Competing Utopias: An Experimental Installation of Cold War Modern Design from East and West in One Context
Competing Utopias is a design collision that should never happen. But somehow, in Los Angeles, in 2014, twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it will.
This installation is a ‘mash-up’ in the most provocative sense of that word. Its force comes from the collision of two design cultures that have been kept apart but have been visually connected in ways yet unexamined. What’s proposed is an experimental installation that presents Cold War modern design from East and West in one context.
Competing Utopias is organized by two Los Angeles institutions: the Neutra VDL Studio and Residences and the Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War, each a different type of museum. The Neutra House is an iconic Los Angeles mid-century modern house museum, designed by Austrian born American architect Richard Neutra. The Wende Museum is the largest archive of Cold War artifacts in the world. Both ‘institutions’ originated in German speaking Europe, both subsequently landed in Los Angeles. Their collections embody two forks of a Cold War history.
Title: Competing Utopias: An Experimental Installation of Cold War Modern Design from East and West in One Context
From: Fri, 11 Jul 2014
Until: Sun, 14 Sep 2014
Venue: Neutra VDL Research House
Address: 2300 Silver Lake Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039, USA
In the LA neighborhood of Echo Park, Bestor Architecture is bringing a new type of community-friendly, pedestrian-friendly development to the United States. The Blackbirds project is described by Barbara Bestor as introducing “stealth density” to the Echo Park neighborhood, imitating the size and roofline of the surrounding houses but incorporating multiple homes under one roof.
The design looks to the Dutch concept of the ‘Woonerf’, or living street, to propose a space which favors pedestrians and cyclists over cars, and features landscape design by Mia Lehrer + Associates, creating a communal space around which a ‘micro-community’ can thrive.
More on the design after the break
Since childhood, growing up on a farm outside of Nashville, Wendell Burnette has been inspired by nature; indeed, the amplification of the natural site has highlighted his body of work. In the following question and answer by Guy Horton of Metropolis Magazine, the Pheonix-based architect speaks about memories, inspiration and experience.
Wendell Burnette’s journey through architecture has taken him from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, where he has designed a type of architecture that resonates with the power of natural surroundings. It has also taken him to one of the world’s fastest growing cities, Phoenix, Arizona, where his practice, Wendell Burnette Architects, is based and where he calls home. More recently it has brought him to Los Angeles where he is the current Nancy M. & Edward D. Fox Urban Design Critic at the USC School of Architecture. He is also Professor of Practice at The Design School at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts.
I spoke with Burnette about his approach to architecture, the importance of direct experience, and the meaning behind his current USC studio, “Earth Curvature”.
Text by Isaac Wilhelm:
“Patrons of the A+D Architecture and Design Museum Los Angeles may want to consider wearing comfortable socks to view the new exhibit Bowlarama: California Bowling Architecture 1954-1964, on display from April 11, 2014, through May 11, 2014. Providing a deeper appreciation for the family heirloom bowling trophy on the fire mantle, the exhibit showcases the architecture of bowling in the 1950s. The retro design style and obsession with the sport of bowling at this time generated a desire for architecturally intriguing bowling centers.
Commonly open 24 hours a day in the 1950s, bowling centers incorporated features such as fine restaurants, cocktail lounges, and live entertainment. The projects of this exhibit are not about the sport of bowling or the centers, but rather the culture that emerged. Do not contemplate how many lanes are in the exhibit’s bowling centers, but instead imagine the blonde beauty sitting at the cocktail bar sipping on a martini during the local men’s league championship tournament.”
Title: Exhibition: Bowlarama: California Bowling Architecture, 1954-1964
From: Fri, 11 Apr 2014
Until: Sun, 11 May 2014
Venue: Architecture and Design Museum
Address: 6032 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA
UPDATE: Deadline for submissions extended to April 14, 2014!
Submissions are invited for the 2014 ACADIA ‘DESIGN AGENCY’ conference at University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California on October 20-25, 2014. Architects, designers, fabricators, engineers, media artists, technologists, software developers, hackers, researchers, students and educators and others in related fields of inquiry are invited to submit proposals.
The conference theme is intended to highlight experimental research and projects that exhibit and explore new paradigms of computing in architecture. The theme is a purposeful instigation of work that looks at re-defining the term “Agency” through the lens of computational design strategies such as simulation, fabrication, robotics, and novel integrations from science and the media arts.
For more information, including the specific themes and topics, please go to the event’s official website.
In this delightful article on Metropolis Magazine, Christopher Hawthorne recounts his meeting with Deborah Sussman, the one-time protégé of Charles and Ray Eames whose work breaks the boundaries between graphic design and architecture. From her collaboration with Frank Gehry to her iconic designs for the 1984 LA Olympics, Sussman has come to define a curiously Californian style. You can read the full article here.
The AA Visiting School is a satellite programme of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, and will be taking place in Los Angeles for the first time, from June 16 to June 27. The programme is broken up into research clusters that will be led by individual tutors based on the theme of “Machining Adaptive Living.”
Confirmed design instructors include Marc Fornes, Jenny Wu, Adam Marcus, David Freeland, Kevin Patrick McClellan and Alvin Huang. Guest lectures include Neil Denari, Heather Roberge and Tom Wiscombe. For more information, including registration please click here.
Title: AA Visiting School Los Angeles
Organizers: Architectural Association
From: Mon, 16 Jun 2014
Until: Fri, 27 Jun 2014
Venue: University of Southern California (USC)
Address: University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
In the early years of COOP HIMMELB(L)AU, Raimund Abraham was a role model – later on a friend. On the occasion of the Austrian government “Staatspreis” awarded to Raimund Abraham, Wolf D. Prix held the speech of honor, and characterized him as one of the main representatives of the Austrian architectural approach of celebrating space.
In his upcoming SCI-Arc lecture, Prix will explain Abraham’s influence on the early works of COOP HIMMELB(L)AU as well as references to the recent international and well-known buildings. How would visionaries like Abraham and Le Corbusier have developed and expressed themselves in today’s digital time? How would digital tools have influenced their designs?
The lecture is free, with no RSVP required and broadcast live at www.sciarc.edu/live.
Title: Wolf D. Prix on Raimund Abraham: Visions in Exile or: Before we were so rudely interrupted
From: Wed, 05 Mar 2014 19:00
Until: Wed, 05 Mar 2014 21:00
Venue: W.M. Keck Lecture Hall
Address: 960 East 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013, USA
Alongside news that The Broad’s completion date has been pushed back to 2015, rather than this fall, Diller Scofidio + Renfro has unveiled a new collaboration with landscape architect Walter Hood that will transform the mid-block parcel adjacent to the Grand Avenue museum into a pedestrian-friendly landscaped plaza and restaurant. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the new square will establish an important link to the neighboring school and apartment, as well as the future 2020 Regional Connector subway stop. The 24,000 square foot parcel will be enhanced by100-year-old olive trees transplanted from Northern California. Watch a video about the design after the break, and find more information here.
In his review of Spike Jonze’s movie “Her”, LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne explains a rather comforting aspect of the movie: instead of the dystopia that usually characterizes films set in the future, “Her” is set in a future version of LA which is more dense, has better public transport (with a subway map with a story all of its own) and has managed to overcome its dependence on the car. No wonder this film has touched a chord with architects and urban designers. Read the full review here.
In celebration of its 5th anniversary, the Architecture & Design Film Festival will make its Los Angeles debut, presenting 30 feature-length and short films from eight countries that explore the human elements of art, fashion, architecture, and design in our everyday lives. In addition, the festival will offer panel discussions, Q&As with filmmakers, a pop-up bookshop by Hennessey + Ingalls and more that are all open to the public!
For complete information on the films showcased, tickets, and speakers, please click here.
Title: Architecture & Design Film Festival Debuts in Los Angeles
From: Wed, 12 Mar 2014
Until: Sun, 16 Mar 2014
Venue: The Los Angeles Theatre Center
Address: 514 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013, USA
Architects: Belzberg Architects
Location: 100 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Architect In Charge: Hagy Belzberg
Design Team: Andrew Atwood, Barry Gartin, Brock DeSmit, Carina Bien-Wilner , Christopher Arntzen, Cory Taylor, Daniel Rentsch, David Cheung, Eric Stimmel, Erik Sollom, Justin Brechtel, Philip Lee, Lauren Zuzack
Area: 27,000 sqm
Photographs: Iwan Baan, Benny Chan