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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.

What's Out There Weekend Los Angeles—The Public Landscapes of Ralph Cornell
November 8–9, 2014
This What’s Out There Weekend focuses on the built legacy of Los Angeles-based landscape architect Ralph Cornell, who studied at Pomona College and Harvard University, and opened one of the city’s first landscape architecture practices in 1919. Considered by some "the Olmsted of Los Angeles," Cornell is known for his design restraint and thoughtful use of indigenous plantings. His work can be seen throughout Southern California, including Beverly Gardens Park, the UCLA campus, Hillside Memorial Park, downtown LA’s Civic Center, and the restoration of the historic grounds at the National Historic Landmark-designated Rancho Los Cerritos. This What's Out There Weekend features free, expert-led tours of more than a dozen significant Cornell-designed landscapes in greater Los Angeles. 


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.

Heath Ceramics Annual Sale
November 21–25, 2014
Heath's annual sale at their locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sausalito offer deals on merchandise along with special presentations.

 

 

 

 

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 

Deadline: February 23
I Like Design
Interiors & Sources 

FORM Event Images

Industry Partners

  

  




















 

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Tuesday
Sep032013

Elements: Material Matters

Architect and writer Blaine Brownell researches innovative new materials on his Web sites Tansstudio and Transmaterial, including a curtain constructed of LEDs and repurposed beverage containers. Image courtesy Blaine Brownell.If you're not familiar with Blaine Brownell, you should be. The Minnesota-based architect, writer and co-director of the Master of Science Program in Architecture—Sustainable Design track at the University of Minnesota, has devoted a decade and a half to the study of emergent materials and applications. His books include three volumes in his Transmaterial series along with several other titles, most recently 2012's Material Strategies: Innovative Applications in Architecture. We recently chatted with him about the genesis of his Transmaterial series and his thoughts on emergent materials. You can read more on his work and his research at his Web sites, Transstudio and Transmaterial.

What inspired you to start the Transmaterial series?

I remember being interested in materials at an early age. I had a picture picture book with black and white photos of natural materials shot up-close, and the reader was expected to guess what object each detail belonged to. I remember a vivid, grainy photo of the seeds of a sunflower. Only after you turned the page would you see the entire flower. This impressed upon me the power of material details.

I credit my professional interest in materials to my graduate advisor and mentor, Mark Wamble, an architect in Houston who teaches at Rice University. While working on the redesign for a public plaza in Houston's theater district, Mark asked me to research new, innovative materials for the job. Although I embraced the challenge, it was a steep learning curve for me. This was in 1998, and the Internet was not the great search tool that it is now. I remember a lot of phone calls, catalog reviews, as well as a few factory visits to find the right materials for the project. Moreover, the experienced senior technical architects didn't know a lot about new materials—which startled me. It was after this memorable experience that I realized the importance of material research in architecture, and the fact that architects could use better resources for material knowledge-building.

What do you look for in the materials pitched to you?

I look for innovation, which in this case I would describe as a transformation of expectations—whether it is a standard that had been superseded or a novel idea that has been realized. There must also be an implied use; which is to say that novelty for novelty's sake isn't sufficient. Lastly, the material should have the potential to transform the physical environment in some meaningful way—hence the term "transmaterial." 

What are some trends/ideas/concepts that we should be on the lookout for?

Some of the larger trends are fairly well-known—such as more sustainable approaches to material development, or the fascinating discoveries in the field of nanotechnology. In terms of my current research, I've been focused on the following areas of interest, both in writing as well as design speculations:

The carbohydrate economy—an economy based on materials and material flows predicated on renewable resources, which promises to focus even more attention on agriculture and increase the competition for food. An example design speculation would be engineered sod brick: http://transstudio.com/new-sod-house/ 

Information/material convergence—bits and atoms continue to blur; materials are increasingly imbued with information (tagging, tracking, digital interfaces, smart technologies) just as virtual space is becoming more of a parallel to the real world. An example would be the Visiwall, an OLED architectural cladding system: http://transstudio.com/visiwall/

Light/material interplay—light is critical to understanding materials, and severral new lighting technologies blur the line betweeen materials and energy. Examples would be the PET Wall (image attached) http://transstudio.com/pet-wall/ and Pipe Light: http://transstudio.com/pipe-light/

Is there anything in particular that has caught your eye that you were really taken with or inspired by?

I'm particularly taken with materials that upend our expectations. Based on our long experience with materials, we anticipate them behaving a certain way. We have similar presumptions about the way that materials are used, and this situation is exacerbated by the mass production of objects and homogenization of places.

Examples of material innovation that have caught my eye include Wang Shu's use of the wapan tiling method in the Ningbo Historical Museum facade, or Benedetta Tagliabue's use of hand-woven straw mats over the complex curtain wall of the 2010 Spain pavilion. 

In what area do you feel there's the most innovation currently?

Biomimicry, bio-inspired design, bio-engineering—this trajectory is developing strongly within multiple disciplines, and we're just beginning to understand the ways in which to emulate natural systems and processes in human-made technologies. 

Where could there be more innovation? 

Deep integration in design. What we call integrated design is really just a process management practice that ensures minimal errors. The parts still remain discrete, fabricated by different trades with varied expertise.

Deep integration is what great architects practice when they synthesize the complex mess of products and assemblies that make up buildings into a simple yet powerful whole. Achieving this outcome is actually difficult, and considered beyond the requirements for standard practice—yet why should it be? If manufacturers understood more about the other parts of a building that their own materials affect, they might be able to offer more innovative products with increased interoperability. 

What are some of the most compelling sustainable materials being developed these days?

Materials that are born versus made. In other words, materials that are grown renewably versus manufactured in a conventional way that involves considerable energy, pressure, and processing.

How do we reconcile sustainability with new materials that, while technologically advanced, may not because of manufacturing methods or materials, be in fact sustainable choices?

Sustainability keeps us honest. Like any other good cause, it can be abused or misunderstood (e.g., greenwashing). However, sustainability forces us to face the tough realities about toxins, greenhouse gas production, water consumption, fossil fuel depletion, environmental overburden, etc. 

In terms of new materials, sustainability offers a means for constant improvement. No material is a fixed, in changeable entity, but rather may be considered a territory for experimentation and change. Therefore, the reconciliation you ask about is continually happening as scientists discover better chemical compositions and manufacturers retool their existing processes.

When's the next Transmaterial due out?

I've focused my efforts beyond transformative materials to transformative material applications. In other words, I'm interested now in how we use new materials, as well as how we can create new uses for existing materials. That said, I have written two books since Transmaterial 3, which are Matter in the Floating World and Material Strategies. Both of these books attempt to illustrate methods of innovation in material applications. I still update the website transmaterial.net, however, which has many products not found in the books. 

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