5 design things to do May 25 - 31

Written by

What will public spaces look like in a re-opened COVID world and how can design play a role in making it work better?

This week: Learn how to save the planet through designing with nature, not against it; hear what leaders in urban planning are thinking about public spaces for the future; enter the satirical world of artist Neïl Beloufa and his Screen Talk project; take a virtual tour of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings; meet Dana Cuff, the co-creator of the Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance; and learn about the science of color with Gillian Rose and Frances Anderton. 

1) Design with Life: Biotech, Architecture, and Resilient Cities

Dr. Mitchell Joachim is a TED Fellow, ecological architect, and founder of Terreform ONE with Maria Aiolova. Their mission is to use the power of design to combat planetary extinction. As part of Microsoft’s Sustainability Speaker Series, Joachim and Aiolova will join Dr. Peder Anker, author Charles C. Mann and moderator Paul Miller AKA DJ Spooky, to discuss how biological processes offers resilient answers to tomorrow’s most pressing urban challenges. From worm-eating Styrofoam incinerators to butterfly sanctuary double-skin facades and cricket sex pods, Terreform One shows us some of their most radical visions for ecology’s role in the survival of our planet. Find out more about their work in their new book, Design With Life

When: Wednesday, March 27, 6 - 9 pm

Where: You can register for the online event here.

Cost: Free

Brooklyn Bridge Promenade May Get Expansion, City Says | Brooklyn ...A proposed expansion of the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade to make more room for the thousands of pedestrians and cyclists that cross it each day. As it remains today, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most over-crowded pedestrian walkway in the country. 

2) Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge: Transportation Infrastructure as Public Space

With over 10,000 pedestrians and 2,600 bicyclists per day, the Brooklyn Bridge pathway - which is as narrow as 10 feet in some places - is seriously overcrowded. In normal times crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is uncomfortable. In the context of a pandemic, it could be deadly. In Southern California, pedestrians and cyclists regularly (in normal times) crowd public beaches, hiking trails, parks and public attractions.

As sheltering in place orders ease across the country, counties are wrestling with the big questions about how to get back to business 'as usual' - and what that will look like with health requirements that include social distancing. How can we welcome people back to our streets and public spaces, while keeping people comfortable and safe? You can join leaders in urban design, transportation, and public policy as they share their ideas, and offer insight into how cities can redesign existing bridges, parks, plazas, and streets to be serve the public well into the future.

Panelists include: Allison Arieff, Editorial Director, SPURLaura Bliss (moderator), West Coast Bureau Chief, CityLabJennifer Bradley, Director, Center for Urban Innovation, Aspen InstituteTamika Butler, Director of Planning, California and Director of Equity and Inclusion, Toole DesignShin-Pei Tsay, Director, Policy, Cities and Transportation, Uber

When: Thursday, May 28, 6:30 - 8:30

Where: You can register for the Zoom discussion here.

Cost: Free

A film still from Screen TalkNeïl Beloufa 2014

3) Neïl Beloufa Screen Talk

With a practice that spans film, sculpture, and installation, French-Algerian artist Neïl Beloufa considers what is at stake when one perceives reality and its representation. In his satirical and campy 2014 mini-series, Screen Talk - about two doctors trying to find a cure for a mysterious pandemic -Beloufa explores the broadcasting of information and the abstraction of scientific discourse. In this ultra-connected world, the lack of clear boundaries between the real world and its virtual counterpart reinforces individualistic and opportunistic approaches.

Flashing forward to the uncanny relevance of this project in our real life pandemic world of 2020, Beloufa - and his partners at his production company Bad Manner's - has launched an experimental website embedding his work into an offbeat video world affected by a strange pandemic. Beneath a scrolling Fake News bar, the site allows you to select an avatar to navigate through a mini-series of films, games, quiz questions and folding art editions (which can be won by the first 100 players to unlock all games and episodes), creating a new model for producing artistic work for online distribution.

When: Available now

Where: You can watch the mini-series on Vimeo here, or play the emmersive multi-faceted game which includes the videos here.

Cost: Free

Frank Lloyd Wright's Unity Temple restoredUnity Temple, Frank Lloyd Wright 1905-1908, Oak Park, Illinois

4) Virtual Tours of Frank Lloyd Wright Properties

In normal times, there are dozens of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed sites across the country open for public tours. But these are not normal times, and most of the sites remain closed under COVID restrictions. In his wildest dreams, the architect could never have imagined that #WrightVirtualVisits would keep his most treasured projects available to the public - but that's exactly what The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, in partnership with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Unity Temple Restoration Foundation have done. Launched in April, this weekly social media initiative links FLW sites across the country through sharing short video tours via social media, raising public awareness for all of these important landmarks. You can see the complete list of participating sites with social media links here.

“It is precisely at this time, when so many are shut inside, that we need to experience beauty and inspiration. Wright’s works bring people together in harmony with the natural world, reminding us that we are all connected, even when we’re apart,” said Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy Executive Director Barbara Gordon.

When: Thursdays, 10 am PT through mid-July (possibly longer)

Where: Social Media platforms for Frank Lloyd Wright sites. You can find a complete list of locations here.

Cost: Free

Backyard BI(h)ome by UCLA Citylab and Kevin Daly Architects in Los Angeles, CA; Photo: Nico Marques / Photekt

5) Architecture as Demonstration: Design for the Long Game: Talk and live Q and A with Dana Cuff

Sometimes it takes a policy change, rather than a new design trend to fundamentally change a city. One of those policy changes in Los Angeles County was the Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance. This state law, passed in 2018, allows homeowners in single-family neighborhoods to build an additional building, aka Granny Flat, in the back yard (as long as it meets certain conditions). The ordinance was intended as a low-rise, dispersed means to achieving much needed housing in the Southland, and has triggered an explosion of back yard dwellings.

Its co-author was Dana Cuff, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA and Director of the school's cityLAB think tank. This Thursday she will give a lecture and participate in a live Q+A. She will address the ADU policy as well as other affordable housing initiatives she and her cityLAB team are working on. The talk is part of a series hosted by the Helms Design District (though now moved online) and Cal Poly Los Angeles Metropolitan Program in Architecture and Urban Design. The discussion will be moderated by the Stephen Phillips, director of Cal Poly Los Angeles' architecture program

When: Thursday, May 28th, 2020; 4:00 - 5:30 pm PST

Where: Via this Zoom Webinar

Cost: Free  

Book now for next week....The Science of Color: Gillian Rose in conversation with Frances Anderton

"Our responses to color are written into our DNA," says Gillian Rose, "they are not learned." The aptly named Rose is an environmental designer and founder of The Science of Color. She consults for designers and companies on the impact of color, which she says forms 80% of our visual perception. But those feelings differ, she says, depending on whether we are outgoing or reserved, extrovert or introvert. Color has a deep, physical and psychological effect on us - especially within the built environment - and greatly impacts how people function in their spaces. AIA/LA invites you to join this webinar about 'color' with Gillian Rose and KCRW's Frances Anderton. One of the topics under considertaion is why so much Modern architecture today is white, and what architects might learn from interior designers.

When: Registration now open; Conversation Wednesday, June 3, 5:00 - 6:30 pm

Where: Webinar details provided with ticket confirmation

Cost: $20 (AIA members $10). You can get tickets here.