Wednesday, December 1, 2021

On The Schedule: December, 2021

Despite unceasing coronavirus confusion, events continue apace at Helms Bakery District, with the opening of Not Now, But Right Now!, an exhibition of building designs by members of SoCalNOMA. Saturday is also the final chance to see tomorrow's cityscape as envisioned by today's top students in AIA/LA's 2x8 Assemblies Exhibition. Then comes a workshop about a dirty but vital topic -- SOIL! -- hosted by NAHR (Nature, Art and Habitat Residency)

Also, this month Sierra magazine, the publication of the Sierra Club, published my article To Build or Not To Build. It poses the question: Will the construction industry lessen its carbon footprint through "green" building or by not building at all? It was inspired by this year's Pritzker winners, Lacaton & Vassal

Plus, my friends at AWAF (Association for Women in Architecture Foundation) and at Modernism Week are holding their annual auctions, and you will want to bid... Read on for specifics.

Closing day: Saturday, December 4, 11am -- 3pm

2×8:Assemblies Exhibition

19 exemplary student projects from 19 architecture and design programs throughout California are on show at Helms Design Center in an installation that is a testament to the maxim "necessity is the mother of invention." Pink and orange plastic containers, stacked, curved, and facing alternate directions, make a bold, and highly affordable backdrop for the project boards.

2×8 is an annual non-profit program that functions as a student exhibition, scholarship fund, and design competition. It was formed with the intention of introducing student work to the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry. 

Last day for free public viewing: Saturday, December 4. Click here for information. 


December 4

Get gifts online at the Modernism Week and AWA+D Auctions

AWAF Auction and AWA+D Mixer

The architecture profession was largely off limits to women and people of color (see SoCalNOMA below) for many years. Back in 1922, when the four female architectural students at Washington University in St. Louis (Mae Steinmesch, Helen Milius, Angela Burdeau and Jane Pelton) were denied entry into the men’s architectural fraternity, they banded together and founded their own society, La Confrerie Alongine. It has continued today, under the slightly less melodious name of Association for Women in Architecture Foundation. They have created an online auction -- items include the Bauer Pottery Dome Pot, above, jewelry by LA architect Ena Dubnoff and other great gets -- to raise funds for their activities supporting women architects today. Their sister organization, AWA+D will host the Event Mixer this Saturday evening.

The auction will run from December 4-8. Click here to bid on the auction and here for information about the mixer.

Best of Modernism

Modernism Week's online auction is back, and as a newly minted board member of the Palm Springs lovefest, I can attest to the fabulousness of the 45 items on sale, curated by Mark Davis, from top tours and stays at historic homes to vintage treasures and more.

It will run from December 4-12. Click and learn about the auction here. Buy and bid on one-of-a-kind finds here.

December 2 -- 17

Not Now, But Right Now!: Exhibition and public discussion

It is generally understood that the built environment improves with creative input from many stakeholders and talent of diverse backgrounds, but the architecture profession still has very low representation from people of color. That is gradually changing, with a big assist from the National Organization of Minority Architecture. 

Now the SoCal branch of NOMA is launching an exhibition and conversation about the contributions of minority architects to the Southland cityscape. It is called “Not Now, But Right Now” and works presented encompass designs of all scales from single family residential, to commercial, and urban planning. The exhibition will include projects from 30+ SoCalNOMA members, projects from student members from local architecture schools,  and “future architects” that have participated in the SoCalNOMA project pipeline summer camp.

The exhibition will be on display from December 2nd through the 17th with the gallery open to the public on Wednesday to Sundays each week. In addition, there are two key events:

Saturday, December 4th, 6pm to 10pm

Opening Reception for the “Not Now, But Right Now” exhibition in conjunction with the Chapter 2021 Year End Celebration. Admission to the Reception/Celebration is free for SoCalNOMA members and is $20 for guests and the general public. All proceeds go towards supporting SoCalNOMA Chapter initiatives including the Project Pipeline Summer Camp, the Leadership Development Program, and the DEI Challenge. 

Click here to RSVP.

Saturday, December 11th, from 2-5pm

The SoCalNOMA Senior Practitioners Committee will  host a conversation with Betty Williams (wife of NOMA founding member Harold Williams) and past NOMA National President, Drake Dillard on the NOMA legacy and the contributions of minority architects to the Southern California community. A panel with participants from the show discussing their works and their experiences in the profession in Southern California will follow. The panel will be moderated by SoCalNOMA President, Lance Collins. The event is free and open to the public.  

Click here for information.


Thursday, December 9, from 6:30 to 9:00 pm

Soil: The Critical Zone 

It's a dirty topic, but a vital one for the survival of all the species: soil, and its role as a foundational ecosystem!

NAHR, aka the Nature, Art and Habitat Residency, was founded by architect Ilaria Mazzoleni and is located in Taleggio Valley, Bergamo, Italy; Santa Ynez, California; and has members in Los Angeles who gather for conversations about the relationship between humans, flora, fauna and how that is interpreted through art and science.
More than 75% of the earth’s living soil is substantially depleted, while the remaining 25% is of inestimable value. Deborah Weintraub, AIA, LEED AP will helm a discussion and imagine future scenarios about this critical zone, together with interlocutors Jose Herrasti, AIA, and Richard Molina, Designer. I will moderate a Q and A with the audience about soil and what is means to attendees.

Click here for the program schedule.

December 16

To Build or Not to Build

The construction industry is gaining awareness of its giant carbon footprint, and generally the response has been to keep on building, but better, deploying energy-saving mechanical systems and "green" materials. But some argue that the less impactful way to go is to not build anew, and to simply creatively reuse existing buildings, of which there are trillions the world over. This approach gained a seal of high cultural approval this year when the Pritzker Prize for architectural excellence was given to the French duo Lacaton & Vassal. I explored the message sent by this choice and the growing chorus of support for this approach in this article for Sierra magazine, entitled To Build or Not to Build.

Among findings you will find in the article: 

-- The construction sector produces almost a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions and gobbles up more than 30% of the world’s resources in the form of operational and embodied carbon. 

-- Worldwide, there are 223 trillion-square feet of buildings, with billions more to come.

-- Reuse of buildings can be architecturally inventive. Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal show preservation is not just for beloved old buildings but also for the duds, like grim concrete public housing blocks in France that the pair have elegantly transformed with steel and glass exoskeletons into lighter, brighter, larger apartments.

-- Until now, the preservation, environmental and architecture communities have not marched in lockstep on tying adaptive reuse to carbon savings. Preservationists have tended to fight for iconic buildings, not the generic; and designers and environmentalists have touted new construction, albeit with green bells and whistles. Now the groups are starting to find common ground on holding onto old building stock in the name of fighting climate change.

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