The PUC Building on 525 Golden Gate Ave, home of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, could have been just another government administrative building. But, the City and County of San Francisco, along with KMD Architects, embraced the design challenge of achieving LEED Silver status. Now nearing completion, the building is expected to exceed LEED Platinum requirements and has been dubbed the greenest building of its kind. The architects had humble goals for the architecture as well, which included creating an “urban room” among the civic buildings in the area, creating a healthy and pleasant environment in the interior workplace to promote performance, efficiency and comfort, and represent the best value possible for the city and county of San Francisco. Join us after the break for more.
Metro officials have released six conceptual visions that suggest how the historic Los Angeles Union Station could be transformed by 2050. Preliminary “Vision Boards” were released in a public forum at Union Station last week, and although they are not part of the formal evaluation process, they have ignited an immense amount of public interest in the competition. In an article posted on The Source, Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa described that this competition is “about preparing for the future.” As plans for the California High-Speed Rail System evolve, it is imperative that Union Station is redeveloped to meet the standards of a 21st century transportation hub. Continue after the break to view each Vision Board provided by the six well-known practices shortlisted for the competition.
MATT Construction is utilizing an innovative new slab technology called BubbleDeck, which replaces a significant percentage of a slab’s concrete mass with hollow or foam-filled plastic balls, made from recycled plastic material. The Teaching and Learning Building at Harvey Mudd College (HMC), designed by Boora Architects with structural engineering provided by kpff, will be the first above-ground building in the United States to employ the technology. HMC has enthusiastically embraced this project on their campus. More images and project description after the break.
The American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles Chapter recently announced their 10th Annual 2×8 Student Exhibition which features a display of 16 of the major architectural school programs in California. Although based in LA, they have extended their invitations to the region and are opening the door to more schools. Taking place at the A+D Museum, each of the participating academic programs selects two projects that exemplify its core vision. The students’ design work will be judged by a noteworthy panel of architects and designers. The panel will then announce the winners at the exhibition opening and convene in a forum to discuss the award-winning projects. The exhibition will be on view from June 5 till June 30. For more information, please visit here. More images of past exhibitions can be viewed after the break.
Founder and principal of Studio Gang Architects, Jeanne Gang, FAIA, LEED AP, will be delivering a lecture at LACMA on May 8th at 7:30pm. Reveal, the first volume on Studio Gang’s projects and processes, was released in 2011 from Princeton Architectural Press. Recent projects include a proposal reimagining the suburb of Cicero, Illinois, as a part of MoMA’sexhibition Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream; Reverse Effect, a book intended to explore and spark a radically greener future for the Chicago River and Great Lakes; Aqua Tower, an Emporis Skyscraper of the Year; and Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, an educational project demonstrating how nature and city can coexist. The event is presented by LACMA and organized by Francesca Garcia-Marques, with an introduction by Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times architecture critic. For more details and information on the event, please visit here.
The project by Morris Architects for a new information technology and media center for Santa Monica Community College in California includes 12,000 square feet of new space and approximately 6,000 square feet of renovation to the existing campus library. The college currently has an enrollment of 30,000 students and is experiencing rapid growth that requires a major upgrade to its current information technology department and computing infrastructure. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Future Cities Lab’s HYDRAMAX Port Machines project, which is currently on exhibit at SFMOMA until July 29, proposes a radical rethinking of San Francisco’s urban waterfront post sea-level rise. The proposal renders the existing hard edges of the waterfront as new “soft systems” that would include aquatic parks, community gardens, wildlife refuges and aquaponic farms. A synthetic architecture is introduced that blurs the distinction between building, landscape, infrastructure and machine. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Breaking Ground: Chinese American Architects in Los Angeles (1945-1980) at the Chinese American Museum (CAM) is an exhibition that focuses on four Chinese American architects that have transformed parts of Los Angeles with iconic buildings and distinct design styles. The work will be on display until June 3rd 2012 and feature architects such as Eugene Choy, Gilbert Leong, Helen Liu Fong and Gin Wong. Breaking Ground is part of Pacific Standard Time, a collaboration created by Getty in which sixty cultural institutions will tell the story of the birth of LA art scene over the course of six months beginning October 2011. Breaking Ground at CAM LA tells the story of the skyline and the changing built environment through the perspective the four prominent Chinese American Architects. More after the break.
Pedro E. Guerrero: Photographs of Modern Life at Woodbury University Hollywood Gallery (WUHO) is on view through April 25. The show is the first extensive exhibition on the West Coast of Guerrero’s career as an architectural photographer. Curated by Anthony Fontenot and Emily Bills, JSI director, Pedro E. Guerrero: Photographs of Modern Life will highlight the diversity of Guerrero’s subjects taken over seven decades. During that time, he captured the architecture of Marcel Breuer, Philip Johnson, Edward Durell Stone and Eero Saarinen. His wide ranging work included portraits of architects as well as commercial work for House & Garden, Vogue, the New York Times Magazine and Architectural Record. He is perhaps best known for his close relationship with Frank Lloyd Wright. The exhibition will feature Guerrero’s illuminating portraits of Wright, including twelve photographs of the architect’s hands demonstrating the difference between organic and conventional architecture at the Plaza Hotel in New York. Continue reading for more.
For architecture students, the Modern Movement is typically the most recent and most defined architectural style movement that history classes focus on. We appreciate the architects and artists of that time and respond to their buildings and ideas with reverence. Despite our appreciation for the buildings that came out of this era, conservation methods are meeting new challenges in conserving these buildings that have not aged well as they have reached their 50-year heritage protection eligibility. This is where the Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI) comes in. A “comprehensive, long-term, and international program” that is part of the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI). CMAI aims to enhance conservation methods that in response to these aging buildings and create a knowledge data base of training programs and publications that reflect the advancement of these strategies. More on the GCI and its initiative after the break.
If you are in the Bay Area this weekend, we recommend you stop in at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and check out their current exhibit The Utopian Impulse: Buckminster Fuller and the Bay Area. This exhibition is the first of its kind, featuring Buckminster Fuller’s most iconic projects as well a focus on his local design legacy in the Bay Area. Though he was never a resident, Fuller’s ideas inspired many local experiments in the realms of technology, engineering and sustainability. Continue reading for more information.
After remaining on hold since 2005, the General Services Administration (GSA) has reinstated plans to construct a new U.S. Courthouse in downtown LA. The 3.7 acre dirt lot at 107 South Broadway, down the street from Morphosis’ Caltrans building, LA’s City Hall, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, has remained dormant since 2007; shortly after the GSA abandoned Perkins + Will’s estimated $1.1 billion conceptual design due to rising costs. Now, plans for the courthouse have been scaled back and the GSA has just released the shortlisted teams competing of the project. Continue reading after the break to see who made the cut.
“White”, a gallery installation produced by the 20 students of Studio 400, a fifth-year architectural design studio at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, served to present each of the student’s research books. The installation was designed, developed, fabricated, and installed by the studio in a collaborative effort. The students developed the design over a period of about a month, with fabrication and installation occurring over a five day period. 80,000 square feet of plastic sheeting was sliced, loomed, woven, stapled, taped and tied to provide a climbable and malleable surface in the 4,500 square foot gallery. “White” supported a variety of interactive experiences above and below this dynamic surface, opening and exploring the relationships between book, user, material, space, and collective group. More images and the studio’s description after the break.
Based on 2010 Census results, the nation’s most densely populated urbanized area is Los Angeles/Anaheim/Long Beach, California, with nearly 7,000 people per square mile. Surprised? Not only did the Los Angeles area rank first, but of the ten most densely populated urbanized areas, nine are in the West, with seven of those in California. Continue reading for more.
Studio E Architects faced a compelling challenge when designing the first phase UC Davis West Village, which opened last October in California’s upper Central Valley. Experiencing moderate winters, warm summers, prevailing winds and moderate rainfall within the heart of former agricultural fields, the new addition to UC Davis was to be a net-zero facility. Serving as the largest of its kind and a model for campus communities and environmentally conscious urbanism. That is sustainable and community oriented. The program required 123 units of student apartments in one, two and three-bedroom configurations, 45,000 square feet of ground level commercial space all of which would emulate the central park space in downtown Davis and become the heart of West Village. Follow us after the break to see the sustainable solutions that Studio E Architects came up with!
Exhibited from April 6 – Mary 13, the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) is pleased to present “Towards Comfo-Veg,” a large scale, site-specific installation designed for the SCI-Arc Gallery by architect and artist Peter Cook and partner Gavin Robotham of London-based CRAB Studio. Building on CRAB’s internationally recognized experimental work, Towards Comfo-Veg introduces an almost completely light-tight, multimedia experiential space welcoming visitors through a single point of entry and leading towards hints of an invented and dreamlike world. More information after the break.
U.S. Department of Energy has announced the date and location of the 2013 Solar Decathlon. Appearing for the first time outside of Washington D.C., the highly anticipated competition will take place in 2013 from October 3rd through the 13th at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. Launched in 2002, the biennial event will challenge twenty collegiate teams to design, build and operate a solar-powered house that is cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. Participants are judged by their ability to blend affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. Continue reading after the break for more information and the complete list of the 2013 teams.
DO|SU Studio Architecture shared with us their architectural research installation, titled ‘Bloom,’ displayed at the Materials and Application Gallery in Los Angeles. The project acts as a sun tracking instrument indexing time and temperature, with a shape alluding to a woman’s Victorian-era under garment, ‘Bloom’ to stitch together material experimentation, structural innovation, and computational form and pattern making into an environmentally responsive form. The project is especially designed for peak performance on spring equinox, March 20, 2012. More images and architects’ description after the break.