Eavesdrop> AIA/LA Has Architecture Center Envy

Eavesdroplet, Newsletter, West
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
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AN’s annual resource list may be published every year but it is never the same. Painstakingly drawn from extensive interviews by our editors with the architects and builders of the best architecture of 2011, these names are the too-often unacknowledged cornerstones that guarantee the quality and excellence of today’s architecture. We both herald and share them with you.

New York's Center for Architecture: model for LA?

It appears that AIA/LA is serious about opening a new architecture center, a storefront, multi-use space similar to that of the Center for Architecture in New York (above). According to a now expired post on Idealist.org, they’re looking for (and rumored to have already hired) a new fulltime “Campaign Director” for an $8 to 15 million capital campaign to “support the acquisition and renovation of an existing building for the new Center for Architecture and Urban Design Los Angeles,” and “create an endowment to maintain this new property.”

According to the post the center will be “a highly collaborative organization that builds strong relationships with other organizations to carry out its mission.” The center is rumored to contain not just AIA offices and exhibition and event spaces, but perhaps spaces for the A+D Architecture and Design Museum and the Urban Land Institute’s Los Angeles chapter.

LA Kicks Cars to the Curb, Opens First Pedestrian Plaza

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
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Sunset Triangle Plaza opens to the public. (Alissa Walker / Flickr)

Sunset Triangle Plaza opens to the public. (Alissa Walker / Flickr)

You’d better get used to it, Los Angeles is remaking itself from a one trick pony town where car is king into a multimodal city for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users. The latest improvement is Sunset Triangle Plaza, the city’s first pedestrian plaza created by a new collaboration called Streets for People (S4P) that hopes to churn out dozens new pedestrian-oriented spaces a year across the city. The green-on-green polka dot plaza officially opened this month to crowds of gleeful pedestrians in the hip enclave of Silver Lake, northwest of Downtown LA.

Continue reading after the jump.

Moby Jams to Architecture

West
Thursday, February 9, 2012
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(Courtesy Moby)

(Courtesy Moby)

Those of you who thought Ice Cube was the only music star to love architecture, think again. It turns out that the bespectacled hipster god Moby is an even more dedicated disciple, even producing his own blog on the topic. The web site, simply called Moby Los Angeles Architecture Blog, launched about two weeks ago. While Moby calls his ramblings “pointless,” “self-indulgent,” and “oddball,” we love it.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Gensler’s New Los Angeles Digs Filled With Energy

West
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
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Inside the atrium at Gensler's new office. (Ryan Gobuty)

Inside the atrium at Gensler's new office. (Ryan Gobuty)

With all the news coming out of Gensler lately we’ve officially declared November Gensler Month. The latest is the firm’s new offices inside the Jewel Box building in Downtown LA, a glassy former bank branch located between huge towers at City National Plaza.

Continue reading after the jump.

A Winged Stadium for Los Angeles?

West
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
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Courtesy Gensler

Yesterday, Gensler unveiled its newest plans for Farmers Field, Downtown LA’s proposed football stadium, which, of course, is still awaiting a team to play in it (as are several other proposed stadiums in California). The biggest changes to the design involve the roof, which will now have large projecting wings (likely made of ETFE, said one Gensler architect). The roof will no longer be retractable, but “deployable,” meaning the roof can be taken off, but not instantaneously, which will bring the structure’s cost down significantly, Gensler pointed out. The new roof design, which will open up views to the city, was likened to “shoulder pads” by Curbed LA, perhaps a fitting design for a football stadium?

So that the stadium doesn’t dwarf the rest of the adjacent LA Live, it will be partially sunken into the ground, noted Curbed. Meanwhile two levels of stadium meeting and suite space will connect directly to the new convention center that developer AEG is also planning for the site. AEG hopes to have the stadium ready by the 2016 football season.

More renderings after the jump.

Bye Bye, Behnisch Architekten in Los Angeles

Shft+Alt+Del, West
Monday, November 14, 2011
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Behnisch's LA office designed the Park Street Clinical Lab Building in New Haven (Roland Halbe)

Just when we were getting used to Behnisch Architekten having an office in Venice we learn that leader Christof Jantzen is leaving and the office is closing. Stuttgart-based Behnisch opened the outpost back in 1999 and the location has worked on projects ranging from a lab at Yale, student housing at UC Berkeley, and an upcoming parking garage in Santa Monica. Now Behnisch’s only U.S. office is in Boston.

“It’s an evolution,” described Jantzen. “We had a successful story together.”

Here comes the good news: Jantzen is starting his own firm, Christof Jantzen Architecture, just down the street, and he hopes to take some of Behnisch’s eight Los Angeles employees with him. Jantzen described the venture as on the “smaller scale” to begin but noted, “we’ll see how it develops.” The web site isn’t yet live, but it will be www.cjantzen.com.

Gensler’s Downtown Dealings Revealed

Newsletter, West
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
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Rendering of Gensler's new HQ inside the Downtown LA "Jewel Box".

We heard back in April that architecture giant Gensler’s move to Downtown LA was spurred largely by a million dollar enticement arranged with the city. But it’s only now that we get to see the details behind the move. The LA Times‘ Steve Lopez was able to dig up the emails that set the process in motion, and they include corporate requests to pave the way for federal community development block grants (usually reserved for low income communities) to go to Gensler. The emails were sent from big-time developer Thomas Property Group to an aide in councilperson Jan Perry’s office. This seamless connection between business and government, we all know, is how things work in LA. But it’s rare to “look inside the sausage factory,” as Lopez puts it.

Reyner Banham Facebook Mystery Solved

West
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
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In last issue’s Eavesdrop we noted that world famous LA architectural writer Reyner Banham (Architecture of Four Ecologies), who died back in 1988, now has a Facebook page with over 600 friends, most of whom think he’s still around. We’ve discovered who’s behind the fake page. Architect Parsa Khalili tells us he started it for an assignment in a seminar course at Yale School of Architecture in 2008. Khalili says he forgot about the account until one day he signed in and saw 30 people waiting to be his friend. Since then Banham has accrued friends from around the world, sending him birthday wishes and thanking him for the great honor of friending them. “Honestly I have no idea why I even bother but it has become such an absurdity it’s hard to totally let go,” explained Khalili.

October is for Architecture in Los Angeles, Too!

West
Monday, October 3, 2011
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Westwood Village (here shown in the early 20th Century) will be the topic of the panel Curse and Vision on October 10.

New York isn’t the only city celebrating Archtober. In Los Angeles, October has officially been “Architecture Month” since Mayor Villaraigosa declared it so back in 2007. The AIA/LA hopes the month-long festivities will help to “educate the public about architecture and architects, celebrate the profession and encourage the dialogue between those interested in the built environment.”

Check out the highlights after the jump.

LACMA Prepares its Giant Rock

West
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
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The rock is wedged against its steel transporter. (All images courtesy LACMA)

If all goes according to plan, sometime in early October an enormous boulder will leave a Riverside, California quarry and a couple of weeks later roll onto the grounds of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, to become an installation called Levitated Mass.

Continue reading after the jump.

West Coast Park(ing) Day Diary

Standard's park on Sunset Blvd in LA's Silver Lake neighborhood. (Carren Jao)

What if we could transform part of the massive space we dedicate to urban parking into public parks, and what would it look like? On Friday, over 100 cities worldwide participated in the sixth annual PARK(ing) Day, where citizens and designers temporarily converted metered parking spots into open public space. While we couldn’t jet set around the world, a couple of our reporters checked out the happenings in California, where the concept was born.

Before you check out the parks, we should mention that these grassroots efforts are slowly influencing permanent change. In San Francisco, a City Planning Department collaboration with design firm Rebar, which helped begin PARK(ing) Day, has led to the creation of the “Parklets” program, where parking spots around the city are being converted into permanent plazas and outdoor seating.  And on Friday, LA City Council members Jan Perry and Jose Huizar announced a partnership with local neighborhood groups in downtown LA and Eagle Rock to begin a Parklets pilot program in Los Angeles.   Read More

Arquitectonica Cozies Up to DS+R in LA

West
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
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Arquitectonica's potential addition to Grand Avenue in LA. (courtesy blogdowntown)

Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Broad center for contemporary art features a distinctive structural honeycomb facade. It may be getting a neighbor with another notable facade, a new 19 story apartment building with staggered windows in a variety of sizes designed by Miami-based Arquitectonica. According to blogdowntown, the building would include 258 units with 52 set aside for affordable housing and 308 parking spaces in a three level below-grade garage. Developed by Related Companies, the tower would share the plaza with DS+R’s museum and back up to the planned Regional Connector light rail station.

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