Sliced and Folded: Modern White House Tumbles Down a Hill in Los Angeles

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Looking a bit like an architectural Transformer in the middle of taking on a new form, this Highland Park home by the firm Urban Operations takes a highly structured, geometric approach to occupying a hillside. There are no organic forms or curves following the contours of the land; rather, the house seems to exist in tension with the topography that surrounds it, as if it’s ready to fold into a different shape altogether in the event of a landslide or earthquake.

The 2,400-square-foot house features three volumes that step from the top of the hill to its base. Stuccoed white planes seem to fold, expand, retract and crack open to reveal peeks at a dark gray volume underneath, creating an illusion of potential movement. Angled cutaways reveal rooftop decks, terraces, stairwells and entranceways.

The architects dug into the hillside at 4752 East Baltimore Street to partially embed the new house, giving it an anchor. They based the roof deck on villas designed by Le Corbusier, giving the residents views of Griffith Park in the foreground and the San Gabriel Mountains in the background.

“The design marries strategic hillside engineering with a series of stepped programmatic volumes, which are then sliced and folded at various code-generated orientations in order to produce a unified holistic design,” they explain.

The three-bedroom, 3-bath house is now up for sale by Urban Operations architect John Southern for $1.3 million.

“The exquisite hillside modern places you in prime Highland Park with sweeping views and effortless urban access. Stepping gracefully up sloping topography, the spacious home presents a dramatic profile designed around the concepts of open flow and seamless integration with the outdoors. Custom wood and tile craftwork are abundant; the kitchen is outfitted with a center island, waterfall quartz countertops and a pro-grade appliance suite. Strategically located light-wells flood the home with sunlight. Second-level bedrooms access decks and an at-grade patio which transitions into a yard landscaped with native species”

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[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

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Exhibits On The Beach: Sculpture By The Sea Makes Waves

[ By Steve in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

‘Sculpture by the Sea’ returns to Sydney‘s beautiful Bondi Beach, featuring awesome open-air art exhibits by over 130 artists from 21 countries.

Now celebrating its 22nd year on the brilliant white sands of Bondi Beach, “Sculpture by the Sea” still has the power to bemuse, bewilder and beguile beach-goers Down Under.

It’s not just that some of the exhibits are larger than life. Pieces like “Cool Shit” (above) by notorious and provocative modern artist Damian Hirst are guaranteed to trigger a wide range of emotions that may differ between individuals – even between different viewings.

Art of the Surreal

Sculpture by the Sea began as a volunteer initiative in 1997 and over the years has grown to a three-week event drawing large and appreciative crowds to beautiful Bondi Beach. Remaining true to its roots, Sculpture by the Sea is a not-for-profit organization though it does receive just under 20% of its revenue via government funding.

That’s Just How He Rolls

The event’s popularity has surged over its 22-year run and not only visitors are impressed – artists from beyond Australia have taken notice. This year, the roughly 70 participating Australian sculptors have been joined by eight Chinese artists from Beijing’s prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts. One of the Chinese contingent’s more er, notorious exhibits is “Bank” (above), by Mu Boyan. Does this beach backdrop make me look fat?

Wheel Be Seeing You

Flickr member Ian Sanderson (iansand) visited Sydney in October of 2018 and came back with a wealth of brilliant photos, and probably a lousy t-shirt to boot. Sanderson’s images of Sculpture by the Sea, posted under an international Creative Commons license, benefit from the famously clear and sunny weather of a typical New South Wales spring. Weather of not, though, artist Cao Hui’s sculpture titled “A Bicycle Covered by Snow” was designed to be cool no matter how hot it got.

Oh Say Cairn You See

Italian-Australian artist Alessandra Rossi created “Cairn” as an homage to ancient megalithic sites found worldwide which evoke a certain common humanity displayed by our species dating back to prehistoric times. “The abstraction and simplification of form contains the light and colors of the landscape in which it is placed,” explains Rossi, “exposing the hidden and the imaginary, in a balancing act between fragility and impermanence.”

Layers Not Lawyers

The 2018 edition of Sculpture by the Sea ends today (November 4th) so consider yourself lucky if you’ve been able to enjoy the many sculptures spread along over a mile of Bondi Beach’s exquisite white sand coastline. Besides the artworks themselves, the event featured guided tours, free artist talks, an indoor sculpture exhibition in case of inclement weather, and last but not least a “sculpture conference” at the Sydney Opera House. The somewhat disturbingly organic sculpture above, by the way, is “Layers” by artist Charlie Trivers.

Making Great Strides

Artists who participate in Sculpture by the Sea do so for a variety of reasons, one being the Aqualand Sculpture Award presented to the “winner” near the end of the event. As art’s appeal varies depending on the beholder, who can really state which artwork is best? Nevertheless, every year one artist walks off with a cash prize of A$70,000 (just over $50,000) while their sculpture is gifted to the Harbour Trust and displayed permanently at George Head in Headland Park. Wei Wang’s “Walking” (above) won’t step up to claim the prize but the artist (and his sculpture) can still stand tall regardless.

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[ By Steve in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

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Architect Ordered to Demolish New Award-Winning Apartment Building in London

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

Normally, a new structure is safe from the wrecking ball so long as it is structurally sound, but not so with 15 Clerkenwell Close, a housing block that is at issue for reasons of appearance rather than engineering (and despite recently winning an RIBA award). Designed by architect Amin Taha, the six-story facade features raw quarried limestone stone (with exposed fossils) that the Islington Council argues was not adequately represented in planning documents, and therefore never properly approved. Taha also lives in the threatened building.

But there may be more to the story: Taha believes the decision to demolish was led by the planning committee chair not for failure to disclose but rather a personal dislike for the building’s unusual visual expression. He says it is “entirely on the initial opinion of the councillor and a handful of neighbours” and that it “has now escalated from an error in not uploading the stone approval – so that it was evident for anyone who cared to look – to the mistaken first demolition notice, to the now face-saving second notice entirely driven by someone’s opinion that it’s ugly.”

“After an investigation, the council has come to the view that the building at 15 Clerkenwell Close does not reflect the building that was granted planning permission and conservation area consent in 2013,” an Islington Council spokesperson said. “In the council’s view, the existing building does not benefit from planning permission, and the council issued an enforcement notice” earlier this year.

The building has drawn both praise and criticism, having been nominated for the Carbuncle Cup (a “worst building” award in the UK) while also being nominated for other more positive awards. But there’s a deeper question at work here: how much say should communities have in the appearance of new structures around them? Aesthetic-based choices made by citizens can result in truly powerful architecture never seeing the light of day, or in this case: being threatened with destruction despite being perfectly functional. In the end, too, if the building facade is deemed by the council to be too offensive to stand, why not simply demand that it be reworked into some kind of compromise? (images by Timothy Soar)

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