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Esquire Interviews Bjarke Ingels on the Google Headquarters, 2 World Trade Center and the NFL

This past February, BIG and Heatherwick Studio unveiled their designs for Google’s new Mountain View Headquarters in California. The project, which will be built by robots, faced sizeable critique, as well as site complications—that have since been resolved—over the past year. Now, as a part of Esquire’s 2015 Breakouts, Bjarke Ingels—founder of BIG—is speaking out about how the firm won the Google bid, and why the headquarters could create a new mold for Silicon Valley urbanism. Ingels goes on to discuss other major BIG projects, like 2 World Trade Center, and an upcoming NFL stadium. Read the full Esquire interview, here.

Film Screening: The Oyler House: Richard Neutra’s Desert Retreat

Join us for another portrayal of one of America’s greatest architects: Richard Neutra. The Oyler House: Richard Neutra’s Desert Retreat explores how Neutra, considered the “father of California Modern architecture,” came to befriend this modest small-town family and how he was inspired by the site’s stunning desert setting, which Neutra compared with the grandness of the mystical Gobi Desert.

10 Compete to Revitalize Los Angeles’ Oldest Park

Ten practices from around the world have been shortlisted in a competition that aims to transform Los Angeles' Pershing Square one of Southern California's top destinations. Located on a five-acre plot in the city's downtown, Pershing Square is Los Angeles' oldest park. Each semi-finalist has been challenged to develop proposals based off of experiences. A small selection of finalists will be selected in December to move on to the competition's final phase.  

The 10 semifinalists are:

Snøhetta's SFMOMA Expansion Nears Completion

Snøhetta's 10-story expansion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is nearing completion. As announced by SFMOMA, the "transformed" museum will reopen to the public on Saturday, May 14, 2016. Its new 235,000-square-foot addition (that nearly tripled SFMOMA's gallery space) was designed by Snøhetta to "weave" into the city and connect "seamlessly" to the museum's existing 225,000-square-foot building designed by Mario Botta

Bart Prince Renovates Home Based on the Owners’ Love of Math, Art and Geometry

Tucked away on a 1.3 acre lot, this house in Los Altos, California was renovated by Bart Prince -- transformed from a rectangular cabin into an eclectic combination of forms, inspired by the owners, Dale and Margo Seymour’s, love of math, art and geometry. The newly built structure is composed of steel and glulam, creating angular forms with generous glazing to create open, day-lit spaces. To navigate the California law that glass cannot be installed in non-vertical positions, an acrylic substitute was used for many of the home’s irregular windows.  

HOK Designs Apple's Newest Silicon Valley Campus

Plans for Apple's newest California "spaceship" has been unveiled. Named after its bordering streets, Central & Wolfe hopes to transform a 1970s office park in Sunnyvale into a "futuristic office campus." The 19 acre site, located just five miles from Apple's main Cupertino campus (currently underway), was designed by HOK and is currently under review.

If built, it will replace nine aging buildings with a clover-like design comprised of three interconnected structures - each rising six stories.

"Grassroots Cactivism": Using Cacti and Eco-Tourism to Combat Drought in California

Although global warming may only be partially to blame for California’s now four-year, record-breaking drought – intensifying it by 15 to 20 percent, say scientists – the long term implications of the weather phenomenon are a preview of a drier future with less predictable weather patterns.[1] As ecology and architecture begin to share responsibility in the implications of climate change, future solutions will need to balance architectural needs with ecological imperatives. Many designers are accounting for water scarcity in schemes for the drought-stricken state, but only recently have ideas addressed this issue head-on. “Grassroots Cactivism,” an award-winning proposal by Ali Chen, suggests that the drought-tolerant nopales cactus, with a variety of uses, is an ideal candidate for aiding water-conservation in California.

Read on for more about this biological breakthrough in water conservation.

Resort Cafe. Image Courtesy of Ali Chen Cacti Yard Aerial, Day. Image Courtesy of Ali Chen Cacti Pond, Water Treatment Tanks. Image Courtesy of Ali Chen Resort + Cacti Yard Aerial, Sunset. Image Courtesy of Ali Chen

Interview: Elizabeth Diller on the Design of The Broad in Los Angeles

The Broad has officially opened its doors in downtown Los Angeles. Taking four years to complete, the highly anticipated, 120,000-square-foot building houses a prominent collection of postwar and international contemporary art owned by billionaire philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad. During the press preview, VernissageTV caught up with the building's architect, Elizabeth Diller of Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, to gain a better understanding of The Broad's “veil over the vault" concept. 

LOHA’s WATERshed Reimagines and Reactivates the LA River

Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA) has designed a speculative system of interventions for the Los Angeles River that “examines the relationship between urbanization and water use to develop new models of densification that recognize and tap into existing ecological and infrastructural patterns.” Called WATERshed, the design is part of the A+D Museum’s ongoing “Shelter: Rethinking How We Live in Los Angeles” exhibition that explores new typologies of housing in Los Angeles.

With their model for urban regeneration, LOHA hopes to address issues like the ongoing California drought, as well as the United Nation’s prediction that by 2030, nearly half of the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress. Thus, the plan utilizes the Los Angeles River as a resource for water use and management in order to provide a path for sustainable growth in Los Angeles, and an example for other cities.

River Bridge Cap Bladder House Site section Transit Hub

Video: Enter the Ethereal Spaces of Los Angeles' Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels

A soaring contemporary space for the divine, The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels opened to the public in 2002. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Spanish architect Rafael Moneo, the Roman Catholic cathedral is a monument to the successes of postmodernism deep in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. The cathedral features modernist decoration, from angular wooden pews to steel chandeliers complete with blown glass orbs, and can host up to 3,000 visitors in its sunlight spaces with ample outdoor space in the adjacent gardens and plaza.

Rafael Viñoly to Add World's Largest Green Roof to Former Shopping Mall in California

Rafael Viñoly and OLIN have unveiled plans to transform Cupertino's Vallco Shopping Mall into a new mixed-use neighborhood that boasts the "world's largest green roof." The current plans call for a 15-block sustainable town center with 625,000-square-feet of retail, two-million-square-feet of office space and 800 residential units. All this, if approved, would be topped by a 30 acre public green space with a 3.8 mile trail network that runs through orchards, vineyards, an amphitheater and play areas.

The Tranquility of Louis Kahn's Salk Institute

Watching the sunrise over Louis Kahn's Salk Institute for Biological Sciences is arguably one of architecture's most transformative experiences. The famous building has become an emblem of tranquility in architecture thanks to its tremendous location in San Diego, California, a quality enhanced by the carefully planned symmetrical vistas overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Built in 1962 and declared a national historic landmark in 1991, Kahn designed the complex to express an underlying sense of spiritualism, fusing influences from both the International Style and Brutalism anchored by a gently flowing river through the center of the design. Filmmaker-photographer Chang Kim explored the Salk Institute as a part of his series on influential Californian architecture, providing an opportunity to virtually experience the iconic institute.

Michael Maltzan Architecture Designs Dynamic Public Plaza for the Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Michael Maltzan Architecture has been selected to renovate the outdoor space at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County, California to create the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza. In hopes of transforming the site into more of a “dynamic town square,” the new plaza design will be centered on a multipurpose outdoor stage, which will act as a “site for visitor engagement.”

VIDEO: Apple Campus 2 Begins to Take Shape

Overlapped with commentary by the late Steve Jobs, a new video update by drone pilot Duncan Sinfield has captured Apple Campus 2 taking shape. According to the report on MacRumors, work is still being done on the main building's multi-level underground parking structure, while the west campus parking structure is nearly complete. The auditorium now has interior walls and progress is being made on the Tantau development housing research facilities. 

Images Revealed of Frank Gehry's “Gateway to Sunset Strip”

Gehry Partners, alongside Townscape Partners, has unveiled plans to redefine the "gateway" to California's Sunset Strip. A cluster of five distinct, Gehry-esque structures, the mixed-use proposal is one of several design alternatives that have been proposed by Townscape for the site. If built, it would include two residential buildings, featuring a mix of rental and for-sale apartments, along with retail, entertainment programs, and public gathering spaces.

Leong Leong to Design New Mixed-Use Campus for Los Angeles LGBT Center

Leong Leong has been chosen over four others to masterplan and design the Los Angeles LGBT Center's new mixed-use site in Hollywood, California. The Los Angeles-based practice will design a new 183,700-square-foot building that, together with the Center's existing facility across the street, will form a block-wide campus that will include a unique mix of 140 affordable housing units, 100 beds for homeless youth, a new senior center and a center for homeless youth, as well as a new administrative headquarters and cultural arts center. 

Lecture & Panel Discussion: "Building Paradise in California"

Lecture, presentation and panel discussion on the newly published book “Building Paradise in California” about the role that David and Mary Gamble played in creating their winter home and garden with the famed Greene brothers.

Walt Disney to Bring Star Wars to Life

Walt Disney has unveiled the company's largest single theme land expansion ever: Star Wars Land. An extraterrestrial land of humanoids, aliens, and droids, the 14-acre development is expected to be built at Orlando, Florida's Disney World and Anaheim, California's Disneyland by 2020.

Nearby in Los Angeles, rumors are saying Star Wars director George Lucas may consider building his self-titled museum there, rather than in Chicago where Lucas is facing fierce opposition over his MAD museum design (more on that here). 

Read on to see more images of Star Wars Land and to watch the unveiling of the project.