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Emerson College, Hollywood : Los Angeles Center
Los Angeles Center Hollywood - design by Morphosis
5 Aug 2008
Emerson College Hollywood
Emerson College Selects L.A.-Based Morphosis Architects to Design its New Los Angeles Center in Hollywood
BOSTON – Boston-based Emerson College today announced the selection of Morphosis Architects to design a new permanent home for its 20-year-old Los Angeles Program.
The multi-purpose, academic and residential Los Angeles Center will be built on a vacant, 37,244-square foot lot at Sunset Boulevard and Gordon Street in Hollywood that the college purchased in March. It will replace currently rented facilities in Burbank.
The selection of Morphosis was announced by Emerson President Jacqueline Liebergott, who said the Los Angeles-based firm, founded and directed by Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate Thom Mayne, was the unanimous choice of a selection committee comprising Emerson Trustees and senior administrators.
“Morphosis has substantial experience designing college and university facilities and an impressive track record of accomplishment in creating a diverse array of signature buildings throughout the country and around the world,” Liebergott said. “We visited several of these and were impressed with the facilities. We were equally impressed with the level of insight into Emerson that Mayne and his staff demonstrated. We look forward to a collegial and creative design process and to creating a facility that will meet the needs of our students and faculty in Los Angeles and reflect the strong presence of Emerson alumni in the entertainment and media industries on the West Coast.”
Mayne said, “Emerson is a special institution with an innovative curriculum and a strong sense of its distinctive mission in communication and the arts. Having had the privilege of getting to know Emerson’s leaders and having viewed the impressive campus they have assembled in Boston’s Theatre District, we are especially honored to have been selected for this prestigious commission.
“Education is the social glue of our diverse society. I believe that architecture can engage deeply in the act of education both by providing an environment that engenders freedom of thought, creativity, and curiosity.”
“This is an ideal project for us and for Los Angeles. We are looking forward to realizing, in our own city, a building that meets the programmatic needs of the institution, expresses Emerson’s unique identity and spirit, and makes a significant contribution to one of L.A.’s most dynamic urban contexts.”
Founded in 1972, Morphosis is an interdisciplinary practice involved in rigorous design and research that yields innovative, iconic buildings and urban environments. Today, the firm comprises more than 60 professionals who remain committed to the practice of architecture as a collaborative enterprise. With projects worldwide, the firm’s work ranges in scale from residential, institutional and civic buildings to large urban planning projects.
Morphosis has completed student housing for the University of Toronto and a student recreation center for the University of Cincinnati. Academic buildings for Cooper Union and Cal Tech, which emphasize high environmental standards, are nearing completion.
Over the past 30 years, Morphosis has received 25 Progressive Architecture awards, 70 American Institute of Architects (AIA) awards and numerous other honors. Thom Mayne was named the 2005 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate, the profession’s highest honor, and in 2006 he received the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award. Morphosis was also selected as the 2005 Firm of the Year by the AIA California Council. Morphosis has been the subject of group and solo exhibitions around the world, including a 2006 exhibition of Morphosis’ work, “Continuities of the Incomplete,” at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. In March 2009, an expanded version exhibition will open at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
Founded in 1880 and based in Boston, Emerson College has programs in the Netherlands as well as in L.A. The college enrolls some 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Its 30,000 alumni, 3,000 of whom reside in Southern California, are active in communication, journalism, advertising, public relations, broadcasting, film, entertainment and other fields. They include, among many others, producers Norman Lear (All in the Family), Kevin Bright (Friends), Max Mutchnick (Will and Grace) and Vin DiBona (America’s Funniest Home Videos); actors Henry Winkler, Denis Leary and Richard Dysart; talk show host Jay Leno; journalist Morton Dean; makeup artist/entrepreneur Bobbi Brown; and broadcast personalities like Maria Menounos of Access Hollywood and The Today Show.
Emerson’s Los Angeles Program currently enrolls approximately 95 college seniors per semester. In addition to taking regular courses, students participate in professional internship programs at television, film and other media outlets throughout Greater Los Angeles. Many of them find jobs and stay in L.A. after they graduate. Classes are currently held in rented space in Burbank. The students are housed at the nearby Oakwood Apartments.
Liebergott said plans for the new, permanent L.A. Center will be developed over the next 18 months in consultation with city officials, neighborhood groups and Emerson faculty and staff in Boston and Los Angeles. “The goal is to create a suitable facility that will meet the current and anticipated future needs of the College while contributing to the vibrancy and economy of the neighborhood in which it will be located,” she added.
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