Urban Infrastructure: What Would Nature Do?

January 29, 2013
When urban infrastructure meets nature’s designers, amazing things can happen

We humans are problem solvers. We’re doers. We encounter challenges and complicated situations and we find ways to surmount them—crafting tools, erecting bridges, programming computers. We’ve innovated and designed our way out of countless predicaments and, dammit, we will forevermore.

We are also hopelessly arrogant.

See, we humans sometimes forget that we are not the only innovators and designers out there. We’re not the only ones able to creatively adapt our way through tricky or threatening conditions. We forget about nature.

Frank Gehry on City Building

January 9, 2012
Excerpts from a Q&A with the architect.

Last summer, I was commissioned by Wallpaper magazine to interview architect Frank Gehry. The occasion was the magazine’s 15th anniversary, and part of the idea behind the interview was to look at how Gehry’s career has changed over the last 15 years. His most famous work, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, opened (that’s right!) 15 years ago.

Construction Cinema

December 16, 2009
Once bare-bones and utilitarian, architectural animation is becoming more nuanced and experiential. In part, this development can be credited to advances in 3-D technology, but at the same time architects have embraced the art of filmmaking -- not only to create more interactive presentations for clients, but also to leverage as a tool in the design process.

It’s easy to think of architecture as an interdisciplinary field. At its most basic level, art and science combine to create buildings that are both beautiful and functional. In much the same way, architects are now relying on a broad spectrum of professional fields for sharing their work. From film to video games to documentary photography, architects are stretching beyond their own circles to present and explain their projects in new and even entertaining ways.

A Database to Keep Los Angeles From Forgetting Itself

Still a young city by global standards, L.A. has created a model for chronicling its historic resources.

The heritage of a city is often measured by its historic buildings — its cathedrals, its monuments, its ancient structures of stone and clay. For cities like Paris or Rome, with hundreds and thousands of years of history, it’s somewhat obvious which parts of this past must be remembered so that future generations can know the story of their city. But what about newer cities? What’s historic when you measure history in decades rather than centuries?

Building Profile: Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

June 16, 2014
SPF:a’s modern addition to an existing 1930s post office complex provides a new cultural epicenter for Beverly Hills.

Before Beverly Hills, Calif., could become what it is today—alternately the celebrated pinnacle of luxury or the denigrated epicenter of moneyed excess—it had the modest needs of any young city. Between its incorporation in 1914 and the late 1920s, the city had grown from 500 residents to more than 15,000, and locals decided they needed the basic staples of citydom: a city hall and a post office.

Should I Start My Own Architecture Firm?

May 8, 2014
A primer to help you decide when—and if—you should hang out your shingle.

A career in architecture can have many trajectories, but one common arc is starting your own practice. As an aspiration, it seems reasonably straightforward. But realistically, there are many practical and ideological questions to ask before striking out on your own. Here’s a guide to making the big call.

Are you experienced?

Team Building in the Age of BIM

April 1, 2014
Andrew Pressman’s new book offers a tipsheet for how to collaborate more effectively. Hint: BIM is not the magic bullet.

Contrary to the long-glamorized Howard Roark model, architecture is a team sport. But getting a team to work together seamlessly can be a challenge. In his book, Designing Relationships: The Art of Collaboration in Architecture, Andrew Pressman, FAIA, argues that effective collaboration is a prerequisite for good design work. Pressman, a professor emeritus at the University of New Mexico and a lecturer at the University of Maryland, runs his own architectural practice in Washington, D.C.

The Power of Focus

February 27, 2014
Chasing every project may seem wise in a tight economy. But smart firms specialize. Leading practitioners and management experts share their perspectives.

In lean times, you take what you can get. For architecture firms still climbing out of a recession-sized hole, that can translate into bidding for just about any viable project that comes along, even if it’s outside their zone of expertise. That can be seen as a sign of desperation or as an instinctual survival tactic. Ray Kogan, AIA, sees it as a mistake.

World's largest concrete pour: LA witnesses 'ballet of construction trucks'

February 14, 2014
Wilshire Grand building will put Los Angeles back in the skyscraper business as city aims to rejuvenate its centre

Hundreds of spectators lined the streets in downtown Los Angeles Saturday for what might seem a lacklustre event in a city known for its entertainment: a parade of trucks poured a load of concrete into a hole. But this was no ordinary hole. It's the site of the future Wilshire Grand, a 73-storey building filled with offices, retail and hotel rooms that will, when it opens in 2017, be the tallest building in the city, and the eighth tallest in the US.

The Seven Top Legislative Priorities for Architecture in 2014

January 27, 2014
Student debt. Small business tax reform. Fannie and Freddie. Given the current economy, lobbying has never been more important for architecture. Legislative liaisons from the AIA, the NAHB, and other organizations share their top issues for the coming year.

The Design-Build Efficiency and Jobs Act of 2013