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 future 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 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: Los Angeles, CA,
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, 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.

LA Architecture School Boasts Stimulating Post-professional Programs

© SCI-Arc ESTm, Marcelo Spina Studio, Artificial Clouds

Two dynamic post-graduate programs offered by the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in have been charged with examining core contemporary issues facing architecture today. Spanning topics from advanced manufacturing methodologies and new building systems, to urban planning and design challenges faced globally, these post-professional tracks allow students to rethink architecture and design through the creative lens of the SCI-Arc community.

The architecture school’s Emerging Systems, Technologies & Media (ESTm) and Initiatives (SCIFI) programs are conceived as intensive one-year (three semesters) post-professional degrees in architecture, functioning as think tanks and research engines within the larger framework of the school.

Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.

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The Getty Trust is partnering with Pacific Standard Time to present 11 individual exhibitions throughout LA’s museums that will explore the history and heritage of the city’s modern architecture and its influential designers.  As musician, photographer and architectural blogger Moby boasts, “LA has the most diverse architecture of any city on the planet”.  Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in LA will explore this diversity that covers post World War II architecture through today with specific points of view ranging in architectural style, influence and decade.  The exhibitions, which will run from April through July 2013, are a follow-up to last year’s Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA, 1945-1980. The focus of the exhibitions will range in scale and cover the monumental and everyday architectural moments that make LA unique.  Exhibitions will present iconic modernist homes and cultural landmarks as well as coffee shops, car washes, and the freeways in addition to  the un-built architectural fantasies of modernism and post-modernism.

Follow us after the break for the eleven exhibitions that will be part of PST’s event.

‘A Confederacy of Heretics: The Architecture Gallery, Venice, 1979′ Exhibition

Seven of the architects who participated in The Architecture Gallery, from left to right: Frederick Fisher, Robert Mangurian, Eric Owen Moss, Coy Howard, Craig Hodgetts, Thom Mayne, Frank Gehry. Photograph ©1980 Ave Pildas.

Taking place at SCI-Arc‘s campus in downtown March 29-July 7, Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A.: A Confederacy of Heretics: The Architecture Gallery, Venice, 1979 exhibition. The exhibition examines the pivotal role played by the temporary gallery held in the home of architect Thom Mayne for several weeks in 1979. An immersive showcase of spectacular models, drawings and media will be mounted in two spaces located on the campus, the main gallery and the Kappe Library Gallery. More information on the exhibition after the break.

Iwan Baan: The Way We Live

The City and the Storm, 2012; © Iwan Baan, Images courtesy of Perry Rubenstein Gallery

Iwan Baan‘s name may ring a bell for all those following Hurricane Sandy’s devastation across City and New Jersey’s coast.  The photographer’s iconic photograph made headlines when it was featured on New York magazine’s front page days after the storm, showing lower Manhattan in complete darkness, set against its vibrant counterpart uptown, as the United States’ east coast was recovering from the extensive damage left in Sandy’s wake.  The image not only brings to mind the absolute helplessness that New York City faced during the storm, but also lends a hand in a social commentary that is notably pervasive in Baan’s work.

Starting February 20th, 2013, The Perry Rubenstein Gallery in Los Angeles will feature the Baan’s work in his first, two-month exhibition entitled The Way We Live, honing in on the images that encapsulate the world of architecture, urbanism and human engagement.

More on Iwan Baan: The Way We Live after the break.

Oyler/Wu Lecture & Gow + Karlsson Exhibition Opening Reception

Courtesy of Sci-ARC

Two key are coming up at SCI-Arc this month starting with the ‘Dwayne Oyler & Jenny Wu: Lineworks’ lecture which takes place tomorrow, January 16, at the W.M. Keck Lecture Hall at 7pm PST. Established in in 2004, Oyler Wu Collaborative, ‘has utilized the last five years to establish a way of working that is committed to experimentation through a relentless hands-on approach to our work’. Also, starting January 18 until March 3, the ‘Marcelyn Gow + Ulrika Karlsson: AQUEOTROPE’ exhibition focuses on materializing the mathematical, the exact translation of virtual instructions in the form of drawings or codes to their material actualization, is a fundamental procedure in the production of architecture. For more information on the events, please visit here.

West Los Angeles Office Building Proposal / GMPA Architects

Courtesy of

Located on a prominent corner in West , the proposal for an office building by GMPA Architects is an energized, swirling 4-level structure rather than a static wedding cake style. With its riveting spiral shape,, derived from the 10’ difference in elevation, the dynamic, multi-shaped levels add visual interest and reinforce a connection to the street. More images and architects’ description after the break.

New United States Courthouse Competition Entry / NBBJ

North ©

Claiming to be the most progressive, sustainable, and cost effective courthouse in the nation, NBBJ’s shortlisted proposal for the New Los Angeles Federal Courthouse serves as a model for future GSA development. The contrast between the free and informal spirit of Los Angeles with the formal structure and societal role of the Federal Courts illustrates an important duality that openly coexists throughout their phased design. At a larger scale, the structure becomes a mediator within the skyline, rising to a comfortable 256 feet tall to help transition the steep, urban high-rise topography of Bunker Hill and the mid-rise, ordered context of downtown.

Read the architects’ description after the break to learn more about this high performance, multifaceted design.

New United States Courthouse Competition Entry / Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design

Courtesy of Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design

Yazdani Studio of Cannon Design and Gruen Associates have shared with us their second place proposal for the highly anticipated design-build competition for the new courthouse in , California. Envisioned as an icon within the city skyline, the triangular monolith provides a sustainable, 21st century courthouse that embodies the democratic qualities of dignity, stature, transparency, openness and accessibility.

Located at a pivotal node connecting the Los Angeles Civic Center, the Broadway Historic District and Bunker Hill, the 550,000 square foot courthouse is surrounded by a lush civic space that plays an important role in the existing cityscape.

Read the architect’s description after the break…