Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House in Los Angeles, which went on the market back in June 2009 for $15 million has finally sold for less than a third of that: $4.5 million. Local business mogul Ron Burkle, who also owns the historic Greenacres/Harold Lloyd Estate in Beverly Hills, is, according to Ennis House Foundation Chair Marla Felber, “committed to complete rehabilitation” of the beleaguered house, which despite a recent rehabilitation still needs a lot of work. “While we did receive some other offers, they didn’t come from sources that could meet our main objective of finding a good steward for the house,” Felber told AN, adding that the Foundation was “thrilled,” to find the right buyer for the house, despite the lower sale price.
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)