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
This story is part of A/N’s new blog series dedicated to exploring neighborhoods around the country
El Monte, CA, about 20 minutes east of Los Angeles, is a gated community. Wonky chain-linked fences and rusty metal gates keep the residents in and the criminals out. Some say El Monte is an up-and-coming city. After all, the proof is in the posh homes popping up throughout the city. “El Monte … encourages quality housing developments through well thought-out architectural designs, use of high quality materials, and enhanced landscaping,” says the city’s official website. However, a walk through the city gives another impression. Many of the city’s new housing developments look like slightly fancier versions of mobile homes parked on mounds of land, with little thought given to landscaping and aesthetics. Read More
Bay Area architect Warren Callister was an heir to Bernard Maybeck in that he was wonderfully eclectic. But where Maybeck could be a little rough, Callister was refined. Every detail, every turn, every joint, all exquisitely detailed. Like A. Quincy Jones in Southern California he loved a powerful roof form. But Callister’s tended to be curved, not angled. On Friday morning my architecture buddy author Pierluigi Serraino took me on a tour with the real estate agents who are selling Callister’s exquisite Duncan house in San Francisco’s Clarendon Heights. They are hosting an open house at 176 Palo Alto Avenue the next two Sundays and Tuesdays. Read More
The new L+M Arts gallery in Venice, designed by wHY Architecture, is set to open with a hip gala on September 25 (We will be featuring it more in the coming weeks). The project is a beautiful renovation of a WPA-era power station, with a lofty new, diamond-shaped brick addition adjacent, attached via a minimal bar that contains the gallery’s offices. We really recommend you take a look. Oh, and while you’re there, you may want to see something that will either make you gleeful or nauseous. Giant, moving animatronic sculptures of George Bush having sex with pigs, by artist Paul McCarthy. There’s really not much more we want to say about this, except to say that these sculptures perform very efficiently. They will haunt our nightmares. Did we say the gallery looks really nice? Here are some more pix to cleanse your mind: Read More
Overshadowed by the sadness surrounding West Hollywood Urban Designer John Chase’s death was the loss of another great supporter of Southern California architecture: Elaine Jones, the widow of architect A. Quincy Jones. San Francisco writer and publicist Kenny Caldwell, a close friend, writes a stirring tribute on his blog. In it we get—among other smart observations—a glimpse into her dedication to architecture, to her friends, and to the ideals of her late Husband A. Quincy Jones. At a time when “wow” architecture is still dominant, it’s refreshing to hear another approach. Says Caldwell: “She would say that Quincy’s design was rooted in the experience of the building as people moved through it. I came to appreciate the humility it took to focus on spatial experience over object.”
Of the 11 projects on the AIA SF Home Tours this year, the breakout sensation was the house of husband-and-wife design team Andrew Dunbar and Zoee Astrakan, of Interstice Architects (Dunbar is an architect, Astrakan is a landscape designer). There were certainly some lovely, finely detailed projects on the tour, but this particular house was interesting because in lieu of slick modernism, it had a freewheeling, “let’s throw something up and see what sticks” feel to it. (Other design publications agree: the project just appeared in the New York Times). It’s DIY, but on a scale that architects can pull off. Read More
For you last-minute types, the deadline to register for AN and SCI-Arc’s Clean Tech Corridor Competition is the end of the day tomorrow. The competition asks architects, landscape architects, designers, engineers, urban planners, students and environmental professionals to create an innovative urban vision for Los Angeles’ CleanTech Corridor, a several-mile-long development zone on the eastern edge of downtown LA (which includes a green ideas lab and a Clean Tech Manufacturing Center). Entries should look beyond industrial uses; creating an integrated economic, residential, clean energy, and cultural engine for the city through architectural and urban strategies. That could include not only sustainable architecture and planning, but new energy sources, parks that merge with buildings, new transit schemes, and so on. While registration is due tomorrow, entries are due on September 30. So get a move on!! You can download the brief here.
AN has just learned that Gwynne Pugh of well-known Santa Monica firm Pugh + Scarpa has decided to leave the firm to start his own company, Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio. Pugh and Lawrence Scarpa have led the firm for the past 22 years—Pugh actually hired Scarpa in the ’80s. Pugh’s new company, which “specializes in the design of structures, urban design, planning, sustainability, and consultation to companies and public entities,” launched on September 1. In 2011, firm principal (and Scarpa’s wife) Angela Brooks, who now runs Pugh+Scarpa’s sustainable development department, will be elevated to principal-in-charge, precipitating a new firm name: Brooks+Scarpa. The firm would not comment on the changes (and Pugh’s profile is already off the firm’s site), but we will keep you informed as more information becomes available.