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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.

LA’s Iconic Case Study Houses (Finally!) Make National Register

Ten of Los Angeles’ Case Study Homes have been deemed historically significant an worthy of being included on US’s National Register of Historic Places. Despite the Los Angeles Conservancy’s belief that all of them deserve “equal preservation protections,” the 11th home was not included due to “owner objection.”

The Case Study Houses spawned from a post-WWII residential experiment, presented by the Arts & Architecture magazine in 1945, which introduced modern movement ideas for affordable and efficient housing. The homes - designed by the likes of Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig, Eero Saarinen and others - redefined the modern home. And, with the help of Julius Shulman, placed Los Angeles as an epicenter for mid-century modernism. 

The 11 homes included on the register are:

Petersen Automotive Museum Unveils Eye-Catching New Exterior by Kohn Pedersen Fox

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles has announced that it will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2014 with a redesign of its interior and a complete transformation of its exterior facade to create a "world class museum that will showcase the art, experience, culture and heritage of the automobile." The exterior design by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates will give the Petersen a truly unique and iconic look that will hopefully attract architecture and car enthusiasts alike.

More on the museum's drastic transformation after the break.

P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S' Latest Expressive, Experimental Pavilion: Textile Room

This article originally appeared in Metropolis Magazine's Point of View Blog as "Working at the Crystalline Level."

Los Angeles-based P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S is among the most intriguing and progressive firms working in architecture today. They seem relentless in pushing boundaries in areas like ultra-light-weight high-tech materials and immersive media. They are also very thoughtful and patient in the way they approach design.

This is good because what they are engaged in and the way they work takes time. By collaborating with engineers and innovators in different industries they are slowly changing the way architecture is carried out and conceived on material and ontological levels. They don’t do spec homes, they do what’s new, and sometimes try to do what hasn’t been done yet.

Founder and co-principal Marcelo Spina and co-principal Georgina Huljich both teach, he at SCI-ARC and she at UCLA, where they pursue research interests with students and then reflect that back into their small but energetic practice tucked away in one of Los Angeles’ rustic urban edges, Atwater Village.

One thing to recently emerge from this office is the experimental carbon fiber pavilion they call Textile Room.

SOM Breaks Ground on Los Angeles' Courthouse

Just eight months after being awarded the design-build contract with Clark Construction Group, Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM) has broke ground on the new, $318 million United States Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. This is a long-awaited achievement for the city of Los Angeles, as attempts have been made to construct a new courthouse since 2007. However, despite having to abandoned a $1.1 billion Perkins + Will proposal years ago, many believe this sustainable and more cost-effective design by SOM was worth the wait. 

The Indicator: Two Shows, Many Cities: “A New Scuplturalism” at MOCA and “Never Built” at the A+D Museum

Here in Los Angeles we have a complicated relationship with architecture and two con-current museum exhibitions demonstrate this in ironic and puzzling ways. This came into clear relief when, on Saturday, August 03, 2013, something amazing and unprecedented happened: architecture was on the front page of a major US newspaper, the Los Angeles Times

This, it must be said, is a very unusual thing for architecture. Moreover, it was not the type of architecture you might expect to grab the spotlight. It was the un-built original plan for Los Angeles International Airport by Pereira and Luckman, c. 1952. If you’ve been to LAX you’ve seen their Theme Building. They also did the plan for LAX that was finally accepted—the less visionary, less ambitious plan. This was being re-presented to the world in the context of “Never Built” a show about the unrealized architectural dreams of Los Angeles currently showing at the A+D Museum. 

South Los Angeles Animal Care Center & Community Center / RA-DA

  • Architects: RA-DA
  • Location: 1850 West 60th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90047, USA
  • Design Lead: Rania Alomar
  • Project Manager: Sofia Ames
  • Designers: Carolyn Telgard, Jesse Madrid
  • Structural Engineer: John Labib & Associates
  • MEP Engineers: Creative Engineering Group
  • Civil Engineer: RBF Consulting, EW Moon
  • Specs Writer: Chew Specifications
  • Contractor: Mackone Development Inc
  • Building Owner: City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering
  • Other Team Members: Los Angeles Animal Services
  • Project Year: 2013
  • Photographs: Ralf Strathmann

© Ralf Strathmann © Ralf Strathmann © Ralf Strathmann © Ralf Strathmann

Never Built: Los Angeles

After years of extensive research that unearthed countless untold stories and hundreds of beautiful unbuilt designs, curators Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin will be celebrating the opening of their highly anticipated exhibition - Never Built: Los Angeles - today at the Architecture and Design Museum in Los Angeles. 

LAX Completes First Phase of its $1.5 Billion Terminal

Phase 1 of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, the largest public works project in the history of Los Angeles, has been completed. The new airport, designed by Fentress Architects to be a LEED-certified landmark for the city, will feature a flowing, ocean-inspired roofline, a three-story,150,000-square-foot Great Hall, and one of the most advanced multimedia Integrated Environmental Media Systems (IEMS) in the world. The $1.5 billion project has been funded solely from LAX’s operating revenues, without public funds.

2013 Los Angeles Architectural Awards Announced

In addition to honoring renowned architect Ray Kappe with a Lifetime Achievement Award, the Los Angeles Business Council has awarded thirty-one local projects for their design excellence, sustainability and community impact at the 43rd annual LA Architectural Awards.

The 2013 Los Angeles Architectural Award Winners:

A First Look at Peter Zumthor’s Design for the LACMA

© 2013 Museum Associates / LACMA
© 2013 Museum Associates / LACMA

Coming at a crucial time in which Los Angeles is at risk of “losing its reputation as a center for innovative architecture,” museum director Michael Govan and Swiss architect Peter Zumthor have unveiled preliminary plans for what they hope will be the new home of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). If approved, this $650 million proposal - nearly five years in the making - would replace the dated William Pereira-designed campus and its 1986 Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates-designed addition with an organically-shaped, dark-grey concrete and glass Zumthor original. 

More information after the break, including Peter Zumthor’s project description...

'Lebbeus Woods is an Archetype' Exhibition & Installation

Opening October 11 until December 1, the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) will present 'Lebbeus Woods is an Archetype', an exhibition and public art installation which highlights the well-known American architect's work, including several original, rarely seen Woods drawings from private collections. Complemented by a symposium and catalog, this exhibition in the SCI-Arc Gallery and related large-scale public art installation in the Arts District’s Bloom Square, aims to demonstrate the fearless nature with which the late visionary architect and draftsman created. More information on the exhibition after the break.

New LA Subway Could Spell Acoustical Doom for Gehry's Disney Hall

Architect Frank Gehry has voiced concerns that the new Los Angeles subway, scheduled for construction in two to three years, may disturb concerts in his famous Disney Hall. The planned subway line would run 125 feet below the venue's parking garage and recent simulations have shown that the rumblings could be audible inside the concert hall. Mr. Gehry has called for the review of previous noise projections for the metro project, which two years ago predicted no audible impact on his design. “It would be a disaster for Disney Hall,” Gehry told the LA Times. “The flag is up and we should go over it and make sure.”

Read more after the break.

The Indicator: Pilgrimage, Experiencing the Eames House

I pass by the Eames House almost every day at about 35 mph on my way down to PCH, the sand, the waves, the subterranean tunnels, and the tsunami zone, where LA coughs up its junk on the urban beach, where the Westside comes to its logical conclusion. Sometimes traffic is backed up so far up the hill—this is Los Angeles, after all—that I sit motionless and adjacent where the house should be, but can’t actually see it. I listen to the engine, the radio, the sound of helicopters and leaf blowers. The house is silent somewhere behind a wall of dense tropical flora.

My first actual visit to the house was when I was barely thinking about architecture. In a way it was my introduction to the possibility that someone could do architecture, that it was something one could succeed at. It was optimism on real estate once considered solidly middle class. Improbably light-weight and even painterly, like a Mondrian composition, it sits in a perfectly mundane American yard, like the delicate skeleton of a bird perched over the Pacific.

'A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California' Exhibition

Taking place June 2 - September 2 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, 'A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California' will be the first extensive, scholarly examination of the radical forms that have become prolific in Southern California architecture during the past twenty-five years. It will examine the role of Los Angeles–based architect Frank Gehry, arguably the most significant and innovative architect of the later part of the twentieth century, and the generation of Los Angeles architects that followed him, including Greg Lynn, Michael Maltzan, Thom Mayne, and Eric Owen Moss, to name a few. For more information, please visit here.