The museum is not a singular or path-breaking work of architecture; its design goals have more to do with manipulating light and shadow and with physical substance [...]
Yet taken as a whole the museum offers a range of encouraging signs about the priorities of architecture’s up-and-coming generation. These include a genuine interest in shifting definitions of public space in a digital age and — most important of all — a preference for measured and layered effects over operatic ones. — Christopher Hawthorne - latimes.com
The $350-million, 633,000-square-foot courthouse, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, is an unusually polished work of civic architecture — especially by the standards of Los Angeles...This is a building that wants to look respectable and rational but not staid, one that is fairly conventional on the horizontal plane and takes a significant if measured chance on the vertical one. Still, it’s a chance that pays off. — Christopher Hawthorne, Los Angeles Times
For decades, the concrete-lined L.A. River has been more famous for being a bone-dry iconic conduit for films like Terminator 2 than a major watery artery, but that may change: in a talk with Christopher Hawthorne on Monday, Frank Gehry mentioned that his design may just save the city significant...
the set is a shotgun marriage of Star Trek and Macbook modern, with perhaps a touch — in the rounded stairs, lighted from below — of Art Deco. [...]
The goal seems to be a series of smooth surfaces to which none of the more direct ad hominem verbal attacks or accusations of plagiarism might stick — a slate that can be wiped clean whenever a change in tone or direction is wanted. Call it Teflon minimalism. — latimes.com
Aravena’s main show, though full of timely and meaningful projects, doesn’t succeed terribly well strictly as an exhibition — as a sensory and visual experience on its own terms...
In part this weakness may be explained by the quick time frame; it also seems to flow from Aravena’s generous sensibility, his interest in opening his arms wide to the architecture of the moment and featuring a range of voices usually not heard in Venice. In that sense a desire for inclusion is his Achilles’ heel. — Christopher Hawthorne | Los Angeles Times
We’re facing climate change, and our attitude about the natural world, natural resources has changed. What’s really come to an end is this kind of frontier mentality about the city—this idea of infinite growth and infinite expansion, and that the way to study the city is to look at the edges, where it’s gobbling up new territory. [...]
This idea that we can grow our way out of any problem and that we’re always a city that’s expanding and finding or even colonizing new territory—that has ended. — LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne – boomcalifornia.com
Though the [Vanna Venturi] house has been nominated for the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, Stecura said it is being sold without any protections against alterations inside or out. [...]
Cross your fingers and hope for the best. [...]
there is no broader strategy in place — in the museum world or among the nation's leading historic preservation groups — to protect the most important works of 20th-century residential architecture from the vagaries of the market — Christopher Hawthorne – latimes.com
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey...has been so chastened by the cost overruns and construction delays that it declined to hold even a modest ribbon-cutting. When a bureaucracy turns down a major opportunity to pat itself on the back, you know things have turned sour. Turned acid, really.
Still, everyone seems to agree that the main hall, which stretches beneath a glass and white-steel roof and which Calatrava calls the Oculus, is beautiful. But I didn't find it beautiful... — the Los Angeles Times
"...at least not in the way that Calatrava's finest work, fluid and precise, often is. I found it structurally overwrought and emotionally underwhelming, straining for higher meaning, eager to wring some last drops of mournful power from a site that is already crammed with official, semi-official...
One thing, though, is different this time around. These days the city and county are busy investing money and lavishing attention on public spaces across L.A. — and even producing some from scratch...In a range of ways, Southern California is beginning to make up for neglecting its public realm for the bulk of the postwar era. — L.A. Times
With two park design competitions currently underway (linked below), Downtown L.A. is eager to boost its amount of green space. But will those ambitious plans pan out in a tricky cityscape? Christopher Hawthorne gives his two cents on the potential of each park.Previously on Archinect:Take a look...
An elevated park filling a retired stretch of freeway may sound reminiscent of the High Line, the hugely popular park built along an abandoned elevated train line in Manhattan.
In symbolic and practical terms, the potential of a remade 2 spur is greater than even that project. It would take a working stretch of freeway in Los Angeles, a city still synonymous with car culture, and reinvent it as a vibrant, diverse urban landscape. — LA Times
You're familiar with pretty much every phase of Julius Shulman's long career as an architectural photographer. You started following the globe-trotting Iwan Baan on Instagram way before he became a design-world celebrity. You can't recommend Ezra Stoller's black-and-white pictures of midcentury Manhattan highly enough.
But Wayne Thom? The name may draw a blank. — LA Times
SUBMIT NEWS: submit in 60 seconds!