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4 Shortlisted for Armenian American Museum in California

Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design, Alajajian Marcoosi Architects, Belzberg Architects Group and Frederick Fisher have been shortlisted to design an Armenian American Museum planned for Glendale, California. Announced on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide this past Friday, the competition aims to "promote understanding and appreciation of America's ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Armenian experience" within a 30,000-square-foot museum that will be dedicated to research and education. Stay tuned for more information.

Vincent Laforet Photographs Los Angeles from 10,000 Feet

The latest in his high-altitude "AIR" series, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Vincent Laforet has captured the sprawling city of Los Angeles at night from a dizzying 10,000 feet. First starting this "dream project" in his hometown of New York then Las Vegas and San Francisco, AIR is taking Laforet worldwide with upcoming visits planned for London, Paris, Tokyo and more. 

Preview a stunning selection of Laforet's Los Angeles series, after the break. 

© Vincent Laforet © Vincent Laforet © Vincent Laforet © Vincent Laforet

George Lucas Unveils Plan for Bay Area's Largest Affordable Housing Project

What some believe to be an act of revenge, George Lucas has unveiled plans to build the San Francisco Bay Area's largest affordable housing project in the wealthy community of Marin County. As CBS reports, the news comes just three years after valley residents shot down Lucas' proposal to develop the land with a 265,000-square-foot production studio. The new plan aims to provide veterans, firefighters, teachers and other service-oriented working class people with 224 low-income homes. 

"We’ve got enough millionaires here. What we need is some houses for regular working people," said Lucas, according to his lawyer Gary Giacomini who also ensured that the plan was "not a form of retaliation."

Ball-Nogues Compostable "Pulp Pavilion" Brings Shade to Coachella

To demonstrate the structural potential of "pulp," Ball-Nogues Studio built an experimental reclaimed paper pavilion this year at Coachella. The lightweight, self-supported structure, known as the "Pulp Pavilion," was made from a low-cost blend of recycled paper, water and pigment sprayed onto lattices of organic rope. After its use as a place of refuge for festival goers, it will be either composted or recycled. See the pavilion illuminated at night, after the break.

Mark Zuckerberg Praises Frank Gehry: "He's Very Efficient"

After Facebook began its move into its new Frank Gehry-designed headquarters last week, Facebook 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." 

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

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 exhibition - 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.

Courtesy of UC Regents. Rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro Courtesy of UC Regents. Rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro Courtesy of UC Regents. Rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro Courtesy of UC Regents. Rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro

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, big 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”

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 Hollywood 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

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 / BIG / Heatherwick Studio © Google / BIG / Heatherwick Studio © Google / BIG / Heatherwick Studio © Google / BIG / Heatherwick Studio

Google Taps BIG and Heatherwick to Design New California Headquarters

The City of Mountain View 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

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.

Courtesy of Studio Jantzen Courtesy of Studio Jantzen Courtesy of Studio Jantzen Courtesy of Studio Jantzen

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, California 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

Jon Jerde, FAIA, founder of The Jerde Partnership, has died at 75. The California-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.

Redesigning Los Angeles For Long-Term Drought

With many of the world’s cities combating drought, 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

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 Los Angeles 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 Los Angeles. 

Hélène Binet: Fragments of Light

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 Hollywood (WUHO) Gallery in Los Angeles, 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 Palo Alto
Courtesy of the City of Palo Alto

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. 

Courtesy of the City of Palo Alto Courtesy of the City of Palo Alto Courtesy of the City of Palo Alto Courtesy of the City of Palo Alto