Architecture


The Lowly Billboard Gets a Makeover on the Sunset Strip

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December 13, 2015
The common billboard, reimagined by Los Angeles-based Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects.

Billboards exist to attract attention. And, thanks to clever advertising techniques and seductive imagery, they often succeed. But while the imagery of billboards is optimized to lure eyeballs, the armature that holds that imagery is pretty much invisible.

So when ACE Advertising and the City of West Hollywood commissioned architect Lorcan O’Herlihy’s to redesign a billboard on the city’s famous Sunset Strip, he decided to focus on making that armature a more integral and interesting part of the billboard.

Lorcan O’Herlihy

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December 1, 2015
The Man Whose West Hollywood Architecture Reaches Beyond Its Physical Boundaries

You don’t need to look far to see the imprint of architect Lorcan O’Herlihy on West Hollywood. His L.A.-based firm, Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA), is one of the most prolific designers of contemporary architecture in the city—from award-winning residential projects on Formosa Avenue and Gardner Street to flashy new billboards on Sunset Boulevard. With an emphasis on design that draws both the eye and activity, LOHA’s work is helping to bring about a new form of urbanity in the city’s quiet neighborhoods and bustling corridors.

Jiangxi Nanchang Greenland Central Plaza, Parcel A

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November 23, 2015
Twin skyscrapers are the new tallest buildings in Nanchang, China.

The twin towers of Jiangxi Nanchang Greenland Central Plaza, Parcel A, were about halfway built when Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) received a somewhat inconvenient request from the developer. Instead of the designed height of 289 meters (948 feet), the towers were to be adjusted, mid-construction, to reach 300 meters (984 feet). “Adding 11 meters to a building that’s already under construction is not necessarily an easy task,” says lead designer Mark Nagis, AIA, who is based in SOM’s Chicago office.

Riverfront Park & Ascend Amphitheater

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November 15, 2015
A new aphitheater for Nashville's waterfront.

For more than 30 years a thermal energy plant sat just blocks from the heart of downtown Nashville, Tenn., on the Cumberland River, burning garbage. When the plant closed in 2004, city leaders wanted to give the 11-acre site a flashy new life. Various projects were proposed, including an office complex and a baseball stadium, but nothing garnered local support. In 2007, the city decided to turn the riverfront land into a park.

An Opera House for a Show on Wheels

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November 12, 2015
The 80-foot-wide temporary pavilion was designed to stream video and host a live finale of a "mobile opera."

In the parking lot of the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in Los Angeles, an 80-foot-wide donut-like structure recently appeared. With a cylindrical opening to the sky, the temporary structure is a viewing pavilion for Hopscotch, a "mobile opera" set in 24 limousines driving around L.A. Though the ticketed audience is riding around with the singers and musicians inside the limos, the viewing pavilion is an auxiliary space where non-ticketed audience members can experience the spectacle.

The Revolution Within Four Walls: How Our Homes Are Changing Forever

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August 10, 2015
With cities growing so fast, and the demand for affordable properties at a premium, the single-family home is radically changing its shape.

There’s a slick chart making the rounds right now that neatly summarizes 400 years of the architecture of single-family homes in America.

Made by the infographic designers Pop Chart Lab, the poster presents front-door views of typical American homes from the colonial days up to the present.

There’s a simple Dutch Colonial from the 1600s, the colonnades of Greek Revivals from the mid-1800s, a broad-porched Craftsman from the early 1900s, and an archetypal McMansion from the not-so-distant past—or, depending where you look, the present.

Architecture for Humanity Files for Bankruptcy

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January 20, 2015
Though the non-profit organization is closing due to a lack of funding, chapters around the world have expressed their desire to continue to stay active.

Architecture for Humanity (AFH), the San Francisco–based non-profit organization behind a federation of chapters focusing on humanitarian and disaster relief architecture, is filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. The news, which broke Jan. 16 in the San Francisco Chronicle, came as a surprise to many in the architecture field, including many of the organization's card-carrying members.

How Neuroscience Can Improve Architecture

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September 29, 2014
Three takeaways from discussions on brains and buildings.

The human response to architecture is usually based on subjective emotions: I like that building, I hate this space; this room is so open, this office is oppressive. But something more nuanced is happening to elicit these responses. Neuroscientists have found that distinctive processes occur in our brains—consciously and subconsciously, cognitively and physiologically—from the moment we step into a space. These processes affect our emotions, our health, and even the development of memory.

Shigeru Ban: Triumph From Disaster

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August 31, 2014
Shigeru Ban, winner of the architecture world's top "Oscar," the Pritzker Prize, sets an important example: creating buildings for people, rather than glamor and prestige.

Earlier this month a brand new art museum opened in the posh mountain resort town of Aspen, Colorado. As a relatively high-profile museum, the project gathered an expected amount of attention from the architectural press. On top of that, the building drew an atypical amount of mainstream attention due to the fact that its designer, the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, had recently been named the 2014 Pritzker Prize laureate, the highest honor in architecture.

Why Architects Dream Big -- and Crazy

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August 23, 2014
Can you really build farms on top of offices, in skyscrapers that look like they’ve been chopped into? Maybe not, but such outlandish designs profoundly influence how our cities will be built.

The high-density future of cities around the world, rendered crisply in photo-realistic drawings and computer models, will be one of massive skyscrapers performing wonderful tricks. They'll grow food, they'll generate renewable energy, they'll spin and twirl to cater to our whims and give us a shady spot beneath a tree, thousands of feet in the air, where we can sit quietly and ponder the urban condition evolving around us, above and below.