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Engineers at Stanford Develop Cost-Effective Earthquake-Resistant House

In 1989, California's central coast was rocked by a 6.9 magnitude earthquake, destroying infrastructure and buildings in San Francisco, Oakland, and a host of coastal cities. The Loma Prieta Earthquake caused an estimated $6 trillion in damage, prompting researchers to develop techniques for management of severe seismic activity in urban centres. Twenty five years later, a team of engineers at Stanford University have invented a cost-effective foundation for residential buildings capable of withstanding three times the magnitude of the catastrophic 1989 earthquake.

Find out more on Stanford's earthquake-resistant technology after the break 

The Berlage Archive: Julius Shulman (2000)

In this 2000 Berlage Institute lecture, titled "Neutra's Architecture and Modernism in California," American architectural photographer Julius Shulman outlines a twofold mission: to introduce his two new books, Modernism Rediscovered, and Neutra: Complete Works, and to speak to architectural students and educators who are responsible for the future of the field. Highly jovial and personable, Shulman starts off on a playful tone, inviting audience members to sit on the floor next to him and insisting on the informality of his lecture; he begins by describing how he met Richard Neutra, purely by chance, and made history with the iconic photograph of the Kaufman House, solely through a rebellious desire to pursue a beautiful sunset.

Shulman speaks of Neutra both affectionately and critically. He advises, "Those of you who hope to be architects, please be human about how people live in your house. Don't wipe it clean and empty the way Neutra used to do it, because he was more interested in the image of a house - pure architecture, without furniture." The lecture introduces Shulman's photographs of Modernist homes in California, including Frank Gehry's first house, Shulman's own house and studio by Raphael Soriano, and works by Frank Lloyd Wright and Buckminster Fuller, before moving on to briefly introduce projects from his vast archives. Pierluigi Serraino joins him halfway through the lecture to discuss the process of writing their publication, Modernism Rediscovered, and the responsibilities of an architectural photographer. 

The lecture demonstrates the incredible breadth of Shulman's portfolio, his fascinating thought process, and an indefatigable spirit. When describing the moment when he broke away from Neutra's admonishment in order to photograph the exquisite sky above the Kaufman House, the iconic photographer enthuses,"Don't ever hesitate. If you want to do something, whether it's to design a house or kiss a beautiful woman, or whatever you want to do, do it! No one's going to stop you."

Grimshaw and Gruen's LA Union Station Masterplan Gains Approval from Planning Board

Open Space View in Forecourt. Image © Grimshaw / Gruen Associates, Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)
Open Space View in Forecourt. Image © Grimshaw / Gruen Associates, Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)

Update: The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors has approved approved the proposed masterplan by Grimshaw and Gruen; the scheme will now go ahead, subject to the availability of funding. The below article is from 22 September 2014.

The New York office of Grimshaw and LA based Gruen Associates were officially awarded the Los Angeles Union Station master plan in July of 2012 after six initial proposals for the project. Now the Metro Board has begun to finalize plans and move towards implementation, with their Planning Committee scheduled to discuss the proposals in early November. Read on to learn more about how the plan has developed over the past two years and the next steps towards its implementation. 

East Entrance View. Image © Grimshaw / Gruen Associates, Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Passenger Concourse View. Image © Grimshaw / Gruen Associates, Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Bus Terminal View. Image © Grimshaw / Gruen Associates, Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Open Space View in Forecourt. Image © Grimshaw / Gruen Associates, Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)

​In Residence: Ray Kappe

As part of NOWNESS’ latest In Residence series, American architect Ray Kappe takes you on a tour through his glass and redwood “treehouse” on Los Angeles’ Rustic Canyon hillside. Built some 50 years ago, the house is considered to be one of the greatest modern residences in Southern California. 

Michael Rotondi to Receive Richard J. Neutra Medal for Professional Excellence

Michael Rotondi, principle of Los Angeles-based RoTo Architecture and former student of Cal Poly Pomona, has been selected to receive the Richard J. Neutra Medal for Professional Excellence from the College of Environmental Design at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Co-founder of SCI-Arc and long-time architectural educator at Arizona State University, Rotondi was selected for his “commitment to architectural education, for the concern he shows in his work for society and the environment, and for the inventiveness of his architecture,” says Cal Poly Pomona professor Sarah Lorenzen.

Breaking New Ground: Designing Affordable Housing for the Coachella Valley Workforce

Breaking New Ground is an international design and ideas competition addressing the urgent affordable housing needs for farmworker and service worker families in the Coachella Valley, where efforts to improve living conditions suffers from a lack of funding and coordination. Going beyond design, the competition seeks to envision new precedents, mechanisms, and policies for affordable housing implementation and development, with implications for California and the nation.

Los Angeles Rids Itself of Helipad Requirement, Opens City to “Bolder” Skyline

Helicopter landing pads will no longer be required atop new buildings in Los Angeles, California. The rule’s elimination, which was announced yesterday by the city’s mayor and fire chief, allows architects the freedom to break away from LA’s “boxy” skyline. “I want to see innovative design,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “I want to see good design, but we’re going to take the handcuffs off of you when we ask you to do that. I want neighborhoods to look good, and I want our buildings to look iconic.” You can read more about the change, here

Five Practices Compete to Design Los Angeles LGBT Center

Michael Maltzan, Frederick Fisher, Predock Frane, MAD and Leong Leong have been shortlisted in a limited competition to design a new Los Angeles LGBT Center (formerly called LA Gay and Lesbian Center). Each have received a stipend of $20,000 to develop proposals for the new campus, which will include arts, educational and affordable housing programs on more than an entire city block in Hollywood. Once complete, the center hopes to serve LGBT community members of all ages by providing access to multigenerational affordable housing, healthcare, senior care and family services. You can learn more on KCRW here

SCI-Arc Appoints Hernan Diaz Alonso as New Director

The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) has appointed Hernan Diaz Alonso as the Los Angeles architecture school’s new Director beginning September 2015. Alonso, principal of Xefirotarch and educator widely credited for spearheading the transition of SCI-Arc to digital technologies, will succeed architect Eric Owen Moss who has served as the school’s director since 2002. Continue after the break to watch Alonso’s “New Director Presentation” and preview a selection of his work.


The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has topped out its Snøhetta-designed extension, marking the halfway point in the museum’s transformation. Rising behind SFMOMA’s existing Mario Botta-designed building, the 10-story addition will add more than triple the amount of gallery space, 130,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor galleries, flexible performance art spaces and a dramatically expanded education program for students and teachers upon completion in 2016.

More images after the break...

Competition Challenges Architects and Students to Design Zero Net Energy Housing in California

Architecture at Zero, now in its fourth year, is challenging all students, architects and designers worldwide to envision two mixed-use, zero net energy (ZNE) housing proposals for adjacent parcel sites in Oakland, California. The competition is a response to the ZNE targets set out by the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) which aims for all new residential construction in the state to be ZNE by 2020. Entrants are eligible for winning up to $25,000. Early bird registration ends September 12. All projects must be submitted by October 31 at 1PM PST. Learn more on the competition website and review last year's winners

Video: A Drone's-Eye View of Apple's New Campus Under Construction

At the moment it may be little more than a colossal, doughnut-shaped hole in the ground, but this video is in fact the first glimpse of Apple's new Norman Foster-designed Campus in Cupertino. The video, shot using a GoPro camera mounted on a drone, shows that construction of the building's huge underground parking garage has begun, with concrete poured in a section of the trench. And, as we've come to expect from Apple, the fact that it's a construction site is no excuse for messiness, meaning that elements of the design are already starting to be legible, such as a wider trench marking the main entrance close to the drone's position. Watch the video above to see the huge campus under construction, and read on after the break for more information about the building's design.

Getty Conservation Institute to Help Conserve Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute

The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) is partnering with the Salk Institute to help develop techniques for conserving one of Louis Kahn’s finest works. Overlooking the Pacific coast in La Jolla, California, Kahn took advantage of the peaceful surroundings and natural light when he designed the Salk Institute site. However, these same marine elements also provide unique conservation challenges for the concrete and wood structure, particularly for its teak window walls, the Getty Trust reports.

Part of the GCI’s Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative, the project will determine the condition of the teak and develop recommendations for its treatment and long-term conservation. “Partnering with the Salk Institute on this conservation challenge will assist in developing new approaches for practitioners in conserving other icons of modern architecture, which makes it a terrific project for us,” said Susan Macdonald, Head of Field Projects at the GCI. 

 Read on after the break to learn more about the conservation initiative. 

2014 ANFA Conference

The Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA) will have their 2nd international conference between September 18 and September 20 in La Jolla, California. 

2014 Los Angeles Architectural Awards Announced

Hosted by the Los Angeles Business Council, the 44th Annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards has recognized three dozen of the year’s best architecture and design projects in Greater Los Angeles. From Morphosis' Emerson College to the Los Angeles River project, each recipient has been awarded for their excellence in design, sustainability and community impact. 

The 2013 Los Angeles Architectural Award Winners are...

Renzo Piano Returns to Bay Area, Designs "Plaza District" for City Center

Renzo Piano has been commissioned to return to the Bay Area, this time to design a 350,000 square foot “Plaza District” for a mixed-used City Center development in San Ramon. Similar to his prized California Academy of Sciences building in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the new multi-use district will feature expansive glass walls and a lush living roof. 

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

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.

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

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 OLIN, the Foster + Partners-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...