“For this year’s exhibition, we decided to do something different—to go more whimsical and playful but at the same time refined,” Cristina Grajales says of the new exhibition at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. The new show opens December 6 to coincide with the host of art and design-related events this month as Art Basel Miami and Design Miami come to town, not to mention the opening of Fairchild’s own Adam R. Rose and Peter R. McQuillan Arts Center.
Too many organic architects, from Frank Lloyd Wright on, become preachy and dogmatic when they contrast their work with mainstream modernism. Mickey Muennig is as down to earth and direct in words as he is in the woodsy houses he has concealed in the folds of Big Sur. Born in Joplin, MO, 80 years ago, he was nicknamed Mickey by his sister because she thought he resembled Disney's mouse, and the moniker stuck. Drawings by Bruce Goff inspired him to study with that maverick in Norman, Oklahoma, and soon after he settled in Big Sur. It's one of the world's magical places, where verdant hills shear off at the waterline, and the coast highway snakes through forests and meadows with the sparkle of the ocean far below. The Coastal Commission has kept it pristine, and the few rustic buildings merge into the landscape. From the start, Mickey bonded with the land, designing houses that are rooted and airy, open and sustainable. He sculptured spaces from wood beams and poured concrete, winning approval from the authorities and enchanting a succession of clients.
Over the last few months, we've been featuring some favorite articles from our past issues to celebrate our 15th year. Today, we bring you a feature from our May/June 2007, one of the first to be available in print and online. The territory covered is one we're passionate about here at FORM—the evolution of Los Angeles. Written now over seven years ago, we hope it gives you a chance to think back and forward about our dynamic city.
By John Southern
Step out of your car on a typical residential street in the San Fernando Valley or West Los Angeles, and all you may hear is the far off hum of traffic doing its mechanical Foxtrot on one of the region’s many freeways. The density is remarkably horizontal in nature; there is little evidence that you are in a metropolitan area of more than 13 million people. Fly into Los Angeles, however, and you get an entirely different picture. The Los Angeles metropolitan region stretches out before your eyes, seemingly infinite in its scope—an almost unfathomable conglomeration of freeways and streets, industrial districts, parks, downtowns, and residential neighborhoods. Hundreds of cities form an urban patchwork of hyper-development that only in recent years has begun to show signs of slowing its outward march into the surrounding desert.
Because the city has traditionally eschewed verticality in favor of flatness, Los Angeles is poised to evolve into a vibrant hybrid of hyper-stratified urbanity and suburban expansiveness in the twenty-first century as it introduces denser (and it is assumed more vertical) housing conditions atop the lower density of the suburban strip. This hybrid has the potential to redefine the way we understand both urban and suburban domestic environments, as these two housing typologies collide to produce a context that questions the very definition of what a city can be.
Another busy year is nearly in the books for our industry partner AIA|LA. While the coming month is quieter than some, there are still several compelling opportunities. First, though, we wanted to take a moment to congratulate the new members of the organization’s 2015 Board of Directors. President: Ted Hyman, FAIA—ZGF Architects, LLP; Vice President/President-Elect: Debra Gerod, FAIA—Gruen Associates; Secretary, Douglas Teiger, AIA—Abramson Teiger Architects; Treasurer: Douglas Noble, FAIA, Ph.D—USC School of Architecture; Past President: Andrea Cohen Gehring, FAIA—DLR Group; Directors: Jim Auld, AIA, Altoon Partners LLP; Jeffrey Averill, FAIA—UCLA; Gail Peter Borden, AIA, Borden Partnership, LLP & USC; Gwynne Pugh, FAIA—Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio;
An idealized portrait of the crumbling Cuban capital, which offers very incomplete coverage of the modernist treasures of the 1940s and 1950s. The subtitle is more exact: The early decades of the 20th century saw a wonderful flowering of Beaux Arts and Art Déco, including a scaled down version of the US Capitol and the exuberant Bacardi Building. Those decorative styles occupy more than half this book, but the images must have been extensively photo-shopped to achieve such pristine elegance. In reality most of these houses and public buildings are shabby and decayed, even on the verge of collapse.