Put Some Towers on It

Pei Cobb Freed & Partners add two towers to storied Century Plaza Hotel

Architecture News West
(Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)
(Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

The storied history of Los Angeles’s Century Plaza Hotel, the Minoru Yamasaki–designed stopover for presidents Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan and site of violently-quelled anti-Vietnam war protests, is finally gaining steam as the hotel’s $2.5 billion redevelopment moves toward a late summer groundbreaking.

(Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

(Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

Plans for the redevelopment were approved in 2013 after a lengthy and controversial back and forth between developers, who wanted to demolish the 50-year-old hotel and replace it with a pair of 46-story Pei Cobb Freed & Partners–designed condo towers, and preservationists who wanted to see the landmark building saved. Preservationists won out in 2009, after Washington, D.C.–based National Trust for Historic Preservation announced that the hotel had been placed on their list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for that year. In response, the developer tapped Marmol Radziner to preserve and renovate the hotel as part of the overall redevelopment of the 5.74 acre site.

(Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

(Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

Pei Cobb Freed & Partners’ designs for the pair of Reuleaux triangle-shaped glass towers utilizes the space between them and the historic building to create an expansive public shopping courtyard that continues through the hotel’s lobby, connecting to foot traffic along Century City’s main thoroughfare, Avenue of the Stars. That street will host a new subway station when the forthcoming extension the Purple Line is completed in 2026. The site will also feature shopping areas and landscaped terraces designed by Rios Clementi Hale Studios along the perpendicular Constellation Boulevard. The towers themselves are wrapped in scalloped, glass-clad balconies, echoing Yamasaki’s designs for the Plaza Hotel, and will contain a total of 290 luxury condominiums.

(Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

(Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

The existing structure, preserved as it may be, is to be thoroughly gutted from within, with the total number of rooms available dropping from 726 in the current building to 394 much larger suites in the remade structure; 63 condominium residences are also being incorporated into the designs.  The structure, to be listed as a City Historic-Cultural Monument, will feature 11,000 of the 94,000 square feet of overall retail and restaurant space in the development, while also retaining its existing 26,250 square foot ballroom.

(Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

(Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

Gensler is acting as the executive architect for the project. An official construction timeline for the project has not been released.

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