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Preview: KCRW's Design and Architecture

Design and Architecture

Design and architecture shape our world. On DnA: Design and Architecture, host Frances Anderton talks to designer, users and critics about the latest in products, fashion, architecture and more, in Los Angeles and beyond. Photo credit: Marc Goldstein

Copyright: KCRW 2017

African-American architect Paul Revere Williams gets AIA's top honor

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Paul Revere Williams was a trailblazing African-American architect in Los Angeles. This week the American Institute of Architects is set to honor him with a posthumous Gold Medal for lifetime achievement.

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Neutra landmark, Thom Mayne's home, I.M. Pei turns 100

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 14:30:00 -0700

Pioneering architect Richard Neutra's Silver Lake home has been added to the list of national historic landmarks, with an assist from Rep. Adam Schiff. Thom Mayne's new house in Cheviot Hills replaces the former home of writer Ray Bradbury, and the neighbors like it! Paul Revere Williams posthumously gets AIA's top prize, and I.M. Pei turns 100.

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A new park springs from ancient soil

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 18:44:00 -0700

This Saturday, Los Angeles State Historic Park will celebrate its newly-renovated green space with a party that's been 16 years in the making.

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Symbols of protest, lighting up EDM festivals

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 14:30:00 -0700

The Women's March made a huge impact, in part because of its widely worn pink knitted "pussyhat." Does the March for Science need its own unifying symbol? Lighting designer Steve Lieberman is "the man behind the lights" for the country's leading electronic music festivals and nightclubs. He talks about his early experiences with rave culture, and what it takes to spark the excitement of today's EDM fans.

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Santa Monica's historic Sears store to be repurposed

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 18:44:00 -0700

When the Sears store in Santa Monica opened in 1947, thousands of people lined up around the block to get in. Seventy years later, it is being mothballed, joining hundreds of other closures of US department stores.

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LA cleantech's future, music photographer Mick Rock

Tue, 11 Apr 2017 14:30:00 -0700

As President Trump embraces dirty fuels, what happens to LA's burgeoning cleantech industry? Start-up companies are planning for an uncertain future but staying optimistic. Veteran photographer Mick Rock defined a musical era. Now the camera has been turned on him. Mick Rock and Barnaby Clay talk about capturing glam and its legacy in Shot! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock

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Border wall designs pour in, but is the project even real?

Wed, 05 Apr 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Hundreds of companies have expressed interest in participating in the construction of a new US-Mexican border wall. The designs range in terms of materials, shapes and complexity. But many questions still remain about the project and how it will be funded.

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Drought-friendly lawns, gangsta gardener, Aeron chair

Tue, 04 Apr 2017 14:30:00 -0700

Fear of drought has inspired a new look in landscaping. But could an abundance of rainfall bring back bad old habits? Plus, gangsta gardener Ron Finley fights for his Eden in South LA. And Aeron chair co-designer Don Chadwick explains why designers should not be "dumbhanded."

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Watergate Offices, Trump Hotel; 'The Price of Illusion'

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 14:30:00 -0700

Joan Juliet Buck was fired from the helm of French Vogue and later wrote an ill-timed profile of a tyrant's wife. Now she examines her life in The Price of Illusion. And architecture meets politics in the Watergate complex and Trump's hotel in DC's Old Post Office Building.

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Parker Center one vote away from demolition

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 18:44:00 -0700

The former headquarters of the LAPD avoided a date with the wrecking ball Wednesday after a vote on its fate was postponed due to a clerical error. But city leaders are still moving ahead, despite concerns from preservationists.

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Building homes near freeways, 'Rick Owens: Furniture'

Tue, 21 Mar 2017 14:30:00 -0700

The White House wants to roll back fuel economy standards. Could that mean more air pollutants coming out of car tailpipes -- just as LA is seeing a surge of home construction along freeways? And a fashion world provocateur, Rick Owens, talks about designing furniture inspired by land art and brutalist architecture, and raising existential questions on the runway.

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How DC's post office became Trump Hotel

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 18:44:00 -0700

In Washington, DC, the historic Old Post Office Pavilion has earned a second life as Trump International Hotel. The luxury hotel with a restaurant and bar has become a favorite hangout for the DC elite. It’s also earned criticism -- including a lawsuit by owners of a nearby wine bar -- because President Trump, his family and White House staffers continually promote the hotel.

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Big plans for tiny houses, homes for hope

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 14:30:00 -0700

The tiny house movement is booming, even though in most places, people can't legally live in them. But that didn't stop a group of enthusiasts from learning how to build one at CAFAM. What will they do with their tiny homes? And as Angelenos have passed measures to build more housing for the homeless, a group of architecture students is trying to speed up access to shelter -- with designs for temporary housing with "curb appeal."

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Measure S was defeated. Now what?

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 18:44:00 -0800

An effort to slow development in Los Angeles has failed, with Measure S receiving less than a third of LA voters' support. So what's next?

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Bidding on the border wall, new apartment architecture

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 14:30:00 -0800

President Trump wants to build a border wall along the US-Mexican border, and hundreds of construction and engineering companies are lining up to help. Who’s interested, and why? Plus, as Los Angeles gets taller and denser, more of us will be living in apartments. We look to other global cities for design inspiration, and hear from an L.A. architect who is embracing an apartment-centric future.

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Life's a game, 'Never Built New York'

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 14:30:00 -0800

Much of daily life is spent on menial tasks but game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost says it's time to think of chores the way we think of playing games -- as fun. And, big dreamers built New York, but what about the dreams that got away? Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin talk about Never Built New York, and what LA can learn from the Big Apple's missed opportunities.

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A walking tour of Compton architecture

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 18:44:00 -0800

Architecture buffs can take a walking tour this Sunday highlighting the work of black architects in Compton. The tour is in honor of Black History Month, and is an offshoot of a new map documenting the contributions of African American designers and architects in Los Angeles.

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Production design, art and politics, the creative mind

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:30:00 -0800

What makes production design so special? We consider the five Oscar nominees this year for production design and why their films stand out. As artists respond to President Trump's administration, we look how art movements became weapons in the past century's great ideological battles. And what makes a person creative? And what does the Cold War have to do with it? A historic study of the minds of the greatest Mid-Century architects is described in a new book.

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Santa Monica leads the way in seismic retrofit plan

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 18:44:00 -0800

Santa Monica is one step closer to having the most extensive, earthquake retrofitting program in the nation. The City Council gave tentative approval Tuesday night to a plan that could require safety enhancements for as many as 2,000 buildings. City leaders say the action is long overdue.

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Connecting The Bloc, modernist art, mapping the heart

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 14:30:00 -0800

Retailers in LA have been slow to welcome transit riders into their stores, but that's changing: a new passageway connects The Bloc directly to the Metro. Will Angelenos use it? As Modernism Week kicks off in Palm Springs, we hear about two Los Angeles exhibitions of modernist art, design and architecture. And an engineer has created a 3D model of the human heart, inspired by his daughter's heart condition.

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The Bloc, Metro open new portal to downtown transit riders

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 18:44:00 -0800

Usually when you went to go to the mall you drive there, park, and then drive home. A new shopping area in downtown LA called The Bloc wants to make it easy to get there by train. So they’ve opened a pedestrian passageway that connects directly to the busy 7th Street/Metro Center station. This marks a shift in how retailers view public transit, and is meant to appeal to downtown's growing car-free residential population.

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Measuring the impact of Measure S, Netflix on design

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 14:30:00 -0800

Measure S, the development moratorium on the March 7 ballot in Los Angeles, could have a profound impact on the city’s future growth. But exactly how? Experts on both sides of the issue consider how S might affect high-profile projects already in the pipeline. And, Netflix explores the creative process of designers in their new documentary series Abstract: The Art of Design. 

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Elon Musk's plan to dig a tunnel under LA

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 18:44:00 -0800

Elon Musk has always claimed innovation as central to his reputation, from sending rockets into space to building luxury electric cars. Now he's taking on a different sort of problem: LA traffic.

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Santa Monica Airport, Trump's border wall

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 14:30:00 -0800

After years of fighting with the federal government, the City of Santa Monica has struck a deal to close its almost century-old airport in 2028, and shorten the runway right away. Is everyone happy with the agreement? What will happen to the valuable 227-acre site? Also, President Trump wants to build a US-Mexico border wall. Urban planner Michael Dear says we already have one, and it's proven ineffective.

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Critics say Caruso development highlights need for planning reform

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 14:30:00 -0800

Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso's planned 145-unit luxury residential tower near the Beverly Center is moving forward, despite public opposition. 

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Pussyhat project, Ben Carson, building boom, Bjarke Ingels

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 14:30:00 -0800

How did a pink knitted hat become the symbol of a movement? We talk to a co-founder of the Pussyhat Project. Former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros explains why Dr. Ben Carson deserves to oversee the nation's public housing program. Some cutting edge architects are designing large projects for a booming downtown, but will they get built? One of those is by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, and he explains his unconventional approach to the Arts District.

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Chargers logo electrifies social media

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 14:30:00 -0800

Last week's decision to move the San Diego Chargers to Los Angeles upset a lot of football fans in San Diego. But when the new L.A. Chargers logo was unveiled, that upset a lot of people too - because it was awful. The team promptly introduced two more logos, which were all ridiculed online. Why do new logos incite so much passion?

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Trump's inauguration, developer donations

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 14:30:00 -0800

The chairman of President-elect Trump's inauguration committee says to expect a tone of "soft sensuality" at Friday's inauguration. What on Earth does that mean? And, Los Angeles officials want to ban political campaign contributions from developers who have projects pending before City Hall. Is that legal? Is it "misdirection" from the real problem: a dysfunctional planning process? And what does it have to do with efforts by some to slow growth in Los Angeles?

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Lucas Museum to come to LA

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 14:30:00 -0800

The force is apparently with Los Angeles. That's because LA beat out San Francisco for filmmaker George Lucas's new blockbuster museum. It's a big win for Southern California, and the complex is expected to be a boon for South LA.

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Connected tech at CES, Battersea's future

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 14:30:00 -0800

As everything from a hairbrush to a bikini becomes "smart," has the "Internet of Things" gone too far? DnA checks out the latest "smart" technology at CES. And we visit London's famed Battersea Power Station, where a massive high-end development anchored by Apple and a new US Embassy are revitalizing a rundown neighborhood. But some Londoners are asking, what's in it for us?

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CES preview, designing the golden arches

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 14:30:00 -0800

CES, the massive Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, turns 50 this year. Is it still relevant? And the fast food empire we know as McDonald's started as a burger stand in San Bernardino. Lisa Napoli explains how the post-World War II building boom of freeways and suburbs birthed a food culture.

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Year in review, Vern Yip, United Artists Theatre

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 14:30:00 -0800

A look back at 2016, losses and gains in design, architecture and a changing Los Angeles. Don't splurge at that New Year sale! Interior designer Vern Yip's new book advises people on how to carefully create beautiful spaces, with the help of a ruler. And we look at the rise and fall and rise again of a historic theater on DTLA's Broadway.

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Star architects come to LA, but will they get to build?

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 14:30:00 -0800

Three star architecture firms from Europe have been tapped by LA developers to design massive, dense, infill developments in LA. It's exciting news for anyone who follows architecture. But will they get to realize these projects in a region that is resisting dense development even as it faces a huge housing crisis?

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Artist evictions; should a mid-century bank be saved?

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 14:30:00 -0800

The Ghost Ship fire in Oakland has added to the insecurity of life for artists who've been occupying LA's warehouse spaces. And the City of Los Angeles approved a large Frank Gehry-designed project, but a mid-century bank building is complicating the plans.

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Seniors evicted in Westwood; 'I Hate the Internet'

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 14:30:00 -0800

Seniors are being kicked out of a Westwood Village independent living facility to make way for a luxury makeover. Is that an eviction too far? And did the Internet destroy hyper-gentrifying San Francisco -- and create a president? I Hate the Internet author Jarett Kobek says yes.

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'La La Land,' Mann house, underwater pavilions

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 14:30:00 -0800

Los Angeles is a character in the romantic musical La La Land, from famed landmarks to infamous freeway traffic jams. The Germans come to the rescue of a Modernist house in the Pacific Palisades built by "father of German democracy" Thomas Mann. And artist Doug Aitken's latest installation involves diving gear and a trip to Catalina.

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A streetcar is desired in downtown LA

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 14:30:00 -0800

The effort to bring a streetcar back to downtown Los Angeles passed another hurdle this week. The LA City Council voted 13-0 to approve a 3.8-mile route that includes Grand Park, the Convention Center, the Fashion District, and theaters and shops along Broadway.

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Cuban architecture, Lewis MacAdams

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 14:30:00 -0800

Fidel Castro is dead. What might his passing mean for the historic city of Havana, where development was stalled for almost 60 years? Lewis MacAdams, poet-activist, passes on the torch at Friends of the LA River. We discuss the future of the LA river with MacAdams and FOLAR's new Executive Director, Marissa Christiansen.

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LA River's leading advocate Lewis MacAdams steps down

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 18:44:00 -0800

The Los Angeles River is losing one of its fiercest advocates. Lewis MacAdams founded Friends of the Los Angeles River three decades ago, and will soon step down as president.

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SUVs are back, the family behind Wilshire Grand

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 14:30:00 -0800

The return of SUVs was the big trend at this year's LA Auto Show. And what is the future of electric mobility under a Trump administration? And the longtime LA architecture firm A.C. Martin Partners is putting the finishing touches on Wilshire Grand Center. Cousins Chris and David Martin discuss the challenges of building LA's tallest skyscraper and the firm's future.

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Wilshire Grand nears completion

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 18:44:00 -0800

There's a new supertall building in town. If you've been anywhere near downtown LA, even miles away, you've seen it go up.

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Architects and Trump, a slow tech movement

Tue, 15 Nov 2016 14:30:00 -0800

Architects erupt over a memo supportive of President-Elect Donald Trump, issued by the American Institute of Architects. And some Silicon Valley insiders are comparing tech to big tobacco or even gambling -- eager to sell people on a pleasure that is dangerously addictive. Is it time for a "slow technology" movement?

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Angelenos vote for density and transit

Wed, 09 Nov 2016 18:44:00 -0800

Voters in Los Angeles on Tuesday agreed to tax themselves to pay for mass transit, homeless housing, and parks. They also want developers to pay for affordable housing. And Santa Monica voters rejected a controversial anti-density measure.

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A new hope for Lucas Museum in LA, The Wangs vs. The World

Tue, 08 Nov 2016 18:44:00 -0800

Los Angeles and San Francisco are competing to play host to George Lucas' Museum of Narrative Art, which comes with a site-specific design by Ma Yansong. Jade Chang draws from her experience covering LA's art and design scene in her first novel,The Wangs Vs. The World.

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Big pot embraces high design

Wed, 02 Nov 2016 18:44:00 -0700

Voters in California will decide next week whether to legalize recreational marijuana. Meanwhile, the fast-growing cannabis industry is turning to high-end product design and sleek new dispensaries to attract new customers and clean up its image.

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Designing dispensaries, the southland's growing pains

Tue, 01 Nov 2016 14:30:00 -0700

How does the booming marijuana industry shed its illicit image and attract new customers? By turning to high-end product design and sleek new dispensaries. And Santa Monica residents will vote next week on Measure LV. Will it slow growth or create new problems? The initiative is being closely watched as a bellwether for development in the Southland.

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Frank Gehry strips down on Sunset

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 18:44:00 -0700

A Frank Gehry-designed project on Sunset Boulevard is moving forward, despite neighborhood opposition.

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Designing your life, ghostland

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Can you "ideate" and "prototype" your way to a better, more fulfilling life? That’s the premise of the book Designing Your Life, though some designers question the use of "design thinking" as a means of career counselling and self-investigation. And in time for Halloween, the book Ghostland explores what kinds of architectural details make a place feel haunted, as well as what stories of hauntings tell us about our own prejudices and biases.

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The problem with A/C, Neon City, Jewish LA

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 14:30:00 -0700

The world needs to cut back on HFCs but Americans love staying cold; does that mean you need to get a smaller fridge or turn off the air-conditioning? Los Angeles was once a city of neon; now the colorful gas lighting is making a comeback. Why? Avishay Artsy tours Jewish Los Angeles, and finds some of LA’s most noted designers and builders.

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Police academy, smart gun, eat the river

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 14:30:00 -0700

The LAPD Academy in Elysian Park has undergone a makeover, as the department adapts to an era of community policing. An MIT freshman has created what's believed to be the first fingerprint-enabled smart gun. And a French artist finds inspiration in the cracked concrete of the Los Angeles River.

Media Files:

The suburban home of tomorrow

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 18:44:00 -0700

Back when most people had barely heard of a Prius or LEED certification, 300 builders and product designers committed to sustainable design gathered at a small convention called Greenbuild. Now it is one of the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to “green building” and holds its fifteenth annual conference and trade show this week at the LA Convention Center.

Media Files:

Patrick Shearn, Greenbuild, cargo shorts

Tue, 04 Oct 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Artist Patrick Shearn, known for his eye-popping music festival installations, goes public, with musical clouds inside Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Liquid Shard. LA welcomes the Greenbuild Conference; but what is next in sustainability now greenbuilding has gone mainstream? Plus, we investigate the gender wars that have erupted over a men's fashion choice: cargo shorts.

Media Files:

YIMBYs rise up to support development

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 18:44:00 -0700

We've all heard of NIMBYs: people who oppose growth because they don't want their neighborhoods to change. Now, there's a counter-movement forming of people who say the only way to solve the housing crisis in expensive cities is to keep building.

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The Europeans are coming! Koolhaas, Herzog & de Meuron in LA

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Some high-profile European architects have projects in the works for the Southland and have waded into the argument about density. DnA looks at projects both spiritual and commercial from famed Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and his firm OMA, and we check out a mammoth mixed-use project in the Arts District by Herzog & de Meuron.

Media Files:

Smithsonian's new African-American museum, YIMBY movement

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Smithsonian's newest museum is a striking homage to African-American history and culture. We get the inside scoop from the architects and reviews from critics on the building and its artifacts. And move over NIMBYs: the pro-development, YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard) movement is heating up across the country, and here in Los Angeles.

Media Files:

Utopia and Arcosanti, Gemini G.E.L. and Mixografia

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Utopian thinking is back, as Silicon Valley envisions smart cities. Is there anything to learn from an older social and architectural experiment in the Arizona desert? We visit Arcosanti. And, when you see artwork in museums and galleries, does all the credit belong to the artist? A new show at LACMA puts the spotlight on LA's printmakers behind the fine art.

Media Files:

Santa Monica's Measure LV is being watched around the southland

Wed, 07 Sep 2016 18:44:00 -0700

The Neighborhood Integrity Initiative is measure on the March 2017 ballot that would restrict development in Los Angeles. Folks behind NII are supporting another slow-growth ballot measure - this one in Santa Monica. DnA on ATC looks at LUVE, or Measure LV and asks what it means for downtown Santa Monica, and the region.

Media Files:

Driverless cars, sitcom house plans

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Uber is launching a fleet of semi-autonomous cars on the streets of Pittsburgh. What does this mean for the design of the city and for Uber drivers? And what will it feel like to be a passenger in a driverless car of the future? Plus, an artist draws plans of the imaginary homes of his favorite TV sitcoms.

Media Files:

The struggle over growth, from Santa Monica to Boyle Heights

Tue, 30 Aug 2016 14:30:00 -0700

From Santa Monica to Boyle Heights, residents are fighting development. Are their concerns connected? And is slowing growth the answer to maintaining affordable housing across the region? DnA reports from the most and the least affluent communities in the Southland.

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Will LACMA's new building win over the critics?

Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:44:00 -0700

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is moving forward with a plan to replace four buildings on its campus with a new building designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. Critics say the building is dark, monolithic, and would disrupt the flow of Wilshire Boulevard. Others describe it as "restrained" and "calm" and a good fit for an institution like LACMA.

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Saving Pereira's buildings, 'Wear and Tear'

Tue, 23 Aug 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Los Angeles architect William Pereira is getting renewed interest, as two of his prominent works are set to be torn down. And Tracy Tynan, a costume designer in LA, talks about she found meaning in clothing during a chaotic childhood.

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Public swimming pools and the "mindscape" of Los Angeles

Wed, 17 Aug 2016 18:44:00 -0700

Simone Manuel's Olympic win has put a spotlight on the history and politics of access to aquatics. Swimming in America has a history of racial exclusion. DnA visited the newly-rebuilt Central Recreation Center Pool in South LA to learn what the City of Los Angeles is doing to create "access and opportunity" for all.

Media Files:

Swimming pools and public art

Tue, 16 Aug 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Simone Manuel's Olympic win highlights the politics of access to public swimming pools. We visit a gorgeous, newly-restored pool in South LA and ask if the color barrier to swimming has been lifted. And private murals and public installations are turning the outdoors into a gallery. What's behind the explosion of public art?

Media Files:

The streets are alive with public art

Wed, 10 Aug 2016 18:44:00 -0700

If you have visitors in town and you want to show them some art, do you take them to a museum or gallery, or do you head outdoors? Right now the streets are alive with public art, some of it commissioned by the City and Department of Cultural Affairs or by Metro, some of it appearing overnight on walls around town.

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Tesla gigafactory, Whole Foods design, Ben Medansky

Tue, 09 Aug 2016 14:30:00 -0700

A tour of Tesla's new gigafactory, under construction in the Nevada desert and how that intersects with CEO Elon Musk's latest master plan. We compare two Whole Foods stores and a look at the seductive power of supermarket design. And, ceramicist Ben Medansky, talks about the support that followed a fire that destroyed his downtown LA studio.

Media Files:

It's not all bad news in Rio

Thu, 04 Aug 2016 17:44:00 -0700

You've heard the horror stories about this year's Brazil Olympics - from blocked toilets and unfinished infrastructure to toxic water and a political coup. But that's not the full picture. LA-based architecture and engineering company AECOM created the master plan for the Rio Olympics and promises that Brazilians are going to put on a terrific games.

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Building the Olympics, tropical modernism, egamer wear

Tue, 02 Aug 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Corruption, toxic waters, building delays… will Brazil's Olympic "nomadic architecture" deliver after a difficult construction process? If running, jumping and swimming are not your thing, you can tune into Rio's eGames. But do gamers really need athletic wear? And Brazilian modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi gets her moment in the sun.

Media Files:

Design for Skid Row, Politics as Spectacle, Sewing Machine Ravel

Tue, 26 Jul 2016 14:30:00 -0700

How much is a political convention about the message or the messaging? Simon Doonan explains. Fashion lover Lun*na Menoh makes music with sewing machines. And a tour through projects by Skid Row Housing Trust explores how much good design can alleviate the trauma of homelessness.

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It's Not Your Grandparents' Political Conventions Anymore

Wed, 20 Jul 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Gone are the days of your grandparents' political conventions. Now, these events are carefully designed to dazzle the audience, especially the television audience. And with a reality TV star at the top of the Republican ticket, Donald Trump is sure to produce a spectacle.

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Cleveland's Public Square, VR Coasters, Pokémon GO

Tue, 19 Jul 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Augmented reality, virtual reality and the future of the city: Cleveland's historic Public Square is remade, just in time for speakers not invited to the Republican National Convention. To revamp an old coaster, just add VR goggles. What does the success of Pokémon GO tell us about future cities created by techies? 

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Can Metro Boost Ridership with Transit-Oriented Development?

Wed, 13 Jul 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Ridership on the Expo Line rose by nearly 60 percent in the month of June compared to April, but average weekday trips continue to decline. Why, and can the trend be reversed by building close to the train stations?

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LA Sports Arena, Architecture’s Odd Couple, Aaron Axelrod, Prince of Venice

Tue, 12 Jul 2016 14:30:00 -0700

The LA Memorial Sports Arena is nearing demolition, and fans can bid to take a piece of it home. Historian Howard Hugh dishes on architects Philip Johnson and Frank Lloyd Wright’s “frenemy” relationship. Ayahuasca inspires Aaron Axelrod’s installation at Barnsdall Art Park. And an exiled Italian prince is making a splash in LA’s food truck scene.

Media Files:

A Much-Needed Makeover for The Ford Theatre

Wed, 06 Jul 2016 18:44:00 -0700

At nearly a century old, the historic John Anson Ford Theatres complex was in desperate need of repair. After nearly two years for renovations, the amphitheater will reopen on Friday, July 8 with a new stage, lighting, sound insulation, catering and other amenities.

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Obama Library, Silver Lake Reservoir, Tes-Loop

Tue, 05 Jul 2016 14:30:00 -0700

President Obama and the First Lady have chosen Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects to design the presidential library in Chicago. Residents of Silver Lake want their beloved reservoir refilled, the Ford Theatre gets a major facelift, and bike share comes to downtown. And Tesla’s recent auto-pilot crash could mean speed bumps for an LA-based shuttle service that uses self-driving Tesla cars.

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Designing a Solution for Homelessness

Wed, 29 Jun 2016 18:44:00 -0700

The Los Angeles City Council is weighing two separate measures to fund solutions to homelessness. One likely applicant for those funds will be the nonprofit developer Skid Row Housing Trust, which has built supportive housing by some of LA's leading architects. Can good architecture and planning help re-integrate the formerly homeless back into society?

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Skyspace LA, Mini-Golf, Assemble Collective

Tue, 28 Jun 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Interventions in the urban fabric: the new Skyslide brings fun to downtown’s financial district. Will it attract more tenants? In Echo Park, a public mini-golf course gives new meaning to an empty site. And British design collective Assemble recently checked out the Coachella Valley. Why?

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Metro to Ask Voters for Another Sales Tax

Wed, 22 Jun 2016 18:44:00 -0700

On June 23, the Metro Board is expected to approve a ballot initiative that's being called Measure R2, for a half-cent sales tax to be placed on the November ballot.

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Brexit's Impact on Design, Metro's Transit Funds, Saving The Smell

Tue, 21 Jun 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Will designers and manufacturers trading with Europe be affected by Brexit? As Metro Board prepares a new transportation sales tax measure, we’ll debate how the money should be spent. And The Smell, a much-loved all-ages music venue, has been threatened with closure, sparking anxiety that not all of the changes in downtown LA are for the better.

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Public Space in a Time of Fear

Wed, 15 Jun 2016 18:44:00 -0700

Recent shootings in Orlando and before that Paris, San Bernardino and Colorado have added to growing jitters about random attacks in regular gathering places. On the other hand, designers and architects are very optimistic about the growth of public space, from transit to parks. Will the fear of violence win out over our desire for openness?

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Gay Spaces, FAB Park, LACMA Redesign, Ecocapsule

Tue, 14 Jun 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Gay bars and nightclubs have long served as sanctuaries for LGBT people. But many of these venues are disappearing. Mia Lehrer + Associates has been picked to design FAB Park in downtown. Why was the latest redesign for LACMA unveiled at the Venice Architecture Biennale? And a tiny "ecocapsule" made in Slovakia is catnip to Californians.

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Connecting New and Old in Santa Monica

Wed, 08 Jun 2016 18:44:00 -0700

The Looff Hippodrome, home to the iconic carousel on the Santa Monica Pier, will commemorate its centennial this Sunday, June 12. Meanwhile, across Ocean Avenue, the Colorado Esplanade was recently developed to connect the Downtown Expo Light Rail station, the new Tongva Park and the Santa Monica Pier.

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Ballot Design, Looff Hippodrome, Earthquake Preparedness

Tue, 07 Jun 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Voters heading to the polls on June 7 may find their ballots very confusing, especially with 34 US Senate candidates to choose from. Can better design improve election results? Plus, we visit the home of the carousel at the Santa Monica Pier that turns 100 this week. And the new In Case of Emergency asks if we are ready for the Big One. 

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Grand Avenue Project May Get a Jumpstart

Wed, 01 Jun 2016 18:44:00 -0700

Developers and city leaders billed the more than $2 billion Grand Avenue project as a perfect complement to a changing downtown Los Angeles when it was first proposed in 2004. But since its inception, it’s been wrought with delays and financial shortfalls.

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Facebook Compassion, Broken Relationships and Lonely Cities

Tue, 31 May 2016 14:30:00 -0700

What becomes of the relics of a broken romance? Facebook's compassion research team is designing tools to relieve its users' break-up pain. Then, LA's new Museum of Broken Relationships features totems of heartbreak. And a writer talks about loneliness in the big city – and whether designers can alleviate solitude.

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Farewell, LA Memorial Sports Arena

Wed, 25 May 2016 18:44:00 -0700

The LA Memorial Sports Arena in Exposition Park will soon be torn down to make room for a new 22,000-seat soccer stadium. We remember the arena's history and architecture as we say farewell.

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WeHo's Sunset Spectacular, Megaships and Global Shipping

Tue, 24 May 2016 14:30:00 -0700

The City of West Hollywood wants to make the Sunset Strip the spectacle it was back in its heyday. So it's hosting a design competition for an innovative billboard. Also, DnA boards a mega-ship at the Port of Long Beach, the largest container ship to ever dock in the US, and learns about the impact of global transportation on our infrastructure and environment.

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West Hollywood's Digital Billboard Design Competition

Wed, 18 May 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Do you hate digital billboards? A lot of people do, and so the City of West Hollywood, in a bid to create a lovable digital billboard on a site it owns on the Sunset Strip, has created a design competition for ideas.

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Light Rail, Hyperloop, High School Shop Returns as Career Tech

Tue, 17 May 2016 14:30:00 -0700

The long-awaited Expo Line extension to Santa Monica opens this weekend. What does it mean for mobility in the Southland? Meanwhile, some transit dreamers are working on a vehicle that would leave light rail in the dust: Hyperloop. In this week’s “Modern Trades” we visit a lighting factory in the City of Industry and a school in Van Nuys to find out how high schoolers are being prepared for high-tech manufacturing jobs.

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Riding the Expo Line, High Rise Horrors

Tue, 10 May 2016 14:30:00 -0700

All aboard the Expo Line! Starting May 20 you can ride all the way from downtown LA to Santa Monica for the first time in over six decades. Metro officials say this is part of a future where cars are just one of several viable modes of transportation in Los Angeles. And, the director and producer of the new dystopian film High-Rise talk about architecture as a storytelling device to tell a story about class and morality.

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Solar Training, Dream Cities, Hollywood Interiors

Tue, 03 May 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Here's a job that can't go overseas -- solar panel installation. We meet the laborers who are attending a "rooftop university" in Long Beach. Plus, a conversation with Wade Graham about "castles," "slabs" and the shaping of cities, as Los Angeles goes through a transformation; and Anthony Iannacci discusses "Hollywood Interiors" and what makes for uniquely Angeleno style and design.

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Pershing Square Renewed?

Thu, 28 Apr 2016 12:00:00 -0700

Today four competing schemes for a renewed Pershing Square were unveiled. Tonight the design teams will present them to the public at Broadway's Palace Theater — and the crowd is expected to reach capacity. 

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Pershing Square, Plastic Sculptures, William Wegman

Tue, 26 Apr 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Four finalists present schemes for redesigning Pershing Square, and their approaches will be a litmus test for competing views on what makes public space work -- lots of programming or strong design? Gigantic plastic containers leave Pershing Square on a journey of environmental education through art. And when William Wegman's Weimaraners pose on Eames and Nakashima chairs, you get a very stylish dog story.

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Can "Modern Trades" Be an Alternative to College?

Wed, 20 Apr 2016 18:44:00 -0700

On the campaign trail, presidential candidates have been talking a lot about the price of college. But does a four-year degree make sense for kids who might be better suited for a trade? 

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Community Plans, Ramiro Gomez, David Hockney

Tue, 19 Apr 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Painter David Hockney defined LA as a British transplant in the 1960's. Now another young artist, Ramiro Gomez, is putting a new face on it. We meet two painters with unique perspectives of Los Angeles, and the critic who brought them together. And the LA Mayor's office has vowed to revise the city's 35 community plans in the next decade. Will this diffuse the moratorium effort, and create a better planned LA that also provides much-needed housing?

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Who Speaks for the Los Angeles River?

Wed, 13 Apr 2016 12:00:00 -0700

LA is about to get its own biennial, with a focus on public art that will comment on one of LA's most important pieces of infrastructure, the LA River.

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Tomorrow's Electricians, Nkandla-gate, Hitler at Home

Tue, 12 Apr 2016 14:30:00 -0700

At the Electrical Training Institute, in the City of Commerce, 1,500 apprentices are becoming the electricians for an energy-efficient future. Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa, has been criticized for his taxpayer-funded, excessive home renovations. And we hear about an infamous dictator whose interior decor was the subject of glowing spreads in glossy magazines: Adolf Hitler.

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Clothes Make the Man

Wed, 06 Apr 2016 12:00:00 -0700

Here are two assumptions being challenged at LACMA: men don't care about clothes, and fashion is frivolous.

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Zaha Hadid, Burglar's City, Men's Fashion

Tue, 05 Apr 2016 14:30:00 -0700

We pay tribute to a titan of architecture, Zaha Hadid, who died in Miami last week. Writer Geoff Manaugh argues that burglars have a lot to teach architects about buildings. And we remember a time when men wore corsets, padded stockings and used swords as fashion accessories.

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Bringing LA's Sidewalks into the 21st Century

Wed, 30 Mar 2016 12:00:00 -0700


The LA City Council now has a comprehensive plan to repair the city’s aging sidewalks. 

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Modern Trades, Build Better LA, TOM House

Tue, 29 Mar 2016 14:30:00 -0700

Jobs have left America, but there's growth in new high-tech manufacturing jobs. What are they? How are people being trained for them? First there was the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, now there's the Build Better LA initiative. Why has housing become a ballot box battle? And we visit TOM House in Echo Park, a museum and mecca for LA "leathermen" and admirers of the homoerotic illustrations of Tom of Finland.

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