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.


Parker Center one vote away from demolition  

The former headquarters of the LAPD avoided a date with the wrecking ball Wednesday after a vote on its fate was postponed due to a clerical error. But city leaders are still moving ahead, despite concerns from preservationists.

Building homes near freeways, 'Rick Owens: Furniture'  

The White House wants to roll back fuel economy standards. Could that mean more air pollutants coming out of car tailpipes -- just as LA is seeing a surge of home construction along freeways? And a fashion world provocateur, Rick Owens, talks about designing furniture inspired by land art and brutalist architecture, and raising existential questions on the runway.

How DC's post office became Trump Hotel  

In Washington, DC, the historic Old Post Office Pavilion has earned a second life as Trump International Hotel. The luxury hotel with a restaurant and bar has become a favorite hangout for the DC elite. It’s also earned criticism -- including a lawsuit by owners of a nearby wine bar -- because President Trump, his family and White House staffers continually promote the hotel.

Big plans for tiny houses, homes for hope  

The tiny house movement is booming, even though in most places, people can't legally live in them. But that didn't stop a group of enthusiasts from learning how to build one at CAFAM. What will they do with their tiny homes? And as Angelenos have passed measures to build more housing for the homeless, a group of architecture students is trying to speed up access to shelter -- with designs for temporary housing with "curb appeal."

Measure S was defeated. Now what?  

An effort to slow development in Los Angeles has failed, with Measure S receiving less than a third of LA voters' support. So what's next?

Bidding on the border wall, new apartment architecture  

President Trump wants to build a border wall along the US-Mexican border, and hundreds of construction and engineering companies are lining up to help. Who’s interested, and why? Plus, as Los Angeles gets taller and denser, more of us will be living in apartments. We look to other global cities for design inspiration, and hear from an L.A. architect who is embracing an apartment-centric future.

Life's a game, 'Never Built New York'  

Much of daily life is spent on menial tasks but game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost says it's time to think of chores the way we think of playing games -- as fun. And, big dreamers built New York, but what about the dreams that got away? Sam Lubell and Greg Goldin talk about Never Built New York, and what LA can learn from the Big Apple's missed opportunities.

A walking tour of Compton architecture  

Architecture buffs can take a walking tour this Sunday highlighting the work of black architects in Compton. The tour is in honor of Black History Month, and is an offshoot of a new map documenting the contributions of African American designers and architects in Los Angeles.

Production design, art and politics, the creative mind  

What makes production design so special? We consider the five Oscar nominees this year for production design and why their films stand out. As artists respond to President Trump's administration, we look how art movements became weapons in the past century's great ideological battles. And what makes a person creative? And what does the Cold War have to do with it? A historic study of the minds of the greatest Mid-Century architects is described in a new book.

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.

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