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Design: A Long Term Preventative Medicine

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and MIT’s Center for Advanced Urbanism has produced a new report examining urban health in eight of the USA’s largest cities, which has been translated into a collection of meaningful findings for architects, designers, and urban planners. With more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas - a statistic which is projected to grow to 70% by 2050 - the report hinges around the theory that “massive urbanization can negatively affect human and environmental health in unique ways” and that, in many cases, these affects can be addressed by architects and designers by the way we create within and build upon our cities.

Flip Flop House / Dan Brunn Architecture

  • Architects: Dan Brunn Architecture
  • Location: Venice, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Contractor: RJC Builders
  • Structural Engineer: Paul Franceschi
  • Area: 5700.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Brandon Shigeta

© Brandon Shigeta © Brandon Shigeta © Brandon Shigeta © Brandon Shigeta

Frank Gehry: "I'm Not a Starchitect"

For Peter Aspden's first encounter with the architect of the Guggenheim in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LAFrank Gehry did not "exude sweetness." "You are not going to call me a [...] ‘star-chitect’? I hate that." In a candid interview with the Financial Times, Gehry discusses the problem of being branded for beginning the Bilbao Effect in spite of the fact that he insists that "you can’t escape your signature." Gehry talks at length about Facebook's latest headquarters and, in particular, his relationship with his client, Mark Zuckerberg. Read the full interview here.

Appleton Living / Minarc

  • Architects: Minarc
  • Location: Venice, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Design Team: Tryggvi Thorsteinsson, Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir
  • Project Year: 2011
  • Photographs: Art Gray

© Art Gray © Art Gray © Art Gray © Art Gray

Frank Gehry to Submit Grand Avenue Vision to L.A. City Officials

After reviewing proposals from a selection of other firms, Related Companies has chosen to move forward with Frank Gehry’s Grand Avenue vision for Los Angeles. The design, which abandons the fluid forms of Gehry’s original scheme, has been described by critic Christopher Hawthorne as “significantly more exuberant and suggestive of L.A. culture” than Gensler and Robert A.M. Stern Architects’ recently rejected proposal

Tom Bradley International Terminal / Fentress Architects

© Fentress Architects © Jason A. Knowles © Jason A. Knowles © Jason A. Knowles

Architects Tackle LA's Water Scarcity

Arid Land Institute Geo-spatial Model. Image © Arid Land Institute
Arid Land Institute Geo-spatial Model. Image © Arid Land Institute

Water scarcity is a profound challenge for designers of the built environment. Beyond looking for water sources and creating sustainable ecosystems, how can we begin to create cities and buildings that will help us to celebrate and mitigate hydro-logical concerns? Hadley and Peter Arnold, co-directors of the Arid Land Institute (ALI) at Woodbury University, have decided to tackle this problem around Los Angeles. With the support of the World Water Forum and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, they recently developed a high-resolution geospatial model to strategically identify and quantify the potential for improving storm water capture within urban areas. 

How Would You Design Grand Avenue?

"Will Grand Avenue finally turn around? Most likely not until they make it a two-way, add more trees, bike lanes, and pedestrian amenities. Buildings alone can’t do it, no matter how daring, novel (or expensive) the architecture." -- Guy Horton, The Indicator, "Ten Years Later, Has the Disney Concert Hall Made a Difference?"

The latest controversy surrounding the Grand Avenue re-design, the long-awaited project to develop the stretch of land east of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, is the re-instatement of Frank Gehry, a move which occurred after the city of LA rejected plans from mega-developers Related Cos. (designed by Gensler in collaboration with Robert A.M. Stern) for being "overly commercial."

Of course, while the Related Cos. plans may have failed to wow the city, the decision to bring Gehry back to the project hasn't exactly been embraced either. A must-see article in Zócalo Public Square asks four urban planning experts, "what would you do with Grand Avenue?" In his latest ArchDaily column, Guy Horton offers his opinion: any re-design must rely on activating life on the street-level, rather than on one architectural solution. Well, ArchDaily readers, now we'd like to know your thoughts on the matter.

AD Classics: Walt Disney Concert Hall / Frank Gehry

Completed October 23, 2003, The Walt Disney Concert Hall celebrates its tenth anniversary today. Home to the LA Philharmonic, it has received wide acclaim for its excellent acoustics and distinctive architecture. In the decade since its opening, the hall's sweeping, metallic surfaces have become associated with Frank Gehry’s signature style.

© 2012 Carlos Eduardo Seo - www.carlosseo.com. Used with permission. © Matt Blanchard © Gehry Partners, LLP © 2012 Carlos Eduardo Seo - www.carlosseo.com. Used with permission.

Solar Decathlon 2013: SCI-Arc & Caltech Create California-style, Zero Net Energy Bungalow

DALE, short for Dynamic Augmented Living Environment, is this year's U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon entry for the SCI-Arc/Caltech team. Made of two movable, prefabricated modules that open to allow the outdoors in, DALE celebrates the active California lifestyle through its dynamic architecture.

DALE learns from two classic California precedents: the super-sized suburban tract home and the compact, sufficient bungalow; amending one and expanding on the other to become a new Southern California typology. At 600 square feet, it is a micro house with an unprecedented flexible interior that results in the program of a house three times the size.

The Indicator: Ten Years Later, Has the Disney Concert Hall Made a Difference?

On October 23rd, the Walt Disney concert hall, the project that almost never was, will celebrate its ten-year anniversary. Throughout these ten years it has had all manner of transformative power attributed to it. But has it really transformed LA? What would the city have been like if it had never been built? Would it be fundamentally different? 

The answer? No.The city wouldn’t even be that different in the immediate vicinity of Grand Avenue. 

Gelb House / Bruce Norelius Studio

  • Architects: Bruce Norelius Studio
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Builder: Glynn Design Build
  • Kitchen Cabinet Pulls: Tom KundigCollection : Earless Cabinet Pull
  • Lighting: Birchwood Kelsey LED
  • Area: 1200.0 ft2
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Courtesy of Bruce Norelius Studio

Courtesy of Bruce Norelius Studio Courtesy of Bruce Norelius Studio Courtesy of Bruce Norelius Studio Courtesy of Bruce Norelius Studio

Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie

Journey through a three-dimensional landscape of striking architecture in this career-spanning exhibition of Moshe Safdie’s work. Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie surveys the renowned architect’s career from his formative period in the 1960s and early 1970s to his recent projects around the world, exploring his aesthetic language of transcendent light, powerful geometry, and iconic forms. 

Westgate Residence / Kurt Krueger Architect

© Unlimited Style Photography © Unlimited Style Photography © Unlimited Style Photography © Unlimited Style Photography

Kearsarge Residence / Kurt Krueger Architect

© Unlimited Style Photography © Unlimited Style Photography © Unlimited Style Photography © Unlimited Style Photography

Gehry's Walt Disney Hall Turns 10

It's been called a "remarkable work of public architecture" that "engages [the city of] Los Angeles" like few others. With the 10 year anniversary of Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall approaching, the LA Times, with some great, in-depth coverage, has been taking a look back at its architecture and what makes it such an important icon for both Gehry and LA. Oh, and don't forget to check out its soon-to-be neighbor on Grand Avenue, the Broad Museum by Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Same Time Zone, Different Standards

The Getty’s Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. hosted A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living at UCLA’s Hammer Museum and Contemporary Architecture from Southern California (formerly known as A New Sculpturalism) at MOCA Geffen for the better part of this summer. These two exhibits, on view until September 8 and 16 respectively, give us insight into Los Angeles’ past and present architectural legacies. They take on fundamentally different challenges. One uncovers a prolific and primary history of a modernist architect, the other attempts to capture and catalogue an unwieldy and unstable present.

Read on after the break for reviews of both exhibitions...

Tempera Pavilion by Atelier Manferdini at The Museum Of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Image © Taiyo Watanabe Drawdle 01-03, 2012-13 by Morphosis Architects at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Image © Taiyo Watanabe Exhibition of A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living at UCLA Hammer Museum. Image © Brian Forrest A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons, Architects.  Fairhaven Tract Eichler Homes Model LJ-124, Orange, California, 1961. Image © Jason Schmidt

The Threat Hanging Over LA's Modernist Homes

A shadow hangs over the hills of Los Angeles, threatening its modernist architecture. In this article on the Daily Beast, Andrew Romano investigates the trend for the 'McMansions' which are now popular among LA's super-rich, and the risk that they pose to the style that "many believe was perfected in Southern California" - the hillside modernist home. But it's not all bad news: he finds that the Schairer House, designed by Gregory Ain in 1949 is now being restored, and Beverly Hills last year past its first preservation laws. Read the full article here.