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Michael Webb
writes on modern architecture, design, and travel. He is the author of 26 books, most recently Modernist Paradise: Niemeyer House, Boyd Collection (Rizzoli) and Venice CA: Art +Architecture in a Maverick Community (Abrams). He travels widely in search of new and classic modern architecture and contributes to magazines around the world. Michael lives in the Neutra apartment that Charles and Ray Eames once called home.

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Michael Webb

Entries in AIA (4)

Monday
Apr232012

MUSTS IN MAY


Early May brings two events that every architect and aficionado should try to attend. The AIA/LA Spring Home Tour on May 6 includes four exceptional properties in Pacific Palisades by Barbara Callas, William Hefner, Michael Lehrer and William Wagner (above). Sponsored by Gruen Associates, the tour offers a rare opportunity to view houses of great originality that are hidden away in canyons leading down to the ocean. For tickets and information, click here.

 

Aqua Tower, Chicago, by Studio Gang. Photo by Steve Hall (c) Hedrich Blessing.On May 8 at 7:30pm, LACMA hosts Jeanne Gang in its Distinguished Architects Lecture Series. Winner of the MacArthur “genius” award and head of Studio Gang Architects, she’s been acclaimed for the Aqua apartment tower—a stunning addition to the Chicago skylines.

Her collective of architects, designers and thinkers have enriched the fabric of their home city and created a rich array of provocative projects. These are chronicled in Reveal Studio Gang Architects (Princeton Architectural Press, $45) and the book makes one eager to witness her presentation. Tickets may be ordered by calling 323.857.6010 or at lacma.org. Parking in the Pritzker Garage on Sixth Street, east of Fairfax, is free after 7pm.

Monday
Oct312011

AIA Honors LA’s Best Architects

No Mass House by Neil M. Denari Architects/NMDA was awarded a Next LA Honor award and Best in Show.

Hosting the 2011 AIA/LA Design Awards gave the Pacific Design Center an opportunity to celebrate the completion of its Red Building and the 85th birthday of Cesar Pelli, who designed the PDC triad forty years ago. Awards were bestowed on 30 buildings in four categories, and the big winners were Johnston Marklee for three houses, Belzberg Architects for the LA Museum of the Holocaust (three awards), and Neil Denari/NMDA, who won the chapter’s gold medal, an LA Next honor, and top prize for the HL23 apartments in New York. As AIA/LA President, Hsinming Fung presented the 25-year award to Frank Gehry’s Loyola Law School Campus, saluted Merry Norris for her design advocacy, and paid tribute to the late John Chase for his contribution to the community: honors that were richly deserved. Lee and Mundwiler won the emerging practice award. The buildings and projects were diverse and consistently good—some consolation for the current lack of commissions, and the absence of new LA buildings by architects who are celebrated everywhere but in their home city. A full list of awards will appear in the January/February issue of Form.

Saturday
Mar052011

Snohetta Principal Speaks at LACMA on March 15th

 Photograph by Gerald Zugmann

Craig Dykers, an American architect who co-founded Snohetta with a group of Norwegians, will discuss the firm’s latest work in an AIA Masters of Architecture lecture at LACMA’s Bing Theater on Tuesday, March 15 at 7pm. Snohetta was named for a Norwegian mountain and launched its practice by winning the prestigious competition for the Library of Alexandria in Egypt. They scored a second big success on home ground with the Oslo Opera House, an ambitious waterfront project that was completed two years ago. Later this year their 9/11 Memorial Pavilion is scheduled to open on the WTC site in New York, where Snohetta has opened a second office. These three projects are among the highlights of a practice that has designed 200 buildings and landscapes around the world. This presentation follows closely on a lecture by Danish wunderkind Bjarke Ingels, and it may offer more insights into the world of architectural innovation –something that seems increasingly hard to find in L.A.

 

Tickets for the Craig Dykers lecture can be at purchased in advance at lacma.org or from the box office, 323.857.6010: $12 general admission; $10 LACMA and AIA members; $5 seniors and students with i.d.



Sunday
Nov282010

REVIEW: AIA Guide to New York City, Fifth Edition

AIA Guide to New York City, Fifth Edition
by Norval White & Elliot Willensky with Fran Leadon
(Oxford, $39.95)

This is a thousand-page love letter to one of the world’s great cities as well as a meticulous catalogue of its physical features. The format is similar to that of the first edition of 1968, but the new guide is fifty percent longer, and the entries are now arranged in two columns to make room for more and larger maps and photographs. Each building is numbered and a tiny icon identifies its architectural style. The history of each neighborhood is briefly sketched, and the reader is led on walking tours that cover each borough, beginning at the Battery and ending on the outer islands. The text is erudite, opinionated, and compelling. Open the book at any page and you’ll be hooked, gazing upwards on a virtual tour of districts you may never have visited.

From the start, this guide was the product of passion: an urgent appeal to cherish and preserve an urban legacy that was under assault. The authors were among the architects who protested the wanton destruction of Penn Station in 1962, a catastrophe that launched the New York preservation movement. Their guide helped focus public attention on the soul and substance of a great work of art; today, almost everything is preserved, and the greater threat is the gentrification of what were once gritty neighborhoods. New York has become too much like San Francisco: a tough, blue-collar city transforming itself into a pretty tableau for tourists and a playground for malefactors of great wealth.

Elliot Wilensky died in 1990; Norval White completed most of the revisions for the fifth edition just before his death at age 83, with help from architect-teacher Fran Leadon. White’s age may explain the cursory and often dismissive entries on new work by Frank Gehry, Thom Mayne, Norman Foster and Jean Nouvel—just as Robert Winter, another traditionalist, soured on radical additions to LA in the last Gebhart-Winter guide. It’s pure speculation but did he resent the bold interventions by outsiders in his beloved city?

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