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Photo: The tunnel of the Downtown Regional Connector in Los Angeles. (Frances Anderton)

Does LA have tunnel vision? 7 MIN, 33 SEC

The tunnels of the Downtown Regional Connector in Los Angeles
Photo by Avishay Artsy

There is a tunnel currently under construction 60 feet below Little Tokyo. It's an S-shaped tube and it's finished in curving concrete, parallelogram-shaped panels that are so elegantly arranged that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called it a "sexy tunnel."

It's called the Downtown Regional Connector and it will link the Expo, Blue and Gold lines.

The tube is being created by a computer controlled machine that drills through the earth and then positions concrete rings in five foot segments. And all this is being done in a way that the project manager says creates very little ground movement.

But this is not the only tunnel project in LA. Also in the pipeline are the Crenshaw/LAX Line and two segments of the Purple line (running from downtown west towards Santa Monica).

Meanwhile, Elon Musk and his Boring Company are busy boring his own tunnel.

Musk has complained loudly about his own LA commute and has suggested various concepts for speeding it up. He once told DnA he wanted to put another deck over the 405. Now he is aiming for a "3D" tunnel network in which vehicles would be lowered down onto rails on an electric skate that would then shoot underground at about 130 miles per hour.

"There's no real limit to how many levels of tunnel you can have," Musk explained at a TED Talks event. "You can go much further deep than you can go up... so you can alleviate any arbitrary level of urban congestion with a 3-D tunnel network."

Musk recently tweeted out an image of a stretch of tunnel under the parking lot of his company SpaceX in the city of Hawthorne.

He says it is 500 feet and should be two miles long in three or four months; and adds that it will hopefully stretch the whole 405 north-south corridor from LAX to the 101 in a year or so.

Is it a coincidence that if built -- and it's a big if since this project would involve multiple cities and jurisdictions -- it would run conveniently near his own home in Bel Air?

DnA talks to the mayor and a city engineer about LA's boom in tunnel building.

Eric Garcetti, City of Los Angeles (@MayorOfLA)
Gary Baker, Metro (@gometro)

Bon voyage Boeing 747, welcome back, Supersonic 12 MIN, 1 SEC

Kathleen Hesse and Perry Cockreham with United Airlines on board a Boeing 747
Photo by Avishay Artsy

The "Queen of the Skies" - the Boeing 747 - makes its final flight today for United Airlines.

DnA talks to wistful 747 pilots about what made the plane so special. One pilot says that even though it was a large airplane it "handled like a little sports car, super easy to land and a technological marvel of the time."

We learn why it's being replaced: newer planes, like the 787 Dreamliner or the Airbus A350, are more fuel-efficient and more comfortable for passengers, with more humidity and lower cabin pressure, meaning less fatigue.

Plus, airlines are focusing on now moving more people in smaller planes to small far away destinations, and that means plane design has to change.

We get a glimpse of just how: designers are working on better air and lighting, maybe staggered seating -- and, perhaps, the return of supersonic planes.


Brent DeMoss, United Airlines
Kathleen Hesse, United Airlines
Perry Cockreham, United Airlines
Alberto Diaz, United Airlines (@laxflightops)
Akash Chudasama, transportation and user experience designer

United Airlines' final Boeing 747 flight takes off
United flies Boeing's 'Queen of the Skies' into retirement
Five ways Boeing's 747 jumbo jet changed travel
United bids farewell to the Boeing 747 — Here's a look at the 'Queen of the Skies'
As the 747 begins its final approach, a pilot takes a flight down Memory Lane

Road trip to PST LA/LA 8 MIN, 56 SEC

Jesús Rafael Soto, "Cuatro modulaciones," 1969
Paint on metal and wood
Collection of Palm Springs Art Museum
© 2017 Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Photograph by David Blank

  Pacific Standard Time LA/LA is still going on and now, as the weather is cooling, it's a good moment to visit the shows in the desert.

Architect and DnA contributor Marisa Kurtzman heads to Palms Springs to check out Albert Frey and Lina Bo Bardi: A Search for Living Architecture at Palms Springs Art Museum. The Swiss-born Frey and Italian-born Bo Bardi are both European Modernists who come to the Americas. One goes north to Palm Springs, the other goes south to Brazil, and they adapt their work in fascinating ways to their new environments, desert and jungle.

Also at Palms Springs Art Museum is Kinesthesia: Latin American Kinetic Art, 1954–1969. The work shares a visual similarity to the Light and Space artistic movement that formed in Southern California in the 1960s and ‘70s.

Kurtzman also goes to Riverside Art Museum for Myth & Mirage: Inland Southern California, Birthplace of the Spanish Colonial Revival.

She says the Riverside show is a fascinating exploration of the creation of a fantasy Spanish Colonial style based on a reworking of "dilapidated" missions and showing scant respect for the people who built it or served as its inspiration.

She reflects on the lessons learned as an architect. "What I do doesn't just exist free floating as a form out in the environment," she said. Buildings are "inherently political and they have political implications for the people who build them, for the people who see them."

Barbara Bestor, exhibit designer of Albert Frey & Lina Bo Bardi: A Search for Living Architecture, will join co-curators Daniell Cornell and Zeuler Lima for a lively discussion this Sunday, November 12 from 3-5 pm, at Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center.

Marisa Kurtzman, Frederick Fisher and Partners Architects

DnA takes a road trip to Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA in the desert
Palm Springs Art Museum opens exhibit on Lina Bo Bardi and Albert Frey
'Kinesthesia' at Palm Springs Art Museum
'Kinesthesia' exhibit spotlights kinetic art in breathtaking new dimensions

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