Monday, June 28, 2010

Dingbat Terrarium

We're happy to announce that our entry for the Dingbat 2.0 design competition sponsored by the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design just won an Honorable Mention Award!  The design competition challenged designers to re-think the "dingbat" style apartments popularized in the mid 50's-70's.  Dingbats are typical Los Angeles apartment complexes, usually 2 or 3 story stucco boxes with unique facades and covered parking in the front.

"Dingbat Terrarium" is a new vision for multifamily housing in Los Angeles that embraces the utilitarian features of classic dingbats, while proposing creative solutions for a more livable model of rental housing in the city.  With three housing models suited for families, workers, and students, "Dingbat Terrarium" seeks to improve the quality of life for residents at both the urban and residential scales. The title comes from the idea that each unit has a "terrarium" in the living room to bring light and curated views into the space.  It's our response to the misdirected obsession with outward views no matter what's on the other side of the window.

We're 4/4 in winning Honorable Mentions for competition entries. Always a bridesmaid never a bride.  But we're realizing that maybe honorable mentions are just a sign that we don't necessarily make architecture for architects, but architecture for people.  And we'll take that any day.

You can download our entry on our website, and check out the rest of the winners on the LA Forum site.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Field Research: Costanoa Lodge

We recently went up north to Pescadero California for a short weekend escape from LA. We stumbled upon a gem of a place to stay called Costanoa, which offers a variety of accommodations ranging from posh suites in their lodge, to awesome canvas cabins on wood platforms. You can also bring your own tent and just camp outside at the nicest KOA site we have ever seen. The amenities are incredible: who doesn't enjoy a hike or horse ride through acres of trails, followed by a cedar-clad dry sauna, topped off by a hot outdoor shower?

There are endless acres of hiking trails on site, and the grounds are right by the ocean. Southern California beaches generally don't have native vegetation leading up to the water, most just having a massive parking lot or some sort of development on the shoreline. It was remarkable to see how a protected shoreline could become such a diverse ecosystem.

Costanoa is a responsible environmental steward, and you can read more about their efforts for sustainability and ecological preservation on their website. It's only about an hour south of San Francisco, and a good 6 hours from LA, but well worth the trip.

More pics of our field research adventure can be found on our flickr page.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why Revit When You Can Rivet?

Introducing our new favorite office tool: The Paper Riveter!  When we first saw this online, we immediately knew that the 'ole stapler needed to be replaced by this awesome tool.  It first punches a hole through the stack of paper and then rivets them together. We are currently resisting the urge to rivet everything (up to 1/8" thick) in sight.  You can find one for yourself at Garrett Wade, our new favorite tool site that seems to have read our minds about what we like and need here at headquarters.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Reclaimed Lumber in LA

We recently went back to The Reclaimer to check out some stock for an upcoming project.  The lumber yard in Sylmar is a great source for reclaimed wood here in LA.  We scourced some redwood from them a few months ago when we built the planters for The Residences at the W Hollywood.

This time around, there was some amazing live edge burnt oak that they had recovered, along with some huge pieces of doug fir.  We ended up getting a few pieces of reclaimed redwood, un-planed this time, that we'll be using for an upcoming exhibit that we will be part of at Specific Merchandise in July.  We'll keep you posted!