Limited by the constraints of its scattered design buildings, USC’s School of Architecture yesterday held its final reviews on the 50th and 51st floors of City National Plaza’s North Tower in Downtown LA. The giant review, called Blue Tape: Super Review, included 48 studios, about 70 professors, and over 700 students, including those studying architecture and urban design, landscape architecture, and historic preservation. Yours truly got to sit in on Jennifer Siegal’s studio: Generation Mobile: exploring the deployable free-range cuisine truck culture, which featured some mind-bending re-imaginings of today’s fairly traditional food trucks. The two floors, which used to contain offices for Bank of America (sorry guys) was donated by Thomas Properties, which owns both of the towers at City National. The 52-story buildings, by the way, were designed by A.C. Martin in 1972. We wonder where they’ll do their next reviews? Read More
37 first year SCI-Arc students have just finished a mesmerizing new installation in the school’s parking lot called Sway. The project is made of 228 thin bundled steel rods, bolted into the ground and joined via flexible (and wild) wire units above. The vast and tightly-packed array of bendy rods are responsive to subtle changes in wind force (and not-so-subtle pushing by visitors), enabling the structure to move around like trees in a forest, or a collection of organisms. At night they catch the light in changing and surprising ways.
The 1A Studi0—which produces a large installation every year— was led by professors Nathan Bishop, Eric Kahn and Jenny Wu. Bishop accurately called the piece an “encompassing environment.” Which is what makes it so great: the chance to walk right into the art and interact with it.
Most of us move on from difficult breakups by eating ice cream or going on long walks. Not NBC. They build things. Now that Conan O’Brien has started his own show on TBS, NBC has awarded IA with a commission to redesign his former Tonight Show sound stage in Studio City (which reportedly cost $50 million to build) into a two story newsroom for local and network news. IA has signed a non-disclosure agreement, so they can’t talk about it. But according to the RFP, the 70,000 square foot project, awarded earlier this fall, will include studios, control rooms, edit rooms, offices and and storage. It should be finished by June 2012. So basically they want to obliterate any memory of Conan? Well, yes, our inside source tells us, that’s exactly it…
Classical repertory theater A Noise Within (ANW) will find itself occupying some interesting digs next fall, moving from its longtime leased space in Glendale to a new 33,000-square foot facility built into the former Stuart Pharmaceutical building—a historic, mid-century modern complex designed by Edward Durell Stone. The design is being carried out by KKE and John Berry Architects. But before ANW even packs its bags for its new home, the company is giving culture vultures free peeks of the facility in construction every second Sunday of the month, including this Sunday. “It’s one thing to see something already built, but it’s another to see everything that goes into it,” said artistic director Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, who is on hand for each tour, along with co-artistic director Geoff Elliott and the occasional board member or project superintendent. Contrary to its name—Hard Hat Sundays—guests don’t wear the head gear, but instead gather safely on a viewing deck and peer down at the site in progress. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about rebar than what you’re supposed to, or simply want to enjoy the sunset with other culture lovers, this could be your ticket.
The SF Chronicle’s John King today shares the shortlist for the new Emeryville Center For the Arts. The six contestants are some of the city’s best young firms. In fact organizer David Meckel—stressing this push for emerging talent— initially said that the winner should not be a fellow of the AIA. The finalists include: Aidlin Darling, Edmonds + Lee, Jensen Architects, Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects, Schwartz and Architecture, and Envelope A+D. Their plans are currently on display at Emeryville City Hall, next to which the arts center will eventually sit . All except Edmonds+Lee include the site’s existing 1940′s brick building. Aidlin Darling includes a sloped green roof for film watching; Ogrydziak Prillinger layers spaces in and out of the structure; and Jensen architects opens it up with large, movable glass walls. The winner will be announced next week, so stay tuned.
This Saturday night LA’s newest arts center will be opening its doors for a sneak peek: Live Arts LA, a 5,000 square foot space for theater, dance, and the visual arts is built into a former warehouse in Eagle Rock/Glassell Park (our favorite up-and coming hipster neighborhoods). The cavernous open span building was renovated entirely out of repurposed materials by a team led by Hollywood set builder Daryl Lee. Saturday’s event will be a fundraiser for performance troupe Whiskey Carousel, a sassy cast of characters that performs a combination of vaudeville, cabaret, and burlesque. The night will also have performances by other dance groups as well as live music and art installations; including a piece by LA architects Layer, called Squid Capsule, a collection of transparent vinyl membranes hanging from steel cables that you may have seen installed at the Silver Lake gallery Materials & Applications. Live Arts LA will officially open later this month, offering everything from Afro-Caribbean dance classes to rehearsal rooms. Buy tickets to the event here, and get a preview below. Read More
Rethinking the streetscape will be the priority at the Los Angeles Planning Department, revealed newly appointed Planning Director Michael LoGrande in a conversation with LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne. “We’re getting people out of their cars and thinking differently about transit,” said LoGrande, who chatted with Hawthorne on Wednesday night at Occidental College.
Confirmed August 4 after the resignation of his predecessor, Gail Goldberg, LoGrande has faced significant staff and budget cuts, which he’s responded to by re-focusing long-term planning on transit projects rather than just catering to a constant stream of ad hoc requests.
According to the LA Downtown News, LA Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner is proposing an interesting model to help reform LA’s archaic development process: Internet clothing seller Zappos. At a public presentation of his development reform plan last month at the LA Chamber of Commerce, Beutner cited Zappos’ customer service operation, lauding the fact that “any time someone makes a Zappos purchase, they can go online and find exactly where the package is in the shipping process.” Hence if his idea moves ahead it would make it easier for developers and architects to know where their projects were in the pipeline. The reform project, largely overseen by consulting firms KH Consulting Group and Woolpert, could also streamline the amount of departments needed to approve projects, allow design and permitting to happen concurrently, and assign specific planners to each project, among other things. Stay tuned.. And happy shopping?
Be afraid. Be very afraid. That was the theme at today’s LA symposium, Imminent Danger: Earthquake Disaster and Risk Reduction in US Cities. The UCLA-hosted event brought together seismologists, engineers, architects, assessors and others to discuss preparation for the inevitable Big One, which, as everyone agreed, is not a question of if, but when. Despite the LA Times’ questions about whether the conference’s sponsors stood to gain from spreading earthquake fear, the insights to us seemed sincere and terrifying. We’ve compiled a few of the more sobering points, which should get you caring a little more about seismic retrofits and earthquake kits. Read More
Our friends at Curbed just reminded us of the latest creation at Silver Lake archi-gallery Materials & Applications: Light Frames, an installation by LA architect Gail Peter Borden. The project consists of two parts: the “igloo”-looking segment, seen above, is what Borden calls an enclosed “chapel,” built out of translucent vinyl plastic and perfect for meditation. The second is a hand-assembled dome—its triangulated metal structure completely exposed—resting at the entrance to the gallery’s courtyard. Together they resemble, perhaps, the love child of an Eskimo and Buckminster Fuller. Or at least that’s how this strange mind sees it. Read More
It sounds like a summer blockbuster, but it’s actually one of the most important symposia this year. Imminent Danger: Earthquake Disaster and Risk Reduction In U.S. Cities. It’s being held on December 1 at UCLA, and features engineers, physicists, geologists, architects, and public officials getting together to discuss how to best prepare for the inevitable ground shaking disasters that will hit our cities in the near future. Thanks (unfortunately) to recent quakes in Haiti, Chile, and China, the group has a lot of new input to discuss. “Every time there’s a large seismic event we learn more,” said Gensler principal Rob Jernigan, who is one of the event participants. He adds that the conference is also a way for architects, engineers and other experts to come up with innovative earthquake-proof buildings that don’t look like large bunkers: “We have to design for lateral movements without making giant, clumsy joints. We can develop a level of refinement,” he said.
We’ve just learned via the LA Times that construction-happy LACMA has suspended all future projects until they’ve raised another $100 million. The news comes on the heels of a mixed finance review from Moody’s Investors Service, which downgraded its ratings outlook from “stable” to “negative.” The museum has so far raised about $320 million for its construction program, and its construction bonds kept their A2 rating. The suspension means an official halt to SPF:A Architects’ LACMA West Project, which includes the renovation of the 1939 May Company building on Wilshire and Fairfax into new gallery spaces. That project was originally scheduled for completion this year. It also puts a longer hold on renovation projects on LACMA’s east end, which were to be the third phase of LACMA’s campus transformation.