Date Archives September 2012

Downtown Los Angeles bridge due for an extreme makeover

Competition design for the 6th Street Viaduct in downtown LA

Competition design for the 6th Street Viaduct in downtown LA

Competition design for the 6th Street Viaduct in downtown LA

Chemistry conspires against us. We get older and our skin changes, sagging away from places it used to diligently cling to. Our hair changes, turning grey, completely disappearing, or just migrating from the top of heads down our backs. And our bones change, becoming less dense and more fragile. It turns out that chemistry also conspires against bridges; specifically, the Sixth Street Viaduct in Downtown Los Angeles. More than just chipping paint and rusting steel, the concrete used to build the bridge way back in 1932 had an unusually high alkali content. So for the past 80 years, an alkali-silica reaction has been deteriorating the bridge from the inside out. This makes the bridge especially susceptible to failure durring earthquakes so the city has decided to host a competition to replace the bridge. The three renderings above are from the finalists.

According to this World Architecture post, public reception of the three finalists was tepid: “the designs failed to capture the community’s imagination with its leaders describing all three schemes as turning their backs on the neighborhood.” Without being overly critical of the schematic designs, I feel like these bridges are spanning the murky territory from flamboyant to banal. Each design seems to start with an idea about the overall form rather than starting with an idea about how to best implement a structural system at this site. And as a result, each bridge looks like it has extraneous elements. Any bridge is better than a pile of rubble in the river, when the neighborhood residents aren’t excited about any of the designs, the pile of rubble seems inevitable.

‘Workspaces’, an exploration into the places we make by Meggan Gould

'Workspaces', an exploration into the places we make by Meggan Gould

'Workspaces', an exploration into the places we make by Meggan Gould

'Workspaces', an exploration into the places we make by Meggan Gould

Meggan Gould is a New Mexico based photographer where she works as an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of New Mexico. Her work is mostly centered around still life photography, capturing the intimate moments of details of life. She has a beautiful series of images simply titled Workspaces which caught my eye has a browsed through them.

'Workspaces', an exploration into the places we make by Meggan Gould

'Workspaces', an exploration into the places we make by Meggan Gould

I think the success of this series is that she was able to capture such a wide variety of spaces, retaining the essence of what they are in each photo. The green house is all filled up with plants, the spinning wheel is surrounded by clumps of wool and the painter is surrounded by, well, all sorts of inspiring things to paint. Meggan’s ability to focus in the complexity or simplicity highlights not only the work being done, but the personality of the person making the work. Without even seeing the artisans behind these projects we get a sense of who these people might be.

‘All Inside’ by young English duo Bondax

Bondax

It doesn’t take much to make music nowadays. A couple of rainy days, a midi sequencer, and your choice of uppers and downers can be all it takes. To some extent, that seems to be the recipe for UK duo Bondax. George Townsend and Adam Kaye, two 17 (or maybe now 18) year olds from Lancaster, England, they have been dropping house singles for the past year or so. This track, All Inside, seems to be equal parts trip-hop, R&B, and chilled out neo-soul. More ambiance than dance, this music is for the romantic jilted generation.

Great award-winning video for Rudimental’s ‘Feel the Love’

The LA Shorts Fest took place earlier this month and it saw a number of wonderfully talented folk pick up awards in a variety of categories. One such winner was director Bob Harlow who picked up first place in the Music Video category with his promo for Rudimental‘s ‘Feel the Love’.

Filmed on the streets of downtown Philadelphia, the video takes a look at the lives of members of the Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club – a youth group that has been running in the community for over 100 years. It sounds like a wonderful (and much needed) initiative and Harlow’s video gives a great insight into the lives of its members and the things they get up to. It’s pretty incredible to see horses riding through the streets of downtown Philadelphia. Congratulations to Bob Harlow on his award, the video is fantastic!

Preview ‘Until The Quiet Comes’, the new record from Flying Lotus

'Until The Quiet Comes', the new record from Flying Lotus

Earlier this morning NPR started streaming the brand new album from Flying Lotus, Until The Quiet Comes. I’m only 10 minutes in by DAMN, this is a solid record. I’m sure a lot of you will love this record that I am. Filled with great beats, atmospheric melodies and a creativity dirge of sounds that are pretty inexplicable. That sentence really meant nothing, but that’s how music writers write, right? Give it a listen below and let me know what you think on Twitter of Facebook.

The new video for Willow’s song ‘Sweater’ takes you on a one room journey

The new video for Willow's song 'Sweater' takes you on a one room journey

The new video for Willow's song 'Sweater' takes you on a one room journey

The new video for Willow's song 'Sweater' takes you on a one room journey

I’ve said it many times before, that most often the simplest projects can be the most effective ones. The video above is a shining example. If you took two walls and a floor, 3 video projectors and a treadmill, do you think you’d be able to make the music video above? It was directed by Filip Sterckx for the band Willow and their song Sweater. The song is pretty good, it reminds me of old Bloc Party, but the video itself is a massive journey.

The video starts out with a man in his bedroom as he makes his way to the beach via subway. After that things get a bit crazy as he heads under water and ends up in a hole in the middle of the earth. All of this is achieved with some walls and projectors. Pretty amazing if you ask me.

Saunalahden Koulu by Verstas Arkkitehdit

Saunalahti School by Verstas Arkkitehdit

Saunalahden Koulu by Verstas Arkkitehdit

Saunalahden Koulu by Verstas Arkkitehdit

When I was a student, I really didn’t like brick buildings– because brick is rarely used as a load-bearing structural system nowadays and it’s basically really expensive wallpaper for the outside of buildings. Plus, the use of brick in the States is almost uniformly boring. I used to say snarky things like “Oh, how exciting… another monolithic running bond rainscreen interrupted only by efflorescence.” But lately my attitude about brick has started to warm . The first brick building that really surprised me was a small, scandanavian church designed by Sigurd Lewerentz. In the church, St. Peter’s, Lewerentz used brick, manipulating the masonry in ways I hadn’t seen or expected. So maybe it should be no surprise that this project, and its delightful tapestry of brick is also in Scandinavia.

These are images of the Saunalahden Koulu, a school in Espoo, Finland designed  by Verstas Arkkitehdit. The recently-completed school serves nearly 800 kids within the metropolitan area of Helsinki. The brick front of the school is a kind of experiment in bricklaying (like the courtyard of Muuratsalo) and the result here is a mix of patterns that might excite a few other brick skeptics. I ran across these images on an online forum here.

An inside look at Mike Perry’s new temporary art space, Wondering Around Wandering

Mike Perry's Wondering Around Wandering

Mike Perry's Wondering Around Wandering

Mike Perry's Wondering Around Wandering

Mike Perry's Wondering Around Wandering

Mike Perry’s Twitter bio reads that he’s “busy making stuff,” and after witnessing his latest project in person it’s clear he’s not kidding. He’s an extremely prolific and talented artist with a solid work ethic, and his efforts in the past few years have become more and more ambitious. From his first book, Hand Job: A Catalog of Type, to successive books Iron Me On, Over & Over, and most recently Pulled: A Catalog of Screen Printing, Mike has become a major figure where contemporary art and design collide. His own work has expanded from drawings and screen prints to sculpture, painting, products, and animation, with solo exhibitions across the US, Europe, and Japan.

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Illustrations of ‘The World’s First Ballon Flight’ by Rui Tenreiro

Image from 'Montgolfier' by Rui Tenreiro

Image from 'Montgolfier' by Rui Tenreiro

Image from 'Montgolfier' by Rui Tenreiro

Verdens første ballongferd (The World’s First Balloon Flight) is a newly released book for children written by Lena Lindahl and illustrated by Rui Tenreiro. The book is about of the world’s first aeronauts and it tells the true-life story of two brothers in 18th century France who set about building the first hot air balloon. The illustrations really looks terrific and wish I could speak Norweigan just so that I could read this.

It’s illustrator, Rui Tenreiro, is a Mozambican author, artist and editor. Dividing his time between Sweden and Mozambique he creates wonderful illustrations filled with detail and character. Some prints from the book will soon be available from Rui Tenreiro’s online shop while the book itself is currently available online here.

The new trailer for ‘The Hobbit’ looks astounding

The Hobbit poster

Last week saw the release of a brand new trailer for the upcoming The Hobbit film and boy is it stunning looking. Peter Jackson and his team are back, expanding their original vision into an even larger epic. I read The Hobbit back when I was in the 8th grade so I’m not familiar with the exactitudes of the storyline anymore, but if these are anything like the first trilogy they made, we should be in for a treat. The one big character I’m looking forward to seeing, who is absent from the trailer above, is Smaug, though he probably won’t show up until the very end of the first film or perhaps the second. Yes, you read that right, the single book has been expanded into three total films.

The first film comes out December 14 of this year, which is titled An Unexpected Journey, the second will be released December 13, 2013 (The Desolation of Smaug), and the final film July 18, 2014 (There and Back Again). It’s a whole lot of LoTR but I think that’s what the diehard fans want, LOTS of films. December can’t come soon enough.