Search results for "hollywood"

Placeholder Alt Text

Hollywood Freeway Park Gains Allies in High Places
LA’s proposed 44-acre Hollywood Central Park, which would be set atop the capped 101 Freeway between Santa Monica and Hollywood boulevards, made new friends in Washington last week, according to the LA Daily News. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met with local congressman Adam Schiff and Friends of the Hollywood Central Park (FHCP), a non-profit formed in 2008 to raise funds for the park. LaHood expressed interest in the project, and provided insights on its development and possible benefits. He also offered to have members of his staff contribute to its planning process. As noted in the FHCP website, the park would be built on a deck constructed over the below grade portion of the freeway in that area, allowing easy park access from adjacent streets. FHCP stated that the “44-acre street level urban park allows us to rethink and reimagine our physical environment," adding that the final design would incorporate ideas developed by students at the USC School of Architecture's Master Landscape Studio. AECOM and The Olin Studio have also completed studies for the project. Park features would include “an amphitheater, walking trails, a dog park, a children’s playground, water features, recreational facilities and much more.” The AECOM feasibility study estimates the cost of building the park at $949 million; a more recent cost estimate by Psomas Engineering puts the total development cost closer to $1.15 billion. It's among several freeway cap parks proposed in the city. While $2 million in funding for the park’s EIR was approved by the CRA/LA Board in December 2011, the recent banishment of California's redevelopment agencies puts the funding in question. FHCP board members are working to resolve the issue and say they are moving forward with development. Once the EIR is completed, the feasibility report estimates that the park would take four years to complete.
Placeholder Alt Text

Hollywood Facelift?
Eric Norris / Flickr

In December the Los Angeles Department of City Planning (DCP) released a set of proposed updates to planning guidelines for Hollywood, the neighborhood’s first plan update since 1988. Director of City Planning Michael LoGrande told AN that the impetus for the updates was Hollywood’s “drastic need for revitalization.”

The new plan is based on LA’s general city plan and “focuses on how the city grows and how it handles population growth,” said LoGrande. That includes strategies for transportation, housing, open space, and land use. Hollywood’s plan is the first to be updated under the DCP’s community plan program, which seeks to overhaul similar documents in communities across the city.

According to Senior City Planner Kevin Keller, the scheme has been scrutinized by the press and even referred to as “Manhattan coming to Hollywood.” While the plan proposes taller buildings and higher densities around transportation hubs, allowing up to 6:1 floor area ratio (FAR) in certain locations, it does not advocate implementing a dense city plan comparable to that of New York. By focusing development around community-based “regional centers,” existing lower-density and historic neighborhoods can be maintained, Keller noted.

Proposed land use designation map from the Hollywood Community Plan.
Courtesy The Los Angeles Department of City Planning

The proposal focuses on mixed-use development and proposes an integrated transportation system that includes bike paths, scenic highways, but prioritizes the pedestrian. “To continue to plan for the automobile as an urban way of life has been a detriment to our current living standards,” said Will Wright, director of Government & Public Relations at the AIA Los Angeles. The proposed Hollywood plan aims to create more attractive streetscapes with pedestrian-friendly streets, expanding neighborhood parks, improving existing public spaces, and creating new ones where possible through strategies like capping highways; a proposal for Hollywood Central Park, for example, would cover about a mile of the Hollywood Freeway (US 101).

Despite critics’ fears of Manhattanization, the project has received broad city support. LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called the plan a “comprehensive blueprint that Hollywood desperately needs.” According to LoGrande, the next step in the process for the proposed guidelines is a vote by the Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee of the City Council, which is not yet scheduled. However, the DCP does anticipate City Council reviewing the plan in the next few months.

LoGrande said the project has been in development for the past six to seven years with local citizens and architects helping planners understand policy ordinances and design standards. The planning department has also provided a public forum for people to discuss and challenge the department’s thinking. “Los Angeles is learning about urbanism. It doesn’t have to change the culture of the city, it just has to offer an alternative,” said Bill Roschen, principal at LA-based Roschen Van Cleve Architects and chair of the city’s planning commission.

According to LoGrande, the proposed community plan provides the overall framework for zoning in Hollywood, and if passed, it would transform the way the LA thinks about city planning and development. “If we can try out new ideas and new policies and programs and see how they work, we can then look at the plan and adjust as we need to,” said LoGrande.

Placeholder Alt Text

Hollywood’s Field of Dreams? The Academy Plans an Amphitheater
Now that it's clear that Christian de Portzamparc's Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum in Hollywood will not happen (the Academy will instead reimagine the old May Company building for the museum), the Academy recently shared its plans with the LA Times to build a new amphitheater and 17,000 square foot event space on the dead project's land. The group purchased the 3.5-acre lot near the intersection of Vine Street and Fountain Avenue in 2005 for $50 million. According to the Times, the amphitheater (to be used, of course, to screen movies) will include a raised grassy area and will seat about 300 people. Plans call for a 10,000-square-foot patio adjacent to the amphitheater designed for special events. It looks like the space is probably temporary, as Academy President Tom Sherak said the Academy will keep the space until the site's value climbs back to its 2005 level. On second thought, this amphitheater could be here a while.
Placeholder Alt Text

Quick Clicks> Cul-de-Sack, Talking Transit, Hollywood Project, Park(ing) Police
Cul-de-Sacked. Emily Badger of The Atlantic's newly launched Atlantic Cities argued that the cul-de-sacs—the suburban answer to the overcrowded urban grids—may be a dead-end in more ways that one. Badger said cul-de-sacs are responsible for our decreased sense of safety, and moreover, happiness. Talking Transit. Gothamist is right on calling out New York's MTA as being "really into technology this month." In a win for the constantly connected and a potential loss for our already-hectic commutes, starting Tuesday, AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers can pull out their cell phones and talk away on underground cell service through the 14th Street corridor. It will take the MTA five years to fully cover the entire New York subway system. Five more years of relative peace-and-quiet. Paramount Makeover. The LA Times reported that Paramount Pictures is planning a whopping $700-million upgrade to its Hollywood lot, creating nearly 7,300 jobs during construction over next two decades. Rios Clemente Hale Studios and Levin & Associates Architects are charged with improving a place that hasn't seen much change since the Gary Cooper days without compromising its old Hollywood charm. Park(ing) police. A Miami-based PARK(ing) Day organizer created a green oasis for the day-long celebration of public space, putting up planters and bringing seats, tables, and WiFi, but according to police, he lingered a little too long. Police arrested the man for taking too long to clean up his parklet the next day, reported Streetsblog.  
Placeholder Alt Text

Hodgetts + Fung’s Mini Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl got a miniature version of itself last Friday. Hodgetts + Fung, the architects of the Bowl’s latest 2003 renovation, helped students from LA's Gardner Elementary School build a Polystyrene and PVC pipe replica of the curving amphitheater in honor of the school’s 100th birthday. Partners Craig Hodgetts and Ming Fung, with the help of school teachers, assisted the students build not only a mini-Bowl on the school's asphalt playground, but a mini-museum displaying historic photos of the school. Proceeds from the day's activities—which included food, entertainment and games in addition to bandshell building— will support the school's MusicQ Program, which helps students learn to read, play music, and compose music. (Gardner has a rich arts history. It's Michael Jackson's alma mater, for instance) The school's 100th birthday comes on the coattails of The Hollywood Bowl’s 90th season, which kicked-off earlier this month. Hodgetts + Fung are among several architects to have conceived designs for the Bowl's shell, now in its fifth iteration.  These include Allied Architects; Frank Lloyd Wright's eldest son Lloyd Wright; the engineering firm Elliott, Bowen and Walz and Frank Gehry. And now, of course, fifth graders.
Placeholder Alt Text

Millenium Hollywood
Courtesy Bill Roschen

Millenium Hollywood
Architect: Bill Roschen
Client: Millenium Partners and Argent Ventures
Location: Hollywood, CA
Completion: Not determined

Millennium Hollywood, a mixed use development by Millennium Partners and Argent Ventures, is seeking to further revive downtown Hollywood and preserve the historic Capitol Records tower, designed by Welton Becket in 1956.

According to architect Bill Roschen, who is also chair of the LA Planning Commission, and to spokesperson Brian Lewis, the approximately $1 billion project will include an outdoor public room, a pair of multi-level towers framing the Capitol building, and an off-the-freeway park from 4.47 acres of sunken in land and one million square feet of street level space. The architectural design has not been finalized. A bulk of the development will be located at the corner of Vine and Yucca, near the Hollywood/Vine Red Line Station, and will not obscure the landmark Capitol Records building, with its iconic form.

The project does not currently have an end date, but the 2006 effort, part of a national urban development movement around public transportation, wants to use the area's foot-traffic to rejuvenate the neighborhood.

“There's a real ability for buildings to make space for these historic monuments,” said Roschen. “That's the ambition around Capitol Records–to let the new density actually provide a setting for this historic structure in a true gateway for Hollywood and, in many ways, for Los Angeles.”

Placeholder Alt Text

EVENT> John Chase′s West Hollywood: An Architectural Walking Tour (May 21)
There's nothing that'll kill the buzz on your birthday faster than rumors of the Rapture coming on the same day. But we think John Chase, the beloved urban designer of the City of West Hollywood, would have handled it in stride. Chase, the oft-celebrated "King of Public Space," was a tremendously outspoken presence in planning and politics and was responsible for transforming the scruffy city into one with attractive public spaces that are both progressive and respectful of the city's past. To remember the late urban designer, de LaB, a group of Chase's friends, family, co-workers, and collaborators, is leading a walking tour on the anniversary of his birthday, Saturday, May 21, across the city. Architects and city leaders will guide the participants through various projects and share their memories of Chase and discuss his urban spaces. Stops include Formosa 1140, Plummer Park, The MAK Center, Habitat 825, Holloway Park Veteran's Memorial, Sierra Bonita Affordable Housing, 8140 Sunset Boulevard, and West Hollywood City Hall, among others. The tour will conclude (hopefully with the world still intact) with drinks at one of Chase's favorite places in the city, Barney's Beanery. Presented by KCRW's DnA: Design and Architecture, design east of La Brea and The Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design, the day's speakers include Frances Anderton, Christopher Hawthorne, John Keho, Jennifer Davis, Katherine Spitz, Deborah Murphy, John Kaliski, Margaret Crawford, Lorcan O'Herhily, Richard Loring, Merry Norris, Andy Liu, Wade Killefer, Pat Smith, Bruce Kaye, and more to be announced. John Chase's West Hollywood: An Architectural Walking Tour Saturday, May 21, 2011 10:00 a.m.: Tour departs from the West Hollywood Gateway, 7100 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood. Meet in front of the Starbucks in the courtyard. 5:30 p.m.: Drinks at Barney's Beanery, 8447 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood. You can take the 704 or 4 bus back to the start. Please visit AN's diary for more info.
Placeholder Alt Text

QUICK CLICKS> Hollywood Towers, Philly Pier, Midtown Oasis, Twin City Nonstop
Hollywood High. Promising to make the old Capitol Records building the jewel in a $1 billion real estate crown, developers Millennium Partners and Argent Ventures are proposing to revamp a large swath of Hollywood by clustering one million square feet of multi-use development around the famous tower. The developers told the LA Times that community input will influence the design and that the building where Nat King Cole, Sinatra, and the Beach Boys made their magic will hopefully remain an entertainment hub called Millennium Hollywood. Race to the Finish. Philly's Race Street Pier is now complete and gets the ball rolling on the Delaware River Waterfront's master plan. The new pier runs just slightly south of the Ben Franklin Bridge and park designs reinforce the span's perspective. A single file line-up of 37 swamp white oak trees march out toward Jersey. PlanPhilly's got the all the details. Midblock Crosswalk. DNA has been following the push by Midtown residents to clear the way for little known pedestrian arcades and corridors that run from from 51st to 57th Streets between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. At the moment, cars block the privately owned public walkways and residents want the DOT to make them more accessible by providing crosswalks and not allowing parking in front of them. Buses to Nowhere. Citing a Brookings Institute report, The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal noted that though 67 percent of Twin City residents can walk to a bus stop from home, only 30 percent of the buses stop near their jobs. For metro areas nationwide, New York came in last while Honolulu came in first. The report counts Poughkeepsie as part of the New York metro area. Really? Poughkeepsie?
Placeholder Alt Text

QUICK CLICKS> Blue Urbanism, Shelter, Hollywood, Tower
Ocean Cities. It's been a year since Americans watched oil spew from the gusher in the gulf. Only limited regulatory reforms saw the light of day. Timothy Beatley thinks it was a missed opportunity. In Design Observer, the University of Virginia professor argues that the key to the ocean's future lies on land, with cities. Changes on land can have an enormous impact at sea, and Beatley thinks that cities have to the tools to make it happen. Gimme Shelter. The Board of Standards and Appeals shot down arguments from the Chelsea Flatiron Coalition to halt the Bowery Residents Committee from moving a new homeless shelter on to West 25th Street, reports Chelsea Now. With new digs good to go, the charity has already set their sites on Brooklyn where they plan to open a 200-bed shelter in Greenpoint. Gimme Signage. Since 1923 small signs guided tourists trough the lush curved roads of Beachwood Canyon to the  Hollywood sign. The iconic vista was considered a boon to local real estate. But with property values firmly established, the WSJ reports that many owners don't want the hoi polli blocking their view and took the signs down, leaving the hapless tourists wandering the canyon. West Loop Tower. The Chicago Sun-Times says that the 48-story tower proposed to sit next to the Crowne Plaza at the corner of Madison and Halsted may soon become a reality. After a sluggish start, plans are moving forward to make it the tallest building in Greektown, writes Curbed Chicago.  
Placeholder Alt Text

Morphosis Brings Big Box School to Hollywood
The LA Planning Commission approved a Morphosis designed building for Emerson College's entertainment program.
Courtesy Morphosis

Morphosis’ new Hollywood outpost for Boston-based Emerson College was approved on Thursday by the LA Planning Commission. The 125,000 square foot Emerson Center will be the permanent home for the college’s entertainment-centered internship program, currently located in Burbank.

The monumental project in many ways resembles Johann Otto von Spreckelsen's Grande Arche de La Défense in the Paris business district, albeit a more contemporary and sustainable version. It also has a distant sibling in the form of Gensler’s three-year-old headquarters for the Creative Artists Agency in Century City.

A terrace atop the building-within-a-building.

The new building will rise to 10 stories at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Gordon Street. Its cube-shaped exterior, covered with a grid of aluminum sun shades, will surround a large void, inset with a deconstructed concrete, glass, and steel core, which will project toward Sunset. The building is seeking a minimum LEED Silver rating and will feature exterior landscaping as well as a vine-growing trellis along the Gordon Street side, creating a leafy entranceway as well as shading for a café.

The sides of the building will contain residence halls while the center will contain classrooms, administrative space, and two retail venues located along Sunset. The project will also include outdoor terraces, outdoor instructional spaces, and a large open stair ascending from the third to fifth floors.

The building is a mix of striking geometric and abstract shapes.

When the project was announced two years ago, firm founder Thom Mayne said it "makes a significant contribution to one of L.A.'s most dynamic urban contexts." Firm principal Kim Groves said that the quiet exterior is meant to defer to the incredible variety of its neighborhood, and that the core's visual movement would reflect "the intensity of what happens on the inside." The project is set to appear before LA City Council in mid-August.

Placeholder Alt Text

Hollywood Sign Secretly Saved
It all seems so hush-hush, which is surprising in Hollywood, but the Hollywood Sign has apparently been in trouble for some time.  Chicago-based  Fox River Financial Resources has been trying to sell  large parcels on the hill just next to its "H" for luxury homes. The company bought the land from the estate of Howard Hughes in 2002. Luckily the Trust For Public Land has secured an option to buy the  138-acres on Cahuenga Peak for about $12 million, hoping to maintain views of and around the sign, and to preserve local recreation and habitats. The Trust has already raised about $6 million from sources like the Tiffany & Co Foundation and from Hollywood celebrities like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Virginia Madsen, and Aisha Tyler. Now all that's left is for the group to raise another $6 million more by April 14 to complete the deal. To donate, go here.
Placeholder Alt Text

Team Hollywood
Daly Genik's poolside cabana.
Courtesy Daly Genik

the hotel and condo development anchors Hollywood Boulevard's eastern flank.
courtesy daly genik
it departs from the clubby W mood, with a light-filled lobby and swarovski chandelier.
tim street porter

the residential portion features digitally machined slats of douglas fir.  
courtesy daly genik

The W Hollywood Hotel and Residences is finally scheduled to open tomorrow, dropping its hefty highrise anchor on the eastern flank of a revitalized Hollywood Boulevard. The $350 million development, by Gatehouse Capital and HEI Hotels & Resorts, brings 305 hotel rooms and 143 luxury residences to the neighborhood.

In a collaboration that Kevin Daly of Daly Genik Architects dubbed a “Venn diagram,” due to the way their contributions overlapped, a sizeable group of firms worked on the project, including LA architects like HKS Architects, Rios Clementi Hale Studios, Daly Genik, and Sussman/ Prejza; Portland, Oregon–based designstudio; and a trio of artists—Erwin Redl, Pae White, and Christian Moeller.

The hotel bucks previous style cues established by the W, well known for its clubby, violet-lit interiors. This W is sun-drenched and glamorous, featuring a dramatic circular lobby staircase with Swarovski crystals trailing down its center, by designstudio, developer Marty Collins, and a team of lighting designers.

“The amount of light here is definitely something that had to get carried through the project,” said Daly, who sourced warm, natural materials for the residential portion of the project, such as wave-like slats of computer-cut Douglas fir that cover lobby walls. On the rooftop residential pool, Daly Genik’s cabanas are walls of squared aluminum “scales.”

Elsewhere in the complex, HKS Architects and Rios Clementi Hale added exterior sheer glass walls to evoke the “silver screen,” including a glass-box nightclub 12 stories up that cantilevers 52 feet over Hollywood Boulevard.

Perhaps the most stunning contributions are public art pieces. Christian Moeller’s hunk of milled aluminum uses light and shadows to reveal a series of waving hands. Pae White’s mobile of painted metal circles will cascade down into a 12-story alcove, while Erwin Redl’s strings of LED lights drape into the auto plaza, lighting up like a disco ball.

At the epicenter of this boutique chic is an unusual amenity: A Metro Red Line subway station embedded within the courtyard. Rios Clementi Hale’s Frank Clementi said his team looked to the courtyards found in places like Grauman’s Chinese Theater for inspiration. Palms and bamboo create dramatic partitions in the space and contribute to the “filmic” quality of the plaza. “In order to be contextual in Hollywood, we had to be exotic,” he said.

Another nod to Hollywood history: A red carpet, made from a ground glass-impregnated aggregate, leads from the sidewalk through the lobby and into the auto courtyard. Other plaza finishes include black granite and a dusting of feldspar, which reference Hollywood Boulevard’s glittery terrazzo. “Folks should expect us to tastefully reinvent old Hollywood,” said Gatehouse Capital’s Collins. “And I think we did that."