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Events

Barton Myers: Works of Architecture and Urbanism
September 12–December 12, 2014
With works as varied as a Vidal Sassoon Salon from 1968, the U.S. Expo Pavilion in Seville, Spain in 1992, and his steel houses, this exhibit will present an overview of almost fifty years of architecture. Barton Myers first attracted attention in the late 1960s for his civic buildings and urban projects in Canada. He returned to the United States in 1984 to open a Los Angeles office and became known for his performing arts centers, campus buildings, and steel houses among many projects. 

The Barton Myers papers were donated to the Architecture and Design Collection of the AD&A Museum, UC Santa Barbara in 2000.  The archive covers Myers’s work from 1968 through 2002 and includes sketches and computer drawings, watercolors, images by well-known photographers, detailed study models and models of blocks-long sections of cities, as well as research notes, correspondence, lectures, and writings.

Archtoberfest San Diego 2014
October 1–30, 2014
Archtoberfest San Diego 2014 is a collaboratively-operated initiative aimed at establishing an annual, month-long program of public events and activities pertaining to architecture, design, planning and sustainability.

ACADIA 2014 Design Agency Conference
October 23–24, 2014
DESIGN AGENCY will bring together the spectrum of research and creative practice currently occurring within the ACADIA community through the combined support of the research networks of the University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles and Southern California Institute of Architecture. Questions the capacity for computation to inform or challenge traditional design processes; computation as design operation - the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power, and/or computation as design instrumentality - the design mechanism through which power is exerted or an end is achieved.

ASLA SoCal Chapter Quality of Life Design Awards
October 23, 2014
The Southern California chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects holds its biennial awards, honoring excellence in designs originating in one of the nation's largest chapters and executed across the globe. 77 Projects were submitted and over 40 were awarded by our esteemed jurors in the categories of Design, Planning and Analysis, Communication, Student, and Concepts, Ideas and Theories.

2014 Design Awards Gala
October 29, 2014
The 2014 AIA|LA Design Awards location and date has been set for this year. We are excited to host you at the Heart of Downtown Los Angeles with the ceremony at the Million Dollar Theater and the reception at Grand Central Market. Join us at this amazing and historic venue to honor our winners and honorees.

LA Conservancy Presents "We Heart Garden Apartments!”
November 1, 2014

Imagine living in a garden oasis in the middle of America’s second-largest city. Thousands of people do, and it’s a unique and endangered way of life in development-prone L.A. Here’s a chance to see what life is like in historic garden apartments, “villages in the city” that could never be built today.

New Urbanism Film Festival
November 6–9, 2014
The primary goal of the New Urbanism Film Festival is to renew the dialogue about urban planning with a broader audience. The Festival brings in movies, short films, speakers, on the topics of architecture, public health, bicycle advocacy, urban design, public transit, inner-city gardens, to name a few.

de LaB's Making LA Conference

November 7, 2014
During the conference, we'll be exploring the themes of Water, Transportation, Density and Community. Our hope is to hear from a diverse range of practitioners, city officials, makers and artists who are deeply involved in/committed to these themes. We're looking to include conversations, videos, slideshows and presentations about projects that are currently in development and recently completed that are promising to shape the future of Los Angeles. Our goal is to showcase ideas, visions, projects and more that explore how Los Angeles can make huge strides in terms of water conservation, transit richness, urban density and important community initiatives. Current confirmed speakers for the water section include: Deborah Weintraub, Deborah Deets, Carol Armstrong, Omar Brownson, WeTap, among others. Other conference speakers include Moby, Mayor Aja Brown, and representative from Side Streets Projects and Resilient Cities, among many others.

USGBC-Los Angeles’10th Annual Green Gala

November 13, 2014
The Los Angeles Chapter of the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC-LA) will host the Chapter’s 10th Annual Green Gala on Thursday, November 13, 2014, from 6:30 – 10:30pm at the Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA. The Green Gala is recognized as the single largest annual vehicle for communication, celebration and bridge-building among those who think, act, design and build greener throughout the County of Los Angeles and its metropolitan areas.

DIEM: Design Intersects Everything Made

November 14, 2014

West Hollywood Design District presents the 3rd annual DIEM: Design Intersects Everything Made, a one-day design symposium that offers culturally resonating discussions, panels and keynotes from leaders in the fields of design, decorative arts, fashion, architecture and fine arts.

The West Hollywood Design District Presents Decades of Design 1948–2014
November 19, 2014–February 2015
The first-ever retrospective exhibition uncovering, examining and celebrating six decades of rich design history in West Hollywood. The curated ­­gallery will showcase design pioneers and present tastemakers through bold graphics, photographs and original product.

Innovation and Design Excellence in Healthcare Facilities Design: Today and Tomorrow
November 21, 2014
Hosted by AIA Los Angeles and AIA San Francisco, Future Care: Design for Health is a one-day healthcare symposium featuring the top minds in healthcare planning, design and construction. Speakers will address the rapidly changing healthcare environment and how these changes impact what healthcare providers need from the design and construction community.

 

 

 

 

Competitions

Registration Opens: October 1
Breaking New Ground
The California Endowment

Deadline: October 31

Show Us Your Baldwin
Baldwin

Deadlne: November 30
Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award
International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA)

Deadline: December 8

2015 Diversity Scholarship
Gensler

Deadline: December 31
Kitchen Design Contest
Wolf and Sub-Zero 

FORM Event Images

Industry Partners

  

  




















 

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« Interiors Issue - March/April 2010 - Sample | Main | What Color Is Your Lease? - Beyond the Grid »
Friday
Feb192010

Inspired Match - How Patronage Drives Architecture

From Medici to Marx, how patronage drives architecture and what we can learn from it today.

By John Gendall

Nottingham Science Park, Image: Martine Hamilton-KnightHistorians position the Renaissance’s birth in Florence, Italy around the year 1400. They give it this coordinate in place and time because of a perfect storm of conditions: a wealth of talent pouring out from several accomplished workshops (Lorenzo Ghiberti, Fra Angelico, and Filipo Brunelleschi), a thriving economy owing to bustling trade, and, importantly, an ambitious and tasteful patron of the arts, the Medici family, willing to invest in provocative new art and architecture. In the midst of the Bubonic Plague, the revelation of the Florentine patrons served as a guiding light, paving they way for the exquisite work of the high renaissance. In other words, without the Medicis, there would have been no Michelangelo.

The same relationship between patron and architect carries through architectural history, with nobility, religious leaders, business owners tapping architectural talent to give opportunity and, in many
cases, a sense of legitimacy to their achievements.

Then came Marx.

Though patrons have long been regarded as indispensible partners in the advancement of architectural ideas, they have spent decades as architecture’s whipping boy, sent out to the shed because of their complicity with Capitalism. In the 20th century, visionary patronage drove many now-iconic projects. Darwin D. Martin plucked a young Frank Lloyd Wright to design the Larkin Company Headquarters along with his own Prairie Style residential estates, in Buffalo, New York, encouraging
Wright to develop his novel approaches while simultaneously creating monuments of early 20th century design. The Savoye family, who took a risk with their villa in Poissy, France, enabled Le Corbusier to
create the definitive icon of High Modernism: a white box with ribbon windows elevated on pilotis.

A patron willing to believe in the designer’s artistic vision supported each of these architects. But the model soon changed: inspired by new industrial potential, architects, working largely with socialist states, took aim at creating social housing. In the 1960s and 70s, riding a wave of Marxist criticism, designers imagined a condition where the patron could be eliminated altogether, creating an architecture free from outside influence evident in much of Peter Eisenman’s early work, most notably his houses of cards. Others followed: Rem Koolhaas, Bernard Tschumi, John Hejduk and Aldo Rossi, while the preeminent Italian critic and historian Manfredo Tafuri and Harvard professor K. Michael Hays contributed to the theoretical backbone of the movement. The Autonomy Project so called because of its aspiration to design independent from the patron.

A painter or sculptor, so the theory goes, can from his or her own studio and with his or her own materials, paint or sculpt independently, without the corrupting interference of outside influences. Therefore, the product—art—is pure form, the exclusive immanence of the artist’s thought. Architecture, on the other hand, demands a sponsor with a vision—and a pocketbook—to first hire an architect, then
realize a project. In this process, an architect becomes beholden to other interests—the Church, the State, or the Corporation, known collectively by Marxist critics as the Ideological State Apparatus. It is
within this framework that architects and critics have developed an antagonistic, even contemptuous, stance toward developers.

Now that Marx’s reign over criticism is no longer hegemonic, it is possible (and indeed necessary) to reevaluate architectural patronage. Theory aside, the current economic climate carries with it a powerful reminder about the pragmatic value of patrons. Thanks to a growing group of visionary developers, this reappraisal of the patron’s role can be made readily and convincingly.

Consider Jonathan Rose, a New York-based developer whose mission is not simply to turn a profit, but rather to profit while transforming communities in a socially responsible way. To this end, he oversees
the development of mixed-use, mixed-income, transit-accessible communities with a cultural program. Entering wealthy resort communities—the Hamptons in New York, and Frisco, Colorado—and devising comprehensive plans that reconstitute the regions so that the local, lower-income workforce that serves the weekend vacationers can afford to live in the community.

In order for patronage to serve as a catalyst of great design, the patron must learn how to successfully find an architectural match.

Meanwhile in England, Igloo, a property investment firm specializing in socially responsible projects, is at work on a diverse portfolio. In 2006, the United Nations designated the company as the “world’s first
socially responsible property fund.” Igloo normally selects a team of different architects to give the design multiple voices. The firm also works with an urban designer from beginning to end, helping to guide its effort to create cohesive and meaningful spaces. The company operates under four guiding principles: outstanding design quality, environmental sustainability, social progress for its inhabitants, and the promotion of health, happiness and wellbeing.

Citing recent research into the science of happiness, chief executive Chris Brown is convinced neighborhoods are fundamental in that pursuit. Igloo’s work, however, is no simple act of altruism. “Our projects are all commercially driven,” he says. “Our values allow us to work successfully in a market niche. ” In order for patronage to serve as a catalyst of great design, the patron must learn how to successfully find an architectural match. “Good design comes from the relationship between architect and client,” says Brown. “We work hard on the brief, we do extensive community engagement, and we select architects with a certain style. “

Image: Martine Hamilton-KnightRem Koolhaas, in a memorable 2006 interview with the German newspaper Der Spiegel, said: “Today’s architecture is subservient to the market and its terms. The market has supplanted ideology. Architecture has turned into a spectacle. It has to package itself and no longer has significance as anything but a landmark.”

True, perhaps, but if the market has appropriated some of the ideologies that once drove Modern architecture—social housing, inventive formal solutions—then architecture can reclaim its significance as something more than a mere landmark. It can once again emerge from the boudoir and get back to solving the problems that once inspired the Modernist architects.

It was a medieval Florentine banking market that unlocked the Renaissance, a soap business near the busy Erie Canal that changed the game for Wright, and a thriving Parisian insurance company that permitted Le Corbusier, in his estimation, to create for Modernism what the Parthenon created for Antiquity. “We live in markets,” says Brown.“ This is an issue about markets. At the end of the day, this is a battle for people’s investment dollars, and that’s a battle we want to win.”

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