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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 

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Monday
Jun232014

Exhibition Review: Underwhelmed by the Venice Biennale

A recreation of the Do-mi-no house, Le Corbusier's conceptual design of 1914,stands at the entrance of the Central Pavilion at this edition of the Venice Binnale. Photograph Michael Webb.

By Michael Webb

Any pretext to revisit La Serenissima is welcome, and the Biennale offers a recurring excuse. It allows you to wander around the crumbling brick halls and still waterways of the Arsenale—arguably the most fascinating place in the city—and admire the zoo of architectural curiosities in the Giardini. The tide of mass tourism doesn't extend this far, though the obscenely large yachts moored along the quay are evidence of another kind of predator. This year's architectural Biennale was directed by Rem Koolhaas who insisted that it open in early June and run six months, as does the art exposition. Hopes ran high that his prestige and creative imagination would generate a memorable show.

Elements is an exhibition of basic elements in building, created by Rem Koolhaas and features one space devoted to vintage balconies. Photograph Michael Webb.

The Central Pavilion fulfills that promise. Flanking the entrance is a full-scale recreation of Le Corbusier's Do-mi-no House, a century-old symbol of modernity. Fifteen rooms of the labyrinthine pavilion are dedicated to the elements of building: a wonderfully idiosyncratic assortment of roofs and floors, doors and windows, staircases and ceilings, ranging from the earliest Chinese examples to the latest European products. Visually arresting, the displays need few labels, and they are introduced by a masterly compilation of how these elements have been depicted in the movies. 

Another of the exhibits in Elements features vintage windows. Photograph Michael Webb.

Koolhaas's other major contribution, Monditalia, exemplifies the major failing of this and earlier Biennales: a didactic emphasis on research and documentation at the expense of visual allure. Forty-one projects explore the inner rot of Italy: a country prey to corruption (the Mayor of Venice was arrested for embezzlement on the eve of the opening), organized crime, uncontrolled immigration, and the neglect of a cultural legacy that comprises more monuments than the rest of Europe combined. In a short video, an elderly restoration specialist at Assisi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, complains that he used to work with art historians and scholars, but "today, except for a few lucky monuments, restoration is contracted out like tiling and plumbing."

The illuminated portal of Monditalia, a display in the Corderia of 41 research projects on postwar Italy. Photograph Michael Webb.

Too much of this material belongs in a book, not a gallery. Jazzing it up with dance merely distracts from the theme. Visitors gazed open-jawed as group of seniors shuffled though a eurhythmics class. Their connection to architecture was left unexplained. The one exhibit with real punch is narrated by Stefano Boeri, architect of the hugely costly conference center that was rushed to completion on La Maddalena, an island off Sardinia, for the 2009 G8 summit. At the last minute, Berlusconi transferred it to L'Aquila, so that he could grandstand before the world's leaders in the earthquake-devastated city. La Maddalena, formerly an arsenal, is still a toxic site so the center has been abandoned, and L'Aquila remains a shambles.

Dominating the French Pavilion is a model of a Modernist house created in a studio for Jacques Tati's M. Hulot's Holiday. Photograph Michael Webb.

The Giardini displays are wildly uneven. Jean-Louis Cohen addresses Koolhaas's theme head-on in the French Pavilion. "Modernity, 1914-2014: Promise or Menace?" chronicles 101 key buildings, one from each year, with a lively overlay of film clips. The centerpiece is a model of the dysfunctional modern house designed for Jacques Tati's M. Hulot's Holiday. The US Pavilion is as exciting as the lobby of a trade fair: racks of printed dossiers on 700 buildings that American architects have built abroad over the past hundred years. It would take hours merely to skim the mass of information on display; far better to skip the pavilion and wait for the four books Lars Müller is about to publish, following his brilliant volume on the building elements of Venice.

The Macedonian exhibit comprises a rotunda constructed from traditional three-legged stools. Photograph Michael Webb.

A few free spirits treat the theme irreverently. The Dominican Republic recalls a wildly ambitious exposition of 1955 celebrating Rafael Trujillo's 25-year rule—a tin-pot dictator's failed bid for self-glorification. Macedonia has constructed a rotunda from traditional three-legged stools, Bahrain from bookshelves. Morocco covers the floor with sand and juxtaposes models of casbahs with contemporary proposals for high-density living. The Russian pavilion is a clever hoax: a mock trade show, featuring stands of fake companies that represent conflicting tendencies in Russia today. Britain presents "A Clockwork Jerusalem": a tongue-in-cheek chronicle of postwar styles including Thamesmead, where Kubrick filmed A Clockwork Orange. An exhibit from Hong Kong, across the street from the Arsenale illustrates the challenge and expense of finding a resting place for funerary urns in an impossibly overcrowded city-state. 

In the Moroccan display, conceptual models of high density living are juxtaposed with models of traditional casbahs. Photograph Michael Webb.

The architectural Biennale has been preaching to the choir for the past 10 years. Visitors should lower their expectations and allow plenty of time for serendipitous encounters and discoveries, taking frequent breaks for Prosecco. Venice is a place of enchantment and one should ignore the pointy-headed academics, who try to turn this event into an earnest trudge through the problems of contemporary society.

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