The Guardian


Los Angeles's Four Level Interchange: A History of Cities in 50 Buildings

Publication:
Date: 
April 13, 2015
Planned as ‘a landmark of beauty and pride for the entire city’, the Stack was the first of its kind, helping to create LA as a freeway metropolis and condemning its residents to largely car-dependent lives

The most famous – and most infamous – buildings in Los Angeles aren’t buildings. No one lives or works in them, but they have had an extraordinary impact on the city, its people, and the world as a whole. LA’s most important buildings are its freeways, and the most iconic piece of this vast network is the Four Level Interchange: an elegant vertical boating knot of freeways and ramps just outside downtown.

Photo: Houston's Astrodome: 'The Eighth Wonder of the World'

Publication:
Date: 
April 9, 2015
Fifty years old today, can the vast, abandoned Houston Astrodome find unlikely redemption as one of the world’s largest indoor parks?

Houston Astrodome
© Nate Berg

The Past and Potential Future of the Houston Astrodome

Publication:
Date: 
April 9, 2015
Can the vast, abandoned Houston Astrodome find unlikely redemption as one of the world’s largest indoor parks?

When Dene Hofheinz Anton was a young girl in the early 1950s, her father would carve time out of his busy schedule as the mayor of Houston, Texas, to take her to see the Buffaloes, the city’s minor-league baseball team. Mayor Roy Hofheinz had previously served in the state legislature and also as the top official in Harris County, which includes Houston, and his significant status meant he was intimately connected with the goings-on of the city.

All Aboard San Francisco's Hipster Bus for Leather Seats, Wi-Fi and Iced Coffee

Publication:
Date: 
April 9, 2015
New private bus service Leap boasts spacious seating, a general air of calm cleanliness and a steward serving coffee, cold-pressed juices and granola bars. With tickets costing almost three times as much as the regular bus, is it a welcome new addition to the marketplace or a step towards two-tier transit?

The bus stop, outside a pancake restaurant in San Francisco’s upscale Marina district, is like any other. The bus is not. Sky-blue, minimally branded, advertisement-free, it pulls up to the curb, where a handful of young, affluent people wait, phones in hands. As we step through its doors it feels like we’re entering some sort of a mirror world, a bizarro version of a bus where crowds, security cameras, rule signs and the dusty soot of city commuting have all been replaced by polished wood, black leather, spacious seating and a general air of calm cleanliness.

Photos: Could LA Survive Without its Freeways? My Six-Hour Vision of a Carless Future

Publication:
Date: 
January 27, 2015
Reporting direct from the middle lane of Route 101, one of America’s busiest freeways, as it undergoes a rare session of ‘swarm maintenance’

Closed freeway

Empty freeway
© Nate Berg

Could LA survive without its freeways? My six-hour vision of a carless future

Publication:
Date: 
January 27, 2015
Nate Berg reports direct from the middle lane of Route 101, one of America’s busiest freeways, as it undergoes a rare session of ‘swarm maintenance’

Sitting on a Los Angeles freeway – not in a traffic jam but, literally, sitting cross-legged in the middle lane of one of the busiest freeways in the United States – is a contrary infrastructural experience.

This is a space passed over by more than 125,000 cars a day, most speeding through at 60, 70 or 80 miles an hour. At a speed of zero, there’s a cognitive dissonance created by the frozen freeway’s stillness. It feels like visiting the moon, a place you know is real but never thought you’d see firsthand.

When, not if: how do San Franciscans live with the threat of the next quake?

Publication:
Date: 
March 27, 2014
Many tech firms have opened up in SoMa, a 'liquefaction' zone where a tremor could turn the soil to liquid

The earthquake question comes up in two out of every three transactions that Eileen Bermingham handles. Demand for San Francisco property has hit new heights in recent years, forcing buyers to offer far above the asking price – and things don’t appear to be slowing, even in the usually sluggish early months of the year. “It’s been particularly hectic,” confirms Bermingham, an agent with Zephyr Real Estate, which sells houses all over the city.

But the earthquake question is always in the background.

World's largest concrete pour: LA witnesses 'ballet of construction trucks'

Publication:
Date: 
February 14, 2014
Wilshire Grand building will put Los Angeles back in the skyscraper business as city aims to rejuvenate its centre

Hundreds of spectators lined the streets in downtown Los Angeles Saturday for what might seem a lacklustre event in a city known for its entertainment: a parade of trucks poured a load of concrete into a hole. But this was no ordinary hole. It's the site of the future Wilshire Grand, a 73-storey building filled with offices, retail and hotel rooms that will, when it opens in 2017, be the tallest building in the city, and the eighth tallest in the US.