EVENT> John Chase′s West Hollywood: An Architectural Walking Tour (May 21)

West
Thursday, May 19, 2011
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Sierra Bonita Mixed Use Affordable Housing Project (Courtesy Art Gray).

There’s nothing that’ll kill the buzz on your birthday faster than rumors of the Rapture coming on the same day. But we think John Chase, the beloved urban designer of the City of West Hollywood, would have handled it in stride. Chase, the oft-celebrated “King of Public Space,” was a tremendously outspoken presence in planning and politics and was responsible for transforming the scruffy city into one with attractive public spaces that are both progressive and respectful of the city’s past.

To remember the late urban designer, de LaB, a group of Chase’s friends, family, co-workers, and collaborators, is leading a walking tour on the anniversary of his birthday, Saturday, May 21, across the city. Architects and city leaders will guide the participants through various projects and share their memories of Chase and discuss his urban spaces. Stops include Formosa 1140, Plummer Park, The MAK Center, Habitat 825, Holloway Park Veteran’s Memorial, Sierra Bonita Affordable Housing, 8140 Sunset Boulevard, and West Hollywood City Hall, among others. The tour will conclude (hopefully with the world still intact) with drinks at one of Chase’s favorite places in the city, Barney’s Beanery.

More info on the tour after the jump.

More Schools Means More Talent

Dean's List, West
Thursday, May 19, 2011
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Checking out the 2x8 entries at the A+D museum.

I had the pleasure this year of being on the jury for the annual 2×8 Competition, organized by the AIA/LA, which (thanks to more than ten sponsors) handed out more than $8,000 in scholarships to outstanding student entries from throughout California. Normally I only get to see work from household names like SCI-ARC, USC, UCLA, etc. But the competition introduced me to projects from equally talent-rich schools like Los Angeles Institute of Architecture and Design, Pasadena City College, Woodbury, Otis, Cal State Long Beach, Cal Poly Pomona and several more. Read More

Best Architecture Block Ever?

West
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
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du Architects' Our House

Is there a better place to see contemporary homes than Venice? This weekend’s Venice Art Walk and Auctions is offering a tour of one of this architecture hub’s most impressive blocks: Appleton Way, where several ambitious residences have sprouted up in the last five years. The tour includes gems like the Walnut Residence by Modal Design;  Our House, by du Architects; the Yin-Yang House by Brooks + Scarpa; Ortiz Mexia’s Ortiz & Wheeler Residence; Sylvia Aroth & Jeff Cook’s Sylvia’s Duplex; and Thomas Carson’s Carson/Bettauer Residence. Read More

Tucson Brutalist Bank at Risk

West
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
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The cafeteria of the former Valley National Bank is scheduled for demolition. Courtesy MAPP.

After the 9/11 attacks, municipalities all over the country took note of the breakdown of communications between rescue workers during a moment of crisis. Many set aside funds to build emergency communication centers, like the ill-fated one located at Seven World Trade. In 2003, county voters in Tucson set aside $92 million to build a command center where police, fire, and emergency personnel could coordinate emergency responses. The county Board of Supervisors selected the former Valley National Bank building on East 22nd Street as the site for the new command center. But now preservationists are concerned that sections of the Brutalist building, designed by local architects Cain, Nelson, Wares & Cook Architects, will be destroyed.

Read More

Talking Gordon Drake

Shft+Alt+Del, West
Thursday, May 12, 2011
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Gordon Drake (Courtesy William Stout Architectural Book)

William Stout Publishers recently reissued California Houses of Gordon Drake by Douglas Baylis and Joan Parry, with a new preface by Australian architect Glenn Murcutt and a new introduction by architect and author Pierluigi Serraino. Serraino is the author of Modernism Rediscovered, which contributed significantly to renewing interest in Midcentury Modernism, and went on to write NorCalMod, a book that helps rewrite the narrative about Northern California architecture. Photos of Drake’s work and some of the material from his archive will be on exhibit through May at the Berkeley location of William Stout Architectural Books. Kenneth Caldwell sat down with Serraino to get his thoughts about the newly reissued book. Read More

Gensler First Moving Downtown Via Video

Shft+Alt+Del, West
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
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An "elevated" vision for Downtown LA, circa 2030

As we’ve noted, architecture giant Gensler is moving from Santa Monica to Downtown LA (a move that has seen its share of  controversy lately thanks to the firm’s city-provided subsidy). With the help of three talented  students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Professional Studio program, the firm has put together a video about their new ‘hood.  It documents Downtown’s dramatic growth and change over the years, and offers predictions and suggestions for its future. Read More

Roche Unleashes On SCI-Arc

Dean's List, Newsletter, West
Friday, April 29, 2011
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From Roche's Isobiot®ope at the Venice Bienale

Architect-researcher-conceptual designer-provocateur Francois Roche was recently invited to give a lecture and exhibition at SCI-Arc relating to the work of his firm R&Sie(n). However he canceled both, revealing the reasons in an open letter, after the jump. Much of it is in self-described  “Frenchglish,” but you get the idea.

He’s not so happy with what he characterizes as the school’s arrogance, its narrow focus on design, and its “lack of interest for politics and attitude.”  Them’s fightin’ words… Meanwhile SCI-Arc spokesperson Georgiana Ceausu tells AN that Roche’s summer exhibit didn’t work out because he wanted to display something he had already shown, which is against school policy.

Reach Roche’s scathing letter after the jump.

We Heart Architectural Salvage

East, West
Thursday, April 28, 2011
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Vintage glass chandelier from Southern California Architectural Salvage.

Our friends at Echo Park Patch today report on one of the coolest places in Los Angeles: Southern California Architectural Salvage (formerly Santa Fe Wrecking). Located in a large warehouse in downtown LA, it’s a great place to find architectural oddities like towering teak gates from Argentina, claw-foot bathtubs, iron gates, chandeliers, or vintage doors, sinks, and toilets.

The list is pretty extensive, and the only criterion: “It has to be different from what you get at Home Depot,” says owner Jerry Hernandez. Among our other favorite salvaging spots are Silver Lake Architectural Salvage, which recently moved to Pasadena, CA, the ReBuilding Center on Portland, Oregon’s Mississippi Avenue, and the Demolition Depot in New York.

Share your favorite salvaging hot spots in the comments below and check out a few salvage photos after the jump.

More after the jump.

Much Ado About Nothing At Grand Avenue

West
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
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The park next to the Broad will NOT look like this.

Curbed LA yesterday shared schemes for the zone around Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Broad Museum, revealing renderings of two residential towers to the south and east of the project and space for a new plaza.  The images sent the ever-excitable architecture community chattering. But while it’s great to get a better sense of what’s going up, as the blog pointed out and the architects have reiterated, the images don’t reveal what the design will actually look like.

Continue reading after the jump.

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A Look Back at Los Angeles Mega Mansions

West
Monday, April 25, 2011
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10451 Revuelta Way is one of the biggies on our list.

In honor of the passage earlier this month of LA’s Baseline Hillside Ordinance (Warning: PDF), which prevents “out-of-scale” single family development on LA’s hillsides via height and FAR restrictions, we’ve dug up five of the most ridiculously gigantic homes in the city. Prepare yourself for an onslaught of square footage, bathrooms (why does the number of bathrooms always seem to double the number of bedrooms?) and opulent taste (note the preponderance of French Chateaus: will there be another revolution?) The ordinance, which goes into effect on May 9, is the third in a series of city measures to prevent McMansions and other neighborhood busters. So perhaps say goodbye to this type of development in LA. At least for now.

Check out the mega-mansions after the jump.

SCI-Arc Nomadic No More

Dean's List, West
Friday, April 22, 2011
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A look at SCI-Arc's Santa Fe Depot building (bottom).

Finally. After 39 years of wandering around Los Angeles and trying to convince its landlord to sell, SCI-Arc today announced that it has bought its building in LA’s Downtown Arts District. The 1,250 foot-long Santa Fe Freight Yard Depot building, a reinforced concrete structure designed by architect Harrison Albright, stretches seemingly forever along Santa Fe Avenue. Students like to bike or skateboard inside it to get to class.

The school moved to the former rail depot 10 years ago after a 2001 renovation by architect Gary Paige. The school’s opening came when building owner Meruelo Maddux Properties filed for bankruptcy—meaning it really needed the money. The school bought the property for $23.1 million. Other homes for the school have included Marina Del Rey and Santa Monica. But now it finally has a real home.

And their edgy, coarse and lively corner of downtown, as SCI-Arc Director Eric Owen Moss has pointed out, is where it’s always wanted to be. “SCI-Arc is absolutely committed to Downtown,” he told AN in a recent interview, adding that the area is a laboratory for architectural and urban development. “We are staying Downtown. Period.”

 

Neutra In Danger in Beverly Hills?

West
Thursday, April 21, 2011
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Site of Neutra's Kronish House (via Redfin)

Last month we reported on Beverly Hills’ virtually nonexistent preservation policies and the destructive results for Modern architecture. Well those (lack of) rules seem to be at issue again, as we learn from Curbed LA that Richard Neutra’s 1955 Kronish House is for sale, with a listing on Redfin emphasizing the land’s “huge upside potential as a major estate.”

Continue reading after the jump.

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