Never Built: Los Angeles
A+D Architecture and Design Museum
6032 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles
July 27–September 29th, 2013
It is difficult to envision the city of Los Angeles any differently than it exists today, but AN West editor Sam Lubell and co-curator Greg Goldin, in collaboration with Clive Wilkinson Architects, have organized an exhibition at the Architecture and Design Museum that grants visitors the rare opportunity to get a glimpse of the city as it could have been. The team gathered a diverse assortment of renderings, models, and various media depicting parks, buildings, master plans, and transportation schemes that were designed with the intention of being built, but were deemed too novel to actually be brought to life. The collection features unrealized projects, such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1925 Civic Center Plan, William H. Evans’s 1939 design for the Tower of Civilization, and B+U Architect’s 2009 design for an office building on Firestone Boulevard, as well as many other projects that, had they been carried out, would have completely changed the physical reality of the city of Los Angeles.
Oklahoma City investment company Kestrel Investments has purchased recently deceased architect John Johansen‘s Mummers Theater for $4.275 million and plans to demolish the revolutionary building to construct a 20-plus story mixed use tower in its place. The news came as a blow to local and national preservation groups who worked unsuccessfully to save the groundbreaking architectural work by finding a new tenant and use for the idiosyncratic structure.
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.
The Biennial of the Americas’ 2013 exposition Draft Urbanism, headed by Colorado-based curator Cortney Stell, has rounded up the most engaging art, architecture, and film dialogues from across the Americas to turn Denver into a enormous fair. The exposition kicked off last week on July 16. Now through September 2, four full-scale architecture exhibitions will tackle important urban matters throughout downtown, where new and existing billboards, posters, and other urban signage are used to exhibit art. The public is encouraged to stop by each work and to thereby transform the city itself into a living, urban museum.
Connecting two existing waterfronts—Battery Park and East River Park—the rehabilitation of the East River Esplanade has been a catalyst of renewal along Manhattan’s East River. The latest phase of the plan—by SHoP Architects and Ken Smith Workshop—extends the current three-block-long Esplanade north, adding recreational amenities and addresses the challenges of building a new landscape beneath an elevated highway between Catherine Slip and Pike Slip in Lower Manhattan..
Four teams of architects have been selected to envision new possibilities for a long stretch of vacant land along the Sandy-battered coast in the Rockaways. The ideas presented at Thursday’s announcement range from practical resiliency tactics to creative design solutions such as dune sand filters, elevated undulating boardwalks, and clusters of low-rise and mid-rise housing.
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) along with private developers and the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, launched the Far Roc Competition back in April to generate proposals to turn an 80-plus-acre site, called Averne East, into a resilient mixed-use waterfront community. The competition calls on architects to think expansively about the challenges facing the Rockaways and come up with a multi-layered proposals that offer concrete ideas for sustainable mixed-income housing, flood protection measures, and recreation and park land.
Things didn’t work out for installation experts Ball-Nogues Studio at MOCA’s New Sculpturalism show, but the firm has rebounded nicely. They’ve just completed mounting one of their most ambitious works yet: a 70-foot-tall upside-down replica of William Pereira’s Transamerica Pyramid, for the show Modernist Maverick: The Architecture of William Pereira, on view at the Nevada Art Museum in Reno, NV. The installation, made out of chain link and stainless steel plates, hangs from the ceiling via steel cables attached to the museum building’s structure.
“We distilled it to its barest essentials. It looks like the ghost of the building,” said Ball-Nogues principal Gaston Nogues. Each chain could only be attached at a specific point, so the hardest part was fine tuning the model, stretching and moving each possible iteration, added Nogues. “It’s quite labor intensive to make sure it looked flat, and that each chain had the right tension,” he said. The show, which opens next week, runs from through October 13. It looks at many other noted Pereira projects, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the University of California, San Diego Geisel Library, and the Theme Building at LAX.
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Wolf-Gordon’s “Force of Nature” spirals through Chicago’s Merchandise Mart during NeoCon 2013.
Based on the success of Wolf-Gordon’s inaugural NeoCon installation in 2012, chief creative officer Marybeth Shaw commissioned yet another show-stopping design piece for 2013. With the working title “Forces of Nature,” she turned once again to New York City–based design studio karlssonwilker and Brooklyn-based design-build collaborative The Guild to create a sculpture that would showcase the breadth of the company’s textiles and wall coverings. “The title ended up being quite appropriate to the final form, as the sculpture is a geometric construct with all of the resulting physical forces that might spin it out of the Mart’s ‘town square,’” Shaw recently told AN.
Karlssonwilker initially conceived of a kinetic sculpture, but Shaw wanted a large installation—nearly 30 feet long and 14 feet wide. At that size, there was no room for movement within the given space, a double-height ceiling over an escalator that would carry 42,000 show attendees. “We wanted it to rotate like a rotisserie chicken, but we went for a larger form,” said Graham Kelman, creative manager for The Guild. Ultimately, the team decided on a static sculpture resembling a twisted spine that gives a sense of movement through color and form. “I lost sleep over whether it would fit because if there was flex in the spine, it wouldn’t work.”
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Wahington D.C., designed by SOM in 1974, is undeniably striking in its design—the distinctively cylinder shaped structure is unlike anything else in the city. In 2009 Richard Koshalek, director of the modern and contemporary art museum, in a bold effort to place the museum at the forefront of our nation’s cultural institutions, came up with a radical new plan that would make the building stand out even more among the countries’ leading museums and significantly augment the city’s arts culture. Koshalek proposed his new vision for a 15-story inflatable balloon, designed by Diller Scofidio & Renfro, that would bubble out of the donut-shaped museum’s central courtyard twice a year. The project, dubbed the “Seasonal Inflatable Structure,” would serve as a unique space for installations and performances.
After months of fierce rivalry and contentious one-upping, Rem Koolhaas’ OMA has beat out Bjarke Ingels (BIG) in the competition for the Miami Beach Convention Center commission. At times, it appeared as if BIG was in the lead, but OMA crept up and ultimately took home the prize.
OMA has proposed a $600 million overhaul of the 52-acre convention center to build a more integrated facility in addition to tacking on more open space and park land. This plan calls for reconfiguring the layout of the convention center to provide enhanced access to Lincoln Road, green space, and existing hotel on the beach.