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Christopher Hawthorne, Architecture Critic

Assemble might have a Turner Prize, but the London collective continues to defy categorization

Louis Schulz and Maria Lisogorskaya of Turner Prize-winning collective Assemble discuss Coachella and the Venice Architecture Biennale.

  • Review
SFMOMA's expansion tries mightily but ultimately rings a bit hollow

-- How odd is it to be trapped inside the parallel, ever-accelerating cycles of amnesia and nostalgia that mark American culture these days? Pretty odd. You'd

  • Review
The newly opened $4-billion World Trade Center transit hub is overwrought and underwhelming

The World Trade Center transit hub is another of the elaborate, mismatched architectural headstones marking ground zero.

Can Vanna Venturi House and other landmark homes survive the test of new owners?

There is no broad strategy to protect important works of 20th-century residential architecture, including the Vanna Venturi House.

  • Review
The restored Met Breuer (formerly the Whitney) has a new energy as well as a lived-in look

Restoration of the former Whitney Museum, now the Met Breuer, strikes the right balance between old and new, Christopher Hawthorne says.

  • Review
Why does DTLA's huge new Hauser Wirth & Schimmel art complex underwhelm? It's a familiar story

New gallery Hauser Wirth & Schimmel is a significant addition to downtown L.A., but it also leaves you wanting more.

Two downtown L.A. parks and the tricky task of designing them to best serve the city

Design competitions are underway to redesign Pershing Square and to transform 1st and Broadway. Here are some suggestions.

LACMA gets gravity-defying John Lautner-designed home featured in 'The Big Lebowski'

LACMA director lays foundation for museum's landmark architectural collection with the 1963 Sheats-Goldstein house, featured in "The Big Lebowski."

  • Review
The new Berkeley Art Museum is a study in extremes

The new Berkeley Art Museum, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, works hard to fulfill competing, budget-challenged needs.

  • Column
The real challenge for Los Angeles' new football stadium is everything around it

The new Inglewood NFL complex will be a showpiece, but the project's success depends on surrounding housing and retail development

  • Column
Transforming the end of the 2 Freeway could be the beginning of a new L.A.

A High Line-like transformation of the end of the 2 Freeway has the potential to be the foundation for a new vision of Los Angeles urbanism, recreation, ecology, landscape architecture and mobility.

  • Column
What those homeless camps along L.A.'s freeways mean for a public space once above it all

The rise in homeless encampments along Los Angeles freeways signals a major shift for a public system long set apart from the city.

Here are better ideas for the land Caltrans has stockpiled for the 710 Freeway extension

Caltrans' stockpile of land for scuttled 710 Freeway proposal should be used for new parks and affordable and market-rate housing.

  • Best of 2015
Who will design Obama's library? Key questions in architecture as 2015 wraps up

L.A. Times architectural critic Christopher Hawthorne lists the most pressing questions in architecture as 2015 draws to a close.

  • Review
Petersen Automotive Museum's new look conveys a happily tasteless exterior

The redesigned Petersen Automotive Museum on Wilshire Boulevard has a new exterior that is 'happily tasteless,' Times critic Christopher Hawthorne says.

For architecture in 2015, the world's 'soft targets' prompt a reevaluation

L.A. Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne reflects on the year in architecture and its place in a dangerous world.

Opera-on-wheels 'Hopscotch' drives home the complicated pull of downtown L.A.

The Industry's inventive mobile opera 'Hopscotch' illuminates the potential of L.A.'s public spaces, especially downtown.

  • Review
In Wayne Thom's revelatory show, a generation of L.A. buildings gets needed attention

"Matter, Light and Form: Architectural Photographs of Wayne Thom" at WUHO Gallery in Hollywood is sneakily ambitious.

  • Review
'Building Art' vividly renders Frank Gehry yet misses the full picture

Paul Goldberger's 'Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry' is a highly readable but oddly restrained biography.

In Chicago, an ambitious biennial for architecture banishes the stars and anoints a new generation

The first Chicago Architecture Biennial makes a bid to break with the past by featuring a new generation of high-profile designers.

At the new Clifton's cafeteria, over-the-top nostalgia is amplified and digitized

Just as Google has streamlined its logo for speed, Clifton's campy retro cafeteria hides subtle efficiencies within its design.

L.A. Convention Center's proposed design screams, 'conventional thinking'

A look at the planned redesign of the Los Angeles Convention Center highlights the outdated thinking of such public architecture.

  • Critic's Notebook
Mobility Plan 2035 may be the cornerstone of a new L.A.

L.A.'s Mobility Plan 2035 has the city talking, a lot of it negative. Christopher Hawthorne presses the positives.

$1.14 billion later, expanded 405 Freeway is a hodgepodge of design

The expanded 405 Freeway is a mishmash of architectural design styles, Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne says.

  • Review
A low-key Facebook building? In Gehry's hands, Zuckerberg has it both ways

A deft practicality runs through Facebook's new building, a merging of sensibilities shared by Frank Gehry and Mark Zuckerberg.

An Appreciation: Architect Donald Wexler made Palm Springs modern

Architect Donald Wexler, whose designs included Palm Springs International Airport and a Dinah Shore home, made Palm Springs modern.

Google's new headquarters design takes transparency to new levels

Google sets itself apart with an open, accessible campus design by rising-star architects Thomas Heatherwick and Bjarke Ingels.

Peter Zumthor's plan for LACMA undergoes makeover

Architect Peter Zumthor's plan for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has undergone a significant makeover

Consider the social-architectural context of LACMA's 1965 design

The Times' Christopher Hawthorne revisits 1965 L.A. and the then-new LACMA campus designed by William Pereira.

Orioles-White Sox game: Baltimore's urban stadium becomes no-fans' land

Baltimore Orioles game in empty stadium at Camden Yards inspires thoughts on ballparks' strained dialogue with urban areas.

Toyo Ito's architecture beckons a critic to Asia

Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne plots an ideal tour of Toyo Ito's buildings in Asia.

'Latino Urbanism' influences a Los Angeles in flux

City planning policy is beginning to reflect social spaces and walkability common in Latin American cities, challenging a half-century focus on the car and private property.

Los Angeles public space is rambunctious again; let's dress it properly

Public space is being reclaimed in L.A.'s urban areas. Architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne calls for sympathetic design.

  • Review
'Provocations' pays tribute to designer Thomas Heatherwick

'Provocations' at the Hammer Museum explores the seemingly bottomless ingenuity of Thomas Heatherwick and his designers, and their remarkable projects.

  • Review
ARTIC bullet-train station a curious, conspicuous bit of symbolism

More than anything, Anaheim's ARTIC station it's a stand-alone object, not so much woven into the train network as looming over it.

  • Year in Review
The future is in the past: Architecture trends in 2014

In 2014, architecture turned to the past rather than future technology

'Citizenfour's' paranoid spaces echoed in other Oscar nominees

The hotel room where most of the Laura Poitras documentary "Citizenfour" takes place is small, decorated only with a bed and some furniture by the Danish

  • Review
Compelling case for gray at Pomona College's Studio Art Hall

The new Studio Art Hall at Pomona College by wHY Architecture is an ambitious yet ultimately ambivalent exploration of gray areas.

  • Critic's Notebook
Bulldoze first, apologize later: a true L.A. landmark

The razing of Ray Bradbury's home and a reprieve for Norms are the latest reminders of L.A.'s fuzzy historic preservation logic.

'Constructing Worlds' exhibit at Barbican explores buildings as neighbors

The "Constructing Worlds" exhibition at the Barbican in London explores alternatives to sleek, promotional images of buildings.

  • Year in Review
Christopher Hawthorne's best of architecture in 2014

Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne lists the best of architecture in 2014.

  • Review
Gehry's Louis Vuitton Foundation museum is a triumph, but to what end?

Frank Gehry marks a career triumph with the dramatic yet refined Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, further building billionaire Bernard Arnault's legacy.

How Arcadia is remaking itself as a magnet for Chinese money

An influx of mainland money and an established community have transformed the Pasadena-adjacent suburb into the 'Chinese Beverly Hills.'

  • Critic's Notebook
Comprehensive 'Gehry' retrospective in Paris draws sociological blank

The engaging Pompidou Center show covers the renowned L.A. architect's career in detail, but the exhibition is devoid of exploring the many issues behind the designs.

Metro's Union Station master plan a significant shift

The main goal of Metro's far-reaching Union Station master plan envisions a rail hub with a long reach into the community.

  • Review
Maltzan's One Santa Fe apartment complex plays with notion of density

One Santa Fe, an apartment complex in Los Angeles arts district by Michael Maltzan Architecture, tries to make density appealing

  • Q&A
'L.A. Plays Itself,' but do films get it right?

After years as an influential but rarely screen cult classic, Thom Andersen's 2003 documentary, "Los Angeles Plays Itself," will finally be released on DVD this

Fall marks season of revival for architecture in Los Angeles

Though bold architecture is harder to come by in Los Angeles, a crop of new and upcoming buildings signals a renewed spirit.

  • Critic's Notebook
LACMA redesign avoids tar pits, creates challenges

In redesigning its expansion plan and adding a bridge that spans Wilshire Boulevard, LACMA adds a wrinkle to the original vision.

Race, violence in Ferguson, Mo., cop killing play out on Main Street

In Michael Brown shooting, images of police on the main street in Florence, Mo., gave story traction.

  • Column
Grand Park benefits Made in America, but is the reverse true?

Grand Park handles Made in America well, though the festival highlights park design flaws. The money should go to fixing them.

  • Critic's Notebook
Peter Zumthor's L.A.-LACMA vision in need of update

Much has changed on Wilshire and other streets, something that Peter Zumthor's traffic-framing LACMA bridge plan doesn't capture.

  • Critic's Notebook
A new blueprint for architectural excellence

Awards given to Shigeru Ban, Phyllis Lambert and Julia Morgan show that a broader view of architectural excellence is building.

  • Critic's Notebook
Film museum's cast change may be a blessing in disguise

A shake-up in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' design team for its film museum may be a chance to rethink its approach

  • Arts & Culture
Broad museum plaza is welcome, but who will own it?

Critic's Notebook: Broad museum's opening date is delayed to 2015 but more interesting is who will run its planned plaza and how.

Donald Sterling, Jay Z find that private space is open to scandal

V. Stiviano's recording of Donald Sterling; Solange vs. Jay Z —architectural markers of privacy don't stop public scandal.

  • Critic's Notebook
Design tweaks can't overcome Academy Museum's dramatic flaws

Critic's Notebook: Design tweaks can't overcome the disconnection radiating from the clumsy exterior of the planned film museum.

Review: Thom Mayne frames Emerson College with towering sense of self

Architectural review: The self-contained Emerson complex by Thom Mayne and Morphosis is a refreshingly bold presence on Sunset.

  • Critic's Notebook
Union Station's complexity grows 75 years down the line

Critic's Notebook: The 75th anniversary of Union Station is a reminder that despite a nostalgic look, its urban influence is huge.

Hans Hollein dies at 80; Austrian architect helped lead post-modernism

Austrian Hans Hollein, Pritzker Prize winner who ushered in architecture's post-modernism movement in the 1970s, has died at 80.

  • Arts & Culture
Review: Tentative signs of progress in Metro's transit network design

Architectural review: A new template for future subway, light-rail routes finds Metro aiming for consistency, if colorlessly so.

  • Arts & Culture
Encore performances for two L.A. architectural landmarks

Critic's Notebook: The architecture of downtown L.A.'s United Artists Theatre, now part of the Ace Hotel, and the Forum was preserved when they were owned by two religious groups. They have new owners and new life as concert venues.

Spike Jonze's 'Her' a refreshingly original take on a future L.A.

Critic's Notebook: Spike Jonze bucks the retro trend in his vision of a future L.A. in 'Her,' a thoughtful take on tech, culture.

  • Arts & Culture
A new L.A. identity takes shape in 2013 as city embraces urban life

Notes on the Year: Los Angeles entered fresh civic territory in 2013 as a range of initiatives helped fuel an urban reawakening.

Best of 2013: Christopher Hawthorne picks Citi Bike, L.A.-centric 'Her'

Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne picks 2013's top developments, including 4 World Trade Center, L.A. cornfield plan.

Oscars 2014: Architecture's precise role in Steve McQueen's films

Critic's Notebook: '12 Years a Slave' director Steve McQueen rethinks the relationship between the built environment and the camera.

  • Arts & Culture
Review: A timely look at L.A. designer Deborah Sussman

Review: 'Deborah Sussman Loves Los Angeles' explores the designer's early career, including her bold designs for the 1984 Olympics.

Review: 4 World Trade Center as ground zero's reputation-builder

Architecture review: The soaring elegance of Fumihiko Maki's 4 World Trade Center design may help rehabilitate the strong-arm tactics of ground-zero developer Larry Silverstein.

  • Arts & Culture
CicLAvia closes a few streets to cars but can open the city's mind

Critic's Notebook: CicLAvia on April 6 along Wilshire is a chance to rethink L.A.'s future and skewed car-first perspective.

Why the Astrodome is worth saving

Houston is deciding whether to invest in the Astrodome's future. The stadium deserves preservation.

Frank Gehry's Grand vision to go before project committee

A proposal by Frank Gehry's firm for a retail, hotel and residential complex on Grand Avenue near Walt Disney Concert Hall will be submitted Monday.

Review: Wallis Annenberg Center is a step forward for Beverly Hills

Architecture Review: The new Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills artfully blends old architecture with new, with parking of course.

  • Arts & Culture
Wilshire and LACMA are a new world for Peter Zumthor

Peter Zumthor's designs in Switzerland show great detail and firm connection to European landscape. Can he translate to Los Angeles County Museum of Art

  • Arts & Culture
Review: 'Windshield Perspective' is a tricky way to look at L.A.

The 'Windshield Perspective' exhibition at the Architecture and Design Museum gets a little lost on Beverly Boulevard.

  • Arts & Culture
Review: MOCA's revamped architecture show a model of insularity

The messy run-up and execution of the new MOCA-Geffen Contemporary architectural exhibition is a telling sign of the times.

  • Arts & Culture
What the Houston Astrodome can teach us

Critic's Notebook: The Houston Astrodome, an example of late-modern architecture, presents a test case for preservationists, Christopher Hawthorne writes.

Grand Avenue project: Uncertainty could be a good thing

Critic's Notebook: Turmoil over development plans for downtown L.A.'s Grand Avenue leaves many questions unanswered but opens up the possibility of moving in a new direction.

Prison design faces judgment

As prisons have proliferated, debate over their future has exposed details of their architecture to new scrutiny, critic Christopher Hawthorne writes.

L.A. River advocates wait for watershed Army Corps study

A nonprofit dedicated to the L.A. River announces plans for a 51-mile greenway. But it's a decision from Washington that everyone is waiting for.

Dealey Plaza: A place Dallas has long tried to avoid and forget

Critic's Notebook: Dealey Plaza, the site of JFK's assassination, is an unlovely, architecturally unresolved prick on Dallas' conscience.

  • Arts & Culture
Sunnylands presidential summit spotlights estate's public mission

Critic's Notebook: Rancho Mirage's Sunnylands, set to host President Obama and Chinese leaders, has deftly embraced its mission of public interaction.

Skirball's Moshe Safdie retrospective includes the center itself

Moshe Safdie, who designed the Skirball Cultural Center's original buildings and new additions, is featured in 'Global Citizen.'

Paolo Soleri dies at 93; architect of innovative city Arcosanti

Review: Nature sinks its roots into Santa Monica's new parks

At Santa Monica's Tongva and Ken Genser parks, landscape architect James Corner unfurls a picturesque naturalism little glimpsed in his High Line Park design. A review.

Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall is inextricably of L.A.

Frank Gehry's Disney Hall, a remarkable work of public architecture, reflects and engages Los Angeles like few other buildings.

  • Arts & Culture
LACMA draws up ambitious plans for a $650-million new look

L.A. County Museum of Art Director Michael Govan turns to Swiss architect Peter Zumthor for a dramatic new building that would involve demolishing the main campus.

  • Arts & Culture
For LACMA's 'old' buildings, no time like the present

For LACMA's 'old' buildings, no time like the present

  • Arts & Culture
Le Corbusier as a force for nature?

An exhibition on Le Corbusier at New York's Museum of Modern Art draws scrutiny, and skepticism, from Christopher Hawthorne.

On Harbor Boulevard, a pretense of business as usual

Though Orange County's Harbor Boulevard remains little changed, a history of unrest points to its potential to more positively engage with street life beyond the auto.

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