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BLOCK: Envisioning Future Cities in a Video Game

BLOCK is a video game that "will breach the digital with the physical" and allow anyone to become an active participant in the future of Los Angeles. Described by FAST Co.Exist as "Minecraft for real life" the gameplay, which also bears similarity to The Sims, is founded on understanding the interdependencies of city entities such as housing, shops, parks and infrastructure. The objective of the game is to both educate people and to generate user data for design patterns for the Los Angeles of 2050, producing the first database of a future city. BLOCK allows the player to understand the ecology of the urban realm (focusing on resources such as money, waste, and social capital) ultimately encouraging entrepreneurship "through the design of an ecological urbanism." Fundamentally, it allows for new opportunities to be conceived in the city.

SOM Wins Bid to Design Los Angeles Federal Courthouse

The GSA has announced that Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill have been selected as the architects of the new Los Angeles Federal Courthouse, which will house the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, and the U.S. Marshals Service. The architects beat out 3 other shortlisted teams to win the $318 million project.

According to the GSA, "The new 550,000-square-foot building will be a sustainable, cost-effective, state-of-the-art court facility that includes security upgrades that are not available in the current 312 North Spring Street courthouse."

The site, located at 107 South Broadway (down the street from Morphosis’ Caltrans building, LA’s City Hall, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall) has been dormant since 2007; although a $1.1 billion design by Perkins + Will was selected soon after, it was abandoned when Congress slashed the GSA's construction budget. The GSA considers the approval of the new redevelopment plan a "major milestone."

More info and images, after the break...