Urban Design

Radio Activation

Over the next year, the visionaries behind a new downtown headquarters for Capital Public Radio will transform a long-empty mid-century building into a living, breathing physical manifestation of the station’s news-and-music format. Behold the ultimate audiovisual room.

The Ice Blocks Cometh

It is, by all appearances, an urban utopia. Come this spring, more than 500 people will work there, more than 200 will live there, and thousands more will dine and shop there. Its innovative tenant mix ranges from an insanely popular “doughnuterie” to a gourmet dog food shop and an Internet-based boutique where you don’t leave with the clothes you buy. And this bustling village within a city—elevated by art and cutting-edge architecture—all exists within a two-block span in the coolest district in town. Could the Ice Blocks be the new model for modern living in Sacramento?

The Scene Setter

If dining out is a theatrical experience, then Sacramento interior designer Whitney Johnson may be the city’s leading set designer, crafting visual feasts to complement the edible art on our plates. From the Shady Lady Saloon’s lush Gold Rush bordello look to Hook & Ladder’s hipster-historic vibe and Kru’s Tokyo-inspired elevated elegance, she’s curating the culinary environment for some of the city’s most accomplished chefs and bar masters. And she’s just getting started. With a bevy of savory new projects about to be launched, the 31-year-old Rocklin native is more poised than ever to design and conquer.

Modern Classics

With a new landmark study, Sacramento is officially recognizing the mid-century modern structures that define a critical period in our city’s architectural history. Here are five retro-cool gems—from Gunther’s to Eichlers—that deserve a deeper look into what makes them both time-specific and timeless.

Raising the Barn

On the banks of the mighty Sacramento River, an instant architectural icon has sprouted from the earth, connecting the natural landscape of the riverfront to its modern neighbors ashore, all while making a bold statement about our region’s history and our new civic identity. Here’s how our newest urban landmark was born.

Bruce Monighan Q&A

In December, local architect Bruce Monighan took on the role of Sacramento’s Urban Design Manager. He shares his vision for creating a distinctive regional style, using steel shipping containers in architecture, attracting the next generation of downtown dwellers (hello, flexible micro-apartments), and building a city for the 22nd century.

Designs Within Reach 2014

Thanks to some big thinkers and talented designers, our region’s architectural profile is poised to rise in the next few years, both literally and figuratively. Here’s a preview of some of our faves.

Bright Lights, Big City

The effort to save the Kings proved that we’re a city that can come together when we want to. Now we have a chance to show how bright our future really can be.

A Competitive Spirit

A novel concept behind the new arena campaign (public input) and a strategy for a revamped Capitol Mall (a design competition) are steps in the right direction toward great civic design. But they’re just a start.

Catalyst for Change

The recent design competition to reinvigorate Capitol Mall is a big step in the right direction. But now that the ideas are on the table, let’s make sure we’re viewing the situation from the right vantage point (preferably a high one).

“Pop” Art

Two men hope to pay tribute to their fathers by building what could become an instant architectural icon. But it won’t be a piece of cake.