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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.

A Conversation on Firm Culture with Carole Wedge and Jessica Lane

As part of AIA San Francisco's continuous effort to highlight women in architecture and better understand the imbalance of gender in the profession, they are hosting two great women for a conversation on firm culture, leadership and mentorship which will take place March 19th from 6:00pm-8:00pm PST. Carole Wedge, FAIA - Shepley Bulfinch's first female President in its 130 year history- will talk with emerging designer Jessica Lane of EHDD to discuss Carole's start at Shepley Bulfinch, in 1986, working in the mailroom as a co-op architecture student at the Boston Architectural Center, as well as her appointment, in 2004, as president. For more information, please visit here.

Santa Monica Shortlists Three Teams for Mixed-Use Development

Project Site via BING and Architects' Newspaper
Project Site via BING and Architects' Newspaper

Gehry’s chiseled, 244 foot tower is not the only mixed-use proposal currently being considered by the city of Santa Monica, as officials have selected three international teams led by prominent architects to submit proposals for a “significant” and “signature” development on a 2.5 acre site downtown. Located on Arizona Avenue between 4th and 5th streets, the parcel is currently occupied by a parking lot and two banks. Although the city did not specify a size constraint, the proposed designs will be expected to fit within the surrounding context and include an appropriate mix of of retail, office, hotel and residential space. The following teams have been asked to submit proposals in May:

Gehry Designs Mixed-Use Tower for Downtown Santa Monica

Developers M. David Paul Associates and the Worthe Real Estate Group have commissioned Frank Gehry to design a mixed-use hotel and residential tower in his hometown of Santa Monica, California. The 22-story “Ocean Avenue Project” aims to stimulate the coastal city’s economy with street-level restaurant and retail space below a 125-room hotel and 22-unit condominium tower topped with a rooftop observation deck. As for accommodating the car-centric lifestyle of the West Coast, resident and visitor parking will be available in a three-story subterranean garage beneath the tower. In addition, the developers plan to integrate a 36,000 square foot museum campus that will add a cultural perk to the development just North of its two-acre site. 

Although this project looks promising, the 244-foot, Gehry-esque tower is currently pending approval from the City. A vote by the end of March will decide its fate.

More images of the “Ocean Avenue Project” after the break...

The West Coast's Tallest: Wilshire Grand / AC Martin Partners

Developer Korean Air has recently unveiled the designs for the new 73-story Wilshire Grand tower in the financial district of Los Angeles, California. AC Martin Partners designed the plans for the $1 billion mixed-use office and hotel tower that will reach 1,100 feet, making it the tallest tower west of Chicago once completed. 

Read more after the break...

Google Collaborates with NBBJ to Expand California Headquarters

One thing Google has become known for is their spectacular work environments. From playful employee lounges to environmentally sensitive design, the multifaceted internet giant has successfully transformed hundreds of existing spaces from around the globe into casual work environments that spawn innovation, optimizes efficiency, and boasts employee satisfaction. Much like many other California-based corporations, Google has been toying with the idea of building their own office space from scratch. Well, this dream will soon be realized, as the company has teamed up with Seattle-based NBBJ to expand their current, 65-building “Googleplex” in Mountain View, California, by adding a 1.1-million-square-foot complex known as “Bay View” on a neighboring 42-acre site. 

More on Bay View after the break...

Gensler Designs New Silicon Valley Headquarters for Nvidia

Silicon Valley visual-computing pioneer Nvidia has joined the expanding list of tech moguls seeking to transform their work environment into the physical manifestation of their innovative business model. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has released the first schematic renderings - designed by Gensler’s San Francisco office - that depict a pair of 250,000 square foot triangular motherships centered around collaboration - a complete contrast to the typical, dated office building commonly found throughout Silicon Valley’s “oddly banal” landscape.

More after the break...

Iwan Baan: 'The Way We Live' Exhibition

Opening tonight, February 20, at 6:00pm PST at the Perry Rubenstein Gallery in Los AngelesIwan Baan's 'The Way We Live' exhibition features captivating large-scale images of urban, architectural, and home environments that capture Baan’s singular vision. Baan’s artistic practice examines how we live and interact with architecture, focusing on the human element, which brings buildings, intersections, and public gathering places to life. Running until April 13, this is Baan's first solo exhibition at the gallery. More information after the break.

Winy Maas to Deliver Lecture on “What’s Next?” at NSAD

Taking place this coming Wednesday, February 20th, Winy Maas, a Netherlands-based architect, urbanist and co-founder of the internationally-recognized firm MVRDV, is scheduled to speak at NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD) at 9:00am PST on the topic of “What’s Next?”. The free lecture includes a discussion on the recent works of MVRDV and the research institute The Why Factory, a think tank directed by Maas in collaboration with Delft University of Technology that develops scenarios and models of the city of the future. For more information, please visit here.

LA Architecture School Boasts Stimulating Post-professional Programs

Two dynamic post-graduate programs offered by the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in Los Angeles have been charged with examining core contemporary issues facing architecture today. Spanning topics from advanced manufacturing methodologies and new building systems, to urban planning and design challenges faced globally, these post-professional tracks allow students to rethink architecture and design through the creative lens of the SCI-Arc community. 

The architecture school’s Emerging Systems, Technologies & Media (ESTm) and Future Initiatives (SCIFI) programs are conceived as intensive one-year (three semesters) post-professional degrees in architecture, functioning as think tanks and research engines within the larger framework of the school. 

Update: SFMOMA Expansion / Snøhetta

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has announced further details of its 235,000-square-foot building expansion that will support the museum's increasing role in city life and the international art community. Designed by Norway-based practice Snøhetta, in collaboration with local firm EHDDthe 10-story concrete structure will compliment SFMOMA's original, Mario Botta-designed, red-brick museum by offering more free-to-the-public space, expanded education programs and an abundance of flexible performance-based gallery space.