Some recent tweeting by Paul Goldberger revealed that the Vanity Fair contributing editor had set sail off the coast of L.A. with architects/ seamen Frank Gehry and Greg Lynn. Broadcasting from FOGGY, Gehry’s Beneteau First 44.7 fiberglass sailboat, Goldberger sent out a rakish pic of Gehry at the wheel. (The name “FOGGY,” in case you couldn’t guess, it based on F.O.G., the maestro’s initials; the “O” stands for “Owen”). We hope to hear more about the voyage in an upcoming VF article and that the story involves pirates and lost treasure.
There is some good news coming out of Oklahoma City where the effort to save the late John Johansen‘s iconic 1970 Mummers Theater has taken a positive—if tentative step—towards preservation. AN last wrote about the theater on May, 11, 2012 when a recent flood in the building seemed to doom an effort by a local group to purchase the facility and turn it into a downtown children’s museum. We’ve kept up with the preservation effort periodically over the past year and always heard that its was a hopeless cause and would soon be destroyed and replaced by a new building. But the building which Johansen himself said “might be taken visually as utter chaos” has a compelling joy in its elevation and plan that makes it unique and certainly the most important structure in Oklahama City.
Well, it happened. After years of strife over the project, the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved the $2 billion, 1.5 million square foot redevelopment of the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City. Back in 2009 the developer, Next Century Associates, threatened to tear down Minoru Yamasaki’s curving midcentury Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel to make way for the project. But a parade of preservationists, including the LA Conservancy and Diane Keaton, stood in their way. The result: a compromise in which the hotel would be preserved by Marmol Radziner and surrounded by two three-sided, 46-story residential towers by Pei Cobb Freed as well as a 100,000-square-foot retail plaza and over two acres of public open space by Rios Clementi Hale. The executive architect is Gensler. City Council certified the scheme’s Environmental Impact Report and approved a 15-year development agreement. Let the construction begin on another major Los Angeles development. Momentum is building.
In front of a packed room inside the Capitol Records building in Hollywood yesterday, the Getty announced details of the next installment of Pacific Standard Time, the popular series of art and architecture exhibitions that helped reframe Los Angeles’ position on the map of worldwide arts and culture. Sporting a new moniker, Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. will be smaller in scope than the previous iteration, with eleven exhibitions and accompanying programs in and around Los Angeles scheduled for April through July 2013.
While Los Angeles is getting most of the attention in California for its rapidly expanding light rail system, it appears that Sacramento is well on its way to a major overhaul of its own. Earlier this month the US Department of Transporation announced $135 million in federal matching money for the Sacramento Regional Transit District’s light rail system. Much of that will go toward the 4.3 mile Blue Line extension linking downtown Sacramento with the city’s emerging South County corridor. To see a list of current Federal Transit Administration projects go here. And for a look at all the emerging rail lines on the west coast take another look at AN‘s feature documenting rail expansion from San Diego up to Seattle.
AN contributor Guy Horton remembers California icon Huell Howser, who passed away on January 7.
I once emailed Huell Howser about an idea I had for an episode of “California’s Gold,” his much-loved public television show that for nineteen years took him and viewers all over the state. He even did fifteen shows devoted to Downtown LA, its communities, history, and architecture. I knew he would get it. Read More
This Friday evening, Los Angeles mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel, and Jan Perry will take part in an unprecedented conversation about affordable housing. The topic is an important one, particularly because several funding sources for affordable housing—including state redevelopment funds and federal HOME funds—have been diminished or completely halted in recent years, causing a $72 million drop in public funding from 2008 to 2013.
The moderator, USC housing economist Raphael Bostic, doesn’t intend to pull punches. His questions will include confirming candidates’ commitment to the creation of a $100 million annual city budget for low- and moderate-income housing and finding out specific plans for addressing the city’s notorious homelessness problem. The event is being hosted by Housing For A Stronger Los Angeles, a coalition of housing providers, businesses, social service organizations, and other interested in affordable housing. It’s scheduled for Friday, January 11 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, at the Conference Center at Cathedral Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles, 555 West Temple Street.
Carpool lanes typically are meant to reduce congestion, not make political statements, but one Bay Area HOV lane finds itself at the center of a national controversy. NBC News reported that Jonathan Frieman has been trying to get pulled over for more than a decade, and now that he’s been slapped with a $481 minimum fine for driving alone, he’s hoping to challenge his case in court.
The twist? Frieman claims he did have another person riding with him, brandishing his incorporation papers. According to California vehicle law and long-established U.S. federal law, corporations legally represent a person. More recently, in 2010, the Supreme Court issued its contested Citizens United decision, stating that corporate funding of political campaigns is protected under the First Amendment. Frieman, who opposes the concept, hopes to take the case to court in an attempt to overturn corporate personhood.
Next Tuesday, January 8, The Broad in Downtown Los Angeles (not that Broad Museum), Eli Broad’s new contemporary art museum with an arresting net-like “veil” facade by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, will top out at the corner of Grand Avenue and Second Street. The project is set to open next year and will contain 120,000-square-feet over three-levels, including 50,000 square feet of gallery space on two floors, a lecture hall for up to 200 people, a public lobby with display space and a museum shop.
There are those famous pairings in life—cookies and milk, wine and cheese, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Lewis and Clark. But could there really be a better pairing than architects and chefs working together to create gingerbread houses?
In its 20th year running, Seattle area architecture firms and chefs at the downtown Sheraton Hotel teamed up for the holidays to build gingerbread houses benefiting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Northwest Chapter. While last year’s theme featured iconic train stations around the world, this year’s theme took a more decidedly youthful and imaginative approach—“Once Upon a Time”—envisioning the castles and abodes of characters in popular children’s fiction in candy, icing, and gingerbread. Kids with type 1 diabetes volunteering with JDRF worked with the architecture firms, choosing the story titles for the six gingerbread houses: Alice and Wonderland, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Chronicles of Narnia, Grimm’s Fairytales, and The Little Mermaid. The whimsical, sugary interpretations sport characters crafted from marzipan, window glazing made from heated sugar, sour belts as roofing tiles, M&Ms as coining. The Brothers Grimm Castle of Fairytales even sports a working drawbridge. More houses below! Read More
The expansion of LA’s Metro Rail Gold Line is well underway with a stunning new piece of infrastructure: The Gold Line Bridge. Completed last week, the 584-foot dual-track bridge, stretching over the eastbound lanes of the I-210 Freeway, will provide a light rail connection between the existing Sierra Madre Villa Station in Pasadena and Azusa’s future Arcadia Station. The rail line itself is scheduled for completion in 2014.
Made from steel reinforced concrete with added quartz, mica crystals, and mirrored glass, the monochromatic, abstract design, conceived by artist Andrew Leicester, pays homage to the region’s historic American Indian basket-weaving tradition and includes a carriageway and a post-and-lintel support beam system. The 25-foot baskets adorning each of the posts, “metaphorically represent the Native Americans of the region…and pay tribute to the iconic sculptural traditions of Route 66,” wrote Leicester.