According to the Las Vegas Review Journal and Engineering News Record officials at MGM Resorts want to demolish Foster & Partners’ unopened 27-story Harmon Hotel, a major part of the $8.5 billion CityCenter development. The building was originally designed as a 47-story tower, but major construction errors and subsequent time and money issues led to its drastic reduction in size. Lawsuits will prevent anything from happening to the building until at least 2012, says MGM. “Right now, I have a building I can’t do anything with,” CityCenter CEO Bobby Baldwin told the LVRJ, adding that Harmon has become “the poster child for nonconforming work worldwide.” For the record the Harmon’s web site still says “Coming Soon.” In its recent third-quarter earnings statement, MGM Resorts said it took a $279 million write down for the Harmon and concluded “it is unlikely the Harmon will be completed using the building as it now stands. “Baldwin concludes: “It was one of the most beautifully designed buildings ever, and it’s sitting static for over two years… The most sophisticated of all the architects (Foster) ended up being involved in a building that was our biggest disappointment.” Read More
Tomorrow LA City Hall—usually the scene of budget battles and slow, somber legislating—will host two uplifting performances by Collage Dance Theater, a group that specializes in making the most of architectural settings. The company, started in 1987, has performed in laundromats (yes, dancers did fit inside of dryers), a jail, vacant lots, art galleries, an ice rink, architects’ homes, a courtroom, a church, a locker room, the former Ambassador Hotel, and many more locales. The show, called “Governing Bodies,” will, according to founder Heidi Duckler, take advantage of the 1928 Art Deco building’s beautiful interiors: from its grand rotunda to its echoing, narrow hallways to its cold, bureaucratic council chambers; not to mention allowing dancers to break out and quickly contort in otherwise buttoned-up government attire. Could be a lesson for the real bureaucrats, no?
AN has managed to get its hands on the shortlist for Art Center College’s renovation of its iconic Craig Ellwood building in the hills of Pasadena. Completed in 1976, the dark structure, with its expressive exposed steel frame and amazing glass and steel bridges, is one of our favorites in California, but certainly needs a facelift. According to the RFQ the renovation includes reshaping and expanding the academic building, updating it seismically, installing new sustainable energy systems, and improving its roof and glazing systems. The four finalists are…. drumroll please… Michael Maltzan Architecture, Behnisch Architekten (LA office), Barton Myers Associates, and Krueck + Sexton. That’s three local firms and a Chicago firm, Krueck + Sexton, that renovated a similar project: Mies van der Rohe’s Crown Hall at IIT. The winner, according to competition organizer David Meckel, will be announced early next year. Make sure to take a look at these amazing historic images of the building (including campus construction shots) below, from the Art Center exhibition Hillside Campus. Read More
No property is safe from this economy. The futuristic house from Woody Allen’s sci-fi comedy “Sleeper”, which is actually located just outside Denver, is being foreclosed on. The house, built in 1963 by architect Charles Deaton, who also designed Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, has its foreclosure auction scheduled for tomorrow. According to the Wall Street Journal, Denver entrepreneur Michael Dunahay, who purchased the house in 2006, is delinquent on the nearly $2.8 million outstanding balance of his $3.1 million mortgage on the house. So who will buy the amazing spaceship-like abode? Allen’s co-star in the movie was LA preservation hero Diane Keaton. So maybe? Just maybe she’s interested?
In case you didn’t watch the World Cup this year, orange is the official color of the Netherlands. And it’s the inspiration for a week of Dutch design events in San Francisco starting on November 14 called Seeing Orange. The week will feature Dutch creativity that includes not just architecture (hi Rem and friends..) but design, fashion, graphic arts, and so on. One of our favorite events is a bike tour (makes sense.. have you ever been to Amsterdam?) of Dutch design highlights led by architect David Baker and urban planner Robert Bregoff. The tour will visit places like My Dutch Bike, which sells handmade Dutch cycles and gear, Hedge Gallery, which features art by Dutch designers, Propeller, showing off sleek Dutch furniture and accessories, and several other destinations. Another highlight: UN Studio founder Caroline Bos will talk with CCA students and faculty about the firm’s “Deep Planning” techniques. Sounds mysterious, but great. The full list of events is here. No word yet on whether there will be any of those great Dutch pancakes, but we’ll keep you posted..
We hear from our friends at Curbed LA that Kevin Southerland, a principal at LA firm Assembledge+, has left to form his own firm, architecture 350. And while we’re very fond of Southerland’s work, and of sustainable architecture, we’re a little overwhelmed with the name, which, according to his new site, “refers to the parts per million amount of carbon dioxide that a global consensus of scientists has deemed sustainable for human life to carry on as we know it.” Whoah. The name is relevant because we’ve reached 382, which seems like a very very concerning statistic. Does this mean that life as we know it is about to end? Meanwhile we look forward to seeing what the firm comes up with. They’ll be located on Doheny Drive in Beverly Hills, and will focus on (of course) sustainable, contemporary residential projects.
AIA/LA hosted its annual Design Awards last night at LACMA, an event that while not too full of people (that pesky recession) was full of astoundingly good projects. The AIA made us really happy, awarding AN a Presidential Award (Thanks AIA/LA President Paul Danna) for “Architectural Interpreter”. Aw Shucks.. Other notable winners included Firm of the Year Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects and Gold Medal winner Brenda Levin. Since there were a hefty number of Design Award winners, we’ve decided to pick out a few of our favorites. And so without further ado we present the first ever, completely unofficial, AIA/LA Awards Awards! Read More
If you think LA’s skyline seems a little flat, you’re not the only one. Apparently LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa thinks so too. According to LA Department of Building and Safety General Manager Robert “Bud” Ovrom, the Mayor was disappointed at how the skyline stood in comparison to what he saw in a recent trip to China. The city’s flat-topped skyline was investigated in a two part-series from Curbed LA. We followed up with Ovrom. Read More
The Architect’s Newspaper‘s Sam Lubell tells us about revitalization plans for Los Angeles’ once bustling Inglewood. Architects Christopher Mercier and Douglas Pierson of (fer) Studio see a vibrant future for Market Street:
“Nobody knows about Market Street,” said Mercier. “But it already has the infrastructure to be something special.” The street is narrow, pedestrian-friendly, and lined with shops, rich plantings, small islands, and beautiful (if not well-kempt) historic buildings along its entire length. “Everyone wants to save downtown, but they don’t have the faith in what it can be,” added Pierson.
Read the entire article about revitalizing Inglewood at The Architect’s Newspaper.
A slideshow of Inglewood’s Market Street after the jump.
California State Route 75 is getting a whole lot snazzier. The 2.5-mile-long San Diego–Coronado Bay Bridge is set to undergo the “largest interactive green energy lighting project in North America.” An international team led by London-based artist Peter Fink (FoRM Associates) and lighting designer Mark Major (Speirs + Major) plus the LA-based office of engineering consultant Buro Happold have won a worldwide contest to illuminate the iconic, swooping girder bridge, opened in 1969. Read More