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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.

'A Confederacy of Heretics: The Architecture Gallery, Venice, 1979' Exhibition

Seven of the architects who participated in The Architecture Gallery, from left to right: Frederick Fisher, Robert Mangurian, Eric Owen Moss, Coy Howard, Craig Hodgetts, Thom Mayne, Frank Gehry. Photograph ©1980 Ave Pildas.
Seven of the architects who participated in The Architecture Gallery, from left to right: Frederick Fisher, Robert Mangurian, Eric Owen Moss, Coy Howard, Craig Hodgetts, Thom Mayne, Frank Gehry. Photograph ©1980 Ave Pildas.

Taking place at SCI-Arc‘s campus in downtown Los Angeles March 29-July 7, Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.: A Confederacy of Heretics: The Architecture Gallery, Venice, 1979 exhibition. The exhibition examines the pivotal role played by the temporary gallery held in the home of architect Thom Mayne for several weeks in 1979. An immersive showcase of spectacular models, drawings and media will be mounted in two spaces located on the SCI-Arc campus, the main gallery and the Kappe Library Gallery. More information on the exhibition after the break.

Mexican Architect Fernando Romero to Speak at NewSchool of Architecture and Design

Mexican architect Fernando Romero will be speaking tomorrow evening, January 16, at NewSchool of Architecture and Design in San Diego on the topic of “You are the Context” as part of the school’s lecture series. Free and open to the public, the event focuses on how we must reconsider the definition of context as it pertains to architecture as the global reach of projects increases through digital communication. Named to Fast Company’s Co.Design “Designers Shaping the Future” 2012, his recent Soumaya Museum in Mexico City is described by CNN’s Great Buildings series as “jaw-dropping.” For more information, please visit here.

Oyler/Wu Lecture & Gow + Karlsson Exhibition Opening Reception

Two key events are coming up at SCI-Arc this month starting with the ‘Dwayne Oyler & Jenny Wu: Lineworks’ lecture which takes place tomorrow, January 16, at the W.M. Keck Lecture Hall at 7pm PST. Established in Los Angeles in 2004, Oyler Wu Collaborative, ‘has utilized the last five years to establish a way of working that is committed to experimentation through a relentless hands-on approach to our work’. Also, starting January 18 until March 3, the ‘Marcelyn Gow + Ulrika Karlsson: AQUEOTROPE’ exhibition focuses on materializing the mathematical, the exact translation of virtual instructions in the form of drawings or codes to their material actualization, is a fundamental procedure in the production of architecture. For more information on the events, please visit here.

Our Ideal City? Seen through the eyes of the Pacific West Coast.

View of Silicon Valley via Flickr user Shootyoureyeout
View of Silicon Valley via Flickr user Shootyoureyeout

As most New Yorkers know, people are willing to shell out a hefty sum to live in a place where work and play are right around the corner from each other.  But as the article by Ken Layne in The Awl  points out, the west coast is a somewhat different place.  UNLIKE New York City, which is crowded with restaurants, bars, and entertainment, as well as offices, design firms and businesses; Silicon Valley, which caters to programmers and tech companies that hire at $100k a year, offers few of the amenities that a nearby town like San Francisco does.  So, Layne concludes, residents are willing to spend hours of their day  making their way into the fortressed office parks of Silicon Valley, flanked by parking lots and boulevards, just to have a cultural reprieve to call home.  

West Los Angeles Office Building Proposal / GMPA Architects

Located on a prominent corner in West Los Angeles, the proposal for an office building by GMPA Architects is an energized, swirling 4-level structure rather than a static wedding cake style. With its riveting spiral shape,, derived from the 10’ difference in elevation, the dynamic, multi-shaped levels add visual interest and reinforce a connection to the street. More images and architects’ description after the break.

New United States Courthouse Competition Entry / NBBJ

North © NBBJ
North © NBBJ

Claiming to be the most progressive, sustainable, and cost effective courthouse in the nation, NBBJ’s shortlisted proposal for the New Los Angeles Federal Courthouse serves as a model for future GSA development. The contrast between the free and informal spirit of Los Angeles with the formal structure and societal role of the Federal Courts illustrates an important duality that openly coexists throughout their phased design. At a larger scale, the structure becomes a mediator within the skyline, rising to a comfortable 256 feet tall to help transition the steep, urban high-rise topography of Bunker Hill and the mid-rise, ordered context of downtown. Read the architects’ description after the break to learn more about this high performance, multifaceted design.

New United States Courthouse Competition Entry / Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design

Courtesy of  Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design
Courtesy of Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design

Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design and Gruen Associates have shared with us their second place proposal for the highly anticipated design-build competition for the new United States courthouse in Los Angeles, California. Envisioned as an icon within the city skyline, the triangular monolith provides a sustainable, 21st century courthouse that embodies the democratic qualities of dignity, stature, transparency, openness and accessibility. Located at a pivotal node connecting the Los Angeles Civic Center, the Broadway Historic District and Bunker Hill, the 550,000 square foot courthouse is surrounded by a lush civic space that plays an important role in the existing cityscape. Read the architect’s description after the break…

Never Built: Los Angeles