Reading today’s Sydney Morning Herald (as I do everyday from San Diego) I read that Architect Frank Gehry has unveiled his first project in Sydney – a new building at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). You can read the article here if you like.
It got me thinking that I have now been living in California for almost 6 years & one of the things that I try not to take for granted, is the access to some amazing architecture. SO, a ‘must-do’ trip that Ivan & I make every year is up to Los Angeles to visit (& revisit) some of Gehry’s works that are no more than an easy 2hr drive away. Anyone who would have heard one of our rants & raves about architecture & design knows that we are fans of his work, but also as designers we are constantly looking to improve & educate ourselves, and part of understanding architecture & design is not just the magic of unveiling new designs, but the understanding the longevity of them also. How do buildings react as they age? How does it interact with the urban fabric? How do pedestrians move around it? Part of this investigation to understand the work from the mind of Frank Gehry is to, well…visit them a lot. So I thought I might share a collection of just a few photographs that we have taken on these trips.
We generally start by visiting his house which is in Santa Monica. On a typical suburban style street, the house certainly stands out. Most people would say “well of course it stands out, he has chain-link fence off the roof!” – but I think that it stands out firstly through the use of the landscaping. Being the world-renowned Architect that he is, and having such an accessible house on the street, he has used the landscaping to create privacy to the house making it very difficult to see what he has done to the form of the house. I am sure that just like us, there are many students, architects, designers & fans that just can’t help but come to see this amazing house. As you can see in the images, I couldn’t resist taking a quick peek into the backyard for a quick glimpse of some of the interesting alterations he has done…sorry Mr. Gehry!
We have also visited many times the Walt Disney Concert hall in downtown LA. It’s such an awe-inspiring building in the middle of a very busy City. People just stand around it, viewing it – watching as it changes color as the sun moves around it. Over the many times I have been there, I have seen buskers making music leaning up against the exterior walls, students sitting on the steps drawing a part of the building, tourists photographing the building, and well, even been photographed myself taking in the wonders (see below). Whatever you think of Gehry’s work, you can’t deny that this building certainly brings a wonderful sense of creativity & inspiration to the people who choose to interact with it. Whenever someone asks me what I think, my reply is always “it sure makes you wonder”.
The third building that we have visited is the Irvine Ice Hockey Rink. Gehry’s obsession with the game of ice hockey lead to this project. Being Australian, I don’t have the greatest experience with traditional ice hockey rink architecture, so I refer to what I have read about it to be able to appreciate that his design intent was to emulate the classic Canadian architecture for the sport. Not knowing this when I saw it for the first time, I was really liked the unassuming nature of the exterior, a simple but very elegant curved metal facade, followed by the wonderful detailing of the timber structure inside, and the hive of activity & action of some young hockey players having a game inside, who really didn’t think twice about the architecture, but more about the fun they where having inside it.
Posted in funkitecture studio | Tagged architecture, design, Frank Gehry, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, UTS, Walt Disney Concert Hall | Leave a Comment »
Over the course of every project we design, there are several key milestones that take place marking the various levels of approval requried for a new project to be entitled.
During this year, our Altair project has been very well received at each of these milestones & has received unanimous support all the way through. In September I wrote about our approval from the La Jolla Planning Group, before that in August I wrote about our approval from the La Jolla Development Permit Committee. Well, today marked another one of these milestones – approval from the City of San Diego Process 3 Hearing Officer (SDP3HO).
What is the ‘SDP3HO’ you ask? The ‘SDP3HO’ is one of several levels of approval that any given project in San Diego can go through. The Hearing Officer obtains, reviews & ultimately approves all documentation for a project on behalf of the City of San Diego. This is often (but not always) a simpler approval process that is only eligable to projects that request no ‘variations’ to City of San Diego Development Codes.
In our case, the Altair project was not only designed 100% code compliant, it was also categorized as a ‘Sustainable’ Project (through use of photovoltaic cells on the roof) also and therefore able to reviewed as Process 3, and through the expedite program with Senior Review staff Dan Stricker (before he moved to Washington) and Diane Murbach – both of which have been incredible to work with & extremely knowledgable at every step of the process.
As always, I would really like to that the entire team that has worked diligently on Altair including:
This does not mean however that we are done just yet. As outlined below, we are still one step away from entitlement on the project – the final step being a review by the California Coastal Commission which we anticipate the be completed sometime towards the end of January 2011.
Posted in funkitecture studio | Tagged Altair, City of San Diego, design, Development Services, funkitecture studio, Kevin Dougherty, mlasd, multi family, Snipes Dye | 4 Comments »
This morning Ivan completed the Construction Permit Approval for our Ryan House Additions & Alterations project in Bird Rock, CA. Initally submitted to the City of San Diego Development Services department on September 30, 2010 the process took only one cycle review & just shy of 8 weeks! (4 weeks short of the anticipated 12 weeks by City staff).
We started this project in the sketch design phase in November 09′ after our client Patrick found us through the professional networking site ‘Linkedin’. It was great to meet Patrick & his wife Julie and 3 children – and we were blown away to find out that Patrick was also an expat Australian living in San Diego.
Patrick & Julie had some ideas about the additions they wanted to their 1950′s beach bungalow, which most clients do (thats a good thing – it gives us direction & feel for the required spaces) – but like most clients also, they wanted us to explore multiple possibilities for site arrangement & how exactly to ‘attach’ a new addition, having already made the decision they did not just want to add a typical second story due to cost. The only other part of their brief was that they wanted a contemporary addition, that would blend together the ‘old + new’.
Over the course of several meetings & design options, they decided on the option which gave them the best natural light & venitation to the indoor spaces, and maximized the south orientation & sunlight into the yard space. We all liked the planning. Exploring exterior options, we were always very conscience that in the back of Patrick’s mind, he wanted a ‘contemporary’ design, but wanted it to blend well with the existing house. The solution was to create a modern facade, with a traditional pitched roof. The Australian in Patrick couldnt resist having a ‘tin’ roof (corrugated iron) which is very typical in Australia, and to blend the old & new even more, he wanted to re-roof the existing bitumen shingle roof with the tin also – we love it.
The next step was to engage structural engineers to consult on the structural design. Knowing that this was probably too small a project for them, we asked our mate Steve Spence at KPFF if he would be interested in working with us on the project and we were blown away when he said yes! We have worked with Steve for over 5 years on our Stella, Centro & Embassy projects that we design at Constellation, and his level of professionalism, attention to detail & service is always amazing.
With KPFF engaged, we started construction documentation and prepared for the submittal. Great process, great clients – looking forwad to posting the construction photos as it moves forward.
Posted in funkitecture studio | Tagged alterations and additions, City of San Diego, Development Services, funkitecture studio, KPFF, residential design | 2 Comments »
Last night we hosted the 5th funkinights event – and thanks to our great sponsor, Ted Przybylek of RanchoTed, we are happy to say that this just keeps getting better! With an amazing turnout, we all got to mingle with some good friends that we don’t always get to see during the weeks, as well as meeting some great new friends & hearing some great show & tells.
Representing the Funkilife, V & Roye started the night with an in-depth exploration of what it takes to ‘open a hotel’ – specifically through their most recent experience opening the Waikiki Edition Hotel in Hawaii. With tales of broken furniture, a questionable timeframe & the challenges of working 16 hours a day in a so-called ‘paradise’ for 9 months, I think they certainly made us all feel far more appreciative for what it take to make those unforgettable stays in hotels a little more cared for.
Up next was a show & tell by the San Diego office of KPFF Structural Engineers. The two Ryan’s told us about several trips that they have taken to Haiti following the earthquake in January this year. As structural engineers, they have been able to access many buildings throughout Haiti for their structural stability & strength so that many of the families who have been too afraid to re-enter their homes for fear of another quake, can feel safe that their structure is not only safe, but is strong enough (or could be with some simple repairs) for them to occupy again.
The really amazing part of their stories where that the people remain in good spirits, and that with the education into masonry fundamentals & construction techniques, the Haitain mason’s would be able to build better, stronger buildings without added cost or materials. Really inspiring stories…thanks guys!
The finale of the night, was an uplifting, very energetic presentation by Zhee Zhee who created the ‘Goddesses’ celebrations which have been running for a few years at her home. Her events create a safe, uplifting, inspirational forum for positive women to meet & connect with other amazing women. The Goddess currently meet once a year & include such fun things as ‘constume photo booth sessions’ & massues’! A really fun energetic presentation that finished with a DVD of the previous unseen photos from the last event – you ladies rock!
Last but certainly not least, the funkilife would like to again thank our event sponsor Ted Przybylek of RanchoTed for making the event possible. Ted is both a mortgage specialist & private money-lender. If you are looking to either finance, refinance a home, or looking for a good return on lending money privately to people who are unable to obtain regular loan financing, please contact RanchoTed on the information below.
We hope to see more of you at the next one!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Funkilife, funkinights, Goddesses, Haiti, KPFF, private money lender, RanchoTed, Ted Przybylek, Wine Steals | Leave a Comment »
This morning, Ivan & I drove out to Alpine to visit Teddy’s Ranch (aka – RanchoTed). Our intention was to do a site measure of an existing structure which had been burnt down in the fires of 2003. After a quick chat with George at the front gates, we drove down (dropping the Jeep into 4wd for some fun) to the site. We did our measure & just before we left, I thought I would take a few pictures like I normally do, however I found myself being intrigued with some of the smaller, out-of-the-way details around the site – stacks of timber, rusty chains, burnt timber ends & so on…so, here are a few of those pictures. I am really interested at the moment in the smaller details & textures of architecture/design/nature. I like the way that as a collection of ‘things’ scattered around a burnt down shed, they seem irrelevant, hardly noticeable - but the closer you look, the more they really look wonderful. I hope you like.
Posted in funkitecture studio | Tagged Alpine, funkitecture studio, Jeep, ranch architecture, RanchoTed | 4 Comments »
Doing some late night research into contemporary Chinese architecture, I decided to revisit some of my photos from my trip to Shanghai in 2003. In the early days of my MPI employment, I was awarded along with 3 others a trip to Shanghai as a thank you for some very, very long hours on projects & a general job well done. So, myself, Luciano ‘Cheech’ Saladino, Peter ‘Old C’ McMillan, Joseph ‘Fokky’ Fok were lead by MPI Senior Partner Steve ‘Zapster’ Zappia on a wild 5 day adventure around this amazing city. Yes, I know – the photo isnt the most flattering, but hey – I was such a youngster back then.
Here are just a few photos that I took which include the Jinmao Tower, various historical & contemporary buildings all living in harmony (if only that could happen in San Diego more!!!), a night partying in both a German Beerhouse & a Jazz club & more. Such a great trip – such a great city.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged architecture, China, Jinmao Tower, Luciano Saladino, MPI, Shanghai, Steve Zappia | Leave a Comment »