Parklet Down! Motorist Rams Downtown Los Angeles’ First Parklet

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The scene. (oneironaut11 / Instagram via LAist)

It seems like just yesterday that Los Angeles opened its first downtown Parklet, a sparkling new design on Spring Street by architects utopiad.org, designers Berry and Linné, and builders Hensel Phelps. But a few weeks ago that design (already getting a little shabby from weather and use) was rammed and badly compromised by an errant motorist, leaving it closed, and leaving downtown without a parklet to speak of more than two years after the city’s parklet program began.

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SOFTlab creates a flowery vortex for a New York City couture shoe shop

Melissa We Are Flowers (Courtesy SOFTlab)

Melissa We Are Flowers (Alan Tansey Photographer / Courtesy SOFTlab)

Forget about the Sharknado, New York–based designers at SOFTlab have created a vortex of flowers that has taken over one Manhattan shoe store, bringing SOFTlab’s signature parametric forms to the modern shoe brand, Melissa. The Soho store already grabbed design headlines when it opened its flagship location decked out in a custom-fabricated Corian interior by architecture firm Eight and Associated Fabrication. This latest design intervention is part of Melissa’s “We Are Flowers” campaign that used organic shapes and colors to inform its shoe line.

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Neutra and Alexander’s Orange Coast College buildings facing threat

Neutra and Alexander's Business Education Building (Les Katow)

Neutra and Alexander’s Business Education Building (Les Katow)

Here at AN we’ve seen our share of Richard Neutra tear downs in recent years. The latest possible victim is Neutra and Robert Alexander’s campus-wide buildings at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, which are being threatened by the school’s bond-supported Vision 2020 plan (pdf). If the plan passes the school could tear down the duo’s classrooms, library, business education building, and science wing, as well as extensive landscaping by famed landscape architect Garrett Eckbo, in favor of new buildings, an Urban Street, and a Grand Lawn. The undertaking would be largely funded by 2012’s $698 million Bond Measure R, and total about 250,000 square feet of new construction.

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Gensler Goes Hollywood with “Vertical Campus”

The 14-story Icon at Sunset Boulevard will house office space for creative and entertainment professionals. (Courtesy Gensler)

The 14-story Icon at Sunset Boulevard will house office space for creative and entertainment professionals. (Courtesy Gensler)

Hudson Pacific Properties is banking on the continued appeal of Hollywood office space with its Icon at Sunset Bronson Studios, a 14-story tower designed by Gensler. Targeting creative professionals, Icon reconfigured the suburban campus typology for an urban setting. Gensler associate Amy Pokawatana called the development a “vertical campus,” blending “work, relaxation, and recreation.” Part of a $150 million studio expansion, the project takes its cue from a six-story building the developer finished on the Sunset Gower Studios lot in 2008.  Read More

Design Trust For Public Space Announces Winners of its Public Space Competition

Awards, City Terrain, Urbanism
Thursday, July 31, 2014
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THE ENERGETIC CITY. (COURTESY DEUTSCH NY)

THE ENERGETIC CITY. (COURTESY DEUTSCH NY)

Last night, AN was over at the National Museum of the American Indian in Lower Manhattan, to hear the Design Trust for Public Space announce the winners of  Energetic City: Connectivity in the Public Realm—its open call for proposals to reimagine the city’s public space. Out of over 90 submissions that came from individuals, city agencies, and community groups, the jury selected four winning plans that should collectively include programming in all five boroughs.

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Nemaworkshop’s new interiors create mystery and intrigue at the W Mexico City

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W Mexico City (Courtesy nemaworkshop)

Mexico City‘s posh Polanco neighborhood is now home to the recently redesigned Living Rooms of the W Mexico City. Part of a larger $100 million campaign to update its hotels across North America, the W asked New York City–based nemaworkshop, a firm that has been known to—quite literally—turn design on its head, to bring a sense of mystery and illusion to the hotel’s common spaces.

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Port Authority asks store to stop selling merchandise with New York City skyline

The Twin Towers printed on Fishs Eddy's "212" collection. (Courtesy Fishs Eddy)

The Twin Towers printed on Fishs Eddy’s “212” collection. (Courtesy Fishs Eddy)

In what may or may not be performance art, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey—an organization charged with overseeing the region’s bridges, tunnels, and airports—recently told Fishs Eddy—a small home goods store in Manhattan—that printing a pre-9/11 New York City skyline rendered in cartoon-like drawings on its merchandise was of “great concern.” Specifically, the authority would like the store to immediately stop selling all mugs, plates, bowls, and dish towels that depict any of its “assets” including the Twin Towers, One World Trade Center, and even the tunnels Holland and Lincoln.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> Are You Gonna Go My Colorway? Lenny Kravitz designs a line of hardwood floors

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Lenny Kravitz. (Courtesy BR-111)

Lenny Kravitz married Lisa Bonet. Lenny Kravitz won a bunch of Grammys. Lenny Kravitz is a member of the Ordre des Artes et des Lettres in France. Lenny Kravitz has washboard abs. Lenny Kravitz sometimes wears high heels. Lenny Kravitz produced Madonna’s “Justify My Love.” Lenny Kravitz designs hardwood floors. The flooring company BR-111 has partnered with Kravitz Design to create a line of hardwood planks that “speaks to urban elegance with a masculine vibe like touches of dark woods,” according to a release. Lenny Kravitz’s hardwood is “sure to become the gold standard in flooring.”

West 8 unveils plans for massive park in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon

West Kowloon Cultural District (Courtesy West 8)

West Kowloon Cultural District (Courtesy West 8)

The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) has released concept images for their waterfront park in the West Kowloon Cultural District. Once installed, the park will be a breath of fresh air (both literally and figuratively) for residents in the urban sprawl of Hong Kong, China. Read More

With promise and pitfalls, Washington D.C.’s new Silver Line hopes to transform the suburbs

Tysons Corner station. (Flickr / tracktwentynine)

Tysons Corner station. (Flickr / tracktwentynine)

It finally happened. After decades of planning, five years of construction, and months of delays, Washington D.C.‘s brand-new Silver Metro line welcomed over 50,000 commuters for its opening weekend. The new 11.4-mile line, which includes five new stations, will ultimately connect the city to Dulles Airport in Virginia. That part of the line is scheduled to open in 2018. The Silver line, though, is more than an attempt to connect a city with its airport—it’s the latest, multi-billion dollar effort to expand a rail system, spur economic development, and create more walkable, pedestrian-friendly destinations. So, yes, it’s ambitious. And, yes, it was expensive. Continue reading after the jump.

Allied Works Carves a Winery Out of Cedar

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Allied Works Architecture wrapped Sokol Blosser Winery’s new tasting room in grey-stained cedar. (Jeremy Bittermann)

Allied Works Architecture wrapped Sokol Blosser Winery’s new tasting room in grey-stained cedar. (Jeremy Bittermann)

Textured wood envelope draws on the history and landscape of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

Sokol Blosser Winery‘s Willamette Valley tasting room, designed by Allied Works Architecture, pays homage to its agricultural surroundings in its massing and materials. Nestled within a set of terraces scooped out of the Dundee Hills, the building plants roots with a below-grade cellar, on top of which its long, low first story spreads like grape vines along a trellis. Both exterior and interior are wrapped in locally-sourced cedar siding—rough grey boards hung horizontally on the outside, smooth clear wood laid diagonally on the inside—whose regularity recalls aerial photographs of the vineyard. “We went with wood for a number of reasons,” explained principal Kyle Lommen. “There’s a history of wood in the agrarian architecture of that region. There’s a history of wood in wineries as well. And there was a desire to create an atmosphere that is warm and had a material quality.” Read More

How New York’s “Poor Door” was allowed to exist in the first place

40 Riverside's facade. (Courtesy Extell)

40 Riverside’s facade. (Courtesy Extell)

In the past week, those two words—”poor door”—have quickly come to signify the vast inequality embedded in New York City’s housing market. At issue is a separate entrance for tenants living in subsidized rental units in a luxury condo building on the Upper West Side known as 40 Riverside. The property, developed by Extell, was financed through the city’s inclusionary housing program, which grants a tax abatement and additional bulk to developers who include a certain portion of “affordable” units in a project.

Continue reading after the jump.

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