Design and Architecture

By KCRW, Frances Anderton

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Category: Design

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A thoughtful look at architecture and design in the modern age.

Episode Date
Santa Monica weighs e-scooter future

Santa Monica lawmakers are weighing a proposal that might result in taking e-scooter sharing companies Bird and Lime off the streets. The companies are fighting back and rallying their supporters.

Aug 15, 2018
Living Small: Micro-Units and Podshare

Los Angeles is following a trend set in other high cost cities for micro-units, at market-rate rents. Could this be the solution to a housing problem? Or could it validate living spaces that might just be too small? And you may have stayed at a hostel while traveling, but some LA residents are using Podshare as a long-term housing solution, sleeping in bunks with a roomful of strangers for months at a time.

Aug 14, 2018
Living sky-high in downtown LA

Downtown Los Angeles has been experiencing a renaissance. It was known for decades as a place to work, but not live. That’s changing, as the area is seeing a boom in high-rise construction. One new megaproject, Metropolis, is a harbinger of things to come.

Aug 08, 2018
Metropolis: Selling the downtown high-rise dream

Is high-rise living the future of housing in downtown LA? DnA visits the Gensler-designed Metropolis tower complex to learn how the architects turned a freeway-adjacent site into sky-high luxury condos, and how its Chinese developer Greenland and Beverly Hills realtor The Agency are selling the new “downtown dream” to prospective buyers.

Aug 07, 2018
The high cost of affordable housing

Affordable housing is being really well-designed, but it’s also very expensive. At every level, designers and builders are trying to work around a Rubik's cube of obstacles. DnA looks at the challenges and possible solutions to creating housing for the formerly homeless and low-income residents of Los Angeles.

Jul 31, 2018
Rethinking the box, Jonathan Gold

How do you take a generic housing type and create a very personal home? DnA visits a new apartment building in Koreatown to find out how multi-family living can be the new LA dream. And we remember LA’s beloved restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, who died Saturday. DnA recalls how Gold taught Angelenos about LA through its food, from mini-malls to Vespertine.

Jul 24, 2018
LA removes street trees to repair sidewalks

The City of Los Angeles’ Department of Public Works voted today to remove 18 trees in Hollywood. The city says the trees are damaging the sidewalks. Urban forestry advocates say it’s imperative that a hot region like the Southland maintains its tree canopy. Can we have both?

Jul 18, 2018
Paradise of the Ordinary, steel tariffs

Los Angeles is pushing for greater densification, even as many Angelenos still dream of the single family home. We visit the city of Lakewood to see how they are keeping that dream alive. And we visit a metals supplier in Gardena, to find out how steel tariffs are impacting design projects in Los Angeles.

Jul 17, 2018
Steel tariffs are impacting LA construction

President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum have angered foreign leaders and led to retaliatory measures. How are these economic taxes affecting the construction and manufacturing industry here in the Southland?

Jul 11, 2018
Liveaboards, Emory Douglas

Sick of high rents but want to be close to the ocean? Very close? DnA explores the charms and challenges of living aboard a boat, and learns about the changes coming as Marina del Rey becomes more “corporate.” And we meet Emory Douglas, “revolutionary artist” for the Black Panthers whose bold graphics still hold lessons for protest art today.

Jul 10, 2018
Backyard homes, John Parkinson

Is the solution to LA's housing crisis in our backyards? DnA visits a Highland Park couple that worked with the city on test-building an ADU, or accessory dwelling unit. Did it pencil out, and can ADUs be a new frontier for design innovation? And do you know the name of the man who built much of downtown Los Angeles? DnA speaks to the director of the first-ever documentary about architect John Parkinson.

Jul 03, 2018
New homeless housing complex a sign of things to come

A new supportive housing complex opened last week for formerly homeless families, low-income people and seniors. As the city and county of Los Angeles invest in building new affordable housing, Mosaic Gardens at Westlake is a sign of things to come.

Jun 27, 2018
Tents offer a model for LA housing

How did the invention of the modern-dome tent change the story of homelessness in LA? And are they a form of "home" for their occupants? This is the first episode in a series DnA is calling “This is Home in LA: From the Tent to the Gigamansion (and everything In between).” It’s a look at house and housing archetypes in LA today, and we begin with the smallest, cheapest form of dwelling: the tent.

Jun 26, 2018
Morphosis designs OCMA, is childhood overdesigned?

Orange County Museum of Art gets new a museum designed by Morphosis Architects, and it tips its hat at Richard Serra’s “Connector.” Will it bring urban life to suburban Costa Mesa? And design critic Alexandra Lange explores “good” toys and playgrounds and wonders if children would be just as free and creative if left to play with a cardboard box.

Jun 19, 2018
Orange County Museum of Art gets a Morphosis-designed home

The Orange County Museum of Art closes this weekend. But not forever. After 41 years in Newport Beach, it’s moving to its new permanent home in Costa Mesa. And one of LA’s best-known architects, Thom Mayne and his firm Morphosis, has designed it.

Jun 13, 2018
Big dreams for North Korea, Santa Monica takes on e-scooters

A historic summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un raises hopes among Korean-Americans. Could brothers and sisters reconnect? Could technology and infrastructure in the hermit kingdom make a great leap forward? And Santa Monica considers a pilot program for dockless e-scooters, as competition heats up between rival companies. Will it limit a popular, clean, first mile last mile solution -- or contain a public nuisance?

Jun 12, 2018
Celebrating LA’s “crazy, weird” design community

Starting Thursday, LA’s design community will congregate at the four-day Los Angeles Design Festival (LADF), an annual celebration that celebrates our city’s rich design culture. It includes four days of conversations, studio tours, design shows, and parties all centered at ROW DTLA in downtown LA’s industrial district.

Jun 06, 2018
Kate Spade, Santa Monica’s little secret, Ruth E. Carter

We remember fashion icon and handbag designer Kate Spade. The arrival of autonomous vehicles and online shopping has Santa Monica considering the way forward in a future disrupted by tech. Ruth E. Carter designed the costumes for "Black Panther" and tells DnA about creating an identity on screen for a community long left out of the picture.

Jun 05, 2018
Plastic straw ban takes effect in Malibu

If you’re at a restaurant or cafe in Malibu and ask for a straw, starting June 1 you won’t be given a single-use plastic straw. The same goes for stir sticks or other plastic utensils. The environmentally-oriented beach town is just one of a growing number of cities outlawing single-use plastic implements.

May 30, 2018
Interview Magazine folds, Soviet Hippies

We bid farewell to Andy Warhol’s Interview, and talk to artist and celebrity photographer Matthew Rolston about working for the magazine, and the creation of the “glamour- industrial complex.” And the hippie movement may have begun in California, but it spread across the globe - even beyond the Iron Curtain. We visit an exhibition of Soviet hippie culture at The Wende Museum.

May 29, 2018
The creative economy rises in California

A decade after the Great Recession, how is Los Angeles doing? A new study out this week looks at creative economy jobs in California, and finds they now exceed the pre-recession peak in 2007. That’s just one finding from the annual Otis Report on the Creative Economy. But costs of participating in the creative economy are growing too.

May 23, 2018
Electric Jaguar, Venice Biennale, rethinking Yamashiro

Saturday's royal wedding ended with the newly married Duke and Duchess of Sussex driving off in an electric car: a retrofitted 1968 E-Type Jaguar. Can all classic sports cars go clean? We also get a preview of the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. And we hike up to Yamashiro, the faux-Japanese hilltop restaurant in Hollywood, as part of our ongoing look at identity in design.

May 22, 2018
A car-free bridge over the LA River

This week officials broke ground on a $16 million bridge over the LA River that connects Atwater Village and Griffith Park. You can walk or bike, or even ride a horse over it. One thing you can’t do? Drive on it.

May 16, 2018
Homeless in Koreatown, Deconstructing Kanye

Koreatown residents are fighting to keep homeless housing out of their neighborhood. What does this mean for efforts to build a shelter in every LA council district? And hip-hop mogul Kanye West has huge ambitions that include his own design and architecture businesses. But could his recent controversial statements about race and politics derail these ambitions?

May 15, 2018
Solar panel installations will soar under new rules

Starting in just two years, any new homes built in California will have to include solar panels and other energy-efficiency measures. Those are among the new energy standards that The California Energy Commission unanimously approved Wednesday.

May 09, 2018