The Indicator: The Lure of the Vernacular

© Edward Ruscha-The Getty Research Institute, (2012.M.2) / Edward Ruscha photographs of streets and related documentation: Santa Monica Boulevard, Melrose Avenue, Pacific Coast Highway and other streets.

There is something soothing, even easy about vernacular architecture. It’s the territorial and spatial equivalent to Muzak. It evades and pre-dates the self-conscious identity of glitzy, cutting-edge architecture we are so familiar with today. There is an innocence to the vernacular. These are the buildings and environments of childhood.

This is apparent in the exhibition, In Focus: Ed Ruscha, currently showing at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. What captivates about the shots is that they dare to curate buildings that are usually just part of the background. They become objects of curiosity, spectacles, even.

Augustus F. Hawkins High School / CSDA Design Group

© Henry Cabala/

Architects: CSDA Design Group
Location: Augustus F. Hawkins High School, Los Angeles, CA 90044,
Landscape Architect: Melendrez Design Partners
Area: 351070.0 ft2
Year: 2012
Photographs: Henry Cabala/ CSDA Design Group

‘Stormcloud’ Installation / Oyler Wu Collaborative

Courtesy of

With the Southern California Institute of Architecture celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Stormcloud installation was designed and built by the office of Oyler Wu Collaborative, along with students of SCI-Arc, for the after-party of its April 2013 gala. Tasked with the challenge of revamping the existing Netscape pavilion, Oyler Wu Collaborative saw the project as an opportunity to take a completely different approach to the problem.  By removing the ten miles of knitted ropes that once hung between the soaring steel trusses, the project was transformed both volumetrically and materially. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Sessa Residence / J,P:A

© Taiyo Watanabe

Architects: J,P:A
Location: , , USA
Architect In Charge: Jones, Partners: Architecture
Design Team: Wes Jones, Rachel Bitan, Matt Daines, Janiva Henry, Steven Purvis
Area: 2,000 sqft
Year: 2012
Photographs: Taiyo Watanabe

Peter Zumthor Proposes $650 Million Overhaul for LACMA

LACMA © Flickr user Diana Lee Photography

The County Museum of Art (LACMA) will soon be rolling out the red carpet to welcome Swiss legend to the Golden State. The prized architect’s debut will mark the opening of “The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA,” which will unveil the ambitious, $650 million plan to transform the LACMA’s “Byzantine maze of buildings and hallways” into an experience-based “village” of curvaceous modern glass structures that will produce more energy than it uses.

“The idea is to make it permeable by people,” LACMA CEO and director Michael Govan says, who has been working with Zumthor for over four years on the proposal.

Dwell on Design 2013

Dwell on Design, America’s largest modern design event, returns to the Convention Center, June 21-23, 2013. DOD reimagines the trade show experience by transforming 200,000 square feet of concrete into a design incubator where prefab comes to life and design luminaires debate the issues of today. With more than 400 exhibitors, 200 speakers, 2000 products and an expected 30,000 attendees, DOD has become the largest design event in the US, showing how influential design is in every aspect of our modern world. is proud to announce The Lincoln Motor Company as the Presenting Auto sponsor, Design Partner jcpenney and Industry Partner The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). The event is produced by Dwell Media.

More information, including keynote speakers, the 2013 highlights and a special promo code for ArchDaily readers after the break.

A Look at Hollywood’s Love Affair with John Lautner

You have to admit it, really seems to have a thing for ; his designs are continuously cropping up in tv-shows, films, cartoons, music videos and even video games. The occasional despondent college professor aside, his exuberant mansions are usually typecast as the bachelor-pads of various flamboyant psycho-paths, pornographers or drug-smugglers. Curbed Los Angeles have compiled this excellent video of the various Lautner-featuring scenes, so we thought that we’d take a closer look at some of his buildings, which tend to pop up in all manner of unexpected places.

Read more about Hollywood’s love affair with Lautner after the break…

Motion Picture Academy Unveils Designs for Renzo Piano-Designed Museum

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures © , Studio Pali Fekete architects, AMPAS

It’s surprising to think that Los Angeles - the home of the U.S film industry – doesn’t have a museum solely dedicated to its homegrown artform. However, all that is about to change should the Academy of Motion Pictures have their way.

Last Thursday, plans were unveiled for the long-touted Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, a new museum designed by Renzo Piano and native Los Angeleno architect Zoltan Pali, which will be located in the streamline-moderne Wiltshire May Company building at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, on the campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Although the designs are at an early stage, the released drawings propose to convert the historic building into a museum, while marrying it with a 140-foot-diameter glass dome.

Read more about the project after the break…

CAPACITY: Gensler Los Angeles Academic Studio

CAPACITY, the Gensler led academic studio at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, was created with the intent to survey, understand and visualize the dynamic set of infrastructure constraints impacting and contributing to Downtown Los Angeles’ capacity to evolve. The video above highlights the documentation and synthesizing done by the SLO_GenLA ’13 Professional studio which shows the capacity of Los Angeles’ infrastructure and demonstrates how the limits of each system may physically impact the built form of the city. Once these variables, which include building information and zoning, energy, waste management, and water were universally known and their units of measure understood, scenarios for the were generated.

UCLA’s cityLAB at the School of Architecture and Urban Design

Backyard Homes Conceptual Rendering, image courtesy Daly Genik Architects

What makes an architecture school worth consideration are its special programs and initiatives. These programs, often run by a few faculty members, vary from addressing human rights and legal issues to working with local communities to remedy social and economic issues.

’s Architecture and Urban Design (AUD) school has just such a program. Called cityLAB (not to be confused with the student-run, science-based UCLA CityLab), it is in many ways unique to a university setting. Run by founder/director Professor Dana Cuff and co-directed by Professor Roger Sherman. It’s name is well-suited: a laboratory to test ideas and address issues arising from city conditions in ways that cannot be done by profit-driven firms. These issues include housing, commercial revitalization, and community and municipal collaboration. These projects have operated successfully on grants that support not just the work being done by the professors, but by staff and Graduate Student Researchers who are paid to work in all aspects of the projects.

Video: Sheats Goldstein Residence / John Lautner

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Question: What does Snoop Dogg, John Cleese, Lucy Liu and Jeff ‘The Dude’ Lebowski have in common? Simple, they have all, at some point in time, hung out in the living room of the space-age Sheats Goldstein Residence designed by Frank Lloyd Wright-disciple, John Lautner.

Read more about this amazing house and its unique owner after the break…

Lautner House / New Theme

© Patricia Parinejad

Architects: New Theme
Location: Los Angeles, CA,
Architect In Charge:
Year: 2012
Photographs: Patricia Parinejad

Predictions from the Past: New York 2012 and LA 2013

in 1962, Mayor Robert Wagner’s Predictions; and LA’s predictions from 1988 for 2013

Throughout history, people have spent a great deal of time pondering what the holds.  Scientific discovery and technological innovation – along with rebellious androids, zombies, flying cars, hover crafts, visiting aliens – have been consistently used as stereotypes that emerge in predictions for our imagined future.  And while Hollywood was busy exploring dystopian scenarios of this near-future, architects were composing utopian images of an optimistic vision for cities.

Architects have built careers upon predicting what cities can potentially become – developing forms, functions, plans and visions of possibilities in the social, political, economic and cultural realms through architecture. In 1962, Mayor Robert Wagner of NYC predicted a culturally diverse, economically viable, global city for New York in 2012.  In 1988, Los Angeles Times Magazine gave its 25-year forecast for Los Angeles in 2013, predicting what a life for a family would be like, filled with robots, electric cars, smart houses and an abundance of video-conferencing. Find out how their predictions fared after the break.

Big & Small House / Anonymous Architects

Courtesy of

Architects: Anonymous Architects
Location: , CA, USA
Area: 1,200 sq ft
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of Anonymous Architects

The West Coast’s Tallest: Wilshire Grand / AC Martin Partners

Courtesy of AC Martin Partners

Developer Korean Air has recently unveiled the designs for the new 73-story Wilshire Grand tower in the financial district of Los Angeles, California. AC Martin Partners designed the plans for the $1 billion mixed-use office and hotel tower that will reach 1,100 feet, making it the tallest tower west of Chicago once completed.

Read more after the break…

San Lorenzo Residence / Mike Jacobs Architecture

© Michael Wells

Architects: Mike Jacobs Architecture
Location: , CA,
Architect In Charge: Mike Jacobs, Artur Growchowski, Dan Nissimov, Maria Tiliakos, Momo Araki
General Contracting: MFH Construction
Structural Engineering: Gordon Polon Consulting Engineers
Year: 2012
Photographs: Michael Wells

AD Classic: Norton House / Frank Gehry

Courtesy of Samuel Ludwig

Designed in 1984 for artist Lynn Norton and writer William Norton, ’s Norton House is known for its eccentric form and eclectic materiality. Much like his own house in Santa Monica, the Norton House is a sculptural assemblage of everyday materials. The Nortons had in fact seen Gehry’s house in 1983 and obviously approved of his experiment. So, a year later, they commissioned him to design their house on a narrow, ocean-facing plot of land on Venice Boardwalk. With the commission, Gehry continued his exploration of creating architecture with everyday materials, low costs, and sculptural forms.

Iwan Baan: ‘The Way We Live’ Exhibition

Tokyo #1, 2006, Digital C-Print, 54 x 36 inches (137.2 x 91.4 cm) / ©

Opening tonight, February 20, at 6:00pm PST at the Perry Rubenstein Gallery in Iwan Baan‘s ‘The Way We Live’ exhibition features captivating large-scale images of urban, architectural, and home environments that capture Baan’s singular vision. Baan’s artistic practice examines how we live and interact with architecture, focusing on the human element, which brings buildings, intersections, and public gathering places to life. Running until April 13, this is Baan’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. More information after the break.