Parklets Spreading Throughout California, Reach Long Beach

West
Monday, January 30, 2012
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Long Beach parklet (courtesy Studio One Eleven)

Our friend Alissa Walker reports in LA Weekly that San Francisco’s Parklet craze (SF now has 23 of the parks built on former parking spaces) has reached the streets of Long Beach. Designed by Studio One Eleven, Southern California’s first parklet is a  30-foot-by-7-foot space with wood decking  just outside of the city’s Lola’s Mexican restaurant. Lola’s owner, Luis Navarro, paid for the $20,000 parklet, plus the cost of the chairs and tables. According to the story two more Long Beach parklets will be opening in the next few months—one at a coffee shop and one at a Vietnamese restaurant. Meanwhile LA is on the way to getting its own parklets (hopefully) thanks to the launch of its Parklets Program at the end of last year.

The House That Dr. Seuss’ Wife Rebuilt

West
Thursday, January 26, 2012
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A porch outside Geisel House (courtesy UCSD)

The University of California Board of Regents yesterday approved the second phase of the rehabilitation of UC San Diego’s University House. Located on seven acres in La Jolla Farms, the eccentric 1952 structure was designed by noted Santa Fe architect William Lumpkins. It has been closed since 2004 when it was pronounced uninhabitable because of  seismic and system deficiencies. Here’s the best part: the house will be renamed the Audrey Geisel University House, in honor of the widow of author Theodor ‘Dr. Seuss’ Geisel, a longtime philanthropic supporter of the campus. Mrs. Geisel has donated more than 8,000 of her husband’s original drawings, sketches, books, and other memorabilia to the university libraries and donated more than $20 million to UCSD. The entire cost of the Geisel House renovation, estimated at $10.5 million, will be covered by gift funds including $1.5 million gifted from the UC Office of the President.

Pier Won: Michael Maltzan’s Lens Selected for St. Petersburg

East, National, West
Friday, January 20, 2012
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MALTZAN'S "LENS" WOULD BECOME THE ACTIVE CENTER OF ST. PETERSBURG AS WELL AS TRANSFORMING ITS IMAGE. (COURTESY CITY OF ST. PETERSBURG)

MALTZAN'S "LENS" WOULD BECOME THE ACTIVE CENTER OF ST. PETERSBURG AS WELL AS TRANSFORMING ITS IMAGE. (COURTESY CITY OF ST. PETERSBURG)

Michael Maltzan Architecture has won the competition to redesign St. Petersburg, Florida’s iconic pier. In a group of ambitious proposals from the likes of West 8 and BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), Maltzan’s scheme was perhaps the most so, with a group of interconnected bridges and pathways arranged along a figure-8 plan leading to a large shell-structure at its end. Called “The Lens,” the gigantic project will frame the city through its structure and create a connection between downtown St. Petersburg and its waterfront. It will include a new tidal reef, a civic green, raised walking paths, an amphitheater, a water park and other leisure activities. More on this breaking story to come shortly.

More renderings of Maltzan’s pier after the jump.

Art and architecture merge at new Matthew Marks gallery

West
Thursday, January 19, 2012
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(Joshua White)

(Joshua White)

Matthew Marks Gallery tonight opens its new West Hollywood gallery, designed by architect Peter Zellner. The white, cube-shaped, 3,500 square foot building is highlighted by a huge sculpture by Ellsworth Kelly, which makes sense given that the gallery’s opening show, Ellsworth Kelly: Los Angeles, opens tomorrow. The sculpture, a dark colored bar measuring 8×40 feet, has been installed 30 feet off the ground, jutting ten inches out from the building facade, creating a floating effect. The metal sandwich panel structure was hung via a series of steel plates, “like hanging a painting,” said Zellner. Of course that’s a painting that weighs 5,000 pounds. Inside the lofty, spare gallery space, with its eight skylights, will be showing off some of Kelly’s finest work, including two works that inspired the facade piece: the collage Study for Black and White Panels (1954), and the painting Black Over White (1966).

Meet Vernon Davis, NFL Player and Interior Designer

National, Newsletter, West
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
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Vernon Davis. (Montage with images by MCD and John Martinez Pavliga / Flickr)

Vernon Davis. (Montage with images by MCD and John Martinez Pavliga / Flickr)

Vernon Davis the San Francisco 49er tight end who caught a spectacular pass in the end zone in the final seconds of Saturday’s game with New Orleans is more than just a football player. Not only is he an avid curling fan and player (he was honorary captain of the Men’s U.S. Olympic Curling team for the for the U.S. team in the 2010 Olympics) but he is also an interior designer. Davis is the co-owner of MCD or Modern Class Design along with music industry executive Antone Barnes. MCD focuses on designing interior spaces for “athletes and other clients that are suited to the client’s taste, but still affordable.” He tells his athlete clients, “You don’t have to break your bank to live well and have style,” and “this moment won’t last forever, so plan for the future.”

Check out his future plans after the jump.

Eavesdrop> A Very Gehry Opera.  Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry.Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry. Frank Gehry will return to Walt Disney Concert Hall this spring—as a set designer. He’s at work on a “moving still-life on the stage” for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s May production of Don Giovanni. The plans call for moving the orchestra upstage on raised lifts, about four feet above the action taking place downstage. Meanwhile, in a recent Q&A with Wallpaper* magazine, Gehry revealed that things are “getting slow” for his firm, to the point that he is considering—gasp!—proactive PR efforts. “We’ve got enough things for the next year, but it’s not the same as it was a few years ago,” he said. “I’m old enough to quit, though, you know what I mean? I’m 82.”

 

Finally, a preservation ordinance in Beverly Hills.  John Lautner's demolished Shusett House. (Tyco Saariste)John Lautner's demolished Shusett House. (Tyco Saariste) Patch reports that Beverly Hills, in part responding to the destruction of modernist landmarks like John Lautners’s Shusett House and Sydney Eisenshtat’s Friar’s Club, has finally passed a preservation ordinance. It’s about time.

 

SCI-Arc’s CHIP House Takes A Bow In LA

West
Friday, January 13, 2012
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(Ryan Tyler Martinez/ SCI-Arc)

After winning one of the top prizes at the Solar Decathlon competition, SCI-Arc and Caltech’s CHIP House is returning to Los Angeles for a victory lap. The unique net zero structure—with quilted, vinyl-covered polyester insulation stretched around its angled exterior—will be open to the public at the California Science Center in LA’s Exposition Park starting on Tuesday. It will stay there through the end of May.

Continue reading after the jump.

Giveaway> Pacific Standard Time’s Ice Cube + Eames Poster

National, West
Thursday, January 12, 2012
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Update: The giveaway contest has ended and we’re pleased to congratulate AN reader and commenter Lori for winning the poster!

At the end of last year, a video of the rapper Ice Cube waxing poetic about the Eames (“They was doing mash-ups before mash-ups even existed.”) made the internet rounds, warming the hearts of nerdy architects and designers everywhere. The homage was part of the high-octane promotion of Pacific Standard Time (PST), a series of exhibits and events in L.A. celebrating that city’s art and design from the years between 1945 and 1980. Promo materials also included a limited run series of posters featuring Ice Cube and other celebs.

Well, AN readers, your response to our previous blog posts on Mr. Cube was so enthusiastic that our friends from the PST team sent us the above hand-numbered poster (36 inches by 24 inches) to give to you! It’s in the office right now waiting to be shipped.

For a chance to win it, simply leave a comment below with a note about why you’re crazy about the Eames. We’ll randomly select a name from the commentors on Monday at noon (PST, natch) and contact the lucky winner via email.

Pacific Standard Time runs through April. Visit the PST site to see their line-up of programming, including the Performance and Public Art Festival January 19-29.

Video> Metropolis II Sends Miniature Cars Careening in Perfect Harmony

West
Thursday, January 12, 2012
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Metropolis II, opening at LACMA on January 14, is installation artist Chris Burden’s action-packed, raucous, optimistic view of Los Angeles sometime in the not-to-distant future. Eleven-hundred custom-made, die-cast cars, about twice the size of a Matchbox car, race through a multilevel system of 18 roadways that twist and turn and undulate amid buildings that seem vaguely familiar but are not replicas of any specific landmark (although, strangely, there is what looks like an Eiffel Tower).  The cars whip along on a plastic roadway at fantastic speeds, producing an enormous din that echoes off the gallery walls like the incessant roar of real-life freeway traffic.  HO-scale trains and 1930s-era trolley cars roll along tracks of their own, adding a cheerful nostalgia to the mix.

Continue reading after the jump.

Slideshow> Organic Architecture Catches Fire in Coachella Valley

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
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Ken Kellogg's GG's Island restaurant before the fire. (Keith Daly / Flickr)

Ken Kellogg's GG's Island restaurant before the fire. (Keith Daly / Flickr)

Southern California critic Alan Hess tells us more about Ken Kellogg’s GG’s Island Restaurant (formerly the Chart House), which was ravaged by fire on Tuesday morning. The extent of the damage and the potential for repair have not yet been determined.

Palm Springs may be best known for sleek steel and glass Modern architecture, but the 1978 Chart House by San Diego architect Ken Kellogg (one of a series he designed for the restaurant chain) makes it impossible to ignore the fact that Organic Modernism is just as much a part of the Coachella Valley heritage. Set along Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage, Chart House’s low-slung, serpentine shape hugs the contours of a small, rocky butte.

Outside, it’s the image of protective desert shelter: the taut vaulted roof stretches down, like the fabric of an umbrella or the shell of a crab, almost to touch the landscape berms rising to meet it. Inside, however, the heavy timber columns, curving glu-lam roof ribs, and rubble stone walls wind their way through the restaurant like a well-designed forest. They create layers of space, naturally lighted by a skylight curving along the spine, with an appealing complexity. Kellogg’s fifty-five year career, including residences, churches, and commercial and institutional buildings, continues to show the vitality of organic design.

View a slideshow of the restaurant before and after the fire.

FXFOWLE and CO Architects form Bi-Coastal Coalition

Newsletter, Shft+Alt+Del, West
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
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FXFOWLE'S SAP Americas Headquarters (David Sundberg/Esto)

FXFOWLE'S SAP Americas Headquarters (David Sundberg/Esto)

They seem hesitant to call it a merger, but architecture biggies FXFOWLE and CO Architects announced today that they are joining forces in a “joint venture.” The New York and Los Angeles firms made the move, they said in a release, “In order to expand each firm’s geographic and expertise reach.” The companies will maintain their individual identities, with the exception of joint projects, under which they’ll be called CO/FXFOWLE.

CO Architects, it should be noted, is known for its institutional and healthcare work, while FXFOWLE’s portfolio, marked by its focus on sustainability, is a little more wide-ranging, from architecture to interior design to planning.

The move actually took place in December, and the firms are emphatic that both will remain on equal footing. The deal, said the announcement, “represents a genuine collaboration between the two firms in all project services, rather than the customary design architect/associate architect relationship.”

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