With more than 7 billion people now alive, the greatest population growth over the last century has occurred in urban areas. Now, a new series of interactive maps entitled “The Age of Megacities” and developed by software company ESRI allows us to visualize these dramatic effects and see just how this growth has shaped the geography of 10 of the world’s 28 megacities. Defined as areas with continuous urban development of over 10 million people, the number of megacities in the world is expected to increase, and while Tokyo still tops the list as the world’s largest megacity, other cities throughout Asia are quickly catching up. Find out more after the break.
In discussion with Christopher Hawthorne of the LA Times, Renzo Piano has taken his comments of modesty – verging on “self-deprecation” – to a new level. In response to questions about the design of the proposed Motion Picture Academy in Los Angeles he has said: “I don’t think it will be that bad. [...] Actually, I’m struggling to do something good.” Although Piano’s design has previously been met with criticisms from Hawthorne, the Italian architect notes in this latest interview that ”everything we’ve made at LACMA has been extremely complicated.” The project, which has already seen a major alteration in the core design team, remains set to complete in 2015.
Helicopter landing pads will no longer be required atop new buildings in Los Angeles, California. The rule’s elimination, which was announced yesterday by the city’s mayor and fire chief, allows architects the freedom to break away from LA’s “boxy” skyline. “I want to see innovative design,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “I want to see good design, but we’re going to take the handcuffs off of you when we ask you to do that. I want neighborhoods to look good, and I want our buildings to look iconic.” You can read more about the change, here.
Michael Maltzan, Frederick Fisher, Predock Frane, MAD and Leong Leong have been shortlisted in a limited competition to design a new Los Angeles LGBT Center (formerly called LA Gay and Lesbian Center). Each have received a stipend of $20,000 to develop proposals for the new campus, which will include arts, educational and affordable housing programs on more than an entire city block in Hollywood. Once complete, the center hopes to serve LGBT community members of all ages by providing access to multigenerational affordable housing, healthcare, senior care and family services. You can learn more on KCRW here.
The Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) has appointed Hernan Diaz Alonso as the Los Angeles architecture school’s new Director beginning September 2015. Alonso, principal of Xefirotarch and educator widely credited for spearheading the transition of SCI-Arc to digital technologies, will succeed architect Eric Owen Moss who has served as the school’s director since 2002. Continue after the break to watch Alonso’s “New Director Presentation” and preview a selection of his work.
The Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering has selected three teams for the next phase of the competition to redevelop and expand the Los Angeles Convention Center. The teams, consisting of AC Martin + LMN; Gensler + Lehrer Architects; and HMC + Populous, will now receive $200,000 to develop detailed proposals to be submitted on December 8th.
However, according to The Architect’s Newspaper, the redevelopment of the Convention Center outlined by the brief is not yet guaranteed to happen; with the city under contract with AEG to build a football stadium on a portion of the site until October 18th, the Convention Center’s Executive Director Bud Ovrum confirmed that, if the city can secure an NFL team by then, the stadium is still the city’s first choice.
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.
Folly is a word not often used in architecture. By definition, ‘folly’ is a lack of good sense, or foolishness. And in the realm of architecture, folly is used to describe an extravagantly ornamented structure with no practical purpose. Yet gathering their inspiration from this word, Warren Techentin Architecture (WTARCH) have created and mounted a functional folly, appropriately named La Cage aux Folles (The Cage of Follies). Constructed of painted, steel tubes and installed at Materials & Applications, an exhibition centre in Los Angeles, La Cage aux Folles played host to an array of musical performances and lectures.
Explore La Cage aux Folles with more photos and info after the break.
Thomas Heatherwick is set to expand his international reputation in the coming year, thanks to two exhibitions that will tour the United States and East Asia, reports the Architects’ Journal. The US exhibition, titled “Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio” will tour Dallas, LA and New York from September 2014 to October 2015. The Asia exhibit is yet to be formally announced, although it is believed it will begin in Singapore in Spring 2015. Read on after the break for more details of the exhibitions.
Design firm Platform for Architecture + Research (PAR) has been awarded AIA Los Angeles’ Presidential Emerging Practice Award. The award, which reflects “notable, innovative achievements in design and service to the profession,” is the highest honor given by AIA LA each year. This year, in response to Los Angeles’s continued urban evolution, the award jury nominated those firms who “take leadership roles in advancing the profession and thus, the City.” PAR fit the bill, both for their research-based design approach, and their commitment to improving public life through design. See some of their latest work, after the break!
The potential solution to smog and pollution may be hovering right over our heads, now that Students at the University of California – Riverside have designed a pollution reducing rooftop tile. According to their calculations, cladding one million rooftops with the tiles could remove 21 tons of nitrogen oxides — daily. Currently the Los Angeles area spits out 500 tons of nitrogen oxides a day, so the tiles are just one piece of the puzzle in reducing pollution – however the students are imagining their nitrogen-oxide-eating Titanium Dioxide compound in exterior paints, concrete and more. To see all the possibilities, read the full article here.
Did you know a 51-mile river runs through the city of Los Angeles? It might not be immediately recognizable as a river, but it’s there. In a drastic attempt to prevent flooding in the early 1900s, the Army Corps of Engineers essentially turned the entire river into a giant drainage channel by encasing it in concrete. This article, originally posted on Metropolis Magazine, investigates landscape architect Mia Lehrer’s vision to remedy the situation by transforming the desolate space into a public greenway, and a celebrated feature of Los Angeles.
From the offices of Los Angeles–based landscape architect Mia Lehrer, located near the western edge of Koreatown, you might not even know that Los Angeles has a river. It’s not visible from here — instead we can see other things L.A. is known for: the Hollywood sign, traffic, billboards, a dense urban grid that runs forever. In fact, unless you are right up against it, you may not see the river at all. In its current form, it sits as the abandoned, Brutalist evidence of the city’s past battles with seasonal flooding, an expedient way to move water quickly to the sea. To many, it’s more like an urban-design crime scene of missed opportunities and missteps, begging to be corrected. If Lehrer has her way, it will be corrected so that Los Angeles, the city with the huge drainage channel, becomes Los Angeles, river city.
Frank Gehry, renowned for his often enormous public works projects, is turning his attention to something on a smaller scale: a campus for the non-profit organization CII (Children’s Institute Inc.) in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts. Perhaps best known for Watts tower, the architecture of Watts is shaped by limited income and the need to deter vandalism. according to the LA Times Gehry’s intervention will hopefully be a tipping point for a neighborhood desperate to change not just its aesthetic but its future. Read the full article about the project here.