KCRW's DnA: Design & Architecture

KCRW's DnA: Design & Architecture

United States

From your iPod to the Freedom Chair to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, design and architecture shape our world. On DnA: Design and Architecture host Frances Anderton talks to design world leaders about the latest in products fashion graphics architecture and more in Los Angeles and beyond.


Border wall breakdown, David Adjaye  

President Trump's border wall project appears to have ground to a halt. Will it ever materialize? And David Adjaye, the designer of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, reflects on the museum's significance, emerging African architecture, and improving social housing.

Is HHH housing getting built?  

In the past year, residents of both the city and county of Los Angeles voted to tax themselves to pay for more housing for the homeless, and for the services needed to keep them in those homes. Local elected officials say those extra dollars couldn't come at a better time. Homelessness is up 23 percent in LA when compared to last year. So what's being built right now, and what's coming down the line?

LA's electric bus future, construction giant Paul Matt  

Los Angeles-based electric bus manufacturing companies aim to meet a growing demand for emission-free urban transit. And it's one thing to design a building, but it's another thing to build it. We pay tribute to the late Paul Matt, the construction giant who realized many Southern California landmarks.

Proterra and the rise of electric buses  

For Swedish automaker Volvo, the combustible engine in a thing of the past. Beginning in 2019 all of the new car models it introduces will be fully electric or hybrids. It's the first major traditional automaker to set a concrete date for phasing out combustion-engine-only models. The trend, however, isn't limited to just car companies. There is a boom in electric bus manufacturers in the U.S. as well, including right here in Southern California.

Freedom sculpture, Henry Rollins, surfboards  

The Fourth of July holiday is a great time to crank up the music and hit the beach. Henry Rollins likes his punk played on a perfect sound system, which he shows us on a tour of his home. And we hear about the enduring tradition of innovative surf design in Santa Barbara. We also mark Independence Day with a look at the new Freedom Sculpture in Century City. Designed by engineer-artist Cecil Balmond, it draws inspiration from the ancient Persian king Cyrus.

Should extremely creative CEOs get away with bad behavior?  

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has been ousted from the company he created. Was this the best way to address the negatives of a highly creative entrepreneur? "Serial entrepreneur" Z Holly and another controversial business leader -- American Apparel's Dov Charney - weigh in.

The $1.2 billion Wilshire Grand finally set to open  

The tallest building west of the Mississippi River will officially open for business on Friday. The Wilshire Grand Center has been years in the making. It rises 73 stories, or 1,100 feet with its spire at the top, and includes a near-900 room InterContinental Hotel. And its architecture tells the story of a changing Los Angeles.

Fire safety in towers, artists and developers, PetSpace  

London's Grenfell Tower fire shows what can go wrong when a high rise building is not designed or retrofitted in accordance with fire and safety needs. Are artists the victims or perpetrators of gentrification? A downtown luxury apartment building will have an "artist-in-residence." Plus, the new private animal shelter PetSpace offers a high-design venue for adopting your new four-legged friend.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Los Angeles gems  

Celebrated architect Frank Lloyd Wright was born 150 years ago last week, and the anniversary has been recognized with events and exhibitions. His style of “organic architecture" can be seen in his Los Angeles houses, including the Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Park. Why does this architect still tower in the public imagination?

Trump's American idea, LACMA's expansion, the idea of home  

The Trump Organization plans a new hotel chain called American Idea, inspired by the family's experiences on the campaign trail. So how do they brand "American Idea" and steer clear of perceived conflicts? And, LACMA is planning a move into South LA. Find out how it connects to its proposed makeover of Miracle Mile. Meanwhile, Latin American artists at LACMA take on the idea of home -- and find it has emotional and political meaning.

LACMA wants to expand into South LA  

LACMA wants to turn a defunct MTA facility in South LA into a new space for exhibitions, educational programming and art storage. What would this mean for the neighboring community, and for LACMA's other major project: to renovate its main campus on Wilshire Boulevard?

Securing Public Spaces, Super Wealthy Asians  

Vehicles are increasingly being used as weapons, as seen in the London Bridge attack over the weekend and in New York’s Times Square last month. The Compton-based company Calpipe is designing security bollards to help make public spaces safer. And novelist Kevin Kwan satirizes the “crazy rich” Asian jet set and their luxurious tastes in his latest book, “Rich People Problems.”

Can driverless cars solve our traffic woes?  

Driverless cars are being touted as the future of mobility. But we’re seeing some bumps in the road. A high-profile arrangement between the city of Pittsburgh and the ride hailing company Uber to test their autonomous vehicles appears to have fallen apart. What does this mean for driverless cars in LA and elsewhere?

Farewell LA freeways, Peter Shire is back  

Angelenos don't want more freeways but we seem not to want mass transit either. Metro has killed the 710 freeway extension, and bus and train ridership is down across the region. What's the future of getting around in LA? And, Peter Shire is having a comeback. What attracts a new generation to his playful ceramics and furniture? 

Bus ridership declines in LA  

Ridership on LA Metro buses continues to decline across Los Angeles. Passengers say the service needs improvement. Metro now wants to overhaul the system's 170 lines and 15,000 stops, and is conducting a study due out in April, 2019. How are other cities dealing with this issue?

The Art of Manufacturing, Apple's new headquarters  

What's one mile around, has a four-story glass door, and looks like a spaceship? DnA gets a tour of Apple's new headquarters in Cupertino. And we learn about Los Angeles' creative economy, and why LA is a hotbed for manufacturing.

Border wall builders, private art museums, Stamen Design  

An LA city councilman wants companies who want to do business with LA to disclose if they're also working on the US-Mexico border wall. Forget old-school bar graphs and pie charts -- depicting data has become an art form. And another private art museum opens soon in Los Angeles, but this one takes you into the fascinating world of freemasonry.

Uber at the LA Times, Preserving LA, 'The Handmaid's Tale'  

Uber moves into the Times Mirror Square complex in downtown LA. Preservationists want Frank Gehry to incorporated a mid-century bank into his mixed-use project on Sunset. And Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale uses color and costume to make a dystopian story visually stunning.

Ron Finley saves his garden  

South LA's "Gangsta Gardener" has won out. Ron Finley, a community gardener and activist for healthy food in underserved neighborhoods, has managed to overcome a threat of eviction after successfully buying his property from an Agoura Hills developer.


Michelle Obama, LA 2024, Vespertine  

Vespertine fuses taste, sight, sound, smell and touch in a novel eating experience coming to Culver City. We'll hear from chef Jordan Kahn and architect Eric Owen Moss. Bill Hanway updates us on LA's 2024 Olympic bid, on the eve of a visit from the International Olympic Committee. And former first lady Michelle Obama tells architects why they matter.

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