Portland's TVA Architects will soon be joining The Dog Whisperer, primitive tribes of New Guinea and Jacques Cousteau as stars of National Geographic channel. A six-part series called "L.A. Hard Hats" will document construction of the Evo condominium tower in downtown Los Angeles.
The show premieres this Sunday, August 3 and features the construction of this modern, 24-story, eco-friendly high-rise from the perspective of the trades people involved in the building process from the ground up.
Evo was developed by Portland developers Williams & Dame and Gerding Edlen, and designed as a joint venture between TVA Architects Inc. and GBD Architects, with TVA as lead designer. These Portland developers and architecture firms are really occupying a lead role (and a LEED role, if you'll pardon the pun) in remaking downtown LA as a pedestrian and transit friendly center for the city in a way it's never been. (Ankrom Moisan is also inolved on numerous projects down there along with GBD and TVA.)
Obviously Los Angeles has plenty of great architects and firms. Besides the superstars like Thom Mayne and Frank Gehry, there are also talents like Larry Scarpa, Sarah Graham, Ray Kappe, Touraine & Richmond, Daly Genek, and many more. Even so, if some of Portland's larger condo designers can make a beachhead in Southern California, what about some of our city's smaller boutique firms getting some infill condos happening down there as well? I bet Los Angeles would love the work of Jeff Kovel from Skylab, for example, or Jeff Lamb at Sienna. In the latter case, Sienna is working on numerous large scale projects in China that could also qualify them for bigger jobs with the likes of Mark Edlen and Homer Williams.
I may have made fun of National Geographic a little, but the Evo tower will be in good company on that channel. Tonight, for example, they're running a documentary about the new National Stadium by Herzog & de Meuron (with Chinese artist-architect Ai Weiwei), which after having seen it in person last November, I can vouch is a real masterpiece.