SOM’s first major project in Los Angeles in years, the Los Angeles U.S. Courthouse, broke ground last week. Those in attendance included new LA mayor Eric Garcetti, who’s just beginning his rounds of ceremonial events around the city. The downtown commission, located at First Street and Broadway, was awarded late last year.
The 600,000 square foot building will include 24 courtrooms and 32 judicial chambers and will house the U.S. District Court and the Central District of California, among other facilities. Renderings reveal a serrated, glassy cube resting on a narrow, solid pedestal, and a sky-lit central courtyard at the building’s core. The project is pursuing a LEED Platinum rating. The design build team also includes Clark Construction and Jacobs Project Management.
Completion is scheduled for summer 2016.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti last week named Global Green CEO Matt Petersen as the city’s first-ever Chief Sustainability Officer. Peterson, according to the mayor’s office, will be tasked with “making the city’s departments greener and neighborhoods healthier, and fulfilling Garcetti’s campaign promise of creating 20,000 new green jobs.” Peterson should also have his hands full, not only getting each city department to cooperate, but on thorny issues like regulation of the city’s ports and transit corridors.
Global Green, if you’re wondering, is a non-profit dedicated to “advocating for smart solutions to global warming including green building for affordable housing, schools, cities and communities that save money, improve health and create green jobs.” Since its founding almost 20 years ago it has organized design competitions, testified in congress, hosted awards, and raised money on behalf of green causes.
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In 2011, a major expansion to Edmonton, Alberta’s Quesnell Bridge generated an ongoing effort to enliven the landscape surrounding the overpass, which connects the northwest and southwest portions of Canada’s fifth largest city. A resultant public art commission from the Edmonton Arts Council for Los Angeles–based multidisciplinary design-build fabricators Ball-Nogues Studio called for an engaging installation along the south side of the North Saskatchewan River, which sees a live load of 120,000 vehicles each day.
While brainstorming the project, it was apparent to the firm’s principal and designer in charge Benjamin Ball that the areas immediately surrounding the bridge were not carefully considered by passengers. “It was a sort of no-man’s-land between the transportation infrastructure and the landscape,” he recently told AN. Drawing inspiration from the mundane—sand piles, gravel, and detritus from the trucking industry—and the majestic—talus and scree formations enveloping the base of surrounding cliffs—Ball and the studio’s cofounder Nogues applied their knowledge of sphere packing to echo the angle of repose of natural and man-made mounds. Read More
Writer Anne Taylor Fleming recently interviewed Frank Gehry for Los Angeles Magazine, getting a glimpse into what the architect thinks about Los Angeles and the meaning of his work there. Gehry tells Fleming about some of the missed planning and architectural opportunities that continue to challenge the city, including the push to make a bona fide downtown, which he believes stems from clinging to old ideas about what a city should be.
Los Angeles, are you ready to design your own Central Park? Friends of the Hollywood Central Park (FHCP), a nonprofit formed in 2008 devoted to developing a 44-acre street-level park capping Hollywood’s 101 Freeway, has initiated a new web feature encouraging residents to imagine their own dream parks in order to transform Hollywood’s densely populated, park-deprived neighborhoods into healthy, prosperous green spaces. In collaboration with Central Hollywood, East Hollywood and Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Councils and the Hollywood Chamber Community Foundation, the ambitious venture will reunite the communities presently separated by the Hollywood Freeway.
In 2005, the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles became one of the most notable buildings in U.S. history to be torn down. Now a new documentary, After 68: The Rise and Fall of the Ambassador Hotel, is hoping to tell its story. Its filmmakers are raising money to finish the project through a Kickstarter campaign. Directed by Camilo Silva, the film explores the history of the hotel, once a symbol of LA’s opulent westward expansion.
The Ambassador hosted, among others, Albert Einstein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Winston Churchill, Amelia Earhart, Salvador Dali, Buzz Aldrin, Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Frank Sinatra, and Charlie Chaplin, and every U.S. president from Herbert Hoover to Richard Nixon. And of course Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at its Coconut Grove nightclub, a location that also hosted six Academy Awards ceremonies.
In 2005 the beleaguered hotel was torn down to build a $600 million school complex for the LA Unified School District. The film digs into the building’s past and the controversy over its end, and captures the oral histories that are some of its only remaining memories. The Kickstarter campaign ends in two weeks.
The other day, AN revealed details of Fentress Architects’ new Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, with its arched, light-infused spaces and fancy new retail offerings. Variety takes a closer look at LA- and Montreal-based media company Moment Factory’s contribution: a series of interactive displays, including an 80-foot LED “Welcome Wall” that greets visitors, two “Concourse Portals” consisting of 10 video columns that respond to movement, and the 72-foot “Time Tower,” a four-sided LED experience surrounding the terminal’s main elevator. The system, which can be updated and adapted, is the most sophisticated of any in the country. And the production, as you can see from the video above, rivaled that of many motion pictures.
In other airport news, we plan to head over to Long Beach to see the renovation of several of its airport concourses, part of a $140 modernization plan. We’ll keep you posted.
Don’t look now, but LAX—the airport everyone loves to hate—is starting to complete its major makeover. The biggest change is the brand new $1.9 billion (yes, billion) addition to the Tom Bradley International Terminal, designed by Fentress Architects and unveiled in 2008. Its curving roofline, emulating waves breaking on the nearby beach, pops up behind the original Tom Bradley structure, which itself was recently renovated (for the cost of $723 million) by Leo A Daly.
The developer of the two-tower Millennium Hollywood, located just next to the Capitol Records building in Hollywood, has agreed with the city of Los Angeles to limit the buildings’ heights to 35 and 39 stories, reports Curbed LA. The original proposal put forth heights of 485 and 585 feet (that’s roughly 48 and 58 stories). Millennium said that the total square footage of the project—more than one million square feet—and the number of residential (492) and hotel (200) units will not change. The agreement was reached at LA City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee.
This means the buildings will dwarf the iconic Capitol Records building slightly less, although the move probably won’t soothe locals fears about increased congestion. Meanwhile according to the LA Times, the California Department of Transportation has accused city of officials of ignoring their concerns about the project’s impact on the city’s freeways. Stay tuned as this drama unfolds.