When Artists Design Infrastructure: Basket-like Bridge Energizes San Gabriel Valley

West
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
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The Gold Line Bridge over the EB 210 Freeway in Arcadia. (Courtesy METRO Los Angeles)

The Gold Line Bridge over the EB 210 Freeway in Arcadia. (Courtesy METRO Los Angeles)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Give To Never Built: A Look at the Los Angeles That Never Was

West
Monday, December 17, 2012
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AN‘s West Coast Editor Sam Lubell is curating an exhibition at LA’s A+D Architecture and Design Museum that examines a whole new world called Never Built: Los Angeles. The show explores the amazing schemes dreamed up for the city over the years that never happened, including buildings by some of the most famous architects in the world (Frank Lloyd Wright, Rudolph Schindler, Frank Gehry, Thom Mayne, etc.), as well as unbuilt subways, parks, amusement parks (Disneyland in Burbank!), and even flying buses. The show, organized around a giant floor graphic of LA, will create an alternative city through models, prints, installations, drawings, and animations. If you’d like to donate to the exhibition, check out the kickstarter link here. Proceeds will pay for building and installing the exhibition.

Shuttle Shhhh: Details About Endeavor’s Permanent Home Take Flight

Eavesdroplet, West
Monday, December 17, 2012
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The Space Shuttle Endeavor in its new Los Angeles home. (Sam Lubell / AN)

The Space Shuttle Endeavor in its new Los Angeles home. (Sam Lubell / AN)

Amid the hubbub surrounding the Space Shuttle Endeavor landing inside its temporary digs at the California Science Center (our favorite part at the opening: James Ingram crooning I believe I can Fly, with LA Mayor Villaraigosa dancing in a trance behind him), the museum has done its best to keep the plans for the orbiter’s future home under wraps. But we’ve managed to uncover some tantalizing details of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center: For one, the new building by ZGF will measure around 200 feet tall, enough to accommodate the spacecraft and its booster rockets standing upright. It may also feature a slide to the base of the Space Shuttle. Now that’s what we’re talking about.

LA Story: The Many Lives of LA Architect Mark Mack

Eavesdroplet, West
Friday, December 14, 2012
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Zoom Productions Sphere 2 offices by Mark Mack in Salzburg. (Courtesy Mark Mack)

Zoom Productions Sphere 2 offices by Mark Mack in Salzburg. (Courtesy Mark Mack)

LA architect Mark Mack has decided to take on several careers instead of the traditional single-job model. In addition to practicing architecture, he is now a screenwriter, chef, and DJ. He’s working on a screenplay about the early lives of Neutra and Schindler; he’s opening up a takeout restaurant focusing on small bites; and he’s spinning old and new songs on vinyl records. Surprised? Why? For all of us in LA it’s just a matter of time…

 

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Unveiled> SOM’s Los Angeles Courthouse Is a Shimmering White Cube

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
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The courthouse will take the form of a faceted white cube. (Courtesy Office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard)

The courthouse will take the form of a faceted white cube. (Courtesy Office of Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard)

Last month AN reported that SOM had won the commission to design the new $400 million federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. Today, designs for the new facility were unveiled (via our friends at LA Downtown News and Curbed LA), showing a cube-shaped structure with a porous white surface. So far only two renderings have hit the web, but SOM has promised to share more with us soon.

More information after the jump.

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Could LA’s Transit Measure Still Pass?  By all accounts Measure J, the LA County ballot proposal to extend 2008′s Measure R funds and speed up transit projects around Los Angeles, appears doomed to failure. But it seems that the vote counting isn’t done, and it’s getting closer. According to LA Metro’s blog, The Source, the measure now has 65.66 percent of the vote (up about a half percentage point from earlier tallies), about one percent shy of the 66.67 it needs for approval. There are about 100,000 votes yet to be counted, and by Metro’s own admission it’s unlikely, but possible, that it will pass. Stay tuned for the final update by December 4.

 

Hollywood Sign Now Has Half A Facelift

West
Monday, November 19, 2012
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Workers apply paint to the sign's "W" (Sherwin-Williams)

Workers apply paint to the sign’s “W” (Sherwin-Williams)

Like any star of the silver screen, a facial peel is in order every now and then. For the famous Hollywood Sign perched atop Mount Lee overlooking Los Angeles, it’s been 35 years since its last facelift, but the 89 year-old historical landmark will soon look as young as ever. Last week, the restoration project passed the halfway mark, with the H-O-L-L-Y letters newly primed, primped, and painted. The effort started on October 2 and will be completed by year’s end. The remaining corrugated steel letters will be sanded and given a fresh coat of glossy white paint.

When all is said and done, approximately 110 gallons of primer and 275 gallons of paint will have been used. And for sign aficionados who want to duplicate the color, it’s Sherwin-Williams Emerald Exterior Paint in high reflective white. The Hollywood Sign Trust together with Sherwin-Williams is funding the project. The sign was originally built as a real estate billboard in 1923, scrapped and rebuilt in 1978 and today continues to be an international landmark.

More photos of the restoration in progress after the jump.

Foxconn Said to Be Considering Investment in American Manufacturing

International
Thursday, November 15, 2012
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A Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China. (yandulangzi在线/Google)

A Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China. (yandulangzi在线/Google)

Much has been made of the decline of American industry and, more recently, the rise of small-scale urban industry, but one of the largest international manufacturers, Taiwan-based Foxconn, could change the industrial scene completely if it decides to build factories in the United States. The Guardian reports that Foxconn is considering Detroit and Los Angeles for potential outposts thanks to rising costs overseas, but the company infamous for manufacturing Apple products among others at its 800,000-worker-strong Chinese facilities would have to adapt to radically different American ways of working.

Continue reading after the jump.

SOM Rumored to Have Been Chosen for Los Angeles Courthouse

Eavesdroplet, West
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
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AN has been anxiously awaiting official news of an architect for Los Angeles’ long-awaited Downtown Federal Courthouse, and we’ve picked up the scent of a promising rumor. Brigham Young’s DTLA Rising blog has heard from a “source at a large architectural and design firm in Downtown LA” that SOM has won the commission, beating out a short list of teams including Yazdani Studio and Gruen Associates, Brooks + Scarpa and HMC Architects, and NBBJ Architects.

The new $322 million courthouse will be located on a 3.7-acre lot in Downtown LA at 107 South Broadway and will contain 600,000 square feet incuding 24 court rooms. The General Services Administration (GSA), the federal agency in charge of building the new courthouse, hopes to have the project completed by 2016. The former art-deco courthouse  at 312 North Spring Street will be sold to help pay for the new structure, drawing criticism from some politicians.

The GSA is expected to make an official announcement soon, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated as news comes in.

Tuesday! Discuss Downtown LA’s Resurgence at the A+D Museum

West
Monday, November 12, 2012
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Student rendering of a re-thought MOCA, from Grand Illusion. (USC)

Student rendering of a re-thought MOCA, from Grand Illusion. (USC)

As we’ve reported quite a bit, downtown LA is seeing a formidable resurgence. An equally formidable panel will meet at LA’s A+D Museum on Tuesday to debate the phenomenon, looking at the architectural development of Grand Avenue, adaptive reuse in the historic corridor, hip emergence and clean tech in the arts district, and so on.

Panelists include architect Michael Maltzan; AN West Coast Editor Sam Lubell; KCRW’s Frances Anderton; Ayahlushim Getachew, Senior Vice President at Thomas Properties Group; Bob Hale, Principal at Rios Clementi Hale Studios;  and Carol Schatz, President and CEO of Downtown Center Business Improvement District and the Central City Association. The event will also include a signing of Anderton’s illuminating new book on Grand Avenue, Grand Illusion. 

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Saved? Gehry’s LA Aerospace Hall Gets Listing on California Register

Newsletter, West
Friday, November 9, 2012
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Frank Gehry's Air and Space Gallery. (Guggenheim Museum Publications)

Frank Gehry’s Air and Space Gallery. (Guggenheim Museum Publications)

AN found out today that Frank Gehry’s Aerospace Hall at the California Science Center (now known as the Air and Space Gallery) in Los Angeles has now been listed on the California Register by the California Office of Historic Preservation. As we’ve reported, the museum’s fate has been in doubt as the Science Center makes plans for a new building to house the Space Shuttle Endeavor, and refuses to comment on what it plans to do with Gehry’s building, which was shuttered last year.

The listing doesn’t guarantee the building’s protection, but it could slow down any threats. It may trigger an environmental review if another building were to replace it. At the very least, the museum would need to review the impact of a demolition or major change. The angular, metal-clad building, built in 1984, was Gehry’s first major public building.

The Best Architecture In LA Isn’t A Building, It’s the Space Shuttle.

West
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
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The shuttle in its new home. (Sam Lubell)

The shuttle in its new home. (Sam Lubell)

Yesterday, AN got a first hand look at the Space Shuttle Endeavor resting inside its new home, the 18,000 square foot Samuel  Oschin Pavilion at LA’s California Science Center. The verdict: go see it. No piece of architecture in recent memory has been as breathtaking as the shuttle.

Continue reading after the jump.

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