Los Angeles


Inside the Big Lebowski’s Porn Mansion: John Lautner’s Most Famous House Becomes a Museum Piece

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February 20, 2016
The house John Lautner designed for The Big Lebowski is going to be donated to LACMA, meaning students will be able to see the architect’s stunning, mid-century modernist architecture up close.

The striking mid-century modernist architecture of John Lautner was seemingly designed for the movies.

His residential projects—many of which are peppered throughout the wealthier parts of Southern California—have become prominent settings for films, from Diamonds are Forever to Lethal Weapon 2 to Less Than Zero to Body Double. One even had an animated turn in an episode of The Simpsons.

On the Ground at the LA Hospital Taken Hostage by Hackers

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February 18, 2016
Disabled by ransomware, a hospital carries on.

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, the Los Angeles hospital recently struck by a computer-disabling cyberattack, was a surprisingly calm place on Wednesday.

When the Big One Comes: the Woman Preparing LA for Life After a Major Quake

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January 20, 2016
Marissa Aho recently became Los Angeles’ chief resilience officer. In a city prone to earthquakes, reliant on imported water and suffering a housing shortage, how could the city survive and recover after a catastrophe?

On the list of existential threats to Los Angeles, earthquakes rank highest. With dozens of fault lines running beneath and around the metropolitan area, the ever-looming threat of the Big One is a not-so-quiet concern in the back of most people’s heads. The last major earthquake to hit the region was the 6.7-magnitude Northridge earthquake in 1994, which killed 57 people and caused billions of dollars worth of damage. Many predict that an even stronger earthquake is increasingly likely to strike by mid-century.

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.

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.

From Theaster Gates to Assemble: Is There an Art to Urban Regeneration?

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November 3, 2015
The Chicago planner-turned-artist’s transformation of Stony Island bank is the latest high-profile example of how the arts can drive a city’s redevelopment. But is this always a good thing?

A pair of octogenarian siblings were two of the first visitors to the recent opening of the former Stony Island State Savings Bank on Chicago’s South Side. They were last inside the building nearly 70 years ago, when their Greek father ran a small food stand in one of its alcoves, back when it was still a bank. Today, the building has awoken from a decades-long slumber of dereliction and abandonment as the Stony Island Arts Bank, an art gallery, community arts space and archival library.

How LA's School District is Turning Disused Land into Low-Cost Housing

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October 1, 2015
In a city where affordable rents are in short supply, Los Angeles schools are partnering with developers to build low-cost housing targeted at substitute teachers, bus drivers and maintenance workers

In a freeway-lined corner of the Los Angeles suburb of Gardena, where modest ranch-style homes and shopping malls dominate, the sleek modern architecture of Sage Park Apartments bursts through the drabness. The jutting rooflines and stylish grey, red and rust-orange panelling make the 90-unit complex seem more like a misplaced version of the luxury condos of downtown LA, 15 miles to the north, than what it really is: subsidised, affordable housing.

A Mobile Opera Cruises Downtown LA

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October 1, 2015
Hopscotch, an opera set in 24 limousines and SUVs driving around downtown LA

To experience Hopscotch, an opera set in 24 limousines and SUVs driving around downtown LA, the audience will sit knee-to-knee with singers and musicians. Over the course of the show’s run in October and November, the cars will drive three routes, tracking a story of the search for a lost love. Actors and dancers with wireless mics will perform on the sidewalk and in cars passing by, mixing with the ballet of everyday city life. ...

Why Buses Are the Saviors of Our Most Car-Crazy Cities

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August 17, 2015
Under a new plan, more than a million people are within a half-mile walk of a high-frequency bus stop in Houston. Is this a blueprint for other car-reliant cities like L.A.?

One of the most radical experiments in American public transportation is being conducted right now in Houston.

Yes, Houston—the sprawling oiltown where life without a car seems almost unlivable. But if the experiment works as planned, a carfree lifestyle will be a real possibility for hundreds of thousands of Houstonians.

Lessons Learned

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July 27, 2015
After a disastrous technology rollout in Los Angeles, schools reassess their priorities.

In schools across the United States, chalk and textbooks are disappearing. In their place are tablets and laptops. This technological transformation is only just beginning, but it stands to reshape the ways teachers teach and students learn. In 2015, school systems will spend an estimated $522 million on tablets and readers, and $4.7 billion on IT overall. “Districts are trying to be very, very thoughtful about how they do this,” says Scott Himelstein, executive director of the University of San Diego’s Institute for Entrepreneurship in Education.