Museum Round Up: The Box is Back

Clyfford Still Museum. Image © Jeremy Bittermann

In a recent article for the Denver Post, Ray Rinaldi discusses how the box is making a comeback in U.S. museum design. Stating how architecture in the 2000’s was a lot about swoops, curves, and flying birds – see Frank Gehry and Santiago Calatrava - he points out the cool cubes of David Chipperfield and Renzo Piano. We’ve rounded up some of these boxy works just for you: the Clyfford Still Museum, the Kimbell Art Museum Expansion, The St. Louis Art Museum’s East Building, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s Barnes Foundation, and Shigeru Ban’s Aspen Art Museum. Each project begins to show how boxes can be strong, secure, and even sly. Check out more about the article here.

How Would You Design Grand Avenue?

Related Cos. rendering of a conceptual plan for a retail and residential complex across Grand Avenue. Image Courtesy of Related Cos., via LA Times

“Will Grand Avenue finally turn around? Most likely not until they make it a two-way, add more trees, bike lanes, and pedestrian amenities. Buildings alone can’t do it, no matter how daring, novel (or expensive) the architecture.” — Guy Horton, , “Ten Years Later, Has the Disney Concert Hall Made a Difference?

The latest controversy surrounding the Grand Avenue re-design, the long-awaited project to develop the stretch of land east of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, is the re-instatement of Frank Gehry, a move which occurred after the city of LA rejected plans from mega-developers Related Cos. (designed by Gensler in collaboration with Robert A.M. Stern) for being “overly commercial.” Of course, while the Related Cos. plans may have failed to wow the city, the decision to bring Gehry back to the project hasn’t exactly been embraced either.

A must-see article in Zócalo Public Square asks four urban planning experts, “what would you do with Grand Avenue?” In his latest ArchDaily column, Guy Horton offers his opinion: any re-design must rely on activating life on the street-level, rather than on one architectural solution. Well, ArchDaily readers, now we’d like to know your thoughts on the matter.

AD Classics: Walt Disney Concert Hall / Frank Gehry

© Gehry Partners, LLP

Completed October 23, 2003, The celebrates its tenth anniversary today. Home to the LA Philharmonic, it has received wide acclaim for its excellent acoustics and distinctive architecture. In the decade since its opening, the hall’s sweeping, metallic surfaces have become associated with Frank Gehry’s signature style.

The Indicator: Ten Years Later, Has the Disney Concert Hall Made a Difference?

Courtesy of shutterstock.com

On October 23rd, the , the project that almost never was, will celebrate its ten-year anniversary. Throughout these ten years it has had all manner of transformative power attributed to it. But has it really transformed LA? What would the city have been like if it had never been built? Would it be fundamentally different?

The answer? No.The city wouldn’t even be that different in the immediate vicinity of .

Gehry Confirms His Return to LA’s Grand Avenue Project

Gehry’s original scheme for ’ Grand Avenue. Image Courtesy of KCRW

The Los Angeles Times’ Christopher Hawthorne may have hoped for (and indeed hinted at the possibility) of Frank Gehry’s return to the Grand Avenue Project, the long-awaited plan to develop the stretch of land east of the , but now the speculation has finally become fact. Speaking last week at a panel discussion meant to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Disney Hall, Gehry finally put the rumors to rest.

More details, after the break.

If Skyscrapers Predict Crises, What Do “Donuts” Tell Us?

Apple HQ (). Image © Foster + Partners, ARUP, Kier + Wright, Apple

In a recent article for the Financial Times, Edwin Heathcote explores the ‘’, an informal term that suggests a correlation between the construction of a big company’s ambitious headquarters and subsequent financial crisis: “Think of the Empire State Building opening into the Wall Street crash of 1929, the Twin Towers being completed as New York City was flirting with bankruptcy or the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur taking the mantle of the world’s tallest building and presaging the Asian financial crisis.” Heathcote goes on to describe the latest generation of headquarters being constructed for our current, tech-oriented goliaths – like Apple‘s monolithic “donut”, by Foster + Partners, and Facebook‘s Gehry-designed Menlo Park campus - and wonders: “if skyscrapers can tell us something about the temperature of an overheating economy, what do these groundscraping new HQs say?” Read the full article here.

Gehry’s Walt Disney Hall Turns 10

Courtesy of Archdaily

It’s been called a “remarkable work of public architecture” that “engages [the city of] Los Angeles” like few others. With the 10 year anniversary of Frank Gehry‘s Walt Disney Concert Hall approaching, the LA Times, with some great, in-depth coverage, has been taking a look back at its architecture and what makes it such an important icon for both Gehry and LA. Oh, and don’t forget to check out its soon-to-be neighbor on Grand Avenue, the Broad Museum by Diller Scofidio + Renfro!

On Art, Urbanism, and Gehry in LA: A Conversation with Edwin Chan

Iman Ansari with Edwin Chan at Walt . Image Courtesy of an-onymous.com.

In this article, which originally appeared in Metropolis Magazine’s Point of View Blog as “Q&A: Edwin Chan,” Iman Ansari interviews Edwin Chan, a design partner at Frank Gehry architects for 25 years, about Gehry and the many significant cultural and institutional projects he worked on before starting his own practice, EC3.

Iman Ansari: When we look at the work of Frank Gehry or Thom Mayne, as LA architects, there is a certain symbolic relationship to the city evident in the work: the industrial character of these buildings and elements of the highway or automobile culture that tie the architecture to the larger urban infrastructure, the scale of the projects, as well as the conscious use of materials such as metal, glass or concrete. But as freestanding machine-like objects sitting at the heart of the city these buildings also embody certain ideals and values that are uniquely American, such as individualism, and freedom of expression. In your opinion how is Frank Gehry’s work tied to Los Angeles or the American culture?

Edwin Chan: Absolutely. I think Frank’s work definitely has DNA of LA as a city. We talk about the idea of a democratic city a lot, and coincidentally Hillary Clinton mentioned that in her speech recently saying: “We need a new architecture for this new world, more Frank Gehry than formal Greek,” because it’s the expression of democracy. In that sense you could think about the building embodying certain type of values that are manifested architecturally. 

Same Time Zone, Different Standards

Foreground: Pavilion by Tom Wiscombe Design, Middleground: Textile Room Pavilion by P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S at The Museum of Contemparary Art, . Image © Taiyo Watanabe

The Getty’s Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. hosted A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living at UCLA’s Hammer Museum and Contemporary Architecture from Southern California (formerly known as A New Sculpturalism) at MOCA Geffen for the better part of this summer. These two exhibits, on view until September 8 and 16 respectively, give us insight into Los Angeles’ past and present architectural legacies. They take on fundamentally different challenges. One uncovers a prolific and primary history of a modernist architect, the other attempts to capture and catalogue an unwieldy and unstable present.

Read on after the break for reviews of both exhibitions…

AD Classics: The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao / Frank Gehry

© Flickr User: RonG8888

Set on the edge of the Nervión River in ‭, ‬Spain, the Guggenheim Museum is a fusion of complex‭, ‬swirling forms and captivating materiality that responds to an intricate program and an industrial urban context‭. ‬With over a hundred exhibitions and more than ten million visitors to its recognition‭, ‬Frank Gehry‮’‬s Guggenheim Museum not only changed the way that architects and people think about museums, but also boosted ’s with its astounding success‭.‭ ‬In fact‭, ‬the phenomenon of a city‮’‬s transformation following the construction of a significant piece of architecture is now referred to as the‭ ‬‮“‬ Effect‭.‬‮”‬‭ ‬Twenty years on, the Museum continues to challenge assumptions about the connections between art and architecture‭ today.

Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial Takes Major Step Forward

Courtesy of , LLP, 2013

Frank Gehry’s revised design for the controversial Eisenhower Memorial has been approved by US Commission of Fine Arts in a 3-1 vote – a major step forward after the project’s funding was nearly scraped last year. Though Gehry’s redesign was welcomed by the commission, BDOnline reported that they’ve requested he removes the three woven metal tapestries that border the site, as they believe the scale “undermined Gehry’s attempt to convey the president’s humility.” Gehry accepted this request and now awaits re-authorization from Congress.

AD Round Up: Iconic Houses in America

© Robert Ruschak – Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Five great architects, five great houses. This 4th of July, take a look at five of the most iconic houses in the USA. The main image is of a house that redefined the relationship between man, architecture and nature — Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater House. If you’re searching for the meaning of less is more, you must check out the Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House or The Glass House by Philip Johnson. You should also check out one of the first built examples of Postmodern architecture, The Vanna Venturi House by Robert Venturi. Finally, revisit ’s Norton House, known for its eccentric form and eclectic materiality. Which one is your favorite?

Frank Gehry Talks Dictators, Dubai, and the Difficulties of Architecture

Courtesy of Foreign Policy

Frank Gehry recently sat down with Foreign Policy’s Benjamin Pauker for a candid interview covering everything from his distaste for Dubai (it’s “on steroids [...] like every cruddy city in the world”), his dislike for cold, minimalist architecture (“I need a place where I can come home and take my shoes off”); and, oddly enough, his approval of benevolent dictators – albeit with taste, of course. As Gehry put it: “It’s really hard to get consensus, to have a tastemaker. There is no Robert Moses anymore. Michael Bloomberg wants to be one. In fact, he promised he would build 10 more of my buildings in New York, but, you know, he hasn’t yet. Architecture’s difficult … [sigh].” Read the full interview here.

Frank Gehry to Design New York Office for Facebook

via TechCrunch

Shortly after winning approval on their Frank Gehry-designed, Menlo Park in California, Facebook has announced plans to once again commission the Los Angeles-based starchitect to design a new office for their team. By early 2014, Gehry is expected to refurbish an existing 100,000 square-foot, two-story office space – nearly twice the size of their current home at 335 Madison Ave – on 770 Broadway. 

Living Architectures: Gehry’s Vertigo / Ila Bêka & Louise Lemoine

Fourth project of the Living Architectures series, Gehry’s Vertigo offers to the spectator a rare and vertiginous trip on the top roofs of the Guggenheim Museum of . Through the portrait of the climbing team in charge of the glass cleaning, their ascensions, their techniques and difficulties, this film observes the complexity and virtuosity of ’s architecture.

New LA Subway Could Spell Acoustical Doom for Gehry’s Disney Hall

Disney Hall / Gehry Partners

Architect Frank Gehry has voiced concerns that the new Los Angeles subway, scheduled for construction in two to three years, may disturb concerts in his famous Disney Hall. The planned subway line would run 125 feet below the venue’s parking garage and recent simulations have shown that the rumblings could be audible inside the concert hall. Gehry has called for the of previous noise projections for the metro project, which two years ago predicted no audible impact on his design. “It would be a disaster for Disney Hall,” Gehry told the LA Times. “The flag is up and we should go over it and make sure.”

Read more after the break.

Gehry’s Software Enters the Cloud, Promotes Paperless Construction

Courtesy of www.newyorkbygehry.com

There are many ways that the architecture profession has lead the way in environmentally friendly design – but when it comes to the process of creating buildings themselves, the industry works its way through huge amounts of paper. Frank Gehry, through his offshoot company Gehry Technologies, is aiming to change that.

The company has recently announced that its GTeam software, which has so far been available for less than a year, will now make use of Box, a cloud based storage system that is well suited to large files associated with complex 3D models that are often required in designing buildings.

Read more about Gehry Technology’s new software collaboration after the break

Frank Gehry’s Facebook HQ Wins Approval

© Gehry Partners LLP via Menlo Park City Council

A new smartphone 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, . 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…