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 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.