LACMA Distinguished Architects Lecture Series: Jeanne Gang

Courtesy of LACMA

Founder and principal of Studio Gang Architects, Jeanne Gang, FAIA, LEED AP, will be delivering a lecture at LACMA on May 8th at 7:30pm. Reveal, the first volume on Studio Gang’s projects and processes, was released in 2011 from Princeton Architectural Press. Recent projects include a proposal reimagining the suburb of Cicero, Illinois, as a part of MoMA’sexhibition Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream; Reverse Effect, a book intended to explore and spark a radically greener future for the Chicago River and Great Lakes; Aqua Tower, an Emporis Skyscraper of the Year; and Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo, an educational project demonstrating how nature and city can coexist. The event is presented by LACMA and organized by Francesca Garcia-Marques, with an introduction by Christopher Hawthorne, Times architecture critic. For more details and information on the event, please visit here.

 

Breaking Ground: Chinese American Architects in Los Angeles

Choy Residence © J. Paul Getty Trust. Used with permission. Julius Shulman Photography Archive, Research Library at the Getty Research Institute (2004.R.10)

Breaking Ground: Chinese American Architects in Los Angeles (1945-1980) at the Chinese American Museum (CAM) is an exhibition that focuses on four Chinese American architects that have transformed parts of Los Angeles with iconic buildings and distinct design styles.  The work will be on display until June 3rd 2012 and feature architects such as , Gilbert LeongHelen Liu Fong and Gin Wong.

Breaking Ground is part of Pacific Standard Time, a collaboration created by Getty in which sixty cultural institutions will tell the story of the birth of LA art scene over the course of six months beginning October 2011.   Breaking Ground at CAM LA tells the story of the skyline and the changing built environment through the perspective the four prominent Chinese American Architects.

More after the break.

The Indicator: Moby, Part 2

Courtesy of

I once saw a video of David Hockney discussing a Chinese landscape scroll. A provocative little art-geek film (or so it seemed at the time) entitled, ”A Day on the Grand Canal With the Emperor of China (or Surface Is Illusion but So Is Depth)”.

On the surface, the film’s subject is a 17th-century Chinese scroll painting. The depths, however, are personal and make the film more about the artist himself, a target for his projection. So, if surface is illusion but so is depth, then what we have is an interesting problem.

In this sense, he wasn’t trying to lay down any absolute truth or theory about Chinese landscape painting, or even himself. But merely his understanding at that moment in time—a moving target exploring another moving target. What would Hockney say about the scroll now?

When I first noticed Moby blogging about architecture, this film, long-buried in my art history memory, was one of the first reference points that came to mind. Like Hockney with the scroll, Moby is seemingly unrolling and winding his way through it’s weird little buildings and spatial complexities. The hills–and one does not always associate hills with –are uncannily similar to the hills in the Chinese scroll.

The Indicator: Moby, Part 1 / Killing Time

Photo by Caked Crusader - http://www.flickr.com/photos/cupcakevigilante/

Below is the Reservoir. I’m two hours early for this interview because, as usual, I’ve guessed the traffic incorrectly. You see, I’m not really from LA. Have never considered myself from here. I’ve lived here most of my life, but I’m not from LA. Being from or not from here usually goes unspoken. It’s typically assumed you are not from here…and never will be.

I park at a trailhead. I’m in dress shoes. Black dress shoes. Black shirt. But I have a scarf and a jacket to fight the wind. Rain coming. The sky is a neapolitan of grays, blues, and whites, laid out horizontally with little light filaments touching down. The canyon is absolutely quiet even though I can see some bulldozers crawling up and down the side of a precarious ravine in the distance. They remind me of the sandcrawlers from Dune. This seems just the type of place where famous LA murders would have taken place. The fact that Ray Manzarek lives in this neighborhood somehow makes it seem more eerie.

I imagine watching from his tower window, watching me turn away from the house and down the dusty trail in my black dress shoes. I’m obviously early. He might think I’m intentionally heading out for a hike. Like I worked this into my itinerary because I knew there was a trail here. Actually, I had no idea. I have never been in this neighborhood and rarely come to this side of town. Just like I have no idea what I’m going to ask him. At this point, I’ve lost almost all interest in architecture, buildings, and the reasons he’s blogging about these things.

Shortlist announced for the highly anticipated Los Angeles Federal Courthouse

The Courthouse Site in – Image courtesy of Google Maps

After remaining on hold since 2005, the General Services Administration (GSA) has reinstated plans to construct a new U.S. Courthouse in downtown LA. The 3.7 acre dirt lot at 107 South Broadway, down the street from Morphosis’ Caltrans building, LA’s City Hall, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, has remained dormant since 2007; shortly after the GSA abandoned Perkins + Will’s estimated $1.1 billion conceptual design due to rising costs. Now, plans for the courthouse have been scaled back and the GSA has just released the shortlisted teams competing of the project. Continue reading after the break to see who made the cut.

U.S. Census Bureau reports Los Angeles as the Nation’s Densest Urban Area

Downtown LA, 2010 © Slices of Light

Based on 2010 Census results, the nation’s most densely populated urbanized area is /Anaheim/Long Beach, , with nearly 7,000 people per square mile. Surprised? Not only did the Los Angeles area rank first, but of the ten most densely populated urbanized areas, nine are in the West, with seven of those in California. Continue reading for more.

“Towards Comfo-Veg” Exhibition at SCI-Arc

Courtesy of

Exhibited from April 6 – Mary 13, the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) is pleased to present “Towards Comfo-Veg,” a large scale, site-specific installation designed for the SCI-Arc Gallery by architect and artist Peter Cook and partner Gavin Robotham of London-based CRAB Studio. Building on CRAB’s internationally recognized experimental work, Towards Comfo-Veg introduces an almost completely light-tight, multimedia experiential space welcoming visitors through a single point of entry and leading towards hints of an invented and dreamlike world. More information after the break.

Bloom / DO|SU Studio Architecture

© Brandon Shigeta

DO|SU Studio Architecture shared with us their architectural research installation, titled ‘Bloom,’ displayed at the Materials and Application Gallery in . The project acts as a sun tracking instrument indexing time and temperature, with a shape alluding to a woman’s Victorian-era under garment, ‘Bloom’ to stitch together material experimentation, structural innovation, and computational form and pattern making into an environmentally responsive form. The project is especially designed for peak performance on spring equinox, March 20, 2012. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Hollywood Hills House / Francois Perrin

© Michael Wells

Architect: Francois Perrin
Location: Los Angeles, , USA
Collaborator: Yves Lefay, Designer/Builder (Eliosolar)
Site Area: 9,000 sqm
Building: 3,000 sqm
Completion: 2012
Photography: Michael Wells

Catherine Opie: In & Around L.A.

Courtesy of Regen Projects, © Catherine Opie

Catherine Opie has photographed people and architecture in and around Los Angeles, California for over twenty-five years. She has successfully captured the interplay between architecture and urban life by photographing the subcultures and castaways of Los Angeles, from the undersides of freeways to lonely Beverly Hills mansions. These works create a portrait of Los Angeles as a singular built environment.

Catherine Opie: In & Around L.A. features work from five distinct series created over the past two decades that highlight Opie’s captivation with the city. These include Freeways (1994-95), Houses (1995-96), Landscapes (1996), In and Around Home (2004-05), and Shopkeepers (2011).

Dwayne Oyler & Jenny Wu Lecture

Courtesy of

SCI-Arc will be presenting the lectures of Dwayne Oyler and Jenny Wu of Oyler Wu Collaborative this Friday, February 10th at 1pm in the W. M. Keck Lecture Hall. Established in Los Angele in 2004, the firm has been published globally and is recognized for its experimentation in design and innovative strategies. Recent projects include reALIze, a traveling art installation based on the face of Muhammad Ali, and the 2011 graduation pavilion. More information on the event after the break.

Flashback: Caltrans District 7 Headquarters / Morphosis

© Roland Halbe

Architects: MorphosisThom Mayne
Location: 100 South Main St., Los Angeles, California,
Project Team: Team
Client: State of California, Department of General Services
Construction Years:  2002-2004
Building Area: 1,200,000 gross sq ft
Photographs: Liao Yusheng, Roland Halbe

Peter Eisenman and Jeffrey Kipnis Lectures at SCI-Arc

Courtesy of SCI-Arc

Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) will be hosting the lectures of well-renowned architect, Peter Eisenman and architectural theorist, Jeffrey Kipnis at their W.M. Keck Lecture Hall in downtown . Eisenman’s lecture will take place Monday, March 5th at 7pm while Keck’s lecture will be held Tuesday, March 6th at 7pm. Both lectures are free and open to the public. More information after the break.

Laws Behind LA’s Flat Skyscrapers

© Wikimedia Commons / Pintaric

Ever wonder why the skyline of is peppered with flat top skyscrapers? Or for that matter, why does such a global cosmopolitan city have so relatively few skyscrapers dotting its cityscape, the majority residing in downtown LA?

The answer lies in a section of the Los Angeles Municipal Code introduced in 1974 – Sec. 57.118.12 – “Emergency Helicopter Landing Facility.” The code stipulates that “Each building shall have a rooftop emergency helicopter landing facility in a location approved by the [Fire] Chief.” The text also dictates that the helipads measure 50′x50′ in addition to a 25′ safety buffer. The resulting skyline thus far has been dominated by flat roof skyscrapers that would only make it through the planning process if in strict accordance with this code. However, a newly introduced proposal called the Community Plan would allow skyscrapers to be constructed along the subway served “ Corridor.”  In lieu of embarking on a plan that would surely result in more box type towers, an amendment has been introduced into the plan that would exempt skyscrapers within the corridor from having to conform to Sec. 57.118.12 helipad requirements. More After the break.

SOM launches Los Angeles Design Studio

The Partners of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) have announced their plans for a new design studio in to join their West Coast practice. With a commitment to urban, environmental and social sustainability in Southern , the studio will be lead by three former SOM architects – Michael Mann, FAIA; Paul Danna, AIA; and Jose Luis Palacios, AIA.

Craig Hartman, FAIA, the Design Partner in SOM’s San Francisco office, stated, “We want to be part of the dialogue in LA – a tremendously important cultural and talent hub and a diverse design-centric city. With Michael, Paul and Jose leading our studio,” Hartman continued, “we will be part of the conversation and be able to collaborate meaningfully with colleagues and institutions that we’ve known for years.

New commissions include UCLA’s new Medical Education Building that will become a entry point for the campus and the Medical School, a new mix-use project at UC Santa Barbara and a new courthouse for the Superior Court of California in San Diego, which will be the largest in the state. Find more information here.


Humanities Gateway / Fentress Architects

© Heliphoto

Architects: Fentress Architects
Location: Los Angeles, California,
Client: University of California, Irvine
Design-builder: Hensel Phelps Construction Company
Completion: 2009
Cost: $29 million
Size: 76,000 sq. ft.
Photos: Heliphoto, Nick Merrick, Hedrich Blessing, Fentress Architects

Gehry at the GRAMMYs

Via www.grammy.com/

The Recording Academy® has announced that architect Frank Gehry will create the official artwork for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Traditional GRAMMY iconography will merge with Gehry’s distinct architectural style, creating the official artwork for the world’s premier music event, gracing the cover of the GRAMMY Awards program book, telecast tickets and promotional poster.

Video: Ice Cube Celebrates The Eames

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We ran into this video this morning and just had to share it with you. Before launching his rap career, actually studied architectural drafting. In the video, he describes the he knows. Watch it and leave your comments!