Reburbia Resolved

National
Thursday, August 20, 2009
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"FROG’S DREAM: McMansions Turned into Biofilter Water Treatment Plants," by Calvin Chiu

Judges of Dwell and inhabitat’s Reburbia competition split the difference between fantasy and pragmatism in picking winners out of last week’s 20 finalists.
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Sexy As Niemeyer?

East, East Coast
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
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For better or worse, the name says it all. (Courtesy sexybachelorpads.com)

For better or worse, the name says it all. (Courtesy sexybachelorpads.com)

The bachelor pad is one of those subspecies of residential design that continues to fascinate. Thanks to an abundance of classic examples, especially onscreen (post-war American cinema has spawned a rich tradition of apartments-as-aphrodisiac that stretches back at least as far as the Rock Hudson vehicle Pillow Talk), by now even the most slack-jawed junior hedge fund trader recognizes that the fairer sex is vulnerable to the charms of good interior design. But even with well-formed intentions (good or otherwise), the results can be disastrous when the aspiring lothario is left alone to try to match the pillows to the drapes. Anyone who’s ever been to a young finance guy’s place probably knows the model: a sprawling FiDi loft with a futon in one corner, a poster of the Bud Girls opposite the door, and a fridge empty save for a case each of Smirnoff Ice and citrus Vitamin Water. Fortunately (or unfortunately) there’s now a firm with these helpless guys in mind: Sexy Bachelor Pad. Read More

Eavesdrop CA 06

West
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
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Coming to Town: AIA/LA is looking to build a center for architecture like the one in New York. (Courtesy AIANY)

Coming to Town: AIA/LA is looking to build a center for architecture like the one in New York. (Courtesy AIANY)

PACKING UP CAMP
Now that Donald Fisher’s CAMP project in San Francisco is officially dead, talk is swirling about where the Gap founder’s art collection will go. The whispers have focused on one obvious suspect: SFMOMA, which has already begun planning a 100,000-square-foot expansion that could get even bigger. One rumor has it that the museum is talking to the city about acquiring an adjoining fire station and building a new one elsewhere in return, in order to offer the Fishers their own digs. SFMOMA director Neal Benezra coyly parried questions with the comment: “We welcome the opportunity to partner with the Fishers to find a home for their collection as part of an expanded SFMOMA campus.” Read More

Pulp Fiction

West
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
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City Hall

City Hall

He had my wrists now, instead of me having his. He twisted them behind me fast and a knee like a corner stone went into my back. He bent me. I can be bent. I’m not the City Hall.

Leave it to Raymond Chandler to come up with architectural descriptions that pack a wallop.  Excerpts of the taut prose that would define a whole genre of American fiction are brilliantly paired with Catherine Corman’s photographs of the L.A. of the 1930s and ’40s in her new book, Daylight Noir: Raymond Chandler’s Imagined City (Charta, $40). The evocative black-and-white images taken by Corman–who is the daughter of horror-movie maven Roger Corman–linger with great deliberation on architectural details like an arch or a building corner, turning each page into a world of suspense. With a poetic forward by Jonathan Lethem: “If architecture is fate, then it is Marlowe’s fate to enumerate the pensive dooms of Los Angeles, the fatal, gorgeous pretenses of glamour and ease…” Altogether, a thoroughly enjoyable way to “read” a building.

On Plastic Plants

Midwest
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
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(photos: Quincy Court by Scott Shigley, MoMA Rooftop by Peter Mauss/ESTO)

There is a lot to like about Chicago’s Quincy Court, an alley turned public space outside the Mies van der Rohe-designed Dirksen Federal Building that opened this summer. The General Services Administration (GSA) initiated the project to help beef up security around the federal campus, and they can certainly be praised for hiring a design firm to reimagine the space, in this case Rios Clementi Hale of Los Angeles, instead of just bolting a bunch of bollards into the ground. And while the design has a certain whimsy, which may appeal to some, we’re having a hard time getting over the giant plastic palms. Read More

Head of the Class

National
Monday, August 17, 2009
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Camino Nuevo High School, Los Angeles, California by Daly Genik (Photo: Tim Griffith)

Indian Community School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin by Antoine Predock Architect, PC (Photo: Timothy Hursley)

The AIA just announced the projects that received the highest marks in this year’s Educational Facility Design Awards, and they’re a diverse class – the 13 winners run the gamut from urban to rural, elementary to university, built to unbuilt.

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Pre-CAD: Architects With A Sketch Pad

West
Monday, August 17, 2009
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Frank Lloyd Wright, Cottage Studio for Ayn Rand, 1946

Rare drawings by major architects are on display at Edward Cella Art + Architecture, a new gallery at 6018 Wilshire Blvd, across from LACMA. Highlights include Frank Lloyd Wright’s sketch of an unrealized ocean-front house for Ayn Rand, the semiliterate guru of the loony right; a color pastel rendering by Richard Neutra of the Tremaine house in Montecito, and floor plans of the Empire State Building. Carlos Diniz, the LA illustrator, created a presentation drawing for Minoru Yamasaki, showing how tenants might exploit the unbroken floor plan to create an interior townscape. The most surprising feature of the exhibition is Berlin Underground, a suite of twenty drawings by Lebbeus Woods. Commisioned by the Aedes Gallery of Berlin in 1988, a year before the Wall came down, they imagined a subterranean link between the two halves of the divided city. Woods’ tortured vision evokes alien life, lurking beneath the surface and bursting into view at the Alexanderplatz. On view until October 10 and after the jump. Read More

Elevated Extensions

Midwest
Friday, August 14, 2009
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On Wednesday, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) approved a plan to extend the Red, Yellow, and Orange L lines. The vote clears the way for the CTA to pursue federal funding for the line extensions. Read More

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Americana goes prefab

West
Friday, August 14, 2009
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LA architects Taalman Koch have taken their prefab sensibility from projects like the Off Grid iT House in Pioneertown to, of all places, The Americana at Brand, Grove-developer Rick Caruso’s latest lifestyle center/historic town recreation/playland in Glendale. The project, created for marketing and event company Sparks Exhibitions, is a temporary demo space for the new Palm Pre on the Americana’s large central lawn. The 12×20 structure (with a 12×16 deck) was constructed in about 12 hours on site. It was made with aluminum framing, swiss pearl walls, galvanized steel roof, and redwood floors, all prefabricated off site and tested at Spark’s factory. “When it got to the Americana it was completely ready; we didn’t even need a tape measure,” said Taalman Koch principal Alan Koch. The structure’s next stop, on Monday, is The Grove itself, where it will stay for two weeks. Read More

Art On The Gridiron

National
Friday, August 14, 2009
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Mel Bochners Win! will be painted directly onto the walls opposite the monumental staircase in the northeastern portion of Dallas Cowboys Stadium. (Courtesy Marc Selwyn Fine Art)

Mel Bochner's Win! will be painted directly onto the walls opposite the monumental staircase in the northeastern portion of Cowboys Stadium. (Courtesy Marc Selwyn Fine Art)

Thirty-five years ago in Austin, Texas, Willie Nelson forged an historic accord between the hippies and the rednecks. Today, some 200 miles to the north in Arlington, Texas, Gene and Jerry Jones, owners of the Dallas Cowboys, are forming a similar pact, this time between the artists and the jocks. The Jones family has kicked off an ongoing initiative to commission contemporary artists to create site-specific installations for the newly completed Cowboys Stadium. The initial blitz of 14 works includes pieces by such art world luminaries as Franz Ackermann, Annette Lawrence, and Oafur Eliasson. See more after the jump.

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Fill it In, Trick it Out

National
Thursday, August 13, 2009
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Alexandros Tsolakis and Irene Shamma's futuristic airships.

Dwell and inhabitat’s REBURBIA competition last month drew hundreds of schemes for making the suburbs more sustainable, and now they want your votes to pick a “readers’ choice” winner from the 20 finalists. (The official winners will be picked next week by a jury, and featured in Dwell’s December/January issue). Read More

Autry Not Expanding Anymore

West
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
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The south elevation of Levin's plan

Plans for a $175 million expansion project for The Autry National Center of the American West in LA’s Griffith Park have been shelved. The expansion was proposed for the Autry’s Southwest Museum of the American Indian (the Center’s other two cultural facilities include the Museum of the American West, and the Institute for the Study of the American West). But according to the LA Times, its  approval hinged on the Autry making a commitment to support the museum as a fully functioning art institution. And in a letter delivered to members of the Los Angeles City Council today, the Autry stated that such a commitment “would be irresponsible” and that it was withdrawing its proposal. As pointed out by Curbed LA, the Autry had put forward a contemporary-style proposal by architect Brenda Levin last spring, which would basically have doubled the museum’s size, from 142,000 square feet to 271,000 square feet, including exhibition and visible storage space for the collection.  To see a walkthrough of the plans with Levin, visit here. The Autry says it will still care for the Southwest’s Native American art collection and historic building, and that they will convert Autry storage space into more galleries.

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