Tech Tidal Wave at Los Angeles’ Silicon Beach

Eavesdroplet, West
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
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GENSLER'S IMPROVEMENTS TO THE PLAYA JEFFERSON OFFICES IN MAR VISTA. (COURTESY GENSLER)

GENSLER’S IMPROVEMENTS TO THE PLAYA JEFFERSON OFFICES IN MAR VISTA. (COURTESY GENSLER)

Well it looks like the tech craziness on LA’s west side—a.k.a. Silicon Beach—is just getting going. Of course, Google has basically taken over Venice, and a number of tech companies, including YouTube, are taking over Howard Hughes’ old facility in Playa Vista. Now we hear that Amazon is looking for a huge space in Santa Monica. The new LA outpost could measure as much as 80,000 square feet, putting this development in the upper echelons of the city’s tech world. It will certainly compete with the new campus they’re building up in Seattle, designed by NBBJ. Meanwhile, in Silicon Valley, the architectural one-upmanship continues. That same firm (NBBJ) just unveiled designs for its new HQ for Google, which it hopes will stand out among the other ambitious schemes for Apple, Samsung, Nvidia, and so many more.

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Tonight> MAK Center’s Dialogues Series Concludes With Impressive Exhibition

West
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
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Berdaguer & Pejus, Gue(ho)st House, Delme, 2012.

Berdaguer & Pejus, Gue(ho)st House, Delme, 2012.

Dialogues, the series of conversations between architects and artists that took place at the MAK Center in Los Angeles over the last couple of months, is finishing up tonight with an exhibit of the designers’ work. The show features drawings, images, and models from a serious lineup at For Your Art on Wilshire Boulevard. Contributors include: Doug Aitken, Barbara Bestor, Escher Gunewardena, Fritz Haeg, Jorge Pardo, Linda Taalman, Xavier Veilhan, Pae White, Peter Zellner, and many many more. The show will be up until April 16.

 

Dissecting Natural Design at the LA Natural History Museum

West
Monday, March 18, 2013
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(Sam Lubell/ AN)

Staggered rocks contain plant life that sprout from their many in between spaces. (Sam Lubell / AN)

On Saturday I moderated one of two AIA/LA-sponsored panels about bio-inspired design at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum. The first panel looked at the general influence of nature on design, from the Mars Rover to the San Diego Zoo, and ours zeroed in on architecture’s envelopes and skins, with insights about breaking away from the static, heavy, and largely-unresponsive architecture of today by architect Tom Wiscombe, Arup engineer Russell Fortmeyer, and evolutionary biologist Shauna Price. Speaking of bio-inspired design, before the panel I got an early look at the new gardens at the Natural History Museum, designed by Mia Lehrer + Associates.

Continue reading after the jump.

Top of the Glass: Students Design Shimmering Pavilion At USC

Dean's List, Newsletter, West
Friday, March 15, 2013
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(Roland Wahlroos-Ritter)

(Roland Wahlroos-Ritter)

Once again the courtyards at the USC School of Architecture are bubbling with installations as part of the second-year 2b studio, in which several teams of undergraduate students design and build structures in a very short period of time. Perhaps the most striking is the shimmering pavilion created by the 14-student class of professor Roland Wahlroos-Ritter. The studio focused  on glass’ structural, reflective, and refractive qualities.

Continue reading after the jump.

LACMA Makes Move For MOCA Los Angeles

Other
Friday, March 8, 2013
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MOCA's Grand Avenue location in Los Angeles. (CTG/SF / Flickr)

MOCA’s Grand Avenue location in Los Angeles. (CTG/SF / Flickr)

As confirmed on its blog yesterday, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has made a proposal to acquire the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (MOCA). “Our chief desire is to see MOCA’s program continue and to serve the many artists and other Angelenos, for whom MOCA means so much,” said LACMA director Michael Govan in an online letter. Reportedly LACMA would preserve MOCA’s two buildings, located on Grand Avenue and in Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles. According to the LA Times, the offer was made back on February 24. As part of the arrangement, LACMA would raise $100 million for the combined museums as a condition for completing the deal, according to their story.

Another suitor for struggling MOCA is the University of Southern California (USC), which has been reported to have been in talks to merge with MOCA as well. That arrangement has a model in UCLA, which is partnered with the Hammer Museum in Westwood. Either way, it looks like something has to be done about financially-troubled MOCA: “If not us, who?” Mr. Govan said in an interview with the New York Times yesterday.

SCI-Arc Alums To Celebrate SCI-Arc Alums With New Installation

West
Thursday, March 7, 2013
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Farmers and Merchants Bank, site of the 40/40 installation. (Michael Smith / Flickr)

Farmers and Merchants Bank, site of the 40/40 installation. (Michael Smith / Flickr)

SCI-Arc is hosting a competition—called 40/40—open to all graduates for the design and construction of an installation capable of digitally presenting the work of the school’s alumni. The installation will celebrate the school’s upcoming 40th anniversary. To tie into the April 11 Downtown Art Walk, the exhibition will first be installed—or rather the winner of the competition has to figure out how it will be installed—in the lobby space of the monumental downtown Farmers and Merchants Bank. It will subsequently move to SCI-Arc for the 40th Anniversary Celebration Weekend of April 19-21, 2013.

Continue reading after the jump.

Redondo Waterfront May Get Major Redesign

West
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
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Developer's proposed boutique hotel. (Courtesy CenterCal)

Developer’s proposed boutique hotel. (Courtesy CenterCal)

El Segundo, CA-based developer CenterCal recently revealed plans for a revamped Redondo Beach waterfront near Los Angeles, which includes parts of the Redondo Beach Pier, as well as the nearby boardwalk and Seaside Lagoon. According to The Daily Breeze, CenterCal presented its plans to residents, local business owners, and community groups at a meeting on February 23.

Continue reading after the jump.

AEG Funding Pledge Makes Redesign Of LA’s Pershing Square More Likely

West
Monday, March 4, 2013
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Pershing Square as it looks now. (David A Galvan / Flickr)

Pershing Square as it looks now. (David A Galvan / Flickr)

Once considered downtown LA’s central park, the problematic 4.5-acre Pershing Square may soon be slated for a few welcome changes. Councilman José Huizar of District 14 recently told LA Downtown News that sports and entertainment company Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) has committed $700,000 seed funding to re-think the 164-year-old park. The money is part of a community improvement package AEG had agreed to in order to create a football stadium in Los Angeles.

Continue reading after the jump.

Bahooka is Bust: Los Angeles’ Kitsch Tiki Treasure To Close

West
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
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A fish swims above Bahooka's bar. (Sam Lubell/ AN )

A fish swims above Bahooka’s bar. (Sam Lubell/ AN )

Alas. One of LA’s greatest weird treasures, the Bahooka Family Restaurant, is set to close on March 10. The gem, which opened its Rosemead location in 1976, is perhaps the most ornate example of Tiki architecture in the city. Not only is it full of every Polynesian tchotchke imaginable—Easter Island heads, hula dancers, blowfish, diving bells—but most of its walls are covered with fish tanks, creating the feeling of being inside Sponge Bob’s home. The restaurant’s owners have said they’re simply ready to retire, which we certainly understand, but we must admit we’re a little sad.

More photos after the jump.

Gossip: Los Angeles’ Grand Avenue Edition

Eavesdroplet, West
Monday, February 25, 2013
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Arquitectonica's new Grand Avenue tower just broke ground. (Courtesy Related Companies)

Arquitectonica’s new Grand Avenue tower just broke ground. (Courtesy Related Companies)

The Grand, the multi-million-dollar, mixed use project on top of LA’s Bunker Hill, is finally… slowly… moving forward with an Arquitectonica-designed residential tower, which just broke ground. But it appears that Frank Gehry’s days on the project may be numbered. After a recent call with Related, we got no assurances that the starchitect was still part of the project. A report in the Downtown News got similarly uncommitted answers.

Just across the street from the Grand we hear that The Broad (what’s with all the THEs?)—Eli Broad’s multi-million-dollar art museum—is getting ready to add an upscale market to its rear, just above the parking lot. If it’s even close to as successful as Chelsea Market in New York, Downtown LA could have yet another hit on its hands. Meanwhile, decking is being laid for a new park to The Broad’s south, but still no renderings of the park have been unveiled. Let’s make this public, Mr. Broad. We can’t wait to see your plans, which could single-handedly make or break Grand Avenue.

AN Visits Joshua Tree to Celebrate the Upcoming “Never Built:Los Angeles” Exhibition

West
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
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Karl Daubmann, Greg Goldin, and Sam Lubell (Chris Miller)

Karl Daubmann, Greg Goldin, and Sam Lubell (Chris Miller)

This past weekend AN West Coast Editor Sam Lubell joined the A+D Museum in Joshua Tree to discuss the upcoming exhibition, Never Built: Los Angeles. The A+D Museum hosted the party at the Blu Homes-designed home of Tim Disney in Joshua Tree. The gorgeous prefab is sited in the middle of a what looks like a Martian landscape, with weird trees and amazing rock formations. Partiers were treated to a preview of the show from the curators, moderated by Blu Homes’ creative director Karl Daubmann. If you want to find out more about the show, watch the curators appear on Southern California station KCET’s SoCal Connected this evening at 5:30 and 10:30 PST.

More photos of the event after the jump.

On View> Dara Friedman’s New Film Dances Through City Streets, Now Showing in Los Angeles

West
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
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(Courtesy Hammer Museum)

(Courtesy Hammer Museum)

Hammer Projects: Dara Friedman
Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles
Through April 14

Miami-based artist Dara Friedman is known for her black and white films of dancers dancing through city streets. For her film Dancer (2011) she used a 16mm camera to examine urban space and individuals within these spaces, filming improvisational dancers in a variety of styles, from flamenco, to ballet, to belly and break dancing, and more. In her work, Friedman also investigates accepted concepts of performance-based art. Her grainy films sometimes capture the sounds of street traffic, and she sometimes dubs music that is not always in rhythm with the dancers’ movements. For her first exhibition in Los Angeles, Friedman has prepared an 8mm film that is a follow-up to Dancer.

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