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.


Santa Monica leads the way in seismic retrofit plan  

Santa Monica is one step closer to having the most extensive, earthquake retrofitting program in the nation. The City Council gave tentative approval Tuesday night to a plan that could require safety enhancements for as many as 2,000 buildings. City leaders say the action is long overdue.

Connecting The Bloc, modernist art, mapping the heart  

Retailers in LA have been slow to welcome transit riders into their stores, but that's changing: a new passageway connects The Bloc directly to the Metro. Will Angelenos use it? As Modernism Week kicks off in Palm Springs, we hear about two Los Angeles exhibitions of modernist art, design and architecture. And an engineer has created a 3D model of the human heart, inspired by his daughter's heart condition.

The Bloc, Metro open new portal to downtown transit riders  

Usually when you went to go to the mall you drive there, park, and then drive home. A new shopping area in downtown LA called The Bloc wants to make it easy to get there by train. So they’ve opened a pedestrian passageway that connects directly to the busy 7th Street/Metro Center station. This marks a shift in how retailers view public transit, and is meant to appeal to downtown's growing car-free residential population.

Measuring the impact of Measure S, Netflix on design  

Measure S, the development moratorium on the March 7 ballot in Los Angeles, could have a profound impact on the city’s future growth. But exactly how? Experts on both sides of the issue consider how S might affect high-profile projects already in the pipeline. And, Netflix explores the creative process of designers in their new documentary series Abstract: The Art of Design. 

Elon Musk's plan to dig a tunnel under LA  

Elon Musk has always claimed innovation as central to his reputation, from sending rockets into space to building luxury electric cars. Now he's taking on a different sort of problem: LA traffic.

Santa Monica Airport, Trump's border wall  

After years of fighting with the federal government, the City of Santa Monica has struck a deal to close its almost century-old airport in 2028, and shorten the runway right away. Is everyone happy with the agreement? What will happen to the valuable 227-acre site? Also, President Trump wants to build a US-Mexico border wall. Urban planner Michael Dear says we already have one, and it's proven ineffective.

Critics say Caruso development highlights need for planning reform  

Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso's planned 145-unit luxury residential tower near the Beverly Center is moving forward, despite public opposition. 

Pussyhat project, Ben Carson, building boom, Bjarke Ingels  

How did a pink knitted hat become the symbol of a movement? We talk to a co-founder of the Pussyhat Project. Former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros explains why Dr. Ben Carson deserves to oversee the nation's public housing program. Some cutting edge architects are designing large projects for a booming downtown, but will they get built? One of those is by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, and he explains his unconventional approach to the Arts District.

Chargers logo electrifies social media  

Last week's decision to move the San Diego Chargers to Los Angeles upset a lot of football fans in San Diego. But when the new L.A. Chargers logo was unveiled, that upset a lot of people too - because it was awful. The team promptly introduced two more logos, which were all ridiculed online. Why do new logos incite so much passion?

Trump's inauguration, developer donations  

The chairman of President-elect Trump's inauguration committee says to expect a tone of "soft sensuality" at Friday's inauguration. What on Earth does that mean? And, Los Angeles officials want to ban political campaign contributions from developers who have projects pending before City Hall. Is that legal? Is it "misdirection" from the real problem: a dysfunctional planning process? And what does it have to do with efforts by some to slow growth in Los Angeles?

Lucas Museum to come to LA  

The force is apparently with Los Angeles. That's because LA beat out San Francisco for filmmaker George Lucas's new blockbuster museum. It's a big win for Southern California, and the complex is expected to be a boon for South LA.

Connected tech at CES, Battersea's future  

As everything from a hairbrush to a bikini becomes "smart," has the "Internet of Things" gone too far? DnA checks out the latest "smart" technology at CES. And we visit London's famed Battersea Power Station, where a massive high-end development anchored by Apple and a new US Embassy are revitalizing a rundown neighborhood. But some Londoners are asking, what's in it for us?

CES preview, designing the golden arches  

CES, the massive Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, turns 50 this year. Is it still relevant? And the fast food empire we know as McDonald's started as a burger stand in San Bernardino. Lisa Napoli explains how the post-World War II building boom of freeways and suburbs birthed a food culture.

Year in review, Vern Yip, United Artists Theatre  

A look back at 2016, losses and gains in design, architecture and a changing Los Angeles. Don't splurge at that New Year sale! Interior designer Vern Yip's new book advises people on how to carefully create beautiful spaces, with the help of a ruler. And we look at the rise and fall and rise again of a historic theater on DTLA's Broadway.

Star architects come to LA, but will they get to build?  

Three star architecture firms from Europe have been tapped by LA developers to design massive, dense, infill developments in LA. It's exciting news for anyone who follows architecture. But will they get to realize these projects in a region that is resisting dense development even as it faces a huge housing crisis?

Artist evictions; should a mid-century bank be saved?  

The Ghost Ship fire in Oakland has added to the insecurity of life for artists who've been occupying LA's warehouse spaces. And the City of Los Angeles approved a large Frank Gehry-designed project, but a mid-century bank building is complicating the plans.

Seniors evicted in Westwood; 'I Hate the Internet'  

Seniors are being kicked out of a Westwood Village independent living facility to make way for a luxury makeover. Is that an eviction too far? And did the Internet destroy hyper-gentrifying San Francisco -- and create a president? I Hate the Internet author Jarett Kobek says yes.

'La La Land,' Mann house, underwater pavilions  

Los Angeles is a character in the romantic musical La La Land, from famed landmarks to infamous freeway traffic jams. The Germans come to the rescue of a Modernist house in the Pacific Palisades built by "father of German democracy" Thomas Mann. And artist Doug Aitken's latest installation involves diving gear and a trip to Catalina.

A streetcar is desired in downtown LA  

The effort to bring a streetcar back to downtown Los Angeles passed another hurdle this week. The LA City Council voted 13-0 to approve a 3.8-mile route that includes Grand Park, the Convention Center, the Fashion District, and theaters and shops along Broadway.

Cuban architecture, Lewis MacAdams  

Fidel Castro is dead. What might his passing mean for the historic city of Havana, where development was stalled for almost 60 years? Lewis MacAdams, poet-activist, passes on the torch at Friends of the LA River. We discuss the future of the LA river with MacAdams and FOLAR's new Executive Director, Marissa Christiansen.

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