bank of America. The 68,500-seat stadium, designed by HNTB, will get fans closer to the field by replacing the traditional tiered bowl with a tower of suites and club spaces on its west side. Openings in the stadium will allow for exposed pedestrian plazas as well as views into and out of the building. It is one of several now being proposed for the state, as we reported a few months ago. But it’s the first to actually move ahead. With design already drawn up construction could start as soon as the middle of next year.
Southern California-based HMC has announced its merger with Phoenix firm Substance Design Consortium. The move not only strengthens HMC’s presence in the southwest (the firm already has an office in Tempe), but it’s a homecoming for its CEO Randy Peterson, who started his career in Phoenix. The new Phoenix firm will be known as HMC+Substance Design. HMC has been busy lately gobbling up smaller firms. Earlier this year they merged with San Francisco firm Beverly Prior Architects, forming HMC+Beverly Prior Architects. At least HMC preserves some semblance of the merged firm’s previous identity with the resulting shared firm names, unlike AECOM which has erased the names of legendary firms like Ellerbe Becket, DMJM, and EDAW.
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.
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.
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.
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.