A couple of weeks ago, AIA San Francisco wound up its annual “Architecture and the City” festival with a nice jolt of inspiration. In an event at SPUR, organized in conjunction with GOOD Magazine, designers presented solutions to real-world problems. All of the conundrums were interesting and meaty: The California Public Utilities Commission, for example, wants more people to install solar hot water (Civil Twilight’s proposed marketing campaign included bright-yellow outdoor showers for surfers), and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority wants to get more people to take public transportation in bus-phobic Silicon Valley (Brute Labs suggested a new service based on the corporate shuttle model). But the most poignant of all the problems was posed by retirement-home developer AgeSong: “To create a forgetfulness-friendly city and environment where many seniors in the early and more moderate stages of forgetfulness can live safely and happily.” Read More
AN recently took a sneak peak at late night preparations for the fifth annual Canstruction LA, a charitable design competition—whose pieces are currently on display in the lobby of 5900 Wilshire Boulevard— that taps teams of architects, designers, builders and engineers to create large-scale sculptures using canned goods (and even a few water bottles) that will eventually be donated to the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank. What we found was a furor of activity, many boxes of pizza, and a bit of competitive banter among teams. Read More
Four housing projects were spotlighted today by the American Institute of Architects‘ Housing & Custom Residential Knowledge Community and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development as laudable examples of affordable housing architecture, neighborhood design, participatory design, and accessibility.
This weekend marks what would have been the 100th birthday of legendary LA photographer Julius Shulman, on 10/10/10. To commemorate the event there are no less than three major events happening around the city (and probably more that we don’t know of). This includes a symposium celebrating his legacy at Woodbury University this Saturday, a MAK Center tour of the famous houses he photographed this Sunday, and a show of his early, personal work put on by his gallerist, Craig Krull, opening on October 16. Get ready to celebrate our favorite cranky shutterbug, who happens to be the best architectural photographer LA has ever seen.
The Daily Beast features a very interesting article about LA’s “Culture King” Eli Broad. The writer, LA Weekly’s Tom Christie, details Broad’s incredible spending spree on culture (not to mention on education and science), from the Broad Stage in Santa Monica to his new museum downtown, putting him in the company of other legendary—and, um, challenging— LA philanthropists like Norton Simon and J. Paul Getty. While art world figures like Michael Govan take their shots, few architects appear willing to talk on record about the intrusive client (Broad calls himself “strong willed” in the story). But one of them is Thom Mayne, who doesn’t pull many punches, although in the end seems to have an affinity for Broad. As for their failed partnership on the downtown museum, Mayne gets in a little dig: “We worked for a while, and we just reached a mutual understanding that we weren’t going to work together… It’s my city, and I didn’t want to produce a building I wasn’t proud of.”. Another revealing tidbit “I think he’s crazy as a loon half the time, and I don’t agree with him. But I have great admiration for him, and I actually like him.” For his part Broad gets in a slap at those who criticize his style: “Why don’t they join in the L.A. cultural life, rather than [sit] back and [offer] commentary?”
Ancient art once again finds itself an inspiration for new solutions. Borrowing principles from the art of Japanese paper folding, USC School of Architecture grad Tina Hovsepian invented Cardborigami, a temporary and ultra-portable shelter that can be used by the homeless or those stricken by natural disasters. The shelter is made from standard corrugated cardboard, a lightweight and cost effective material. Incorporating a consistent pattern of x’s and parallel lines, Tina created a structure that can fold down for portability, but also open up to create the makeshift “walls” of the shelter. Read More
Stanford University has been commissioning a storm of new buildings, and it just opened the Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge, the centerpiece for its med school. The $90.2 million project squeezes in a range of programs, including a mock operating theater for training purposes, a 350-seat conference hall, and the student center. Visually, the building needed to be the “greeter” for Stanford Medical School, which previously had no architectural focal point. San Francisco firm NBBJ went for a touch of the neoclassical, with a deep overhang anchored by columns. Read More
It’s been three weeks since John Lautner’s sleek and gently curving Shusett House (1950), which Frank Escher calls one of the two major houses of Lautner’s early career, was torn down. Sadly the owner, Enrique Mannheim, refused the overtures of the John Lautner Foundation, while the Beverly Hills City Council refused to issue a stay of execution. Our friends at Architizer were able to obtain pictures of the demolition, taken by photographer Mark Haddawy. Contrasted with images of the house still standing the shots—of the house in shambles, with wood members scattered on the ground and windows and walls gone— are a painful reminder that LA’s preservation movement still lacks the muscle it should, while citizens and municipalities stand idly by. Read More
Much has been made of New York’s architectural Sukkahs, unveiled in Union Square a couple of weeks ago as part of Joshua Foer’s Sukkah City competition. But LA is celebrating the Jewish harvest holiday in style as well. Earlier today the Skirball Cultural Center hosted a Sukkot Family Celebration exhibiting a structure created by Culver City-based wHY Architecture, with consulting from Skirball staff. Read More
Buildings, of course, have acoustic properties. But what about acoustic potential? Musician and recent high school graduate Ben Meyers has carved himself a niche by using buildings and their various surfaces and surroundings as musical elements. His most recent performance: a song performed with his mallets and drumsticks on Renzo Piano’s new Resnick Pavilion at LACMA, which opens to the public early next month. A video of the piece, called Playing LACMA, was commissioned by the museum. Read More