After years of trying, it looks like SCI-Arc is finally going to own its building in Downtown LA’s Arts District. According to the school the project should close escrow before this May. According to blogdowntown, the school will pay $23.1 million for the 100,000-square-foot building and its surrounding 4.75 acre lot. The deal had been held up because of property owner Meruelo Maddux’s continuing bankruptcy, but the company just settled with its debtor, Legendary Investors Group, which has pledged to honor the deal. “We don’t want to be renters anymore. SCI-Arc is absolutely committed to downtown,” SCI-Arc director Eric Owen Moss told AN when recently discussing the project. Interesting facts about the building: The quarter-mile-long Santa Fe Train Depot was converted into the school’s campus in 2000. Built in 1907, the depot was designed by Harrison Albright. At 1,250 feet long, if it were upended, it would be as tall as the Empire State Building.
How do you solve the problem of wildlife crossing a major highway? Build a bridge! On Sunday, the NY Times reported that Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates (MVVA) was named winner of an innovative competition to build a wildlife crossing over a Colorado highway. Together with construction company HNTB, the team’s design calls for a lightweight precast span that will improve animal and driver safety as well as help reduce habitat fragmentation.
Last night, the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) took a giant step forward after 44 years of contentious debate. Community Board 3′s Land Use, Zoning, Public and Private Housing Committee approved guidelines for development of the city-owned land at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge.
Could this be the future of architectural photography? The LA Times this weekend published a wonderful virtual tour of Ray Kappe’s own house on a heavily wooded lot in the Palisades. Thanks to huge glass walls, skylights, clerestories, floating interior planes and cantilevered wooden decks, trellises and platforms, the house appears to float over its sloping site.
It’s truly one of the most spectacular houses ever built. And the tours of its facade, main room, kitchen, and deck do it more justice than any two dimensional pictures could. Now if only Kappe could get more props himself. When is he gonna win a Pritzker already?
New York firm Stephan Jaklitsch Architects (SJA) has completed the latest jewel box on Tokyo‘s premiere shopping street, the Omotesando-dori in the Aoyama shopping district. The richly textured Marc Jacobs flagship store is comprised of three masses each of glass, stone, and perforated metal, the latter two appearing to float above the sidewalk.
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Carchitecture. What happens when you hire Herzog & de Meuron to design your parking garage? People suddenly begin to push out the cars. That seems to be the case in Miami Beach according to a NY Times article on the upscale soirees and and tourists that have become common place in the uncommon structure.
Now THIS is what we call a hotel. On March 4 interior designer Tracy Beckmann and furniture maker Ryan Trowbridge will open the Hotel Lautner: their painstaking renovation of John Lautner’s Desert Hot Springs (CA) Motel, originally built in 1947, and still one of Lautner’s masterpieces. We stumbled upon the renovation this weekend on a trip to Palm Springs and bring you the details.
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Coffee Break. A fourteen-foot tall neon sign that has been removed from the Knoxville, TN skyline after 50 years is undergoing restoration but needs a new home. Preservation magazine has the story and Knox Heritage has more info on their sign restoration program.
DesigNYC, an organization that pairs nonprofits with designers, has announced its matches for the coming year. The teams applied individually for consideration last fall and were selected by a jury drawn from desigNYC’s leadership (a high-powered group of New York-based architects, designers and thinkers–check out the list here).
Yesterday the new crop of designers, who offer their services pro bono, met their designated nonprofits and designNYC advisors at a kick-off event at the Art Director’s Club in Manhattan.
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What a view. Curbed uncovered a few renderings of the planned restaurant at Brooklyn Bridge Park including the view from its rooftop terrace (Hey, where’d the Beekman 8 Spruce Tower run off to?). There’s currently an RFP out until January 25 for a restaurant operator to fill the already partially-built concrete and wood structure.
Walmart has been trying to expand into cities like New York and Washington, D.C. for a while now sparking debate about big box retail in urban centers along the way. To find space, Walmart will likely have to abandon the supercenter in favor of a more petite space, but slimming down to a mere 3,500 square feet sounds pretty extreme.