Mark Zuckerberg Praises Frank Gehry: “He’s Very Efficient”

Early building model inside the completed headquarters. Image Image via Mark Zuckerberg

After Facebook began its move into its new Frank Gehry-designed headquarters last week, founder Mark Zuckerberg has praised his architect for his work. In a post on his personal Facebook page yesterday, Zuckerberg shares the story of how Gehry he initially turned down Gehry’s request to design the project, saying that “even though we all loved his architecture… We figured he would be very expensive and that would send the wrong signal about our culture.”

But Frank Gehry persisted, saying that he would match any bids the company received. As a result, Zuckerberg has now praised Gehry – in a somewhat uncharacteristic description of the architect – for being “very efficient.”

Read Zuckerberg’s full statement, after the break.

Video: RNT Architects’ “New Gateway” to San Diego City College

Watch RNT Architects discuss The Quad, their new Business, Arts & Humanities building for San Diego City College in this short video from Breadtruck Films. The result of seven years of “doing the drawings…watching the construction… building the volumes and the spaces,” The Quad brings together two faculties that are “different in purpose and function differently” to create a “place for learning and social interaction.”

In this video Principal Ralph Roesling and Associate and project architect Jeremy Joyce discuss materiality and character, and their deliberate creation of a building “intended to last.”

“Inspiration is a complex thing,” said Joyce, “It’s difficult to define how to create an inspirational space. Every corner you turn you’re going to be inspired and hopefully come up with a great idea.”

Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive to Open in 2016

Courtesy of UC Regents. Rendering by

As construction continues on its new home across from the UC Berkeley campus, the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is finalizing plans for its first Architecture of Life - in this location. The curvilinear structure, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro with EHDD as executive architect, fuses old and new, outfitting what was the UC Berkeley printing plant with modern exhibition space, offices, and theaters to make it a focal point in Berkeley’s downtown arts district.

More on the $112 million project after the break.

Facebook Moves into New Headquarters with the “Largest Open Floor Plan in the World”

Earlier today, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted an announcement onto his own Facebook page that the company had moved into its brand new, 430,000-square foot Frank Gehry-designed headquarters. In the post, Zuckerberg offers a photo of the building from above, showing off its 9 acre green roof, with a promise of interior images – of what is essentially the building’s giant, single room – “once we’re fully unpacked.”

That interior, enough for 2,800 of Facebook employees plus room for growth, also played host to some of Instagram’s most popular photographers to preview the space – see a selection of their images after the break.

Frank Gehry to Redesign the “Gateway to Sunset Strip”

AD Classics: Walt Disney Concert Hall / Frank Gehry. Image © , LLP

An overlooked strip mall at the corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights boulevards will soon be replaced by a mixed-use, walkable community designed by Frank Gehry. Known to be the “gateway to the Sunset Strip,” the West site will be comprised of 249 apartments, restaurants, retail storefronts and a central plaza – all within “an environmentally sensitive building that complements and contributes to the historic architecture in the neighborhood.”

“Frank Gehry’s deep understanding of the property, its history and the context will elevate the project to the iconic and timeless status that it deserves,” said Townscape partner and project developer Tyler Siegel.

See BIG & Heatherwick’s Design for Google’s California Headquarters

© Google / BIG /

Images have been unveiled of BIG and Heatherwick Studio’s design for Google’s Mountain View headquarters. The plan, submitted to city council today, proposes to redevelop and expand the company’s home office with a series of lightweight canopy-like structures organized within a flexible landscape of bicycle paths and commercial opportunities for local companies. 

“It’s the first time we’ll design and build offices from scratch and we hope these plans by Bjarke Ingels at BIG and Thomas Heatherwick at Heatherwick Studio will lead to a better way of working,” says Google. “The idea is simple. Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas… Large translucent canopies will cover each site, controlling the climate inside yet letting in light and air. With trees, landscaping, cafes, and bike paths weaving through these structures, we aim to blur the distinction between our buildings and nature.”

A video about the design and a statement from Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick, after the break. 

Google Taps BIG and Heatherwick to Design New California Headquarters

Image: Bjarke Ingels and

The City of is expected to receive a massive proposal from the city’s largest employer; reports confirm that Google has enlisted Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Heatherwick Studio to design its new California headquarters. With the few details released, it is unclear if the proposal plans to update the company’s existing 3.1 million-square-foot Googleplex or replace it. However, as the New York Times reports, the proposal will boast a “series of canopy-like buildings” on a campus organized around bicycle and pedestrian paths.

This means Google is now joining a list of powerful corporations who have enlisted world-renowned architects to design their California headquarters, including Apple’s Foster + Partners-designed “spaceship” and Facebook’s Gehry-Esque 10-acre “room.” If approved, Google will shift its focus on new housing, ensuring there is enough living space within Mountain View to accommodate its growing workforce (a topic of concern for many residents).

The proposal will be submitted to the city this Friday. Take a look at the company’s existing Mountain View headquarters, after the break.

“A Kit of Parts”: Mobile Classrooms by Studio Jantzen

Courtesy of

In partnership with VS Furniture,  Los Angeles-based Studio Jantzen have released images and concept material of their reconceptualization of the mobile classroom.

“A Kit of Parts” addresses what Studio Jantzen identifies as the four main shortcomings of mobile classrooms currently on the market: flexibility, sustainability, cost effectiveness, and creative construction. Read more about the project and view selected images after the break.

Video: The Northparker / Jonathan Segal

“The beauty of [architecture] is the payoff. That building has created a better place for people to live and a better lifestyle for people.” A mixed use building that brings together craft beer, street tacos and modern housing,  developer Jonathan Segal‘s “The Northparker” has helped transform the once blighted area Northpark into one of San Diego‘s most up-and-coming neighborhoods. Breadtruck Films shares just how a single building created community and changed a city in the video above.

Jon Jerde, California Architect Known for Reinventing the Shopping Center, Dies at 75

Universal CityWalk. Image © Casey Sayre

Jon Jerde, FAIA, founder of The Jerde Partnership, has died at 75. The -based American architect has left his mark in more than 100 urban places worldwide, many of which embody Jerde’s signature ideas of the multi-level mall. Placing high priority on outdoor walking and gathering areas, Jerde’s reimagining of the shopping mall experience in the 1970s put him on the map. “He blew open the shopping mall and transformed it into a lively urban environment which attracts people, lots of people,” Richard Weinstein, the former dean of UCLA’s school architecture and urban planning, once said.

Jerde’s best known projects include Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles, Horton Plaza in San Diego and Canal City Hakata, located in Fukuoka, Japan, as well as his work behind the 1984 Olympic Games. Read Jerde’s complete , here.

Redesigning Los Angeles For Long-Term Drought

Los Angeles River (2013). Image © Flickr CC User Steve Lyon

With many of the world’s cities combating , it is apparent that channeling water away from populated areas with no intended use is not sustainable. Cities are depending on their “precious rain water” more than ever and, as Arid Lands Institute co-founder Hadley Arnold says, “the ace in our species pocket is the ability to innovate.” We need to “build cities like sponges,” starting with permeable hardscape, drought-tolerant landscaping and smarter plumbing. See what NPR has to say about issue of water treatment and Los Angeles, here.

George Lucas May Reconsider Los Angeles as Potential Home of Self-Titled Museum

Courtesy of Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts

Concerns regarding the environmental sensitivity of George Lucas’ proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago has caused the project to halt, and may even prevent it from being realized. According to a suit filed against the museum by the Friends of the Parks, environmentalists believe that the “mountainous” lakefront proposal, designed by MAD Architects, will disrupt the site’s ecosystem.

As reported by the Times, Lucas’ hasn’t given up on Chicago yet. However, considering that Lucas wants to see the museum built within his lifetime, the 70-year-old Star Wars director is starting to reconsider a University of Southern California (USC) campus site in .

Hélène Binet: Fragments of Light

Firminy C, architecture by Le Corbusier, 2007, digital b-w silver gelatin print. Courtesy of ammann gallery. Image © Hélène Binet

In the wake of her selection as the recipient of the Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography Award for 2015, Hélène Binet‘s work will be exhibited at the Woodbury University (WUHO) Gallery in , California. The exhibition, entitled Hélène Binet: Fragments of Light, will be open from February 28, 2015 to March 29, 2015, showcasing the highlights of the artist’s career as a renowned architectural photographer. The exhibition will be initiated with an opening reception and award ceremony on February 28, 2015 to honor Binet for her achievements. 

64North to Construct “Sparkling” Palo Alto Pedestrian Bridge Over Highway 101

Courtesy of the City of

64 North, HNTB Engineering, Bionic Landscape Architecture and sculptor Ned Kahn have been chosen by the City of Palo Alto to realized a new bicycle and pedestrian bridge over the 14-lane Highway 101 at Adobe Creek. Their winning proposal, “Confluence” will connect residential and commercial areas in south Palo Alto to the Baylands Nature Preserve and the regional Bay Trail network.

Read on for more information and a video about the design. 

California Breaks Ground on America’s First High Speed Rail

Proposed Statewide Alignment Map. Image Courtesy of Rail LA

California has broke ground on America’s first high-speed rail line in Fresno, six years after voters first approved an almost $10 billion bond act to fund the project. However, along with celebrations comes skepticism; according to an NPR report, fears of the project’s failure have risen due to the rail line only having a fifth of its funding and that its nearly three-hour journey will still take longer than a flight connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco. Despite this, supporters are optimistic that the line will be up and running by 2030. The state will be relying on private investment and revenue from the state’s greenhouse-gas fees to secure the remaining $55 billion needed to complete the $68 billion project.

How a Le Corbusier Design Helped Define the Architecture of Southern California

© Elizabeth Daniels

We all know that in architecture, few things are truly original. Architects take inspiration from all around them, often taking ideas from the designs of others to reinterpret them in their own work. However, it’s more rare that a single architectural element can be borrowed to define the style of an entire region. As uncovered in this article, originally published by Curbed as “Le Corbusier’s Forgotten Design: SoCal’s Iconic Butterfly Roof,” this is exactly what happened to , who – despite only completing one building in the US - still had a significant impact on the appearance of the West Coast.

Atop thousands of homes in the warm western regions of the United States are roofs that turn the traditional housetop silhouette on its head. Two panels meet in the middle of the roofline and slope upward and outward, like butterfly wings in mid-flap. This similarity gave the “butterfly roof” its name, and it is a distinct feature of post-war American residential and commercial architecture. In Hawaii, Southern California, and other sun-drenched places, the butterfly roofs made way for high windows that let in natural light. Homes topped with butterfly roofs seemed larger and more inviting.

Credit for the butterfly roof design often goes to architect William Krisel. He began building single-family homes with butterfly rooflines for the Alexander Construction Company, a father-son development team, in Palm Springs, California, in 1957. The Alexander Construction Company, mostly using Krisel’s designs, built over 2,500 tract homes in the desert. These homes, and their roofs, shaped the desert community, and soon other architects and developers began building them, too—the popularity of Krisel’s Palm Springs work led to commissions building over 30,000 homes in the Southland from San Diego to the San Fernando Valley.

The Broad Reveals Its Honeycomb “Veil”

© Gary Leonard

The final exterior scaffolding has been removed from Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s “The Broad” in downtown Los Angeles, revealing its distinctive honeycomb-like “veil.” Comprised of 2,500 fiberglass reinforced concrete panels and 650 tons of steel, the structural exoskeleton “drapes” over the building’s interior “vault,” lifting at its south and north corners to provide two street-level entrances. At its side, the veil is torn by a central “oculus” that provides a direct visual connection between the museum and Grand Avenue.

will be porous and absorptive, channeling light into its public spaces and galleries. The veil will play a role in the urbanization of Grand Avenue by activating two-way views that connect the museum and the street,” described Liz Diller.

Artist Uses Gehry’s Concert Hall as Canvas in LA Philharmonic Concert Series

The first week of December marked the beginning of the LA Philharmonic’s concert series. The multimedia series will incorporate video images playing in sync with the performance, creating an immersive new way to experience the music for concert-goers. The first of these performances was the collaborative work of conductor Esa-pekka Salonen and artist Refik Anadol in an audio-visual rendition of Edgard Varèse’s Amériques. Using audio analysis and Kinect motion capture software to record Salonen’s movements while conducting, Anadol has created a stunning set of moving images that capture the very spirit of Varèse’s work. Learn more about this fascinating project, after the break.