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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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
courtesy daly genik
tim street porter
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."