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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 2018

Hundreds of parcels of city-owned land are up for grabs

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 14:30:00 -0800

Did you know the city owns almost 9,000 parcels of city-owned land and properties across LA County? LA City Controller Ron Galperin released a map last year of unaccounted-for property, with a view to making the city more accountable and transparent, as well as pushing elected officials to amplify the value and best use of these sites.

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Catherine Opie's "The Modernist," Mike Kelley’s “Kandors”

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 14:30:00 -0800

LA photographer Cathy Opie has made a short film about an arsonist who loves mid-century-modern LA houses so much, he’s driven to destroy them. And the late LA artist Mike Kelley was obsessed with Kandor, Superman's hometown on the planet Krypton. Both artists address the utopian ideals of modernist architecture, and what happens when those ideals fail to materialize.

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Can we better protect ourselves from mudslides?

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 14:30:00 -0800

Authorities in Santa Barbara County are performing rescue operations as mudslides and debris have led to multiple deaths, dozens of injuries and have left hundreds of people trapped in their homes. Is there a way to protect communities and homes from mudslides going forward?

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Bird scooters, Metro innovation, road diets

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 14:30:00 -0800

After the battle in Playa del Rey, have road diets been run off the road? The head of Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation describes how you can pitch bold new transit improvements. And the scooter-sharing startup Bird in Santa Monica has taken flight, but it’s also ruffled feathers at City Hall.

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Pot shops bet on high design

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 14:30:00 -0800

California’s recreational pot marketplace is open for business and, already, sales are booming. Take yesterday, for example: marijuana sales jumped more than 300 percent above last month’s daily average. That’s according to the company Green Bits, which tracks pot sales. Even in its early days, it’s becoming clear that recreational marijuana is for sale in stores that don’t look much like the stores of old.

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Bonaventure's architect, changing Culver City

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 14:30:00 -0800

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel defined 1970s Los Angeles. DnA remembers its creator, John Portman. Tech and entertainment companies are descending on Culver City. We’ll hear about the big changes coming to the one-time “Heart of Screenland” -- and meet two young developers who believe in brick-and-mortar retail.

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Dar Williams on how to rebuild small town America

Tue, 26 Dec 2017 14:30:00 -0800

Singer-songwriter Dar Williams has spent years on the road and along the way she learned a lot about America’s small towns and what makes them thrive. She talks about her book, What I Found in a Thousand Towns, and plays songs that relate to those themes. 

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Selfie Museums, Chicago Architecture Biennial

Tue, 19 Dec 2017 14:30:00 -0800

There’s been a trend of so-called "selfie museums" in LA, with “made-for-Instagram” sets designed for taking flattering self-portraits. So how does selfie culture jibe with “high art”? Meanwhile, Los Angeles-based curators bring new architectural ideas to the Windy City. But are they “boring”? And, one of Apple’s first “town squares” opens in Chicago too.

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The rise of selfie museums

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 18:44:00 -0800

Coming in January, you'll be able to buy tickets to the Museum of Selfies in Glendale. It's part of the trend this past year of "made-for-Instagram" museums, collections of colorful sets designed for taking flattering self-portraits.

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Designing in the fire zone, LACMA's bridge

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 14:30:00 -0800

Fires in Southern California have forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes. Author and designer Wade Graham says we are "enmeshed" in fire-prone landscapes and need to respond through smart design and policy. And LACMA’s proposed expansion by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor is nearing reality. Will the gallery spanning Wilshire Boulevard feel like a freeway overpass, or a sculptural work of art?

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Skirball Fire threatens Getty Center

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 18:44:00 -0800

The Skirball Fire east of the 405 freeway has made the commute through the Sepulveda Pass a scary experience. And the nearby Getty Center has closed because of outside air quality. But management is confident the buildings -- and the art -- will come out unscathed.

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Wedding cake, Museum of Failure, Syd Mead

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 14:30:00 -0800

We love a good success story, but we love an epic fail even more. DnA visits the Museum of Failure. We also talk to "visual futurist" Syd Mead and architect Craig Hodgetts about creating a "plausible reality." And we hear about the art of cake-making from a West Hollywood baker.

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Lights out for Vermonica

Wed, 29 Nov 2017 18:44:00 -0800

The sculptural installation Vermonica is an "urban candelabra" of 25 Los Angeles street lamps installed in an East Hollywood parking lot in 1993. Artist Sheila Klein's project was supposed to only last a year, but this month, after 24 years, it was removed at the insistence of the developer, who plans to renovate the shopping center.

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KCRW's new building, modest fashion

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

KCRW is coming up for air. We take a sneak peek at the station's new building, designed by architect Clive Wilkinson. And why are some affluent young city women dressing like members of religious cults? A look at the new modesty in fashion, and how women architects dress to express a "total design philosophy."

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Wende Museum, Beautify Earth

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

Los Angeles is seeing an explosion of murals. Would you like to paint one? Hear about the movement to "Beautify Earth." And a World War II armory becomes the permanent home for the Wende Museum of the Cold War, just as Russia-US relations revive old tensions. But what do former East Germans think about it?

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Meet Gita and 'Dirty Girl' Joan Barton

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

Can a robot get people walking again? Meet Gita, a cargo carrier on wheels created by the same company that designed the Vespa scooter. And "Dirty Girl Construction" founder Joan Barton shares her thoughts on building -- and triumphing -- in a man's world.

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A step up for Culver City

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

The Culver Steps, a mixed-use development planned for the heart of Culver City, broke ground on Wednesday. Mayor Jeff Cooper called it "the last piece of the downtown puzzle."

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Tunnels, planes, and art and architecture in the desert

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

Los Angeles has tunnel vision. DnA tours the Downtown Regional Connector, as Elon Musk digs his own tunnel. United Airlines flies its last Boeing 747 flight. DnA meets nostalgic pilots and hears about what's coming next for airline passengers. Plus, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is not over. DnA takes a road trip to see three desert shows.

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LA's historic Lincoln Heights Jail to be repurposed

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 18:44:00 -0700

The five-story Lincoln Heights Jail opened in 1931 and has housed everyone from Al Capone to people arrested during the Zoot Suit Riots and the Watts Riots. It was finally decommissioned in 1965, but its long and sordid story is about to get a new chapter, with a planned redevelopment that will turn it into a bustling residential and commercial destination.

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Border wall, Renzo Piano, densifying the dead

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 14:30:00 -0700

The prototypes for the new US-Mexican border wall are now built, but will President Trump's dream of a big, beautiful wall materialize? Or will it be just a beautiful patch? Architect Renzo Piano takes a cinematic approach to designing the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. And as cities change, so too do their cemeteries, with suburban lawns giving way to tall and dense mausoleums.

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The land deal that brought the Dodgers to LA

Wed, 25 Oct 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Everyone's excited about the Dodgers once again being in the World Series. But the Dodgers may have never left Brooklyn 60 years ago if it wasn't for a deal hatched between city officials and a real estate businessman to turn Chavez Ravine into a baseball field.

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The birth of Dodger Stadium, 'Design, Bitches'

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 14:30:00 -0700

As the World Series kicks off at Dodger Stadium, we'll look at how the construction of the stadium at Chavez Ravine symbolized the birth of modern Los Angeles. And we meet the two women architects behind the firm "Design, Bitches." They’re currently converting the Highland Park Masonic Temple into a buzz-worthy events space.

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Cities finalize bids for Amazon's HQ2

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Thursday is the deadline for cities near and far to submit bids to internet superstore Amazon for its second global headquarters. Amazon says its new HQ2 will be an economic engine for any city, generating around 50,000 jobs. That has cities in Southern California, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Irvine and Santa Ana licking their chops and offering up incentives in an effort to score the headquarters.

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How Amazon changed Seattle, Lawrence Halprin

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 14:30:00 -0700

The deadline is this week for cities to bid to host Amazon's second headquarters, or HQ2. What can Seattle teach those cities about becoming Amazon's company town? And the late landscape architect Lawrence Halprin saw gardens through the lens of dance. Los Angeles right now is paying tribute to the visionary designer of modernist parks and plazas.

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Can a linkage fee solve LA's housing woes?

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 18:44:00 -0700

It's now up to the full, LA City Council to decide whether or not to add an additional fee on developers looking to build in the city. It's being called a “linkage fee” and the hope is that it will bring in as much as $90 million a year to help build more affordable housing. A council committee signed off on the idea this week.

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Guns and Hollywood, Institute of Mentalphysics

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 14:30:00 -0700

You might think Hollywood and the NRA are at opposite ends of the political spectrum. But recent mass shootings have brought renewed focus to the glamorization of guns in the movies. And a music festival in Joshua Tree this weekend takes place in a setting known for its spiritual qualities as well as its architecture. We hear about the Institute of Mentalphysics.

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Another step back for road diet plan

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Traffic in Southern California keeps getting worse. Elected officials have commissioned new light rail lines, additional bike paths, and have even added more freeway lanes. There’s also another concept they’re playing with: road diets. One community is fighting back.

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Public safety, YIMBY activist, Academy Museum

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 14:30:00 -0700

Can designers of public space and event planners avert mass shootings, like the one that occurred Sunday night in Las Vegas? Pro-housing YIMBY activist Sonja Trauss runs for political office in San Francisco. And the long-planned Academy Museum comes into focus, with a Renzo Piano-designed sphere.

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The Academy Museum emerges

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 18:44:00 -0700

It's been a long time coming, and riddled with enough drama to fill a Hollywood movie. But today, the still-under construction Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum opened its doors for a close-up.

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Smart nodes, CAFAM goes to the border, Crenshaw Cowboy

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 14:30:00 -0700

DnA goes to check out CAFAM’s timely show of art and architecture, The U.S.-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility -- and on the way encounters the installation of LA’s pilot "smart node." Will the streetlight of the future contain cameras, charging stations, speakers and sensors to detect gunshots? And we meet the homeless artist whose Los Angeles studio was a freeway on-ramp, until he was moved on.

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Silicon Valley disrupts cities, Stacy Michelson

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 14:30:00 -0700

Apple has rebranded its stores as "town squares;" a vending machine startup called Bodega caused outrage; cities are lining up to woo Amazon's HQ2. DnA looks at tech's impact on cities. Plus, artist Stacy Michelson (creator of KCRW's Good Food tote bag and picnic blanket) tells us how Japanese snack food packaging inspired her goofy illustrations.

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Stormy connections, Amazon seeks city, 'Found in Translation'

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 14:30:00 -0700

As Apple marks the iPhone's ten year anniversary with the launch of the iPhone X, thousands of people in hurricane-struck areas cannot make a phone call. And Amazon seeks a bride: North American cities are a-courting to house the tech behemoth's HQ2. Plus, LACMA's Found In Translation explores decades of cross-pollination in art and design between California and Mexico.

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The crosswalks of Bunker Hill are alive with color

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Four crosswalks in front of the Broad in downtown Los Angeles got a colorful paint job this weekend. Local high school students helped paint intersecting diagonal stripes in a design created by 94-year-old Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez. The Broad invited him to re-imagine the crosswalks as part of the city-wide Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.

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Berggruen Institute, 'Condemned to Be Modern'

Tue, 05 Sep 2017 14:30:00 -0700

Billionaire philanthropist Nicolas Berggruen has likened his planned research center in the Santa Monica Mountains to a secular monastery. Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron is designing it. What is the Berggruen Institute, and will the building please the neighbors? And in Condemned to Be Modern at LA Municipal Art Gallery, artists from Cuba, Brazil and Mexico examine the legacy of modernism.

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Angels Flight soars again

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 18:44:00 -0700

A downtown Los Angeles landmark returns this week. Starting Thursday, you'll once again be able to ride Angels Flight from Grand Central Market to the top of Bunker Hill and back. The newly-upgraded train has been dark for four years, following a series of derailments and other issues.

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Harvey and Houston planning, road diets spark rage

Tue, 29 Aug 2017 14:30:00 -0700

The City of Los Angeles is trying to slow drivers down. We get perspectives on a road diet that caused road rage in Playa del Rey. And Tropical Storm Harvey is devastating Southeast Texas. While it is the region's worst storm, it is not the first. Has Houston's approach to design and planning made it susceptible to flooding?

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Comparing LA's transit system to London and New York

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Los Angeles is hoping to host the 2028 Summer Olympics, and is using its investment in a regional mass transit system as a selling point. How does the experience of riding on LA's subway compare to London, host of the 2012 games, and New York, which has never hosted the games? And what can LA learn from those two cities?

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Public art and politics, California design

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 14:30:00 -0700

Everyone is Californian now, says the co-curator of California: Designing Freedom, a show on display in London. We look at how West Coast design dominates the world. And as cities around the country remove Confederate statues, there's a debate over whether they should be torn down in the name of today's social values, or maintained as teachable moments.

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Three changing waterfronts in Southern California

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 14:30:00 -0700

Developers have big plans to make over older waterfronts in San Pedro, San Diego and Santa Barbara. It’s the next step in the urbanization of these cities. Old world-style fishing villages are out. In are coming designers Bjarke Ingels, James Corner and bigger commercial attractions. Their designs vary and so does public response. How will they affect the character and life of these coastal destinations?

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From acid to Apple: a survey of California design

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 14:30:00 -0700

From the drug-fueled 1960s style of the hippies to the tech-utopian visions of Silicon Valley's founders, California's design sensibilities have had a global reach. The exhibition California: Designing Freedom at the Design Museum in London looks at how the Golden State came to have such a powerful influence on contemporary design.

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Future Aleppo, Norman Bel Geddes

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 14:30:00 -0700

A Syrian boy hand-built a model of what his hometown might look like after the country's civil war, and now Future Aleppo is on display in Los Angeles. Also, do you think driverless cars are a new idea? Just wait 'til you hear about Norman Bel Geddes, an industrial designer decades ahead of his time.

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'Columbus' muses on modernism, David Hockney turns 80

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 14:30:00 -0700

The Los Angeles-based painter David Hockney turned 80 last month and his birthday is being marked with shows from London to LA's Getty Museum. Critics and Hockney talk to DnA about his enduring appeal. And the movie Columbus is set in the small town of Columbus, Ind., a mecca of modernist architecture. The filmmaker, Kogonada, explains why he placed buildings at the center of his directorial debut.

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Will Santa Monica's affordable housing goals backfire?

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

Home prices keep hitting record highs in Southern California. What’s the solution? Some say Santa Monica – with its recent downtown development and light rail extension – is the model. But a split vote by that city’s lawmakers suggests otherwise.

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Designer Camp, Louis Kahn barge, Architectural Imagination

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

Pack your bags, we're off to summer camp! But forget lanyards and campfire singalongs. We visit a boutique camp for teen designers. Los Angeles architects take "The Architectural Imagination" to Detroit. Do their dreams offer more hope than grassroots solutions? Louis Kahn's floating concert hall has sent up an SOS. Can a Hudson Valley town save it from the scrapyard?

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Border wall breakdown, David Adjaye

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

President Trump's border wall project appears to have ground to a halt. Will it ever materialize? And David Adjaye, the designer of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, reflects on the museum's significance, emerging African architecture, and improving social housing.

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Is HHH housing getting built?

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

In the past year, residents of both the city and county of Los Angeles voted to tax themselves to pay for more housing for the homeless, and for the services needed to keep them in those homes. Local elected officials say those extra dollars couldn't come at a better time. Homelessness is up 23 percent in LA when compared to last year. So what's being built right now, and what's coming down the line?

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LA's electric bus future, construction giant Paul Matt

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

Los Angeles-based electric bus manufacturing companies aim to meet a growing demand for emission-free urban transit. And it's one thing to design a building, but it's another thing to build it. We pay tribute to the late Paul Matt, the construction giant who realized many Southern California landmarks.

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Proterra and the rise of electric buses

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

For Swedish automaker Volvo, the combustible engine in a thing of the past. Beginning in 2019 all of the new car models it introduces will be fully electric or hybrids. It's the first major traditional automaker to set a concrete date for phasing out combustion-engine-only models. The trend, however, isn't limited to just car companies. There is a boom in electric bus manufacturers in the U.S. as well, including right here in Southern California.

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Freedom sculpture, Henry Rollins, surfboards

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

The Fourth of July holiday is a great time to crank up the music and hit the beach. Henry Rollins likes his punk played on a perfect sound system, which he shows us on a tour of his home. And we hear about the enduring tradition of innovative surf design in Santa Barbara. We also mark Independence Day with a look at the new Freedom Sculpture in Century City. Designed by engineer-artist Cecil Balmond, it draws inspiration from the ancient Persian king Cyrus.

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Should extremely creative CEOs get away with bad behavior?

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 14:30:00 -0700

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has been ousted from the company he created. Was this the best way to address the negatives of a highly creative entrepreneur? "Serial entrepreneur" Z Holly and another controversial business leader -- American Apparel's Dov Charney - weigh in.

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The $1.2 billion Wilshire Grand finally set to open

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 18:44:00 -0700

The tallest building west of the Mississippi River will officially open for business on Friday. The Wilshire Grand Center has been years in the making. It rises 73 stories, or 1,100 feet with its spire at the top, and includes a near-900 room InterContinental Hotel. And its architecture tells the story of a changing Los Angeles.

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Fire safety in towers, artists and developers, PetSpace

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 14:30:00 -0700

London's Grenfell Tower fire shows what can go wrong when a high rise building is not designed or retrofitted in accordance with fire and safety needs. Are artists the victims or perpetrators of gentrification? A downtown luxury apartment building will have an "artist-in-residence." Plus, the new private animal shelter PetSpace offers a high-design venue for adopting your new four-legged friend.

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Frank Lloyd Wright's Los Angeles gems

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Celebrated architect Frank Lloyd Wright was born 150 years ago last week, and the anniversary has been recognized with events and exhibitions. His style of “organic architecture" can be seen in his Los Angeles houses, including the Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Park. Why does this architect still tower in the public imagination?

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Trump's American idea, LACMA's expansion, the idea of home

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 14:30:00 -0700

The Trump Organization plans a new hotel chain called American Idea, inspired by the family's experiences on the campaign trail. So how do they brand "American Idea" and steer clear of perceived conflicts? And, LACMA is planning a move into South LA. Find out how it connects to its proposed makeover of Miracle Mile. Meanwhile, Latin American artists at LACMA take on the idea of home -- and find it has emotional and political meaning.

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LACMA wants to expand into South LA

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 14:30:00 -0700

LACMA wants to turn a defunct MTA facility in South LA into a new space for exhibitions, educational programming and art storage. What would this mean for the neighboring community, and for LACMA's other major project: to renovate its main campus on Wilshire Boulevard?

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Securing Public Spaces, Super Wealthy Asians

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 14:30:00 -0700

Vehicles are increasingly being used as weapons, as seen in the London Bridge attack over the weekend and in New York’s Times Square last month. The Compton-based company Calpipe is designing security bollards to help make public spaces safer. And novelist Kevin Kwan satirizes the “crazy rich” Asian jet set and their luxurious tastes in his latest book, “Rich People Problems.”

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Can driverless cars solve our traffic woes?

Wed, 31 May 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Driverless cars are being touted as the future of mobility. But we’re seeing some bumps in the road. A high-profile arrangement between the city of Pittsburgh and the ride hailing company Uber to test their autonomous vehicles appears to have fallen apart. What does this mean for driverless cars in LA and elsewhere?

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Farewell LA freeways, Peter Shire is back

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

Angelenos don't want more freeways but we seem not to want mass transit either. Metro has killed the 710 freeway extension, and bus and train ridership is down across the region. What's the future of getting around in LA? And, Peter Shire is having a comeback. What attracts a new generation to his playful ceramics and furniture? 

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Bus ridership declines in LA

Wed, 24 May 2017 18:44:00 -0700

Ridership on LA Metro buses continues to decline across Los Angeles. Passengers say the service needs improvement. Metro now wants to overhaul the system's 170 lines and 15,000 stops, and is conducting a study due out in April, 2019. How are other cities dealing with this issue?

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The Art of Manufacturing, Apple's new headquarters

Tue, 23 May 2017 14:30:00 -0700

What's one mile around, has a four-story glass door, and looks like a spaceship? DnA gets a tour of Apple's new headquarters in Cupertino. And we learn about Los Angeles' creative economy, and why LA is a hotbed for manufacturing.

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Border wall builders, private art museums, Stamen Design

Tue, 16 May 2017 14:30:00 -0700

An LA city councilman wants companies who want to do business with LA to disclose if they're also working on the US-Mexico border wall. Forget old-school bar graphs and pie charts -- depicting data has become an art form. And another private art museum opens soon in Los Angeles, but this one takes you into the fascinating world of freemasonry.

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Uber at the LA Times, Preserving LA, 'The Handmaid's Tale'

Tue, 09 May 2017 14:30:00 -0700

Uber moves into the Times Mirror Square complex in downtown LA. Preservationists want Frank Gehry to incorporated a mid-century bank into his mixed-use project on Sunset. And Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale uses color and costume to make a dystopian story visually stunning.

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Ron Finley saves his garden

Wed, 03 May 2017 18:44:00 -0700

South LA's "Gangsta Gardener" has won out. Ron Finley, a community gardener and activist for healthy food in underserved neighborhoods, has managed to overcome a threat of eviction after successfully buying his property from an Agoura Hills developer.


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Michelle Obama, LA 2024, Vespertine

Tue, 02 May 2017 14:30:00 -0700

Vespertine fuses taste, sight, sound, smell and touch in a novel eating experience coming to Culver City. We'll hear from chef Jordan Kahn and architect Eric Owen Moss. Bill Hanway updates us on LA's 2024 Olympic bid, on the eve of a visit from the International Olympic Committee. And former first lady Michelle Obama tells architects why they matter.

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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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