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.

La Brea Housing

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August 15, 2014
This 32-unit affordable housing complex in West Hollywood, Calif., designed by Patrick Tighe Architecture with John V. Mutlow Architects, packs a lot of design bang for the buck.

At the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, just across the abrupt aesthetic jumpcut of a municipal border with Los Angeles, West Hollywood’s unique architectural and urban design standards are on full display. From the hectic plaza of a vertical shopping mall on the corner, to the turquoise street lights, to the colorful, sometimes garish, palettes of new 100-unit condo buildings, the appearance of the public realm is carefully considered—if a bit overwhelming.

Sejong City

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August 1, 2014
By merging landscape and architecture, Balmori Associates and H Architecture aim to create a new seat of government for South Korea—and a new form of urbanism.

For more than 600 years, Seoul has been the capital and center of South Korea. Roughly half of the country’s population lives in and around the city, and almost all government ministries have long been centered there. This concentration begat congestion, and after he was sworn in as president in 2003, the now-deceased Roh Moo-Hyun devised a plan to relocate many of the government’s hundreds of offices.

A Database to Keep Los Angeles From Forgetting Itself

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July 2, 2014
Still a young city by global standards, L.A. has created a model for chronicling its historic resources.

The heritage of a city is often measured by its historic buildings — its cathedrals, its monuments, its ancient structures of stone and clay. For cities like Paris or Rome, with hundreds and thousands of years of history, it’s somewhat obvious which parts of this past must be remembered so that future generations can know the story of their city. But what about newer cities? What’s historic when you measure history in decades rather than centuries?

Building Profile: Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

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June 16, 2014
SPF:a’s modern addition to an existing 1930s post office complex provides a new cultural epicenter for Beverly Hills.

Before Beverly Hills, Calif., could become what it is today—alternately the celebrated pinnacle of luxury or the denigrated epicenter of moneyed excess—it had the modest needs of any young city. Between its incorporation in 1914 and the late 1920s, the city had grown from 500 residents to more than 15,000, and locals decided they needed the basic staples of citydom: a city hall and a post office.

Should I Start My Own Architecture Firm?

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May 8, 2014
A primer to help you decide when—and if—you should hang out your shingle.

A career in architecture can have many trajectories, but one common arc is starting your own practice. As an aspiration, it seems reasonably straightforward. But realistically, there are many practical and ideological questions to ask before striking out on your own. Here’s a guide to making the big call.

Are you experienced?

Team Building in the Age of BIM

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April 1, 2014
Andrew Pressman’s new book offers a tipsheet for how to collaborate more effectively. Hint: BIM is not the magic bullet.

Contrary to the long-glamorized Howard Roark model, architecture is a team sport. But getting a team to work together seamlessly can be a challenge. In his book, Designing Relationships: The Art of Collaboration in Architecture, Andrew Pressman, FAIA, argues that effective collaboration is a prerequisite for good design work. Pressman, a professor emeritus at the University of New Mexico and a lecturer at the University of Maryland, runs his own architectural practice in Washington, D.C.

The Power of Focus

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February 27, 2014
Chasing every project may seem wise in a tight economy. But smart firms specialize. Leading practitioners and management experts share their perspectives.

In lean times, you take what you can get. For architecture firms still climbing out of a recession-sized hole, that can translate into bidding for just about any viable project that comes along, even if it’s outside their zone of expertise. That can be seen as a sign of desperation or as an instinctual survival tactic. Ray Kogan, AIA, sees it as a mistake.

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

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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.

The Seven Top Legislative Priorities for Architecture in 2014

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January 27, 2014
Student debt. Small business tax reform. Fannie and Freddie. Given the current economy, lobbying has never been more important for architecture. Legislative liaisons from the AIA, the NAHB, and other organizations share their top issues for the coming year.

The Design-Build Efficiency and Jobs Act of 2013