Ever wonder what LA will look like in 30, 50, or 100 years? Little Tokyo Design Week, which launched last night in downtown Los Angeles, captures a glimpse of the future city through the eyes of innovative designers and companies inspired by technology from Japan. The four-day celebration takes place in one of the country’s few remaining Japan-towns and includes panels, exhibitions, parties, pop-up stores and even pub crawls. It opened last night with a forum from LA architecture school leaders Hitoshi Abe, Qingyan Ma, Ming Fung, and Andrew Zago, an outdoor screening of Hayo Miyazaki’s beloved anime classic My Neighbor Totoro, and a discussion of urban life as a customizable, sustainable existence with Tim Durfee, Ben Hooker, Keiichi Matsuda, Jon Rafman and Sputniko! Basically, this design week is about how to face the future of a more populated globe.
This Saturday the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County will unveil Dinosaur Hall, a 14,000 square-foot permanent dinosaur exhibit featuring 20 dinosaur skeletons and over 300 fossils, as well as interactive displays and informative excavation videos. The majority of the prehistoric bones are real, giving viewers an authentic glimpse into the world 65 million years ago.
With its footprint unchanged, the museum was rejiggered to accommodate the super-sized Hall. The new exhibit boasts two, two-story galleries that are conjoined into a mesmerizing display of jumbo-sized specimens that visitors can walk under, around and even come face-to-face with. Designed by CO Architects in collaboration with exhibition design firm Evidence Design, the new dinosaur digs encompass the museum’s original, recently restored, 1913 Beaux Arts structure and its 1920s addition which has been outfitted with floor-to-ceiling windows.
On Monday we reported that redevelopment agencies around the state have had to put the brakes on upcoming projects until their uncertain futures are sorted out. Because of recent state legislation cities will have to pay their share of $1.7 billion by this fall in order to preserve their respective agencies. Here’s a good example of the impact. CRA/LA has provided us a list of more than 20 current projects put on hold since the passage of the new legislation. They include the following:
It turns out that sports arena architects Populous (formerly HOK Sport) have bagged not just one, but two of the biggest hypothetical projects in Los Angeles. Not only has the firm designed Majestic Realty’s proposed football stadium for the City of Industry, but they were just named by AEG as designers of its competition: The LA Convention Center’s relocated West Hall, which would be coupled with Gensler’s new downtown football stadium if that project gets approval.
Both projects, of course, have yet to receive that elusive approved status and, perhaps of greater concern, LA still has no football team, but it’s still a coup for Populous, whose Dan Meis would not comment on the company’s new commission. “We are laying a bit low on commenting on this given we have been involved with both projects,” he told AN. Still a Populous spokesperson told the LA Times, “We’re not currently performing work for a competing NFL stadium in Los Angeles,” and that the firm had Majestic’s blessing. Only time will tell if this situation gets tense.
Thanks to a report from our friends at Curbed LA, we’ve learned that Daniel Libeskind’s proposed tower for Downtown LA may be dead in the water. Apparently its 1.32 acre site, 1340 South Figueroa, showed up on commercial sale site Loopnet in late May with a sale price of $17 million. According to Curbed the listing mentions the designs for the Libeskind tower (an angular design that includes 273 residences on 35 floors), but also that “the possibilities for this site are unlimited.” That’s not a good sign, despite the fact that the project received city approval two years ago. Let’s wait and see if yet another high profile proposed building in LA is about to go under… (KPF’s Park Fifth in Downtown LA, Jean Nouvel’s Green Blade in Century City, Etc, Etc)
The Hollywood Bowl got a miniature version of itself last Friday. Hodgetts + Fung, the architects of the Bowl’s latest 2003 renovation, helped students from LA’s Gardner Elementary School build a Polystyrene and PVC pipe replica of the curving amphitheater in honor of the school’s 100th birthday. Partners Craig Hodgetts and Ming Fung, with the help of school teachers, assisted the students build not only a mini-Bowl on the school’s asphalt playground, but a mini-museum displaying historic photos of the school.
The Palm Springs Art Museum can’t get enough of E. Stewart Williams. Having closed on a deal to buy the Williams’ Sante Fe Federal Savings and Loan building on Palm Canyon Drive, the museum now owns two. The museum’s building was also designed by Williams and completed in 1976. The iron rock facade, blends so well into the landscape it appears to be a gateway to the mountains beyond. With its concrete coffered entryway, the museum building contains obvious Brutalist references, whereas the bank building completed in 1960 takes its cues from the International style. Fine buildings both, but it must be said that with a giant white elephant of a vacated mall sitting in front of the museum building, having a presence on Palm Canyon won’t hurt. Museum spokesperson Bob Bogard said the new locale would be the ideal hub for Modernism Week activities and help direct traffic to the museum.
The Pacific Design Center’s Red Building, the final piece of a three-structure complex, is nearing completion. Designed by Cesar Pelli, the building’s jutting red glass facade is in now in place, and the project should be complete by this fall. Photographer Kenneth Johansson has been documenting its construction for the last two years. His pictures don’t just reveal the developing bones of the building, they showcase the often-overlooked construction workers who make projects like this happen. “I have all the respect in the world for these guys,” said Johansson, of the builders, who he calls “heroic” (you can see why). He plans to release a book on the project next year. Enjoy this slideshow of the construction from start to the present. (Click on an image below to start)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Through October 31
Best known for directing films like The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, and Beetle Juice, Tim Burton and his work as an illustrator, writer, and artist are being honored with a retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This new show celebrates the way that Burton has managed to put his own spin on movies in an industry known for its fear of the unknown. With over 700 items on display, including drawings, paintings, photographs, film and video works, storyboards, puppets, concept artworks, maquettes, costumes, and assorted cinematic ephemera, visitors get a glimpse into the mind of this modern day Renaissance man.
Though the show debuted on the east coast at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the LACMA version of the show, organized by Britt Salvesen, offers its own take on the Burbank native’s body of work. Burton collaborated with the exhibition designers to transform the museum’s Resnick Pavilion into an appropriately “Burtonesque” environment. He also created several new pieces for the exhibition, including what the museum describes as a “revolving multimedia, black-light carousel installation that hangs from the ceiling.”