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In Discussion: Peter Zumthor Speaks with Michael Govan About the LACMA Redesign

2013 Los Angeles Architectural Awards Announced

In addition to honoring renowned architect Ray Kappe with a Lifetime Achievement Award, the Los Angeles Business Council has awarded thirty-one local projects for their design excellence, sustainability and community impact at the 43rd annual LA Architectural Awards.

The 2013 Los Angeles Architectural Award Winners:

A First Look at Peter Zumthor’s Design for the LACMA

© 2013 Museum Associates / LACMA
© 2013 Museum Associates / LACMA

Coming at a crucial time in which Los Angeles is at risk of “losing its reputation as a center for innovative architecture,” museum director Michael Govan and Swiss architect Peter Zumthor have unveiled preliminary plans for what they hope will be the new home of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). If approved, this $650 million proposal - nearly five years in the making - would replace the dated William Pereira-designed campus and its 1986 Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates-designed addition with an organically-shaped, dark-grey concrete and glass Zumthor original. 

More information after the break, including Peter Zumthor’s project description...

Monterey Design Conference 2013

Hosted by the American Institute of Architects, California Council (AIACC), the Monterey Design Conference 2013 will offer participants three days of talks by–and relaxed conversations with– internationally and nationally significant architects. Taking place September 27-29 in the Elysian setting of the Northern California coast, participants will find themselves strolling on the beach, wandering the Julia Morgan designed grounds or sitting on the deck of the main lodge engaging in conversation with a Pritzker Prize winner or many of the most innovative and catalytic thinkers in architecture, as if they were invited into their own backyard. This is truly a premier opportunity to be a participant in the dialog about design. For more information, please visit here.

'Lebbeus Woods is an Archetype' Exhibition & Installation

Opening October 11 until December 1, the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) will present 'Lebbeus Woods is an Archetype', an exhibition and public art installation which highlights the well-known American architect's work, including several original, rarely seen Woods drawings from private collections. Complemented by a symposium and catalog, this exhibition in the SCI-Arc Gallery and related large-scale public art installation in the Arts District’s Bloom Square, aims to demonstrate the fearless nature with which the late visionary architect and draftsman created. More information on the exhibition after the break.

'A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California' Exhibition

Taking place June 2 - September 2 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, 'A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California' will be the first extensive, scholarly examination of the radical forms that have become prolific in Southern California architecture during the past twenty-five years. It will examine the role of Los Angeles–based architect Frank Gehry, arguably the most significant and innovative architect of the later part of the twentieth century, and the generation of Los Angeles architects that followed him, including Greg Lynn, Michael Maltzan, Thom Mayne, and Eric Owen Moss, to name a few. For more information, please visit here.

UCSD: A Built History of Modernism

At just a little over 50 years old, the University of California San Diego is one of the younger college campuses in the United States, but despite this it is one of the most architecturally fascinating universities around. In the official UCSD campus guide, Dirk Sutro emphasizes that "UCSD does not have a single example of the historical-revival styles prevalent at other University of California campuses... and at San Diego's two other major universities". The history of UCSD architecture is one of ambition, which has made the campus a display case of modernism in all of its forms from the last half a century.

Thanks to photographer Darren Bradley, we can now share this history and a selection of the exciting structures it has produced.

Find out more about the UCSD campus after the break

The Breezeway, Revelle College © Darren Bradley Jacobs School of Engineering © Darren Bradley Natatorium © Darren Bradley Price Center East © Darren Bradley

Architecture at Zero 2013 Competition

Open to students and professionals worldwide, the Architecture at Zero 2013 competition is challenging participants to create a design for a new, roughly 150 unit mixed-use residential apartment building located in the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco, California. With the aim of being as close to zero net energy as possible, the building must be a mix of affordable and market rate housing units and include a full neighborhood-serving grocery store on the ground level. The competition is presented by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and AIA San Francisco, in partnership with the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC). Submissions are due October 1. To register, and for more information, please visit here.

Peter Zumthor Proposes $650 Million Overhaul for LACMA

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) will soon be rolling out the red carpet to welcome Swiss legend Peter Zumthor to the Golden State. The prized architect’s debut will mark the opening of "The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA," which will unveil the ambitious, $650 million plan to transform the LACMA’s “Byzantine maze of buildings and hallways” into an experience-based “village” of curvaceous modern glass structures that will produce more energy than it uses. 

"The idea is to make it permeable by people," LACMA CEO and director Michael Govan says, who has been working with Zumthor for over four years on the proposal.

A Look at Hollywood's Love Affair with John Lautner

You have to admit it, Hollywood really seems to have a thing for John Lautner; his designs are continuously cropping up in tv-shows, films, cartoons, music videos and even video games. The occasional despondent college professor aside, his exuberant mansions are usually typecast as the bachelor-pads of various flamboyant psycho-paths, pornographers or drug-smugglers. Curbed Los Angeles have compiled this excellent video of the various Lautner-featuring scenes, so we thought that we'd take a closer look at some of his buildings, which tend to pop up in all manner of unexpected places.

Read more about Hollywood's love affair with Lautner after the break...

Juan Pablo Corvalan Hochberger, Supersudaca Lecture

Taking place tomorrow, April 11th, at 6:00pm, Woodbury University's School of Architecture will be hosting the Juan Pablo Corvalan Hochberger, Supersudaca lectureSupersudaca's main driving motto has been to connect the usually disconnected Latinamerica architectural arena with projects directly related to the public perception such as recreation spaces, public spaces, installations etc in various locations such as Caracas, Lima, Tokyo, Talca, Buenos Aires. They continuously use the workshop format with students from various universities worldwide to launch campaigns for such projects. For more information, please visit here.

Foster’s Apple Headquarters Exceeds Budget by $2 Billion

The estimated cost of Apple’s Cupertino City headquarters has escalated from an already hefty price of $3 billion to $5 billion (more than $1,500 per square foot), reportedly pushing back the original completion date to 2016. According to Bloomberg, Apple is working with lead architect Foster & Partners to shave $1 billion from the “ballooning budget”. Most of the cost is seemly due to Steve Job’s “sky-high requirements for fit and finish”, as the tech legend called for the 2.8 million square foot, circular monolith to be clad 40-foot panes of German concave glass, along with its four-story office spaces be lined with museum-quality terrazzo floors and capped with polished concrete ceilings.

Although lambasted for his ambitious plans and “doughnut-shaped” design, Steve Jobs wanted to create a masterpiece that looked as good as it functioned, just like his products. During a 2011 presentation to the Cupertino City Council, Jobs stated, “This is not the cheapest way to build something... there is not a straight piece of glass in this building.” He continued, “We have a shot... at building the best office building in the world. I really do think that architecture students will come here to see it.”

More after the break...

Frank Gehry’s Facebook HQ Wins Approval

A new phone isn’t the only Facebook news making headlines, as the social media giant has received the green light from the Menlo Park City Council to move forward with their headquarter’s expansion on the outskirts of San Francisco Bay, California. The approved plans are a slightly toned down version of architect Frank Gehry’s original proposal, as the flamboyant butterfly-like wings which flared from each end of the 433,555-square-foot building have been removed. 

“They felt some of those things were too flashy and not in keeping with the kind of the culture of Facebook, so they asked us to make it more anonymous,” stated Craig Webb, Gehry’s creative partner. "Frank (Gehry) was quite willing to tone down some of the expression of architecture in the building."

After a 4-0 vote secured approval, Mayor Peter Ohtaki asked: “Where’s the ‘Like’ button?”

More after the break...

CAPACITY: Gensler Los Angeles Academic Studio

CAPACITY, the Gensler Los Angeles led academic studio at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, was created with the intent to survey, understand and visualize the dynamic set of infrastructure constraints impacting and contributing to Downtown Los Angeles’ capacity to evolve. The video above highlights the documentation and synthesizing done by the SLO_GenLA '13 Professional studio which shows the capacity of Los Angeles’ infrastructure and demonstrates how the limits of each system may physically impact the future built form of the city. Once these variables, which include building information and zoning, energy, waste management, and water were universally known and their units of measure understood, scenarios for the future were generated.

AIACC 2013 Monterey Design Conference

Founded in 1979, the Monterey Design conference, which is presented by AIACC (California Council), has become the “Renaissance Weekend” for architects. Held in Pacific Grove at the historic Asilomar Conference Grounds founded in 1913, it has been praised as the most prestigious and best attended architectural design conference in the United States. This year, the conference will take place September 27-29 and all are invited to watch, think, interact, learn and recharge your creative energies with more than 700 of California’s best-known architects. For more information, please visit here.

UCLA’s cityLAB at the School of Architecture and Urban Design

Backyard Homes Conceptual Rendering, image courtesy Daly Genik Architects
Backyard Homes Conceptual Rendering, image courtesy Daly Genik Architects

What makes an architecture school worth consideration are its special programs and initiatives. These programs, often run by a few faculty members, vary from addressing human rights and legal issues to working with local communities to remedy social and economic issues.

UCLA's Architecture and Urban Design (AUD) school has just such a program. Called cityLAB (not to be confused with the student-run, science-based UCLA CityLab), it is in many ways unique to a university setting. Run by founder/director Professor Dana Cuff and co-directed by Professor Roger Sherman. It’s name is well-suited: a laboratory to test ideas and address issues arising from city conditions in ways that cannot be done by profit-driven firms. These issues include housing, commercial revitalization, and community and municipal collaboration. These projects have operated successfully on grants that support not just the work being done by the professors, but by staff and Graduate Student Researchers who are paid to work in all aspects of the projects.

Predictions from the Past: New York 2012 and LA 2013

New York in 1962, Mayor Robert Wagner's Predictions; and LA's predictions from 1988 for 2013
New York in 1962, Mayor Robert Wagner's Predictions; and LA's predictions from 1988 for 2013

Throughout history, people have spent a great deal of time pondering what the future holds.  Scientific discovery, technological innovation - along with rebellious androids, zombies, flying cars, hover crafts, visiting aliens - have been consistently used as stereotypes that emerge in predictions for our imagined future.  And while Hollywood was busy exploring dystopian scenarios of this near-future, architects were composing utopian images of an optimistic vision for cities. Architects have built careers upon predicting what cities can potentially become - developing forms, functions, plans and visions of possibilities in the social, political, economic and cultural realms through architecture.  In 1962, Mayor Robert Wagner of NYC predicted a culturally diverse, economically viable, global city for New York in 2012.  In 1988, Los Angeles Times Magazine gave its 25-year forecast for Los Angeles in 2013, predicting what a life for a family would be like, filled with robots, electric cars, smart houses and an abundance of video-conferencing.  Find out how their predictions fared after the break.