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Fall Arts Preview

Architecture

THE ROAD MAP / With 'Kooza' on the pier and an 'opera no-opera' at

September 13, 2009|Christopher Hawthorne | ARCHITECTURE CRITIC

LOCAL

'Against Sustainability'

The contrarian title alone will likely draw a crowd to this talk by John May, a lecturer at UCLA in architecture and geography, at the L.A. Forum space on Hollywood Boulevard. It's the first of three lectures May is scheduled to give in a series called "Architecture After Nature," with the others following on Oct. 1 and 15. In "Against Sustainability," May reports, he'll ask whether sustainability in architecture is "a coherent set of ideas and practices, or an increasingly empty slogan."

Thursday, L.A. Forum

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MAK Architecture Tour

Seven classics of Southern California residential architecture, headlined by Rudolph Schindler's McAlmon House and the newly restored How House, make up the tour. Also open: Two houses by Harwell Harris and one each by Rafael Soriano and Craig Ellwood, plus Gregory Ain's Avenel Homes Cooperative . Tickets start at $65.

Architecture tour, Oct. 4

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Walter and Leonore Annenberg Center for Information Science and Technology

Caltech welcomes another piece of unapologetically contemporary architecture to go with Thom Mayne's Cahill Center, which opened earlier this year. Designed by the L.A. firm Frederick Fisher and Partners, the broad-shouldered, three-story building has quite the back story: The site was destined for a building by Rem Koolhaas, and when Koolhaas split with his New York-based partner, Joshua Ramus, Ramus took over the job. But worries about spiraling costs led Caltech's new president, Jean-Lou Chameau, to replace Ramus with Fisher, who has produced one of the most confidently composed buildings of his career, a crisp steel box wrapped in several shades of green glass.

Oct. 3, Caltech

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Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters

On a piece of Civic Center land that community activists and some city planners hoped would eventually hold a park, a very different sort of monument is nearly ready for its ribbon-cutting: The $437-million home for the LAPD, designed by the firm DMJM (now AECOM) to replace the aging Parker Center a few blocks away. We haven't been inside yet, but on the exterior it seems torn between a desire to protect itself -- the structure is set back 75 feet from the street on each side, per federal blast-protection guidelines, even though it's not a federal building -- and an effort to carve out generous public space between its front door and City Hall.

Oct. 24, 1st Street between Main and Spring streets

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LA Live

The late fall and winter will bring yet more openings at the downtown behemoth. December marks the planned debut of a 14-screen multiplex, Regal Cinemas, and by February the main tower at the complex, designed by architects from Gensler and holding both a JW Marriott Hotel and a Ritz-Carlton, should be in operation.

800 W. Olympic Blvd.

OUT OF TOWN

Liege-Guillemins TGV Station

While we in this country dither over high-speed rail and how to fund it, the Europeans rather quietly continue extending their network of fast trains and sleek stations. Spaniard Santiago Calatrava, whose transit hub at the World Trade Center site remains bogged down in politics and cost-cutting, is the architect of this striking facility, whose tracks sit below a billowing, magic-carpet-like roof of white-painted steel.

Friday, Liege, Belgium

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Cowboys Stadium

This month, Dallas' NFL franchise will welcome the New York Giants in the first regular-season game at the House That Jerry Jones Built. The stadium, designed by architecture firm HKS, is drawing notice not just for its cost, which exceeded $1 billion, but also for its Texas-style affection for all things XXL, including a hanging video screen that is 71 feet high and has already been dubbed "Godzilla-Tron."

Sept. 20, Arlington, Texas

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Dallas Center for the Performing Arts

It may be overshadowed locally by the stadium, but in American architectural circles the big debut this fall, without any doubt, is this group of buildings, which its executives are calling "the most significant new performing arts complex to be built since New York City's Lincoln Center." The $354-million project includes a 600-seat theater by Joshua Ramus and Rem Koolhaas, a 2,200-seat opera house by Norman Foster and a 10-acre park by French landscape architect Michel Desvigne.

Opens with a weeklong series of performances Oct. 12-18.

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CityCenter Las Vegas

Already something of an anachronism in these straitened times for its huge scale, giant construction budget and roster of world-famous architects, MGM Mirage's CityCenter project nonetheless is poised for a blowout of a celebration when it finally opens its doors this fall (or some of its doors -- the debut will come in phases, MGM says, following a spate of construction delays and financing problems). Featuring a shopping center by Daniel Libeskind and buildings by Helmut Jahn, Rafael Vinoly and Norman Foster, among other architects, the complex cost a staggering $8.5 billion and covers 67 acres in total, sitting directly on the Las Vegas Strip between the Bellagio and the Monte Carlo.

Dec. 1

christopher.hawthorne@latimes.com

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