Friday, November 30, 2012

It's about time: Farmers Field

Even though it is labeled as the "Entertainment Capital of the World", Los Angeles still lacks what I believe is the most important piece: a football stadium. You don't have to be from Los Angeles to know the city has been fighting non-stop to build a stadium and bring an NFL team to the 2nd largest city in the country. I mean, technically the 2 biggest cities in the U.S. don't have football teams. And if you are confused, let me remind you that MetLife Stadium where the Giants and Jets play is located in New Jersey. Nothing against Jersey, but the New Jersey Giants and New Jersey Jets doesn't sound as good. A lot of it has to do with marketing the Franchise, which explains why the New Jersey Nets are now the Brooklyn Nets. Which makes it even all more intriguing why L.A. doesn't have a team, and why it has failed twice with the Rams and Raiders having short stints in The City of Angels. You would think a city like L.A. can successfully manage a team, but previous circumstances had failure written all over it. First of all, the stadium that was used was not built purposively for an NFL team. The Coliseum was the main stadium for the Olympics, and because it was a lot cheaper to reuse the facility rather than spending money to build anther one, the Rams and the Raiders called it home for a few seasons. Second, just like big sport markets such as Boston, Philadelphia and New York, L.A. is not the easiest town to play in, especially if you lose more than you win. Thus, the Raiders and Rams weren't helping themselves with their fan base. Yes the Raiders won their 3rd Championship while in Southern California, but that was in their second year and in their final 8 years the team didn't post successful winning records consistently enough. And third, the stadium was not up to par in design and functionality. This is what former Raiders Owner Al Davis complained in his final years in L.A. There has been a huge surge in building high tech modern stadiums and arenas in the U.S. For example, the New York area has added MetLife Stadium and the Barclay's Center, and when I lived in New York it was easy to see the excitement these venues brought to the city. Especially Brooklyn, where the Barclays Center has been fully embraced by the community and the city of New York. People take pride in having something great like that in their own backyard and Farmers Field will bring the same energy and excitement to L.A.
I say most importantly a stadium than an actual team because Downtown Los Angeles is about to have to have one of the biggest city facelifts in recent U.S. history. It is planned that in 2016, the 2 rendering images above will come become a reality and improve the city culturally, financially, visually, and officially stamp the city as the "Entertainment Capital of the World". On October 3rd AEG, the Los Angeles City Council and other important city figures approved the final plans for erecting the $1.2 billion stadium and expansion of the Convention Center. Gensler, a large firm based out of San Francisco, is spearheading the project which involves destroying the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center where the stadium will exist, the construction of Pico Hall which will expand the Convention Center, and redefine the landscape that connects Staples Center, Nokia Theatre, the Ritz Carlton, L.A. Live area and Convention Center. Shovels cannot officially go into the ground until the NFL officially agrees in moving a team to the area, but the biggest hurdle is out of the way with the City Council approving the final plans. 

I guess you can say "3rd time's the charm" couldn't be more truer than now with this huge expansion. City officials realized what lacked with the Rams and Raiders was a place they can actually call home. Farmers Field will be the first LEED accredited NFL stadium making the venue already a hot commodity for big events such as other major sporting events and concerts. With beautiful year round weather, Farmers Field can host events 365 days out of the year, and if weather for some reason is an issue don't worry, just call the Director of Facilities and ask him to close the state of the art retractable roof. This project is privately funded meaning it will not cost the city any money and actually help L.A. become debt free; something the city and country has been severely struggling with the past 4 years. The 30,000+ jobs it will provide will help decrease the unemployment rate and rejuvenate the spirits of many people. Along with the jobs it will generate, it will also help increase business for local hotels, restaurants, markets etc. Culturally it will unite the city even more with another reason for complete strangers to come together and celebrate. Like I mentioned in my blogpost titled New York's "Coliseums", stadiums are a great way to unite people from different backgrounds. 

I have been to L.A. Live a couple times and it really is a great area for sport fans, but when I see images of the new landscape you can see why people are excited about it. It is fitting that my most recent blog entry was of my Arch+Series featuring Landscapes, because the design of the layout is just as important and exciting as the actual stadium. Architecturally I really do enjoy the design of the stadium and I hope its functionality is just as great. I am very critical when it comes to stadium design and function since it is something I am pursuing, but what I have seen and read so far I definitely approve. Check out the cool video the Farmers Field committee put together showing 3D renderings of the project and the impact it will have on the city.
I can seriously write a book about the project and how I feel about it, but that would be overkill. So below is a link to the official Farmers Field website where you can see more photos of the complete expansion and a list of cool details about the 68,000+ seat venue and additions to the Convention Center and L.A. Live. On the website you can also pre-register for tickets and get the latest news and updates on the current project and the total impact it will have on Los Angeles. I am very excited that football will be coming to the best city in the country. My question is, how does the L.A. area have 2 MLS, 2 NBA, 2 NHL and 2 MLB teams but no NFL team?!?! (okay okay, the Ducks and Angels are in Anaheim, but they are close enough) Anyway, back to my question. I guess in 2016 The City of Angels will not have to worry about answering it anymore.

Also, if your interested in learning more about Gensler, the firm who is designing the stadium, below is the link to their website where you can also check out the work they have done, and current projects they are working on.

If you live in L.A. what is your take on the stadium? How do you feel about a NFL team finally moving to our city?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Arch+Details: Landscape

When most people think about the word "architecture" they usually just think of the structure itself. In reality architecture is not limited by walls, but it actually also extends beyond the front door. The term "architecture" has really evolved from structure to the total layout of a city. Lets be honest, it doesn't matter if a house is beautiful, if the landscape design of the front yard and backyard is ugly than you would be hesitant to buy it. The landscape might not have anything to do with the actual structure on the property, but it is a crucial component that brings the property appearance and value up. On a larger scale, architecture and landscape together has really increased the concept of urbanization. In regards to sports architecture, it really has pushed the idea of urbanization to a whole different level. Think about it, every 4 years there is a World Cup, Summer and Winter Olympics and these events don't fall on the same cycle, so there is never a shortage of constructing large arenas and stadiums (unless they stop these events all together). My point being is that these projects are so massive that they redefine cities. They give birth or increase the sense of urbanization in the area. With such projects you also have to consider how you will feed and house the public and participants. Because of this, construction of hotels, restaurants, bars, and markets, including improving airports and public transportation, changes the whole dynamic of the city and in some cases a whole country. And the glue that binds the variety of structures is the landscape. A lot of Architecture Graduate Schools have landscape as a subject you can get a degree in because it is a vital component to the industry. It really is the icing on the cake in the design process. Check out the cool examples I have found over the past couple weeks. Some images are of homes and some are of public area such as The Highline in New York. It is an abandoned elevated railroad track on the Lower Westside that has been converted into a beautiful park. This is a perfect landscape example of making an area more appealing and increasing the value of the apartment buildings next to it. In other ways, the landscape dictates how Architects design, because whether we like it or not Mother Nature and Earth don't compromise so we have to adjust and adapt to the landscape. Check out some of the breath taking structures built on cliffs!! Enjoy!!












Saturday, November 24, 2012

3 Years has been too long

For the 1st time in 3 years I returned home for Thanksgiving and man, I was glad to be back. Out of the 4 years I was in NY I only returned home once, and I give a huge shout out to my cousin for that, because she helped me get a ticket home. I couldn't afford going home back to L.A. for Thanksgiving, and excluding that one year I stayed on the East Coast. I still remember missing my first "Turkey Day" ever freshman year and it was the worst. It was one of those moments where I realized I took the Holidays for granted before I moved. Still being young, I overlooked and didn't cherish family gatherings like that to the fullest. Luckily my mom has a cousin in Maryland, so I took a China Town bus to her home and spent the holiday weekend with her and her family. I am grateful that I was able to have a home cooked meal somewhere else, but there is nothing like mom's cooking. Sophmore year I was able to return and it was the best because I surprised my mom and I was able to enjoy the week with my family. It was something I missed the year before, and yes, I ate everything and anything on the table that year. It was also more enjoyable than previous years because I maximized and fully enjoyed all the time I had with them before I returned to NY.  Junior and Senior year I had a couple of teammates, Ryan Haslett and Nick Mistretta, who invited me to their homes and spend it with their families. Obviosuly I prefer being with my own family, but those 2 Thanksgivings' were awesome. For example, I won a 3 ft., 21 lb chocolate bunny from Ryan's dad and I was lucky enough to enjoy Nick's mom's famous "Salami Bread" that she prepares from scratch for the holidays. Their families welcomed me into their homes as one of their own and it was cool relaxing and being part of their families for the weekend.
But back to this year; I am truly thankful for having a supportive and loving family, and for home cooked meals (something I missed while being in NY). Everybody was in attendance minus my brother Christian who goes to school at Baylor. Definitely missed his sarcastic jokes on Thursday but I am glad he was able to spend the holiday with his friends. I enjoyed playing with my beautiful niece and sitting around the table laughing and pigging out on turkey and desserts!! It was a meal well deserved though because I was sore and hungry from my cousin's annual "Turkey Bowl" in the morning. 15 years ago my cousin and his friends started a live contact (and no, we don't have football equipment) football game every year for Thanksgiving. It was only the 2nd time I have ever played in it, but it is another tradition I hated missing every year I was in NY. Even the year I came home I didn't play because I didn't want to risk getting hurt and my coaches freaking out, but it is what it is. Anyway, we hit the park early morning and it was good seeing old faces, and I mean that in the literate sense too. My cousin is a few years older than me, so lets just say I was considered one of the young bucks out there, but the game was competitive and fun. Miss playing football, and even though I didn't have a helmet it felt good hitting and tackling people; even though my body now hates me for it. Over the years the game has really become a family event with other family members, wives, kids and girlfriends sitting on the sideline cheering and laughing on how good and how bad some of us are. Than there is the routine half time with coolers filled of beer and my cousins boom box bumping music.
It goes back to the cliche "you never know what you really have until it's gone". Not to say that I would never celebrate another Thanksgiving with my family again, but for the 3 years that I didn't go home that is how I felt. And because of that I was able to fully celebrate it this year with my family and really appreciate moments where we all get together and forget about our problems. Especially for me as I am studying for the GRE and still on the hunt for an awesome job, it is my family that holds me down and supports me in whatever I do. It is crazy to see people on Facebook and Twitter be thankful for what they have , and than those same people go to the mall and wait for hours to spend a lot of money on things they already have. I just find it ironic that people are complaining about gas prices and not having money because of the economy, but yet millions of Americans went to malls and stores across the country to leave with their hands full and their wallets empty. But hey, I can't say anything. It is your money and you have every right to spend it the way you want too, but for me family and leftovers are all I need and are a couple things I am truly thankful for. NY was a great experience because I learned how to think and see things in a different perspective, and because of that I was able to reflect on the important things in life. Luxurious are nice, but for me, my family is a necessity and something I am working hard to never take granted for ever again.

Monday, November 19, 2012

L.A.'s Hidden Gem: School Night!

I want to say a little over a month ago my good friend Melissa called me up asking if I would like to go out and check out some live music at a small venue in Hollywood. She mentioned it to me before that on Monday's when she has time, she goes to a place where smaller mainstream bands come to promote their latest records and albums to gain and expand their fan base. As a preface, Melissa asked me to go see Channel West Coast perform at the Viper Room in Hollywood a couple weeks before, and if you don't know who that is just watch an episode of Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory and you will know who exactly I am talking about. Lets just say it wasn't the best show I have seen. Anyway, the reason I mention this is because Melissa promised me that it would be nothing like that, even though I did happen to run into Steven Tyler from Aerosmith at the Viper Room (and yes, I am asking the same thing: why was he there for that show?!) To answer Melissa I said: "Sure, I am definitely down to try new things out" and I know the show at the Viper Room does not reflect Melissa's taste of music. So on a casual Monday night we were off to Hollywood to a venue called Bardot. It is next to The Roxy which is a popular concert venue in Hollywood, but I was never aware Bardot existed at all. Chris Douridas at KCRW radio hosts something called School Night! at the Bardot venue. It is a FREE event where bands from the area, country and outside of the States come to play. Chris and KCRW have done an awesome job putting together such a unique experience for L.A., considering that you have to pay for everything and anything in this city. It is a 21+ venue, but if you are 18+ you can still get in but there is a $10 cover charge. Trust me, the $10 is worth it and from the moment you walk in you will love the atmosphere. I have been to a few L.A. clubs and even though I love loud music and partying, the shows hosted by School Night! are just as fun. You don't have to deal with the fake and bougie from the Hollywood scene, annoying bouncers or the pushing and shoving that usually occurs at a popular night club. From my 2 visits it is safe to say people who come to the shows are there for the music, and not to show off and be fake. It is a casual setting and from the street you would never know driving by that this place even existed. Can't thank Melissa enough to bringing me to this place!
The venue consists of 2 large rooms with their own vibe and style. One room consists of a DJ booth that overlooks the dance floor with a low dimmed casual lounge to the right of it. The dance floor is bordered with sofas, ottomans and tables, and as an aspiring Architect I appreciate the overall design from the color scheme, to the furniture setup, lighting decor and the paintings on the wall. Before the bands start performing in the other room, the venue has a guest DJ who is performing and spinning a wide variety music before and after the show is over, and in between bands. Usually people start filing into this room to grab a seat and relax before the show starts by grabbing a drink or two. We got there early which was fine because it was nice to walk around and check out the place. I have never been to a venue like Bardot and right away I already knew it was going to be a better night than at the Viper Room (no disrespect to the venue or Channel West Coast).
The main room is the dopest small venue I have been too. The picture above does not justify the setting, but it does give you the idea why I called this post "L.A.'s Hidden Gem."I can see why it does get full, but I am also confused why there isn't a line around the whole block to get in (but I am not complaining). If I was a musician I would love to perform at such a place. The back wall is decorated with old classical paintings, the rich Victorian color scheme and design creates a very soothing environment and the retractable ceiling revealing the night sky and the Capital Records Tower screams California Love. Though it does get full, it never feels suffocating and this is the room all the guest bands perform for the fans. There is enough room to groove and rock out to the music, or if you get there early enough, you can find a seat to relax and appreciate the good music. The cool thing is that you can smoke inside with ash trays located at tables and you won't get ripped off on drinks either. And this room also comes with its own bar which makes it easy to get drinks all night making the night a lot less stressful. 
I have been here twice and I have never heard of any of the bands that played the nights I went, but for me it made the night a lot better because I didn't have a prefix notion whether or not I liked their music. I prefer rap and hip hop music, but I appreciate alternative and rock music more when it's live because of all the instruments. Coming with an open mind and just getting away on a Monday, yes I know it's a Monday, was something new and it didn't disappointment. I will definitely be coming back soon, and when I went the second time I recognized that people do come every week to check out the newest bands making it up in the ranks. Below are the flyer posters from the shows I went too, and I am also including the poster for tonight's show for anybody that lives in L.A. that want to check it out!! I HIGHLY recommend that if you live in the L.A. area to go on a Monday and support Chris and KCRW for all the hard they do to make every Monday fun. Like I said, it is a casual setting to go on a date or enjoy with friends and listen to awesome music. I have been impressed with every band I have seen, and it is cool to see what unique style they bring to the table. Also, if you are in NY, Chris and School Night! do also host free shows, but only once a month. Join the emailing list service to get locations for the venue and updated information on who will be performing!!

Below are the links for School Night!'s Facebook page, Twitter, Home Page where you can add yourself to the emailing serve list to get updates on for the shows every Monday and directions to the venue (Bardot):

Friday, November 9, 2012

Can't Knock the Hustle: Anna Canfield

A few days ago I posted on my twitter account a quote by German philosopher Friedrich Neitzsche that states "Every man is a creative cause of what happens, a premium mobile with an original movement." But even though they are not mentioned, women also possess their own original movement and push the envelope of creativity in their own right. Creativity and originality does not favor one sex to the other and thats the beauty of it and with this mind, let me introduce you to another young a creative mind with a unique movement: Anna Canfield.

It is interesting how I actually "met" Anna, and the reason I put that word in quotations is because we haven't actually met in person. If you have been viewing my blog, more specifically the "Can't Knock the Hustle" series than you are familiar with my first spotlight feature on Issa Mase. When I released the blogpost on Issa it was getting a lot of love such as people leaving comments, "liking" and sharing the interview. And as Issa continued to share my blog along with his AllofourTwist movement I noticed that Anna was an individual who always was spreading our movements, so I connected with her and that is how we "met". For me it was surreal that I had no idea who she was other than she was a good friend of Issa, yet she was consistently supporting my blog. It was humbling that Anna took an extra effort to share with everybody what I was doing, and I truly credit her for a lot of the success I've had so far. Soon enough I began to notice that she had her own talent in creating dope personalized cards. At first I thought they were computerized, but saw that they are actually hand made with ink and watercolors. I didn't even realize it to later, but the photo cover for Issa's blogpost was one of her designs. I thought it was a computerized image Issa created until Anna thanked me for using it on my blog. There are a lot of talented and creative people in this world, but there a few people that bring something unique with a twist into this world. I don't know anybody who does personalized cards such as Anna, especially in how detailed and original they are. Last week I messaged Anna that I wanted to share her movement and as we went back and forth through emails the more and more I was pleasantly surprised on how far she has taken this. She is all over social media sites, including a couple websites where you can purchase and request personalized work. And despite not meeting in person we are always sharing ideas and pushing each other. I truly believe creativity is contagious and I always love meeting people that are pushing the envelope whether on a small scale or larger scale. Without even asking Anna has already mentioned she is creating a concept for "Can I Live?" and I can't wait to share it once she has it done. Little gestures like that makes me praise Anna as a person and a friend. What I like about this series is that we really have become a family. We share ideas and support each other in what we do. I started this series to show my appreciation for the young and creative who travel the unpopular and discouraged road. It would be discouraging if we didn't share to everybody what we are capable of, and I hope it inspires others who find it difficult to fully commit to their passions.

Anna's movement is "Ubiq Designs" and the images above are some samples of her incredible work. Why would you purchase a boring card that someone else has, when you can get them a unique card by Ubiq Designs. Anna has mentioned that everybody is unique, so why shouldn't their birthday, anniversary, get well etc cards be?! Below are the links to Ubiq Designs' Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter and Etsy which is where you can purchase her work. If you don't see any of your favorites on Etsy just ask her and I am sure she would love to share and make you one! Everybody needs to go and follow all her sites to receive all the updates of her work!

Anna Canfield interview

Arch+Details: Flooring

Crazy to think this is the 8th installment of my Arch+Details series and I want to thank everybody who visits the series and my blog! It really has taken off and I am humbled by the love and support. For the 8th installment I will be focusing on flooring. Last week I talked about ceilings, so I figured to do a feature on the part of the structure we actually physically walk on. And if you think about it, when it comes to multiple storied structures, the "wall" above us is both a ceiling and a floor. Compared to the other features in the series, floors are the most physically used and abused along with furniture throughout the household. With that being said, architects have to be conscious in the materials used to lay out. Remember back in the day when your grandparents had that tacky colored carpet? (and if they still do, I apologize). But you get the picture, architects and designers wouldn't dare to use such a material in houses these days. To be honest, I see carpet slowly but surely disappearing from the household. Carpet traditionally is only used in the living room and bedrooms, and in non-public hallways, such as a hallway connecting bedrooms. The reason being carpet is more comfortable for the feet and it also is a warm material to have in such spaces. Along with this, carpet does stain fast and it can be a pain to clean, so carpet is placed throughout the design where minimal foot traffic occurs. In more heavy foot traffic areas other materials are being used such as a variety of hardwood floors in both texture and color, tiles and some sort of stone material. These floor choices are due to their longevity, sturdiness, and their sleek, modern appearance. For example, my favorite Architect uses concrete for the walls, floor and ceilings which kind of intimates people, but I love his creativity and use of the material. I personally like hardwood floors throughout the home because it gives you the flexibility to use rugs in designated areas of the house. I like using the floor as an opportunity to create some tension in the room, but not in an uncomfortable manner. In my staircase installment I explained that staircases are a nice feature to present a different color and pattern in the house. I am not a fan when the whole house can fit under one scheme. I enjoy the play between materials because it creates an intriguing dynamic throughout the house. We can agree that repetition can be an overkill and the floor is a "tool" used to make sure this is not the case. The same can be said about the ceiling, walls and furniture, but if each of these aspects presents a tension than it just makes the whole house uncomfortable to inhabit. Check out the cool examples I have found over the past week, and also play close attention how the floor works with the ceiling, furniture and walls. See which feature creates the tension and how each component complements each other! Enjoy!!