Swimming Pool Tower

CallisonRTKL proposes Jenga-shaped tower for Downtown L.A.

Architecture News West
View of proposed 5th and Hill tower designed by CarlsonRTKL (Courtesy CarlsonRTKL)
View of proposed 5th and Hill tower designed by CarlsonRTKL (Courtesy CarlsonRTKL)

Global architecture firm CallisonRTKL has unveiled plans for what could turn out to be one of Los Angeles’s most striking new towers.

The project, dubbed 5th and Hill, would be located on an L-shaped lot surrounding the Pershing Square Building located beside Pershing Square park. Though still in the early planning stages, the tower could potentially climb as high as 57-stories and, according to a rendering released by the firm, will feature cantilevered, glass-bottomed swimming pools projecting from the building’s envelope.

That existing Pershing Square Building, originally built in 1924 by architecture firm Curlet & Beelman as an office building, was updated in 2008 by Jeffrey Fish and his JMF Development Company, the same developer behind the new CallisonRTKL tower. The developer added two floors to the structure during that renovation, adding space to accommodate a restaurant called Perch that affords patrons stunning views of the Downtown Los Angeles skyline. The new tower would extend the Perch “sky lobby” laterally, with the new tower articulated around the restaurant area as it rises above. The area between the “sky lobby” and the ground floor will be designed as to bring light into the center of the new building’s site, with a released rendering for the project showing stepped and alternating volumes studded with greenery and structural members.  

As presented in documents filed with the city, the proposed tower could potentially take one of two forms. The preferred scheme entails a 57-story tower with 142 condominiums and 25,000-square feet of commercial space. The second option is two stories shorter and contains 100 condominiums, 200 hotel rooms, and 27,500-square feet of commercial space, overall.

In a press release celebrating the unveiling of the project, Fish cited Southern California’s domestic architectural history as inspiration, stating that the project is “inspired by iconic California mid-century architecture, [and] re-imagines California homes in a sleek, vertical tower. The same principles of celebrating California’s beautiful climate, and seamlessly connecting indoor and outdoor spaces, permeate the building’s design.”

The release of the proposal comes as the areas immediately around Pershing Square gear up for increased development and public interest in anticipation of the troubled park’s $50-million redevelopment by French landscape architecture firm Agence Ter.

News of the development was first published by The Los Angeles Times.

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