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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.

Dutch-Style Streets Come to LA

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

Ace Hotel Downtown LA / Commune Design

  • Architects: Commune Design
  • Location: 929 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015, USA
  • Rooms : 180
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Spencer Lowell, Courtesy of Commune Design

Courtesy of Commune Design © Spencer Lowell © Spencer Lowell © Spencer Lowell

From the Desert to the City: An Interview with Wendell Burnette

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”.

Manifold House / ANX

  • Architects: ANX
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Architect in Charge: Aaron Neubert
  • Area: 7500.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Courtesy of ANX, Scott Rhea

Courtesy of ANX Courtesy of ANX © Scott Rhea Courtesy of ANX

ARUP Downtown Los Angeles / ZAGO Architecture

  • Architects: ZAGO Architecture
  • Location: 811 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90017, USA
  • Project Team: Andrew Zago, Laura Bouwman, Dale Strong
  • Area: 2500.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Joshua White

© Joshua White © Joshua White © Joshua White © Joshua White

Exhibition: Bowlarama: California Bowling Architecture, 1954-1964

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. 

Dwell on Design Convention To Showcase Modern Living

Dwell on Design, an immersive 3-day design exhibition at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 20-22, will feature over 400 exhibitors and 90 presentations on ‘new ideas for modern living.’

ACADIA 2014 Call for Submissions

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.

Emerson College Los Angeles / Morphosis Architects

  • Architects: Morphosis Architects
  • Location: 5960 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA
  • Design Director: Thom Mayne
  • Project Principal & Manager: Kim Groves
  • Lead Project Designer: Chandler Ahrens
  • Project Architect: Aaron Ragan
  • Area: 107400.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Iwan Baan

©  Iwan Baan ©  Iwan Baan ©  Iwan Baan ©  Iwan Baan

Deborah Sussman: Breaking the Boundaries Between Architecture & Graphic Design

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.

AA Visiting School Los Angeles

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.”

Buzzfeed LA Office / JIDK

  • Architects: JIDK
  • Location: 7323 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA
  • Interior Designers: Thomas Jensen, Brigid Björklund
  • Local Architect: MAKE Architecture
  • Area: 8000.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Peter Kubilus, Thomas J Jensen

© Thomas J Jensen © Peter Kubilus © Peter Kubilus © Peter Kubilus

Wolf D. Prix on Raimund Abraham: Visions in Exile or: Before we were so rudely interrupted

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.  

Diller Scofidio + Renfro Designs Public Plaza, Restaurant for LA’s Broad Museum

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 "Her," A Hopeful Vision for LA's Future

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.

Architecture & Design Film Festival Debuts in Los Angeles

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!