Tucson, AZ
Date posted: August 15, 2011

Tucson, AZ from Culture Now on Vimeo.

Flint, MI
Date posted:

Flint, MI from Culture Now on Vimeo.

Atlantic City, NJ
Date posted: July 28, 2011

Atlantic City from Culture Now on Vimeo.

Mobile, AL
Date posted:

Mobile, AL from Culture Now on Vimeo.

Cleveland, OH
Date posted:

Cleveland, OH from Culture Now on Vimeo.

Toledo, OH
Date posted:

Toledo, OH from Culture Now on Vimeo.

New Orleans, LA
Date posted:

New Orleans from Stacey Rigley on Vimeo.

Date posted: July 14, 2011

Introduction from Culture Now on Vimeo.

Thom Mayne and the National Endowment for the Arts: National Mayors Summit on City Design, April 28th, Chicago
Date posted: April 6, 2011

Thom Mayne will give the keynote address at the National Endowment for the Arts National Mayors Summit on City Design in Chicago April 27 – 29. The presentation on April 28 will focus on the research and evaluations of Culture Now – the Contemporary American Condition.
More information on the Mayors Institute on City Design here.

Thom Mayne and the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, March 1st
Date posted:

President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities member Thom Mayne presents Culture Now – the Contemporary American Condition to the committee on March 1st 2011.  More on the PCAH here, download the presentation here.

SUPRA review, UCLA, March 14th, 2011
Date posted: April 1, 2011

Karen Lohrmann and Thom Mayne introduce the studio to the morning session guest critics (from l to r): Greg Otto (Buro Happold), John Enright (SCI-Arc), Neil Denari (UCLA), Barbara Bestor (Woodbury), Ben Loescher (Center for Land Use Interpretation), Dana Cuff (UCLA CityLAB), and Stephen Deters (UCLA)

Yang Wang (l) and Cheng Ha present their research on new energy culture in Toledo, Ohio

A mid-day recap discussion examined the differences and similarities of Atlantic City, Toledo, New Orleans, and Mobile.

Dylan Barlow, Sepa Sama, and Wayne Ko present their research on the potential effects of high speed rail in the emerging university town of Merced, California.  Afternoon guest critics included (from r to l) Olivier Tourraine (USC), Richard Weinstein (UCLA), Warren Techentin, Christophe Cornubert (PUSH), Andrew Liang (USC), Orhan Ayyuce, and Martin Krammer

Urban Research Trip: Flint, Michigan
Date posted:

After another exciting journey into the depths of Supra’s cities, Flint has been de-mystified. The city remains at the core of many tough issues that face our studio, but after visiting we found a sense of optimism that exists within the city that may prove to meet the coming challenges. This is a place where so problems give rise to an abundance of unique potentials.

–Layton Petersen

Urban Research Trip: New Orleans
Date posted:

St. Roch, New Orleans, LA

Drive through some of the neighborhoods in New Orleans and you begin to get an idea about what 60,000 blighted properties actually looks like. On my recent visit to New Orleans, I set off exploring the neighborhoods of St. Claude, St. Roch, and the 7th Ward, 3 neighborhoods that have some of the highest vacancy rates in the city. to see what the city with the highest blight rate in the country looked like. With 25% of the housing stock blighted or vacant, New Orleans presents a unique opportunity to intervene on the situation as the city begins to develop a strategy for dealing with such an extensive problem.

-Stacey Rigley

Urban Research (side) Trip: Detroit
Date posted:

Learning from Detroit
In the Motor City, a theater has been gutted and renovated as a parking garage.  Contemporary needs replace cultural desire… is this the contemporary American condition?

Urban Research Trip: Toledo
Date posted:

-Yang Wang and Cheng Ha

Urban Research Trip: Cleveland, Ohio
Date posted:

Cleveland presents a unique opportunity to re-define the role of contemporary culture in the urban environment.  Our weeklong research trip from February 15th-20th involved extensive site studies, conversations and interviews, and research within the local cultural scene.  Our work is focused on the Cuyahoga River and its potential as a vibrant social and cultural space within the city through increasing public access, encouraging new spatial uses, and proposing a new urban framework to negotiate public and private interests along the river and its adjacent neighborhoods.

-Jai Kumaran and Clayton Taylor

Cleveland downtown looking NW.  The Cuyahoga River is situated west of downtown and is crossed by rail and highway bridges.

Innerbelt Bridge and bulk storage along the riverfront with downtown beyond.  Multiple layers of infrastructure and industry prevent public access to this central space in the city.

Clay Taylor and Karen Lohrmann along the industrial river.

Panoramas of the river valley and its industrial infrastructure.

Our Hybrid Strategies develop by combining issues and opportunities in the river valley, including industrial infrastructure, parks, environmentally contaminated sites, river maintenance, public access, and bridges.


Thanks to:

Paul Alsenas, Director, Cuyahoga County Planning Commission

Tom Schorgl, President and CEO, Community Partnership for Arts and Culture

Karen Gahl-Mills, Executive director, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture

Dan Brown, Collector and Owner, 78th Street Galleries

Hilary Aurand, Gallerist, Artist, Legation Gallery

Terry Schwarz, Director, Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, Kent State University

David Beach, Director and Marc Lefkowitz, Editor, Green City Blue Lake

Robert Brown, Director, Cleveland City Planning Department

John Kaminski, President and Elaine Marsh, Conservation Director, Friends of the Crooked River

Urban Research Trip: Merced, California
Date posted:

San Joaquin Valley Strata – Merced, California:  Aquifer, freight rail, Highway 99, industrial development, suburban development, agriculture:

University of California Merced, as the first 21st century university in the United States, is redefining what it means to be a research-oriented campus in America. (below)

–Sepa Sama, Wayne Ko, and Dylan Barlow

Urban Research Trip: Atlantic City, New Jersey
Date posted:

As our research continued we reached the point that we needed on the ground knowledge of the city.  Walking around the city we got a better knowledge of the problems facing the city and a greater appreciation for the history of the city.  Through the various meetings we learned of Atlantic City’s rich cultural history.  –Bryan Tranbarger and Christopher Harris

Atlantic City as seen from the Housing Authority’s office

Construction site for the new Revel Casino with the existing housing nearby.

Many thanks to the people who graciously met with us to discuss Atlantic City:

William Crane, Director of Planning Atlantic City

Jordan Cox, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority

Jeremy Sunkett, Casino Reinvestment Development Authority

Alex Marino, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Pamela T. James, Housing Authority and Urban Redevelopment Agency of Atlantic City

Urban Research Trip: Tucson, Arizona
Date posted:

Ecology Rewind: Los Angeles + Tucson

A Los Angeles thirty years younger, Tucson can currently be defined by a set of its own ecologies: The Plains of Independence, the Foothills, (Street) Surfaces, and last but not least, the Arroyo.  The manipulation of these latent ecologies will provide the foundation for intervention and help establish Tucson’s potential to become the contemporary American southwest city.  –Grady Gilles

Can a city be identified by its signage alone?  Case study 01: Tucson, Arizona.

Urban Research Trip: Mobile, Alabama
Date posted:

After visiting Helen Wood Park, the site of Mobile’s oyster restoration project, we were given a tour of the neighboring fishing communities within the larger Mobile region. Our guide, Bethany Kraft of the Alabama Coastal Foundation, drove us as far as Bayou le Batre, an area that is still suffering from the repercussions of the BP Oil Spill. Seeing the dependence of this community on the fishing economy further emphasized the necessity of restoration efforts to strengthen marine ecologies worldwide.


Many thanks to the people who graciously met with us to discuss Mobile City:

Bill Finch
executive director
Mobile Botanical Gardens.

Bethany Kraft
Executive Director
Alabama Coastal Foundation

Bert Hoffman, AICP, RLA
Planner 2
Planning Section / Urban Development Dept
City of Mobile

Diane Burnett
Director of Governmental Services
South Alabama Regional Planning Commission

Chastity Piper
South Alabama Regional Planning Commission

Brian Slaton
South Alabama Regional Planning Commission

Cole Appelman
Director of Construction Management
Mobile Housing Board

Bob Burnett
Executive Director
Mobile Arts Council

Scott Kearney
GIS Manager
City of Mobile GIS

Missy  Zak
GE Realtors

–Emily Cheng and Matt Kendall

Culture Now
Date posted: January 26, 2011

Our second paper fresh off the press this morning.  A national policy review and 8 cities in-depth.  Pick up a copy at UCLA AUD’s front office or email info@aud.ucla.edu

Urban Areas / Project Discussions
Date posted: January 24, 2011

(Left to Right) Andrew Liang of Studio 0.10 and Form Zero, Matthew Coolidge and Ben Loescher from The Center for Land Use Interpretation, with Karen Lohrmann and the SUPRA crew.

Sepa Sama’s studio is the medium
Date posted: January 14, 2011

Wednesday Jan 12 at 8pm

the title is,

studio is the medium
after years of living in suitcases, finally unpacking my books and thoughts, organizing them into the extension of my mind,
I will share with you my plastic clouds.
bring me light friend,

I speak out of the deep of night
out of the deep of darkness
and out of the deep of night I speak.

if you come to my house, friend
bring me a lamp and a window I can look through
at the crowd in the happy alley.
–Forugh Farrokhzad

Fall Review
Date posted: December 3, 2010

Reviewers from left: Richard Weinstein, Jason Payne, Stephen Deters, Victor Jones, Orhan Ayyuce, Jens Hommert, Karen Lohrmann, Thom Mayne (standing).

A wrap-up of our Fall quarter work focusing on the economy, ecology, and arts culture that form the contemporary American condition.

SUPRA Southwest Trip
Date posted: November 19, 2010

California, Arizona, New Mexico, and West Texas.  In 3 vans.  In 4 days.
The backstory: As we looked at various elements of culture in America we realized that our most valuable asset was the ability to go out and experience the art, the performances, and the culture of the country itself.  Our search for signs of culture led us to a wide range of places, chasing all kinds of stories, and driving all kinds of miles.  We visited cities including El Centro, Tucson, Socorro, Las Cruces, Albuquerque, and Marfa.  Stops along the way included the Salton Sea, Arcosanti, the Very Large Array, and Donald Judd’s Chinati Foundation in Marfa.

LA River Field Trip
Date posted: October 13, 2010

Down off 6th we checked out the ecologically unique landscape of the LA River and its surroundings.

Studio Work
Date posted: October 12, 2010

Involved discussions with Thom about the seemingly infinite possibilities of the research so far.

Summer Review
Date posted: September 24, 2010

We did a global review of art festivals, art fairs, planned cultural cities, and non-profit organizations and used a series of self-generated metrics to compare the huge variety of unique events and approaches to arts culture around the world.