Quick Clicks> Lifted Forts, A New Leaf, Walking the Line, and LA Light Rail

Daily Clicks
Monday, June 6, 2011
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MAUNSELL FORTS (COURTESY WWW.HOWTOBEARETRONAUT.COM)

Maunsell Forts (Courtesy How to be a Retronaut)

Guy Maunsell’s Sea Forts. Standing above the sea, these Maunsell fortifications were originally built as British defenses during World War II. They remain lifted as a symbol of protection. As industrial creatures, the towers take expressive portraits.

Oh, Pentagram. New York City paired with Paula Scher of Pentagram to create a new symbol for the iconic NYC Parks Department leaf. Although excellent in traditional green, the paired down logo can also be used as an elegant silhouette for programming and public events. Or perhaps wrapping paper.

Parasol Unit in red, in public. New York-based performance artist Kate Gilmore and the Parasol unit foundation collaborated to start a new program entitled parasol public. Gilmore’s red structure is the centerpiece of  Walk the Line, a small two story space designed upstairs for pacing and downstairs as a passageway within Exchange Square, London.

Downtown to Santa Monica. The new Los Angeles county Expo Line light rail system expects to bring a bit of green speed to transportation across the city. With a plan to partially open in the fall and to unveil completely in 2015, the rail line is already underway. Just about everybody is looking forward to the new light rail, especially those who will benefit directly as part of their commute to work.

A Visit To Watts Towers

West
Friday, June 3, 2011
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(All photos by Sam Lubell/AN)

(All photos by Sam Lubell/AN)

Yesterday we visited one of our favorite sites in Los Angeles: Watts Towers. The amazing complex, which includes four towers, a gazebo, fountains, and a slew of other jumbled elements, was designed by Simon, or Sam Rodia, a tile factory worker who labored on the project basically without stopping for over thirty years (from 1921-1954).

The structures rise as high as 100 feet and are clad with broken bottles, tiles (over 15,000 of them), sea shells, and pretty much anything else Rodia could get his hands on. Their frame is made from chicken wire, barbed wire, coat hangers, and other makeshift materials.

The feat is all the more amazing considering that Rodia didn’t study any sort of building trade and was illiterate. He usually worked until 1 or 2 in the morning then went back to work in a factory the next day.

Check out a photo gallery after the jump.

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Classic Theaters of LA Come To Life

West
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
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Inside the Los Angeles Theater

Tonight gives Angelenos the chance to check out the classic film The Music Man inside the Los Angeles Theater. With its glass chandeliers, Corinthian columns, and intricate Baroque details, the Los Angeles is one of the most ornate movie palaces you’ll ever visit. It’s the second week of Last Remaining Seats, the LA Conservancy’s popular series that opens up Broadway’s once great (and now mostly dormant) theaters again. That includes the Orpheum, the Million Dollar Theater, and more. This year is Last Remaining Seats’ 25th Anniversary. Other engagements include King Kong at the Los Angeles and Sunset Boulevard at the Palace. Find tickets here. More pix of theaters after the jump.  Read More

Quick Clicks> IKEA Life, Gensler′s Mil, Graceland II, and a Green Empire

Daily Clicks, East Coast
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
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(image by Christian Gideon)

Hem Sweet Hem. We love this quirky story from our friends at Curbed. The Swedish-based IKEA is well on itsway to worldwide domination of the budget-furniture market — and who doesn’t love wandering through the cavernous stores and imagining life in the mini habitats arranged throughout the store? Photographer Christian Gideon sure did. His latest project documents what life might look like if you lived in one.

Subsidy Switch. LA’s Mayor Villaraigosa promised not to spend any taxpayer money to a proposed football stadium in the city, but the project’s lead architect is another matter entirely. According to LA Weekly, the mayor is sending $1 million slated for the city’s poor to lead-architect Gensler as they prepare to move their offices from Santa Monica to downtown LA.

Elvis Goes Danish. Think living at IKEA was strange enough? Well, the Historic Sites Blog hopes to top that. Apparently there is now a replica of Graceland in Denmark. Yes, Denmark. If those photos weren’t enough, the BBC has a brief video of the Danish dupe.

Empire Example. According to gbNYC, the Empire State Building plans to be in the LEED when it comes to retrefotting historic buildings. Though owner Anthony Malkin, the man behind the green curtain, didn’t set out to achieve the green label for one of the city’s highest profile building, he’s apparently changed his tune.

Quick Clicks> Floating, Ethics, Mansard Roofs, Transit Saves

Daily Clicks, East Coast
Monday, March 7, 2011
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A recreation of the Pixar film Up (National Geographic)

A recreation of the Pixar film Up (National Geographic)

Up, Up & Away. My Modern Met has a photo set from National Geographic‘s recreation of the Pixar movie Up. With the help of 300 colorful weather balloons, a team of engineers and pilots sent a 16′ square house skyward in LA, setting a world record in the process. (Via Curbed.)

Archi-Ethics. Mark Lamster is leading this week’s Glass House Conversation. He’s discussing the ethics of client selection: “How do we balance commercial imperatives with a desire for a moral practice?”

Mansard Mania. The New York Times has a feature on Manhattan’s Mansard roof heyday between 1868 and 1873, spotlighting some of the best examples of the French-style roof.

Transit Saves. As civil unrest continues in the Middle East, oil prices have risen to near record levels. Reuters brings us a study from the American Public Transportation Association that finds transit riders are saving over $800 a month with the elevated gas costs, and projects nearly a $10,000 savings annually if gas maintains its high price tag.

LA Community College DEBACLE

West
Monday, February 28, 2011
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LA Trade Tech's Student Services/ Administrative Building by MDA Johnson Favaro

Over the past year or so we’ve been hearing grumblings about how the LA Community College District has been conducting its huge $5.7 bond-funded building program. So had the LA Times, which yesterday kicked off a large investigative series documenting the corruption and the incompetence prevalent in that campaign.

The verdict, according to the Times: “Tens of millions of dollars have gone to waste because of poor planning, frivolous spending and shoddy workmanship.” The first story uncovers an email from the LACCD’s construction manager Larry Eisenberg admitting that quality control was “horrible,” and that, “We are opening buildings that do not work at the most fundamental level.”

Our favorite example of waste: The district paid photographers up to $175 an hour to take pictures of trustees at a construction award banquet. We also learn that the district’s board has little to no experience with construction. And that’s just the beginning. Check out the piece and fear for our public programs. Who said investigative journalism was dead?

Kanner Architects′ Impressive Before and After

West
Monday, February 28, 2011
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Rec Center before...

Last week we checked out the opening of the new Lafayette Park Recreation Center, right outside of Downtown LA. Designed by Kanner Architects, the 15,000 square foot, $9.8 million complex represents a complete about-face from what was once a decrepit senior center with a drug and weed infested park.

It includes the airy renovation of 60′s architect Graham Latta’s whimsically modern 1962 senior center (with its barrel arched concrete canopies), a light-infused new gym (thanks to a large double-layered glass curtain wall—why don’t most gyms have those?), and new fields and picnic tables.

Check out the transformation after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Mega Watts, Luck, Mattise, Like Jane

Daily Clicks
Monday, February 14, 2011
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Watts Towers (Courtesy Robert Garcia / Flickr)

Watts Towers (Courtesy Robert Garcia / Flickr)

Mega Watts. The Los Angeles Times reports that the James Irvine Foundation has granted $500,000 toward the preservation of LA’s Watt’s Towers, declaring the folk-art stalagmites “an important cultural icon.” (Photo courtesy Robert Garcia/Flickr)

Luck in School. The NY Times relays the story of Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck who has chosen to pursue a degree in architectural design at Stanford’s School of Engineering rather than head off to the NFL draft. We wish Mr. Luck, well, all the best in his endeavors, but life as an architect can make the NFL seem like a walk in the park.

Al Matisse? Variety brings us news that Al Pacino has been selected to play Henri Matisse in an upcoming film called Masterpiece detailing the French painter’s relationship with his nurse, model, and muse Monique Bourgeois. Producers will soon be looking for female leads.

Like Jane. The Rockefeller Foundation is accepting nominations for this year’s Jane Jacobs Medal honoring two living individuals who have improved the vitality of NYC and, among other things, “open our eyes to new ways of seeing and understanding our city.”

Video> Mayne Gets Artsy & Art-itecture Round Up

West
Thursday, February 10, 2011
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Thom Mayne explains his art (still from Form video)

Thom Mayne explains his art (still from Form video)

LA starchitect Thom Mayne recently took some time to share his art/sculpture with our friends at Form magazine. The three-dimensional pieces reveal his love for investigating hard-edged metallic shards, architectural movement, faceted surfaces, hovering forms and general chaos; all major forces in his architecture.

Watch Thom Mayne discuss his art and see more art by architects after the click.

Broadly Speaking, Old Veil, New Twist

West
Monday, January 17, 2011
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American Cement Company in Los Angeles (Courtesy / Flickr)

American Cement Company in Los Angeles (Courtesy kurious kite / Flickr)

The recent unveiling of Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Broad Art Foundation has been generating a lot of buzz in the past couple weeks. The defining architectural element of the museum is its porous structural concrete veil which the architects hope will create an interplay between interior and exterior spaces. The Broad’s concrete skin won’t be Los Angeles’ first, however. Sitting just two miles away on Wilshire Boulevard, the American Cement Building features a mid-century veil of its own.

See the American Cement Company after the jump.

Video> Fly Through the New Broad Museum

West
Friday, January 7, 2011
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Public lobby at The Broad (Diller Scofidio + Renfro)

Public lobby at The Broad (Diller Scofidio + Renfro)

Yesterday, Sam Lubell detailed The Broad Foundation’s much-anticipated LA museum complete with all the renderings. Now, we have a video fly-through of the new Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed space and isn’t it something! You can really start to appreciate the porous nature of The Broad‘s structural concrete “veil” and the views inside and out it will offer. You also gain a sense of its street presence sitting alongside Frank Gehry’s Disney Hall, which appears rather large in comparison. What do you think?

Watch the fly-through animation after the jump!

Thursday is D Day for Broad Museum

West
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
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Site of the museum, on LA's Grand Avenue.

Finally. The design for Eli Broad’s new contemporary art museum in Downtown LA, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is being unveiled on Thursday, according to a press release sent out today. The event will take place at 11:00 am at Walt Disney Concert Hall (next to the new museum site), giving us lazy journalists plenty of time to make it. According to the release, the museum will be “home to the worldwide headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation,” and will provide a home for Broad’s collection of more than 2,000 works by 200 artists. Since the museum saga has dragged out over several years between several cities, and because he’s hired one of the country’s top architects, Mr. Broad has done an excellent job of building our expectations. Hope it’s good!

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