Category: Architecture

Art Center buys postal facility, plans to expand and renovate

March 7, 2012 |  7:15 am

A major redesign is in the works for Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design, which is gearing up for what its president says will be the largest fundraising campaign in its history to pay for an expansion of its south campus and renovations to its distinctive, elongated main campus set into a hillside about five miles to the north.

Art Center, often ranked among the nation’s top design schools, announced Tuesday that it has spent $7 million to buy a former U.S. Postal Service mail distribution center next to its existing satellite campus in south Pasadena, and has hired the Los Angeles firm Michael Maltzan Architecture to do master planning and design work.

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Spring architecture preview: Barnes Foundation's new home, CicLAvia

March 2, 2012 |  2:56 pm


When it comes to architecture, the season ahead is a mixture of anticipation, uncertainty and controversy. Philadelphia is home to the controversy, in the form of a new home for the Barnes Foundation, while in Los Angeles we look forward to a new light-rail line (the precise opening date is where the uncertainty comes in), an expanding CicLAvia and a third building at the Pacific Design Center.

Here is what's ahead in the spring:

A new home for the Barnes Foundation

No architectural commission has been more controversial in recent years than the job of building a new facility for the Barnes Foundation in central Philadelphia. In taking it on, the New York architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, best known for their now-shuttered Museum of American Folk Art down the block from the Museum of Modern Art in midtown Manhattan, grabbed a chance to produce the biggest and highest-profile building of their careers. But the new 93,000-square-foot facility on Benjamin Franklin Parkway will face legions of doubters who wonder if the remarkable group of paintings assembled by Albert C. Barnes in the first half of the 20th century should ever have been removed from its quirky, poetic home in suburban Merion.

May 19,

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Arts on TV: 'Open Call'; 'The Phantom of the Opera'; Idina Menzel

March 1, 2012 |  6:00 am

'Open Call' students

“Open Call” 9 p.m., Thursday KCET: The Colburn School Conservatory of Music: Auditions for reality shows.

Movie: “Exit Through the Gift Shop” (2010) 9:30 p.m., Thursday Showtime: Narrated by Rhys Ifans. A French shopkeeper and a filmmaker try to document the graffiti artist known as Banksy, only to have him turn the camera back on them.

“The Rosie Show” 7 p.m., Friday OWN: "Porgy & Bess" stars Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis.

“Celtic Woman -- Believe” 8 p.m., Friday KVCR: Classic Irish songs, pop anthems and inspirational songs; from the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.

“Great Performances: Andrea Bocelli Live in Central Park” 8:30 p.m., Friday KOCE: The Italian tenor performs classical favorites and his popular signature songs.

“Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Birth of Rock Theater” 10 p.m., Friday and 8 p.m., Wednesday KVCR: Founder Paul O'Neill outlines the past, present and future of the orchestra.
“The Artist Toolbox” 8:30 p.m., Saturday KLCS: Architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen has designed more than 400 private houses.

“Idina Menzel Live -- Barefoot at the Symphony” 10:30 p.m., Saturday KVCR: Menzel performs Broadway classics, her own selections, and contemporary songs with her husband,Taye Diggs, and composer Marvin Hamlisch.

“Soul Mates: Dr. Maya Angelou & Common” 10:30 a.m., Sunday BET: Hip-hop artist Common; Dr. Angelou honored by President Obama.

“Great Performances” 5:30 p.m., Sunday KOCE; 7 p.m., Sunday KVCR: "Phantom of the Opera" at the Royal Albert Hall: Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess star in a fully-staged production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's “The Phantom of the Opera,” from London's Royal Albert Hall.

“Great Performances” 8 p.m., Monday KVCR: "Hugh Laurie: Let Them Talk -- A Celebration of New Orleans Blues": Actor Hugh Laurie performs New Orleans blues and jazz with Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas and Tom Jones.

“Il Volo Takes Flight” 11 p.m., Monday KVCR: The Italian teen vocal group performs classical and traditional Italian songs at the Detroit Opera House.

“Yanni -- Live at El Morro” 7 p.m., Tuesday KOCE and 10:30 p.m., Wednesday KVCR: Yanni performs with his 15-piece orchestra at El Morro, a 16th century citadel in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“Il Volo Takes Flight” 8:30 p.m., Tuesday KOCE: The Italian teen vocal group performs classical and traditional Italian songs at the Detroit Opera House.


Gioachino Rossini, rock star of opera, gets a Google Doodle

Occupy Wall Street calls for cancellation of Whitney Biennial

Kid Rock to show support for Detroit Symphony

-- Compiled by Ed Stockly

 Photo: 'Open Call' students from the Colburn School Conservatory of Music. Credit: Philip Pirolo / KCET

Pritzker Prize winner Wang Shu speaks to packed house at UCLA

February 28, 2012 |  3:07 pm

Wang ShuThirty minutes into Wang Shu's lecture at UCLA on Monday night, the freshly minted winner of the Pritzker Prize had yet to talk about any of his own projects.

The overflow crowd at Perloff Hall shifted a bit in their seats, presumably wondering when the man they'd packed in to hear would start showing the buildings that won him architecture's top honor. Instead, Wang talked about Chinese landscape painting, Proust and the rapid pace of urbanization in Chinese cities -- including Hangzhou, where he lives and works and where, he said, 90% of the traditional urban fabric has been destroyed over the last two decades to make way for new construction.

"Hangzhou is a small city, by Chinese standards," he said, waiting a beat to set up his joke. "Only 7 million people."

PHOTOS:Architecture of China, Wang Shu

The long preamble, by turns ruminative, wry and philosophical, was a fitting introduction to Wang's approach to architecture and his unusual résumé. After earning two degrees from the Nanjing Technical Institute and designing a small youth center, Wang took a detour and spent nearly a decade working on construction crews, learning the craft of building and the potential -- aesthetic as well as structural -- of various materials.

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Pritzker Prize goes to Wang Shu, 48-year-old Chinese architect

February 27, 2012 | 10:21 am

Click for more photos

It was only a matter of time.

The jury for the Pritzker Prize on Monday handed  architecture’s most prestigious award to Chinese architect Wang Shu, completing the Pritzker’s break from the famed globe-trotting architects from the U.S. and Europe that it once honored almost exclusively.

Wang, 48, who is based in Hangzhou, west of Shanghai, and runs a firm with his wife, Lu Wenyu, has a relatively low profile on the international architecture scene. He was a visiting professor at Harvard last year but has never designed a building outside China; he describes himself, in seeming earnest, as “just a local architect.”

PHOTOS: Pritzker Prize goes to Wang Shu

Like several recent Pritzker laureates, including Portugal’s Eduardo Souto de Moura, who won last year, he combines a spare, muscular formal language with an emphasis on craftsmanship and regional character.

Wang’s projects often include recycled bricks or roofing tiles salvaged from older buildings razed to make way for new construction. It’s clear that for the eight-member Pritzker jury -- which this year included U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer as well as architects Zaha Hadid, Yung Ho Chang and Alejandro Aravena -- his firm’s intentionally imperfect work stood out as a thoughtful alternative to the sleekly generic towers that now dominate the skylines of rapidly expanding Chinese cities.

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Arts on TV: 'Anything Goes'; 'Memphis'; Cab Calloway

February 23, 2012 |  6:00 am

Cab Calloway
“BET Honors 2012” 10 p.m. Thursday, BET: At the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., Maya Angelou, Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Spike Lee, the Tuskegee Airmen, Beverly Kearney receive honors for contributions to their respective fields; host Gabrielle Union.

“Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” 12:37 a.m. Thursday, NBC: William Shatner; Padma Lakshmi; performance from “Anything Goes.”

“Great Performances” 9 p.m. Friday, KOCE and 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, KVCR: "Memphis": Set in the 1950s, the Broadway play recounts the story of a white disc jockey who helps a black female club singer get her big break.

“Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” 12:37 a.m. Friday, NBC: Paul Rudd; Gabrielle Union; performance from “Sister Act.”

“The Artist Toolbox” 8:30 p.m. Saturday, KLCS: Massimo & Lella Vignelli: Italian-born designers Massimo and Lella Vignelli discuss the art of balance and problem-solving.

“Bobby Jones Gospel” 9 a.m. Sunday, BET: Vickie Winans; Arkansas Gospel Mass Choir; Joy Boyz.

“In Performance at the White House” 9 p.m. Monday, KOCE: "Red, White and Blues": The musical form known as the blues holds deep roots in Africa and slavery and has influenced modern American music from soul to rock 'n' roll; host Taraji P. Henson. Performers include Troy “Trombone” Shorty Andrews and Jeff Beck.

“Smash” 10 p.m. Monday, NBC: "The Cost of Art": Karen must learn how to get ahead in the world of Broadway; Derek throws a party for a hot, young celebrity (Nick Jonas); Eileen tests a new fundraising strategy; Tom goes on a date.

“American Masters” 10 p.m. Monday, KOCE: "Cab Calloway": Singer, dancer and band leader Cab Calloway led one of the most-popular black big bands during the 1930s and '40s. (N)

-- Compiled by Ed Stockly

Photo: "American Masters" looks at Cab Calloway. Credit: Artline Films / PBS

A prairie house for puppies: Frank Lloyd Wright's doghouse

February 22, 2012 |  7:36 am

If Snoopy had a doghouse like the one Frank Lloyd Wright designed for a black Labrador named Eddie, would he still have slept on the roof?

Maybe so, according to the Marin Independent Journal. It turns out Eddie, whose 12-year-old master, Jim Berger, beseeched the great architect to dream up a doghouse for his canine friend in 1956, never slept in his illustrious digs.

Looking at a picture of the original doghouse, constructed in 1963, you can imagine why the dog wouldn't sleep in it. All imposing geometry, Wright's pooch palace is small and sharp-angled. Maybe Wright should have made it look more like a hamburger?

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British artist Damien Hirst to build 500 eco-homes

February 17, 2012 |  7:21 am

Damien Hirst, one of the world's wealthiest artists, is investing some of his fortune into the development of 500 new eco-houses near his home in North Devon in Britain
Damien Hirst's latest work could turn out larger than the globally coordinated showing of "The Complete Spot Paintings 1986–2011" that filled 11 Gagosian galleries. And this time, it's all in one place.

One of the world's wealthiest artists is investing some of his fortune (he's said to be worth about $340 million) into the development of 500 new eco-houses near his home in North Devon in Britain. 

The properties are meant to set the standard for Britain's eco-blueprint, featuring green touches such as hidden rooftop wind turbines, photovoltaic solar panels and state-of-the-art insulation.

Architects are aiming to submit a planning application this summer, and the project could break ground as early as next year in an area where Hirst owns 40% of the land.

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Eisenhower Memorial opponents' McCarthyite attack

February 16, 2012 |  3:40 pm

Ike D-Day, June 6,1944 ASSOCIATED PRESS
The nostalgia patrol has been out in full force in recent weeks, shrieking like Hecuba over designs for the planned memorial to Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States, to be built just off the National Mall in Washington near the Air and Space Museum.

The 4-acre project by Los Angeles architect Frank O. Gehry was chosen by the U.S. Fine Arts Commission in 2010, and its general concept of a tree-filled park lined on three sides with woven metal-mesh "tapestries" hung from large stone pillars was approved last fall. It's set to go before the National Capital Planning Commission in the next several weeks.

What's the complaint? Gehry's design is contemporary, not Neoclassical.

Seriously. Welcome to the 21st century.

Having seen only photographs of the model, I'll let others weigh in on the full design. (Philip Kennicott's enthusiastic, Dec. 15 Washington Post review is the most informed.) Some members of the Eisenhower family have expressed concerns, but it's worth noting that the late president's role as family man is not why he's getting a national monument. The opinions of kin are no weightier than any other  American's.

Yet the loudest -- and most troubling -- noise is coming from something called the National Civic Art Society, a club founded in 2002 to wage culture war. (In Washington you can call yourself "national" and a distracted public might be duped into thinking it means something.) Never mind that the last faux-Neoclassical monument built on the Mall -- the ugly 2004 World War II Memorial -- is imperial kitsch worthy of a totalitarian state. This fusty guild wants more.

How determined are they? In a tinpot version of the McCarthyism that bedeviled Eisenhower's own administration, the Civic Art Society is willing to smear people to get it.

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Arts on TV: Michael Feinstein; Woody Allen; Isabella Rossellini

February 16, 2012 |  6:00 am

“Project Runway All Stars”
9 and 11 p.m. Thursday, Lifetime: Puttin' on the Glitz : The designers are tasked with creating an outfit for the Broadway musical “Godspell.”

“Michael Feinstein's American Songbook” 9 p.m. Friday, KOCE: Saloon Singers: The history of nightclub entertainment.

“Michael Feinstein's American Songbook” 10 p.m. Friday, KOCE: A New Step Every Day: Jazz takes off during the 1920s and 1930s; the impact of talking pictures; radio.

“BET Honors 2012” 8 p.m. Saturday, BET: At the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., Maya Angelou, Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Spike Lee, the Tuskegee Airmen, Beverly Kearney receive honors for contributions to their respective fields; host Gabrielle Union.

“Woody Allen: American Masters” 9 p.m. Saturday, KOCE: Woody Allen's childhood in Brooklyn, N.Y., his creative process, and his career as director and writer. (Part 1 of 2)

“Woody Allen: American Masters” 11 p.m. Saturday, KOCE: Woody Allen's childhood in Brooklyn, N.Y., his creative process, and his career as director and writer. (Part 2 of 2)

“Isabella Rossellini: My Wild Life” 11:15 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday, Sundance: Profile of the artist.

“NFL Super Bowl Gospel Celebration” 2 p.m. Sunday, Fox: The Super Bowl Gospel Choir performs. With appearances by Jennifer Hudson, Aretha Franklin, Carrie Underwood, Stevie Wonder, Bono, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Lionel Richie, CeCe Winans and Kirk Franklin; hosts Nick Cannon and Kurt Warner.

“Vine Talk” 6:30 p.m. Sunday, KLCS: Sipping Sancerres from the Loire Valley: Author Gay Talese; actor Cheyenne Jackson; chef Joey Campanaro.

“Independent Lens” 11 p.m. Sunday, KOCE: More than a Month: A filmmaker creates a satirical cross-country campaign to end Black History Month.

Movie: “Amadeus”  (1984) 9 p.m. Monday, TCM: (PG) F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce. Antonio Salieri, court composer in Vienna, confesses in old age to his sins against the young genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

“Chihuly Fire & Light” 8 p.m. Tuesday, KLCS: The De Young exhibit has 11 galleries of new and archived works by glass artist Dale Chihuly.

“The 5 Browns in Concert” 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, KVCR: Five siblings, all trained pianists, perform standards, classical and jazz.

Movie: “Brooklyn Boheme” (2011) 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Showtime: Historian Nelson George paints a portrait of the black arts movement that exploded in Fort Greene from the mid-1980s through the '90s.

-- Compiled by Ed Stockly

Photo: Tom Hulce as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in "Amadeus." Credit: Phil Bray / Orion Pictures.


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