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.


Frank Gehry strips down on Sunset  

A Frank Gehry-designed project on Sunset Boulevard is moving forward, despite neighborhood opposition.

Designing your life, ghostland  

Can you "ideate" and "prototype" your way to a better, more fulfilling life? That’s the premise of the book Designing Your Life, though some designers question the use of "design thinking" as a means of career counselling and self-investigation. And in time for Halloween, the book Ghostland explores what kinds of architectural details make a place feel haunted, as well as what stories of hauntings tell us about our own prejudices and biases.

The problem with A/C, Neon City, Jewish LA  

The world needs to cut back on HFCs but Americans love staying cold; does that mean you need to get a smaller fridge or turn off the air-conditioning? Los Angeles was once a city of neon; now the colorful gas lighting is making a comeback. Why? Avishay Artsy tours Jewish Los Angeles, and finds some of LA’s most noted designers and builders.

Police academy, smart gun, eat the river  

The LAPD Academy in Elysian Park has undergone a makeover, as the department adapts to an era of community policing. An MIT freshman has created what's believed to be the first fingerprint-enabled smart gun. And a French artist finds inspiration in the cracked concrete of the Los Angeles River.

The suburban home of tomorrow  

Back when most people had barely heard of a Prius or LEED certification, 300 builders and product designers committed to sustainable design gathered at a small convention called Greenbuild. Now it is one of the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to “green building” and holds its fifteenth annual conference and trade show this week at the LA Convention Center.

Patrick Shearn, Greenbuild, cargo shorts  

Artist Patrick Shearn, known for his eye-popping music festival installations, goes public, with musical clouds inside Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Liquid Shard. LA welcomes the Greenbuild Conference; but what is next in sustainability now greenbuilding has gone mainstream? Plus, we investigate the gender wars that have erupted over a men's fashion choice: cargo shorts.

YIMBYs rise up to support development  

We've all heard of NIMBYs: people who oppose growth because they don't want their neighborhoods to change. Now, there's a counter-movement forming of people who say the only way to solve the housing crisis in expensive cities is to keep building.

The Europeans are coming! Koolhaas, Herzog & de Meuron in LA  

Some high-profile European architects have projects in the works for the Southland and have waded into the argument about density. DnA looks at projects both spiritual and commercial from famed Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and his firm OMA, and we check out a mammoth mixed-use project in the Arts District by Herzog & de Meuron.

Smithsonian's new African-American museum, YIMBY movement  

Smithsonian's newest museum is a striking homage to African-American history and culture. We get the inside scoop from the architects and reviews from critics on the building and its artifacts. And move over NIMBYs: the pro-development, YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard) movement is heating up across the country, and here in Los Angeles.

Utopia and Arcosanti, Gemini G.E.L. and Mixografia  

Utopian thinking is back, as Silicon Valley envisions smart cities. Is there anything to learn from an older social and architectural experiment in the Arizona desert? We visit Arcosanti. And, when you see artwork in museums and galleries, does all the credit belong to the artist? A new show at LACMA puts the spotlight on LA's printmakers behind the fine art.

Santa Monica's Measure LV is being watched around the southland  

The Neighborhood Integrity Initiative is measure on the March 2017 ballot that would restrict development in Los Angeles. Folks behind NII are supporting another slow-growth ballot measure - this one in Santa Monica. DnA on ATC looks at LUVE, or Measure LV and asks what it means for downtown Santa Monica, and the region.

Driverless cars, sitcom house plans  

Uber is launching a fleet of semi-autonomous cars on the streets of Pittsburgh. What does this mean for the design of the city and for Uber drivers? And what will it feel like to be a passenger in a driverless car of the future? Plus, an artist draws plans of the imaginary homes of his favorite TV sitcoms.

The struggle over growth, from Santa Monica to Boyle Heights  

From Santa Monica to Boyle Heights, residents are fighting development. Are their concerns connected? And is slowing growth the answer to maintaining affordable housing across the region? DnA reports from the most and the least affluent communities in the Southland.

Will LACMA's new building win over the critics?  

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is moving forward with a plan to replace four buildings on its campus with a new building designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. Critics say the building is dark, monolithic, and would disrupt the flow of Wilshire Boulevard. Others describe it as "restrained" and "calm" and a good fit for an institution like LACMA.

Saving Pereira's buildings, 'Wear and Tear'  

Los Angeles architect William Pereira is getting renewed interest, as two of his prominent works are set to be torn down. And Tracy Tynan, a costume designer in LA, talks about she found meaning in clothing during a chaotic childhood.

Public swimming pools and the "mindscape" of Los Angeles  

Simone Manuel's Olympic win has put a spotlight on the history and politics of access to aquatics. Swimming in America has a history of racial exclusion. DnA visited the newly-rebuilt Central Recreation Center Pool in South LA to learn what the City of Los Angeles is doing to create "access and opportunity" for all.

Swimming pools and public art  

Simone Manuel's Olympic win highlights the politics of access to public swimming pools. We visit a gorgeous, newly-restored pool in South LA and ask if the color barrier to swimming has been lifted. And private murals and public installations are turning the outdoors into a gallery. What's behind the explosion of public art?

The streets are alive with public art  

If you have visitors in town and you want to show them some art, do you take them to a museum or gallery, or do you head outdoors? Right now the streets are alive with public art, some of it commissioned by the City and Department of Cultural Affairs or by Metro, some of it appearing overnight on walls around town.

Tesla gigafactory, Whole Foods design, Ben Medansky  

A tour of Tesla's new gigafactory, under construction in the Nevada desert and how that intersects with CEO Elon Musk's latest master plan. We compare two Whole Foods stores and a look at the seductive power of supermarket design. And, ceramicist Ben Medansky, talks about the support that followed a fire that destroyed his downtown LA studio.

It's not all bad news in Rio  

You've heard the horror stories about this year's Brazil Olympics - from blocked toilets and unfinished infrastructure to toxic water and a political coup. But that's not the full picture. LA-based architecture and engineering company AECOM created the master plan for the Rio Olympics and promises that Brazilians are going to put on a terrific games.

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