Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fiction Pyongyang - demolition S how - Ryugyong North Korea

What is this building? Did the Architects try to create a Spaceship or the Matterhorn in downtown Pyongyang?

Some critics claim this is the Ugliest and Worst Building in the World. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Revisiting the Old - Quonset Huts for the 21st century?

Quonset huts feel organic. Their shape is natural. They reveal structural honesty. They are volumetric and bold yet humble. With all the prefabricated housing that is making a comeback, why don't we see more Quonsets? They are an elegant response to a necessary building typology - shelter and design on a tight budget.

The French Modernist, Pierre Chareau designed Robert Motherwell's home and art studio in the Hamptons from prefabricated Quonset hut kits. The house was insensitively demolished in 1985, thus obliterating the only architectural work of Chareau's in the U.S. He is not well-known in America, partly due to Philip Johnson, the director of MoMA who vetoed his exhibit in 1950. Chareau began as a furniture maker, and his architectural design reflects this detailed craft. To learn more about this under-appreciated French architect:

Weekend Utopia: Modern Living in the Hamptons (Hardcover)
by Alastair Gordon

Will the Quonset be resurrected? There are books on the subject but the trend hasn't caught on... perhaps it will.

To find out more about Quonsets:

Quonset Bldg Blog

Quonset Hut: Metal Living For The Modern Age
by Chris Chiel (Author), Julie Decker

Quonset Huts on the River Styx

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Frank Lloyd Wright's La Miniatura Tour in Pasadena

La Miniatura is FLlWr's first textile block house in Southern California and the most allusive. It is difficult to see from the road. It is tucked into a ravine and enveloped by lush trees. The house is a miniature castle, hence the name. It is a wonder of design, architecture and landscaping.

On Saturday, January 26th, I toured this house, along with several hundreds of Wright enthusiasts. It is a rare occasion to see this masterpiece. The house needs tender loving care for it is a high maintenance work of art and a "demanding mistress", lamented one of her owners. It is a building that is definitely worth preserving.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Barack the Vote!

yes, a shameless political plug for the presidential candidate of my choice.....

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ambassador Hotel and Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles

Historic Cocoanut Grove and the Hotel's Coffee Shop are slated for Demolition by LAUSD. We lost the Ambassador Hotel; now the Grove and the Coffee Shop are lost.

It was announced Tuesday, after a settlement was reached between the School District and LA Conservancy. The Conservancy and the Art Deco Society have been fighting to save the Ambassador Hotel and Cocoanut Grove from this egregious demolition.

It has been one year since the last portion of the Ambassador was demolished on Jan. 16, 2006. The Hotel's Coffee Shop was designed by renowned Architect Paul R. Williams. The 1921 hotel was a glamorous intersection of celebrity and politics in its heyday and the site of six Academy Awards presentations. Movie stars, royalty and every president from Herbert Hoover to Richard Nixon lodged there during visits to Los Angeles. It was also the scene of Robert Kennedy's assassination in 1968.

It is a sad day for Preservationists for yet another Landmark bites the dust.
Now the site is the new home for a 4,200 student K-12 school campus.

R I P.

Demolition is scheduled for Jan. 22.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Monumental Mural in Downtown LA

From the rooftop of 419 Spring, looking toward the west, I saw this impressive mural.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Johnie’s Broiler in Downey

This old carhop in Downey originally was called Harvey's Broiler.
It was illegally demolished in 1-07-2007.
Looks like it was hit with scud missile.

Worth rebuilding? Worth preserving?

Better Demolition photos

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What makes a building Worth Preserving?

The James Rose Center in Ridgewood NJ

Instead of asking, What makes a building or cultural landscape Historic? We should be asking What makes it Worth preserving? This is a much more important question to ask when faced with the future of the built environment. Owners, Builders, Planners and Architects should consider the key elements of a good project.... What makes it lasting? What does it give back to the community and the society as a whole? Is it beautiful? Is it well-built? I have compiled a list of key ingredients to a project worth preserving, whether it has already been built or not.
  • Adds character to our towns and cities.
  • Enriches our lives.
  • Stirs the soul
  • Make our communities more interesting.
  • Embodiment of the designer’s creative ideals and innovations.
  • Unique.
  • Represent a turning point, a moment in time when our view of the world was changed forever.
  • Represent the vision and passion of the architect or owner.
  • Inspirational
  • A beautiful work of art, exquisite detail and composition
  • Will be important to future
  • Timeless/ classic – Withstands test of time
  • Sense of place and community
  • Not disposable
  • Adaptable for future use
  • Inspires intense feeling
  • Safe and secure
  • Endurance on more than one level - cultural, economic, esthetic
What do you think is worth preserving?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

My New Years Resolutions

In my quest for self-improvement.... here is a succinct list of 2008 New Years Resolutions:

draw/ paint/ design everyday

communicate effectively

ncarb certification

learn formz

life with love

exercise more

live with purpose

increase production

reduce consumption