Competing Utopias: An Experimental Installation of Cold War Modern Design from East and West in One Context

Poster Design: David Hartwell, 2014

Competing Utopias is a design collision that should never happen. But somehow, in Los Angeles, in 2014, twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it will.

This installation is a ‘mash-up’ in the most provocative sense of that word. Its force comes from the collision of two design cultures that have been kept apart but have been visually connected in ways yet unexamined. What’s proposed is an experimental installation that presents Cold War modern design from East and West in one context.

Competing Utopias is organized by two Los Angeles institutions: the Neutra VDL Studio and Residences and the Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War, each a different type of museum. The Neutra House is an iconic Los Angeles mid-century modern house museum, designed by Austrian born American architect Richard Neutra. The Wende Museum is the largest archive of Cold War artifacts in the world. Both ‘institutions’ originated in German speaking Europe, both subsequently landed in Los Angeles. Their collections embody two forks of a Cold War history.

Title: Competing Utopias: An Experimental Installation of Cold War Modern Design from East and West in One Context
Website: http://neutra-vdl.org/site/competing_utopias.asp?514201404423
From: Fri, 11 Jul 2014 
Until: Sun, 14 Sep 2014
Venue: Neutra VDL Research House
Address: 2300 Silver Lake Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039,

New Video (and Images) Reveal Original Intent Behind Apple Campus 2

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UPDATE: Did you know that Apple Campus 2 will be solely powered by renewable energy? Also, 80 percent of its 176-acre campus will be entirely dedicated to green space. Watch the newly released Norman Foster interview (above) to learn more about the project’s sustainable features, as well as details about Steve Job’s original inspiration. The following news was originally published as “New Images Released of Apple’s Recently Approved Cupertino Campus” on November 13, 2013. 

Shortly after the approval of Apple’s new corporate headquarters in Cupertino, never-before-seen images have emerged to reveal a glimpse into the campus’ massive, 2.8 million square foot “mothership” and its surrounding facilities.

Provided by the City of Cupertino and released by Wired, the images depict just what Steve Job’s hoped for: a world-class, state-of-the-art office campus that promotes innovation through vibrant communal spaces and healthy employee amenities. From the net-positive main building to a private, subterranean auditorium placed within a forested, California-native landscape by , the -designed Apple Campus 2 has the potential to be, as Job’s believed, “the best office building in the world.”

A collection of the newly released renderings, after the break…

Exhibition: Bowlarama: California Bowling Architecture, 1954-1964

Holiday Bowl / © Jack Laxer

Text by Isaac Wilhelm:

“Patrons of the A+D Architecture and Design Museum Los Angeles may want to consider wearing comfortable socks to view the new exhibit Bowlarama: California Bowling Architecture 1954-1964, on display from April 11, 2014, through May 11, 2014. Providing a deeper appreciation for the family heirloom bowling trophy on the fire mantle, the exhibit showcases the architecture of bowling in the 1950s. The retro design style and obsession with the sport of bowling at this time generated a desire for architecturally intriguing bowling centers. 

Commonly open 24 hours a day in the 1950s, bowling centers incorporated features such as fine restaurants, cocktail lounges, and live entertainment. The projects of this exhibit are not about the sport of bowling or the centers, but rather the culture that emerged. Do not contemplate how many lanes are in the exhibit’s bowling centers, but instead imagine the blonde beauty sitting at the cocktail bar sipping on a martini during the local men’s league championship tournament.”

Title: Exhibition: Bowlarama: California Bowling Architecture, 1954-1964
Website: https://aplusd.org/exhibitions-future/bowlarama
From: Fri, 11 Apr 2014 
Until: Sun, 11 May 2014 
Venue: Architecture and Design Museum
Address: 6032 Wilshire Boulevard, , CA 90036, USA

Exhibition: In Between Projects / PRODUCTORA

The architectural firm PRODUCTORA, based in Mexico City, is presenting 9 unbuilt projects that have a clear relation to geometry and mathematical composition. Large-scale models, made in collaboration with students at Woodbury University are presented together with black and white CAD drawing that clarify the main conceptual aspect of the building. 

The simple positioning of the framed drawings, renderings and wooden models on the exhibition floor, avoids all museographic rhetoric and presents the work as autonomous objects in space. The title ‘In Between Projects’ relates to the ongoing development of a common formal vocabulary that underlies the circumstantial aspects of each individual project. This exploration is presented through an image loop of preliminary study models of the projects presented. Ultimately, the exhibition underscores the studio’s belief that strong geometric compositions and clearly legible buildings allow architecture to maintain its value through unpredictable shifts in context and program over time.

Title: Exhibition: In Between Projects /
Website: http://architecture.woodbury.edu/in-between-projects-opening/
Organizers: Woodbury School of Architecture
From: Tue, 08 Apr 2014 
Until: Fri, 25 Apr 2014
Venue: WEDGE Gallery
Address: 7500 North Glenoaks Boulevard, Woodbury University, Burbank, CA 91504, USA

ACADIA 2014 Call for Submissions

UPDATE: Deadline for submissions extended to April 14, 2014!

Submissions are invited for the 2014 ACADIA ‘DESIGN AGENCY’ conference at University of Southern California, Los Angeles, on October 20-25, 2014. Architects, designers, fabricators, engineers, media artists, technologists, software developers, hackers, researchers, students and educators and others in related fields of inquiry are invited to submit proposals.

The conference theme is intended to highlight experimental research and projects that exhibit and explore new paradigms of computing in architecture. The theme is a purposeful instigation of work that looks at re-defining the term “Agency” through the lens of computational design strategies such as simulation, fabrication, robotics, and novel integrations from science and the media arts.

For more information, including the specific themes and topics, please go to the event’s official website.

Foster to Design “First and Mission” Towers in San Francisco

© Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners, with Heller Manus Architects, has been commissioned to design a two tower, two million square foot mixed-use development in . The expansive “First and Mission” will be marked by a 605-foot “world class condominium” tower – which will be the tallest residential project on the West Coast – and a 850-foot “large floor plate office tower.” Together they will add more than a million square feet of flexible office and commercial space, as well as 650,000 square feet of residential units to the Transbay Area.

Three Shortlisted to Design New UCSC Art and Science Institute

© UCSC, Courtesy of ARCHITECT

UPDATE: Three teams have been selected to move forward in the competition: Allied Works Architecture (Portland/New York), (New York), and the team of Patkau Architects (Vancouver, B.C.) and Fong & Chan Architects (). The finalists will present their proposals April 3 and a winner will be announced shortly after.

Seven high-profile teams have been shortlisted to design a new research, museum and performing arts center for the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). Planned for a stunning site overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the $32 million project is intended to be “an innovative educational experiment” that will “blur the lines between disciplines to beautiful effect.” The shortlist ranges from Steven Holl to Tod Williams Billies Tsien. The complete list of competitors, after the break.

AA Visiting School Los Angeles

The AA Visiting School is a satellite programme of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, and will be taking place in for the first time, from June 16 to June 27. The programme is broken up into research clusters that will be led by individual tutors based on the theme of “Machining Adaptive Living.”

Confirmed design instructors include Marc Fornes, Jenny Wu, Adam Marcus, David Freeland, Kevin Patrick McClellan and Alvin Huang. Guest lectures include Neil Denari, Heather Roberge and Tom Wiscombe. For more information, including registration please click here.

Title: AA Visiting School Los Angeles
Website: http://losangeles.aaschool.ac.uk/
Organizers:
From: Mon, 16 Jun 2014 
Until: Fri, 27 Jun 2014
Venue: University of Southern California (USC)
Address: University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Taps Selldorf to Design Expansion

La Jolla branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art . Image © Flickr CC User Kansas Sebastian

New York-based Selldorf Architects has been summoned to the West Coast to design an expansion that will triple the size of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s (MCASD) campus in La Jolla. Chosen after a competitive country-wide search, Selldorf is expected to add an addition 20,000 square feet of exhibition space, which will provide opportunities for temporary exhibitions and large scale installations, as well as house the museum’s 4,571-piece permanent collection.

According to the museum, Selldorf was ultimately chosen due to her reputation of designing spaces that enhance, rather than upstage, the subject it serves.

UC Davis Selects SO-IL to Design New Art Museum

Courtesy of

UPDATE: SO-IL has broken ground on UC Davis’ new campus art museum. Completion is slated for 2016. 

The University of California, Davis has selected emerging New York-based practice SO-IL to design a new campus’ art museum, which is envisioned to be a “regional center of experimentation, participation and learning.” SO-IL, selected from three finalists following an intensive five-month design competition, will collaborate with -based Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and national construction firm Whiting-Turner to complete the project.

UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi believes the winning design has turned the traditional notion of museum design inside out, as SO-IL’s concept will engage visitors with a sequence of interconnected interior and exterior spaces that are defined by curved glass walls and capped with a 50,000 square foot steel canopy. At night, the “Grand Canopy” will illuminate from within, establishing a new focal point for the campus and beckoning drivers along Interstate 80 between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe.

The Pros & Cons of Living With Google

Google’s New Campus / NBBJ. Image Courtesy of NBBJ

“Some days it feels like Google is taking over the world.” In an article for The Verge Sean Hollister investigates how Google now represents one tenth of Mountain View, the city which hosts the company’s Californian headquarters. Having one of the world’s largest tech companies on their doorstep is a cause of concern for residents, some of whom are now referring to their home as Googleville. Having just bought the lease for a former military airport some city council members are seeing the expansionist move as a step too far – read the article in full here.

20 Teams to Compete in 2015 U.S. Solar Decathlon

2013: Team Austria Wins Top Honors. Image © Jason Flakes/U.S. DOE

The U.S. Department of Energy has selected 20 collegiate teams to participate in the 2015 Solar Decathlon at Irvine, California’s Orange County Great Park. The eight returning teams will compete against 12 new teams, with partners from four international schools, to build “solar-powered, highly energy-efficient houses that combine affordability, innovation, and design excellence” within the allotted two-year period. View the full list of competitors, after the break.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro Designs Public Plaza, Restaurant for LA’s Broad Museum

© Diller Scofidio + Renfro, via Designboom

Alongside news that The Broad’s completion date has been pushed back to 2015, rather than this fall, Diller Scofidio + Renfro has unveiled a new collaboration with landscape architect Walter Hood that will transform the mid-block parcel adjacent to the Grand Avenue museum into a pedestrian-friendly landscaped plaza and restaurant. As reported by the Times, the new square will establish an important link to the neighboring school and apartment, as well as the future 2020 Regional Connector subway stop. The 24,000 square foot parcel will be enhanced by100-year-old olive trees transplanted from Northern California. Watch a video about the design after the break, and find more information here

Apple’s Revised San Francisco Store Approved

Courtesy of

Third time’s the charm, at least in the case of Apple’s -designed flagship store planned for San Francisco’s historic Union Square. After being sent back to the drawings boards on multiple occasions, the signature glass box’s third proposal (which was claimed to be “more iconic” than the company’s famous Five Avenue glass cube in New York City) has been awarded approval from the city.

Gehry’s Grand Avenue Project Wins LA County Supervisors’ Approval

© Gehry Partners

After being rejected for appearing too “boxy” and not appealing enough to pedestrians, Related Companies’ revamped Grand Avenue vision has finally won unanimous approval from county supervisors. The $750-million plan, which was abruptly halted back in September when Gensler’s toned-down version was deemed greatly “disappointing” by the city, will now move forward with a more playful (and pricey) design by the project’s original architect, Frank Gehry.

TimeLAX: A Time-Lapse Video Series of Los Angeles

TimeLAX travels across the sprawled city of , connecting some of the city’s most iconic landmarks – Disney Concert Hall, the Griffith Observatory and John Ferraro Building – with over 200 locations that reveal the true essence of the city’s fabric.

Part 2, after the break. 

Lucid Stead: A “Disappearing” Cabin of Mirrors

© Steven King

In Joshua Tree, California, artist Phillip K Smith III has completed Lucid Stead: an optical illusion/installation that modifies an abandoned 70-year-old homestead with mirrors in order to make it appear transparent. The cabin was also fitted with lighting to “extract the distilled experience of how light changes over time — how a mountain can be blue, red, brown, white, purple, and black all in one day.” As Smith stated, the project is about light, shadow, and tapping into the quiet of the desert. Check out more images and a video of the cabin after the break!

Frank Gehry to Submit Grand Avenue Vision to L.A. City Officials

First images released of Gehry’s Grand Avenue scheme for .. Image

After reviewing proposals from a selection of other firms, Related Companies has chosen to move forward with Frank Gehry’s Grand Avenue vision for Los Angeles. The design, which abandons the fluid forms of Gehry’s original scheme, has been described by critic Christopher Hawthorne as “significantly more exuberant and suggestive of L.A. culture” than Gensler and Robert A.M. Stern Architects’ recently rejected proposal