Posts tagged with "Downtown Los Angeles":

Placeholder Alt Text

Checking in on the Fort Moore Memorial restoration in L.A.

In the two years since restoration work on the largely-forgotten Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial restoration in Downtown Los Angeles began, the areas around the isolated military memorial fountain have begun to see signs of change. To the north, the LA Plaza Village project, a new mixed-use development by architects Johnson Fain and landscape architects SWA Group, will likely transform the area when its 355 housing units and 46,000 square feet of commercial spaces come online in 2018. That project will take over several Los Angeles County–owned parking lots occupying the relatively isolated blocks east of the memorial. These formerly-neglected hillside lands are populated mostly by encampments, parking lots, and planted slopes and are relatively difficult to access on foot. The LA Plaza project will feature, however, a central, stepped paseo connecting across several blocks, linking the memorial with the pedestrian life of the Olvera Street area to the east. The Civic Center area to the south of the memorial, meanwhile, is working toward implementing the initial phases of a new, transformative master plan that seeks to convert the bureaucratic enclave into a mixed-use residential neighborhood in its own right. If there’s anything in the air around these parts, it’s change. Work on the Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial continues in pursuit of these changes, as the fountain—its waters shut off since the 1977 drought—is meticulously restored by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission under the guidance of Conservator Donna Williams and Civic Art Collections Manager Clare Haggarty. The memorial is located atop the stubborn slope that gives Downtown Los Angeles’s Hill Street its name and is dedicated to the Mormon Battalion and the New York Volunteer American military forces that first raised the American flag over the recently-conquered California territory on July 4th, 1847. The memorial is situated in a sunken plaza that features a large, running-bond brick expanse on its northernmost end. Next follows the 80-foot-wide waterfall backed by small, colorful tiles. The southernmost portion of the memorial contains a 78-foot by 45-foot terra cotta bas relief installation designed by renowned German sculptor Henry Kreis depicting the flag raising ceremony mentioned above. The bas relief installation also features a trio of symbolic narrative compositions celebrating the area’s conquest via Manifest Destiny. The uppermost panel celebrates the post-indigenous Spanish ranchos and agricultural pioneers of the area. The central panel depicts a “prairie schooner,” a type of stagecoach used by the early American settlers “who made Los Angeles a city,” while the lowest panel celebrates the might of industrial “water and power” that allowed for the region to be inhabited on a mass scale. The overall memorial was designed by Southern California architects Kazumi Adachi and Dike Nagano between 1947 and 1957 and officially dedicated in 1958. The memorial also features a 68-foot-tall triumphal pylon designed by American sculptor Albert Stewart. The pylon is itself embossed by a 16-foot by 11-foot sculpted eagle bas relief and an inscription dedicated to the “brave men and women” who played a role in “extending the frontiers” of the United States westward. Haggarty spoke to The Architect’s Newspaper (AN) via email, explaining that work on the memorial restoration is well underway, with the restoration of the waterfall’s tile backing proceeding toward completion. Craftspeople are recreating replacement tiles for the wall by hand in an effort to match the original installation. Haggarty explained that when the waterfall was turned off during the 1977 drought, the monument began to fall into disrepair, but that many of the artistic components are in decent shape, otherwise. She explained, “The materials [like] grout, tiles, etc. started to get brittle and began to delaminate” when the water was originally shut off and that after over 40 years of neglect, “the plumbing for the waterfall needs to be entirely replaced.” A goal of the restoration is to return the monument to its original function as a fountain, assuming there is enough water to go around. Haggarty explained, “It is supposed to be a fountain and turning it off caused most of the issues. Another big issue is graffiti and prior methods of removal that have done more harm than good.” A broad patch of paint along the brick wall portion of the project is a testament to that fact. Haggarty and Williams will both be presenting at the Los Angeles Visionary Association salon on Sunday, April 30th. The event, organized by preservation advocates Kim Cooper and Richard Schave, will include lectures from the women behind the restoration project as well as a tour of the restoration site. Schave told AN via email, “The Fort Moore Memorial is a huge part of the downtown landscape, poorly understood, and neglected, and now, thanks to the LA County Arts Commission, it is coming back into focus.” Schave added that the restoration “allows us to reassert the lost history of [Fort Moore] Hill—the demolished layers from the 19th and early 20th centuries, including the people who lived there—and the monument itself.”
Placeholder Alt Text

New rendering released for L.A.’s third-tallest tower

To take a walk down Downtown Los Angeles's Figueroa Corridor these days is to behold a sea of construction cranes. The entire area is currently being transformed by rising crop of transit-accessible high-rise luxury towers. One of the biggest changes coming to the area will be the recently-proposed Figueroa Centre tower project by architects Callison RTKL. The designers recently revealed a second rendering for their new 66-story tower which, if completed according to plan, will become not only the third-tallest structure in Los Angeles, but also the tallest residential building in the region. The project is slated for 200 condominium units, 220 hotel rooms, and 94,000 square feet of retail spaces. The new tower—it will be located at 925 S. Figueroa Street and rise 975 feet—is part of the large-scale effort to make Los Angeles a better draw for large-scale trade and professional conventions by boosting the overall supply of rental housing and hotel rooms in the areas surrounding the Los Angeles Convention Center and L.A. Live complexes. The city is currently planning to add 8,000 new hotel rooms to those areas, a boom that over the next few years will add a new wing to Downtown Los Angeles’s fledgling skyline. For the most part, the new towers are being built above existing surface parking lots. Up until recently, the city’s downtown skyline was made up mostly of high-rise office towers built in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Over the next ten or so years, however, roughly 20 new towers are due to sprout along Figueroa Street alone, from the foot of L.A.’s newest, tallest tower—the 1,018-foot-tall, A.C. Martin-designed Wilshire Grand Hotel—to the southernmost flank of Interstate-10. Several of those projects are already well under construction, including the Callison RTKL-designed Oceanwide Plaza complex, a $1 billion project consisting of a trio of towers rising between 40- and 49-stories in height. The podium levels of that project are quickly rising out of the ground. Ultimately, the project will contain 150,000 square feet of shopping areas, 504 condominium units, and a 184-key hotel. The twin, 36-story tall Circa towers by Harley Ellis Devereaux are nearly topped-out, according to a time-lapse camera perched over the site. Crews at the Circa site have been snapping curtain wall elements into place over the last few weeks, while crews at the Metropolis project have finished one of that project’s four towers are and are making quick work of the remaining three. A timeline for the Figueroa Centre project has not been announced.
Placeholder Alt Text

Johnson Fain unveils new rendering for 12-story tower Los Angeles’s Arts District

Los Angeles–based architects Johnson Fain have revealed a new rendering for 641, a proposed mixed-use tower in the Los Angeles Arts District. The tower, located at 641 South Imperial Avenue, is expected to rise a total of 12 stories and will become among the tallest buildings in the vicinity, upon completion. The tower complex will contain 140 live-work lofts, 7,000 square feet of ground floor retail, and 7,000 square feet of creative office space. The complex will also contain an arts-focused space, as well as four levels of subterranean parking that will house 162 automobile stalls. According to the rendering released by the firm, the rectangular tower will feature a gridded facade along at least one side populated by large, presumably unit-wide balcony spaces. These modules are repeated across the expanse and feature angled edges that will function as vertical louvers for the east-facing facade. The angled walls will follow an undulating pattern as they climb up the tower’s height and seem to be bounded by glass railings and floor-to-ceiling windows along the balcony spaces. The arrangement sits atop a two-story, brick-clad base containing the ground floor retail and creative office spaces along the second floor. Units in the development are expected to range between 600 and 1,300 square feet in size, according to Johnson Fain. The Arts District neighborhood is currently made up of one- and two-story warehouse and industrial buildings, but many large-scale projects are in the works. A recently-revealed complex by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) for a lot around the corner from 641 is due to rise approximately the same height. Architects Herzog & de Meuron have also proposed a large-scale project for Sixth and Alameda nearby. That project, dubbed 6AM, includes a pair of high-rise towers—one due to climb 732 feet high and the other, 710 feet—that will transform the neighborhood’s skyline. A timeline for the Johnson Fain project has not been released.
Placeholder Alt Text

L.A. to heal planning scars with ambitious Civic Center Master Plan

The City of Los Angeles is moving quickly in its efforts to rework the historic Civic Center district as it aims to rectify nagging post-World War II era planning and building legacies amid a period of intense development within surrounding Downtown Los Angeles neighborhoods. The areas around the district—roughly encompassed by the 101 Freeway, Judge John Aiso Street, 1st Street and Grand Avenue—are already undergoing broad change, including the recent completion of the SOM-designed Los Angeles U.S District Courthouse and the forthcoming First and Broadway park by Mia Lehrer+Associates and OMA. The area is also due to receive a series of high-rise residential towers from Canadian developers Onni Group, including a boxy scheme by Gensler and a collection of pointed condo towers by AC Martin. The draft plan aims to convert the purpose-built bureaucratic and administrative quarter into a “Civic Innovation District”—a mixed-use neighborhood containing street-fronting retail, startup office space, broad pedestrian paths, a bounty of public parks, and high-rise residential housing. In March, the Los Angeles City Council voted to approve the new Civic Center Master Plan—a document based on a study by multi-service firm IBI Group that would guide the redevelopment of the area. The plan envisions adding 1.2 million square feet of office space to the area, as well as roughly 1.1 million square feet of housing, and at least 217,500 square feet of retail space, all the while reworking surrounding streets and blocks into a network of interconnected, axially-driven, pedestrian-friendly promenades. Most controversially, instituting the plan involves demolishing a variety of structures, including the historic but socially-problematic former Los Angeles Police Department headquarters from 1955—designed by architect Welton Becket and known as Parker Center. The modernist-style City Hall East building and the Metropolitan Detention Center, a 757-bed federal prison, would also be demolished via the plan, among other structures. Another aim of the plan is to establish City Hall as the visual and conceptual locus for an area that would stitch together the Bunker Hill, Little Tokyo, Arts District, and El Pueblo neighborhoods. The plan would be implemented over six phases beginning later this year with the demolition of Parker Center. That structure was recently denied historic status and is headed toward demolition, to be replaced with a high-rise tower containing 712,500 square feet of office space and 37,500 square feet of ground floor retail. The existing City Hall South building will be replaced starting in 2019 with 569,000 square feet of housing and 90,000 square feet of retail uses in a podium-style tower that would also create a paseo between itself and the City Hall East building. The housing tower would face the Morphosis-designed CalTrans Building from 2004 and would sit diagonally from the new Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters building by AECOM from 2009 that made the Parker Center structure functionally redundant. Starting in 2021, the scheme calls for converting the existing Los Angeles Mall into a 390-foot tall tower complex containing 675,000 square feet of government office, commercial, and flexible spaces. The podium-style building will leave generous, wedge-shaped areas along the ground as open space. A fourth phase would bring another 520,000 square feet of housing and 90,000 square feet of retail to the southern portion of the block containing the Parker Center’s replacement between 2024 and 2027. Planning documents show those structures as a series of wedge-shaped housing towers and low commercial buildings organized around a continuation of the paseo started on the block just to the north. This paseo would connect to the booming Little Tokyo and Arts District neighborhoods, which are due to receive a slew of high-rise, mixed-use developments along the Alameda Corridor, as well. Following that development—the document times phase five to start in 2027—the Metropolitan Detention Center at the eastern edge of the block will make way for a 360,000-square-foot government office and retail tower. It is unclear whether the prison will be replaced locally or elsewhere. The final phase of the plan would demolish the modernist-style City Hall East building, replacing the striking 13-story tower with a small cultural building and a civic plaza. The plan, as specified, would be completed sometime between 2030 and 2032. A recently-released rendering by IBI Group describes the area as a more uniformly 12-20 story tall cluster of towers separated by broad swaths of open space. The plan—more radically—also envisions placing a lid over a three-block section of the 101 Freeway currently dividing the Civic Center from the El Pueblo and Union Station areas. The connection would make the Civic Center area accessible to the currently-under-construction $410 million La Plaza de Cultura project by Johnson Fain, Benchmark Contractors, and the non-profit Cesar Chavez Foundation. That project aims to bring 355 housing units at 46,000-square feet of retail space to the area.   Once completed, the Civic Center Master Plan has the potential to convert the sleepy, bureaucratic district into the lynchpin of a continuous, mixed-use center spanning from Pershing Square at the heart of downtown to the western banks of the Los Angeles River on one end and Chinatown on the other. The areas between the Civic Center and the Arts District are expected to receive a series of stops along the new Regional Connector subway line, a condition that will surely drive further residential and commercial growth in the area. The plan was recently approved by the Los Angeles City Council’s Entertainment and Facilities Committee. It now heads for consideration by the full city council, and eventually, the mayor’s office.
Placeholder Alt Text

66-story tower proposed for Downtown Los Angeles

Global architecture firm Callison RTKL and Newport Beach, California–based MJS Landscape Architecture have released a rendering of a new 66-story tall mixed-use residential tower proposed for the bustling entertainment district in Downtown Los Angeles. According to documents submitted to the Los Angeles Planning Department, the project would bring 200 condominium units and a 220-room hotel to 925 S. Figueroa, Urbanize.LA reports. The project would also include 94,000 square feet of retail spaces and parking for 617 automobiles. The project is one of a handful of towers Callison RTKL is currently working on in the Downtown L.A. area, including a 57-story tall,  Jenga-shaped tower proposed for a lot adjacent to Pershing Square. That tower features projecting, cantilevered swimming pools and a sky-lobby. Callison RTKL is also working on the three-towered Oceanwide Plaza, also on Figueroa Street. The new, rectangular tower is set to rise out of a large parking and retail podium. That podium will be topped with recreational uses for hotel guests and condominium residents. The rendering released for the project indicates that like many of the historic high-rise towers across downtown, the monolith will be capped by a flat-topped roof. The arrangement used to be inscribed in local fire code as a safety measure to be utilized in the event tall buildings had to be evacuated via helicopter, but the rule was recently overturned. The project at 925 S. Figueroa marks the 19th high-rise tower proposed or under construction along Figueroa Street in Downtown Los Angeles. Architects Gensler recently revealed plans for an eccentric, 52-story tall tower at the southern edge of this new district. Gensler is also responsible for the Metropolis, 1020 South Figueroa, and Fig+Pico projects along Figueroa. Meanwhile, SOM and P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S are behind the Olympia development, while Harley Ellis Devereaux and Hanson LA are deep into construction on the twin Circa towers. The developments—which track along the Blue and Expo light rail lines and surround the L.A. Live, Staples Center, and Los Angeles Convention Center complexes—are sure to continue to grow in their ranks as the city moves toward building 8,000 new hotel rooms near the Convention Center by 2020.
Placeholder Alt Text

Renderings revealed for Gensler’s tenth tower along L.A.’s new hotel and entertainment district

Paperwork was filed this week with the Los Angeles Department of City Planning by developer Trical Construction, Inc. to replace the existing City Lights on Fig complex in Downtown Los Angeles with a Gensler-designed, 53-story glass hotel tower. The project, if completed, would add yet another monolith to the entertainment district’s growing contribution to the city’s skyline. Urbanize L.A. reports that the existing project, a 100-unit, five-story tall apartment complex, was built by the developer in 2004 and is being cleared, in part, to help achieve the city’s goal of increasing hotel supply around the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) and L.A. Live complex. The City is seeking to locate 8,000 hotel rooms within proximity to the LACC complex. A study from 2015 indicates that 3,172 hotel rooms exist in the area, with approximately 2,000 new ones on the way. The Trical Construction project would increase that number by over 50 percent, adding 1,024 rooms, and will be operated as two separate hotels. The developer has not announced which hotelier will run either of the two proposed establishments. Renderings for the proposed complex indicate that the new tower will make use of recently loosened restrictions that will no longer require tall buildings in the city to be capped by flat-topped helicopter evacuation pads. As a result, Gensler’s tower is designed to have a pointed, faceted top. The renderings depict a rectangular tower clad in riveted glass curtain walls. It's a relatively subdued design considering Gensler’s other, recently-revealed tower for the area, which is made up of stacked geometric shapes and punctured by a roughly 20-story hole. The newest project will comprise the 19th such tower for the growing entertainment district, ten of which are designed by Gensler. Renderings also depict large, ground level electronic signage in keeping with many of the other recently-proposed projects. The proposed tower, located in a new Sign District surrounding the LACC and L.A. Live areas, will bring a mix of commercial electric signage as well as art-focused installations to the pedestrian areas in the neighborhood.
Placeholder Alt Text

Welton Becket’s Parker Center in L.A. headed toward demolition

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously this week to deny Historic Cultural Monument (HCM) status to the Welton Becket-designed Parker Center building in Downtown Los Angeles. The eight-story structure is organized as a long office block, with the two narrow ends of the building wrapped in buff, blank stone and the two broad sides punctuated by continuous lengths of ribbon windows. The street-fronting portions of the building are lifted off the ground on slender piloti, creating an entry portico. The structure was built in 1955 during the post-World War II building boom and reflects classically Modernist building attributes, including the fact that it was built on land cleared for development via eminent domain. That attribute, as well as the building’s problematic history as the headquarters for the Los Angeles Police Department, haunted the building’s HCM nomination. The building sits on land that had once been part of the city’s Little Tokyo neighborhood but was taken over in the 1950s to make more room for the city’s growing Civic Center. The project caused the destruction of a wide swath of the community and displaced at least a thousand residents and many businesses and places of worship. Local residents opposing the HCM nomination argued that this injustice—taking land owned by Japanese-Americans just a decade after many had been interred at various across the west during World War II—overruled any of the architectural or aesthetic value of the structure. At a meeting in early February, the city’s Planning and Land-Use Management (PLUM) committee declined to recommend the structure for HCM-status because of these community concerns. Downtown’s City Councilmember Jose Huizar echoed community concerns at the PLUM meeting, saying, “To call this building a masterpiece specimen of midcentury architecture and to retain its landmark status with the Parker name is to further the revisionist history that dismisses the injustices done to many communities, including Little Tokyo.” Huizar’s testimony made reference to Parker Center’s recent history as one of the central sites implicated in the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. Recently, the City of Los Angeles issued a new master plan for the Civic Center area that calls for the demolition of Parker Center in order to make way for a 28-story mixed-use tower. The new plan aims to turn the Civic Center from a sleepy office quarter into a mixed-use residential neighborhood. The 750,000-square-foot office tower slated to replace Parker Center will contain ground floor commercial spaces surrounded by public spaces and greenery.
Placeholder Alt Text

12-story tower proposed next door to L.A.’s new Main Museum

Nardi Associates are planning to unveil a scheme for Main Tower, a new 12-story mixed-use complex next door to the proposed Main Museum in Downtown Los Angeles this week. As reported by Urbanize.la, the proposed scheme for 433 S. Main Street would take over a surface parking lot, replacing the parcel with 196 studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments, 6,300 square feet of ground floor commercial space, and underground parking stalls for 167 car and 334 bicycles. According to renderings included in a presentation prepared for the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee (DLANC), the tower will match cornice lines with the Rosslyn Lofts building, a 12-story residential masonry building built in 1913 and located next door. The Rosslyn Lofts were originally designed by architect John Parkinson, designer of Los Angeles’s Union Station, City Hall, and the L.A. Coliseum in Exposition Park. The building was renovated in 2009 and targeted toward mixed-income residents; it now features 259 income-restricted micro-apartments as well as market rate lofts. Nardi Associates’ proposal would locate retail functions along Main Street as well as within an interior courtyard open to the street. Apartments would rise above commercial areas in a variety of configurations, leaving a large void along the building’s Main Street facade. The void would create a secondary courtyard space in the complex that would house shared building amenities, including terraces and balconies. Renderings indicate a series of balconies looking onto Main Street joined by various louver assemblies and punched openings. The tower sits directly next door to the forthcoming Tom Wiscombe Architecture-designed Main Museum, a new non-collecting art institution. That project will contain a 40,000 square feet of exhibition areas spread across two buildings; it will also feature a rooftop sculpture garden and amphitheater area. A timeline has not been released for the Nardi Associates project while the first phase of the Main Museum expected to be completed by 2018. This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect’s Newspaper’s coverage of your area and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.
Placeholder Alt Text

Dramatic faceted tower planned for Downtown Los Angeles’s Historic Core

New details are emerging for a striking tower designed by Buffalo, New York—based Adam Sokol Architecture Practice (asap) for Downtown Los Angeles’s Historic Core. The proposed 28-story Spring Street Hotel will replace an existing parking lot sandwiched between 19th-century skyscrapers and will feature a 170-key hotel. The tower, developed by New York—based Lizard Capital, will rise to 338 feet in height and will feature an automated parking garage that will contain 63 stalls. The project was originally expected to rely on existing parking structures in the surrounding neighborhood for guest parking, but a draft environmental impact report for the project details three levels of subterranean parking with two floors of automated stalls. The report also indicates that the mixed-use project will contain ground-floor retail, including a 7,050-square-foot restaurant and a 3,780-square-foot “gallery bar.” The project will make ample use of rooftop amenities further up the height of the tower, including a 3,780-square-foot rooftop bar and lounge, as well as a 2,770-square-foot pool deck. The inside of the building is set to contain a large conference and movie screening room as well as a 1,000-square-foot gym and 1,000 square feet of office space. The tower’s unconventional, faceted upper floors cap a more traditional and contextual, gridded base that's designed to match the surrounding structures in terms of scale and proportion. This lower section also matches at the cornice line with the surrounding 12- to 13-story early skyscraper towers along Spring Street. The remaining height of the tower not only changes geometry and texture, but also steps back as it rises further. The upper section of the tower features a regular array of punched openings that turn irregular toward the sharply faceted crown. There, renderings released by the architects showcase a series of larger, square-shaped openings and loggia spaces, presumably the lounge and restaurant spaces. HLW International will act as Executive Architect and Architect of Record for the project. The project is expected to start construction later this year and is due to be completed by mid-2019.
Placeholder Alt Text

Three huge LED public art installations planned for downtown L.A.

Over the last few years, the areas around L.A. Live and the nearby Los Angeles Convention Center in Downtown Los Angeles’s South Park neighborhood have been undergoing a development boom, with mid- to high-end condominium and apartment complexes sprouting up at a steady clip. However, a new crop of projects currently either under construction or in the entitlement stages of development—dubbed Metropolis, 1020 Figueroa, Circa, and Oceanwide Plaza by developers—signal an infusion of upscale amenities headed for the area, all connected to the financial core and the rest of the city by a growing transit system, including the Long Beach–bound Blue Line and Santa Monica–bound Expo Line.

Three of the four projects mentioned above—1020 Figueroa, Circa, and Oceanwide Plaza—are to be located on the blocks directly across the street from the StaplesCenter, with the Metropolis development located a block northwest. Through their sheer density and size, they will bring a sorely missing street culture to an area that is roaring back to life.

But what will greet those pedestrians when they step off the trains and onto the streets? Walls of LED screens.

That’s because each project features large expanses of LED ribbon walls wrapping street-level commercial and leisure programs. And, to varying degrees, these ribbon walls are being programmed with art content in an effort to bring a new form of artistic expression to the street.

The Metropolis project, consisting of a multiphase, multi-tower hotel and apartment complex on a 6.33-acre site, is currently under construction, with the first phase of the project due to finish at the end of 2016. Eventually, the $1 billion-plus development will consist of four towers: Tower I will be 38 stories tall and contain 308 condominiums; Tower II will be 18 stories tall and contain a 350-room hotel; Tower III will be 40 stories tall and contain 514 condominiums; and Tower IV will be 56 stories tall and contain 736 condominiums. This project, designed by Gensler, is much further along in the construction process than the others and, as such, its arts program is starting to come into sharper focus.

The Metropolis project, like the others mentioned here, is subject to Section 22.118 of the City of Los Angeles Administrative Code, “Arts Development Fee Credits” (ADF) provision that requires commercial projects valued at $500,000 or more to pay a fee either based on the square footage of the building or equal to one percent of the project’s Department of Building and Safety permit valuation—whichever is lower—into a fund used to increase access to public art citywide. The ADF fund is administered by the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, an arm of the city government that maintains a trust fund organized by project address to be used to fund arts initiatives at required sites, as necessary. This “one percent for the arts” approach is common in many California municipalities and is being stretched by this collection of projects to incorporate potentially new definitions of what public art might be in the city.

For Metropolis, arts consultants Isenberg & Associates partnered with project management firm DG Hunt & Associates to find suitable artists for the project. After a lengthy selection process, a team made up of digital media artists Refik Anadol and Susan Narduli was selected for the project. Their work Convergence, a 100- by 20-foot LED wall installation, will be unveiled in January of 2017 as construction on phase one wraps up, creating, the developers hope, an opportunity to introduce the project to the city and local community. Anadol and Narduli describe Convergence as “a generative construct fuelled by data and informed by aesthetics,” a synergy of Anadol’s digitally focused art practice and Narduli’s narrative-infused artwork. The duo wants the artwork—located in a plaza facing Francisco Street on the site’s eastern edge—to “create a lively public space by giving urban activities a new experiential dimension.” They plan to do this by fusing the “real-time demographic, astronomical, oceanographic, tectonic, and climate data streams, as well as social media posts, traffic, and news feeds into a constantly shifting cinematic narrative of Los Angeles.” The project was developed hand-in-hand with the architects as part of the overall design process, and is being deployed as an integrated architectural component of Metropolis.

According to the team’s statement, “Convergence explores new ways of storytelling through an intelligent platform that both expresses and responds to the spirit of the city in a seamless fusion of digital content, public space, and urban life.” The work will be available in situ for pedestrians to experience as part of the new sports and entertainment promenade the developers behind Metropolis hope to extend from L.A. Live to the upper reaches of the financial district. It will be available online, as well as via a mobile-device-friendly website accompanied by real-time audio. Experiencing the work in person will generate changes to the physical manifestation of the art, as the attendant data resulting from proximity, interaction, and occupation become woven into a living digital display.

It’s unclear what pedestrians can expect from the arts programs developed for the other three projects, but if Anadol and Narduli’s Convergence is a guide, expect more lights, more data, and perhaps most importantly, a closer relationship among architecture, digital art, and the public realm.

Placeholder Alt Text

New hotel towers revealed for L.A.’s booming South Park neighborhood

San Francisco–based Gensler and New York and Toronto-based Yabu Pushelberg have released renderings for the Fig + Pico development, the latest set of towers for Los Angeles’s rapidly transforming South Park neighborhood. New York-based real estate firm Lightstone Group is working on the latest scheme for the city’s entertainment district, which encompass a grouping of towers on a 1.22-acre site directly across from the Los Angeles Convention Center and rising on the same block as the Harley Ellis Devereaux-designed Circa project, which is made up of a pair of elliptical, 38-story residential towers containing 648 units. Urbanize.LA reports that according to an initial study released by the Department of City Planning, the Fig + Pico project would encompass trio of mixed-use hotel projects, with two of those hotels co-located within a 42-story tower containing a combined 820 rooms. The third hotel will be located in a 25-story tower adjacent to the tallest mass and will contain 342 rooms. Preliminary renderings contained within that report show a cluster of rectilinear, glass-clad monoliths sprouting from a mid-rise podium structure. All three towers are supported by slender, super-tall columns and are alternately oriented toward the south and west. The podium structure for the two taller masses has been designed to contain 11,000 square feet of ground floor retail spaces, as well as rooftop pool decks, conference areas, and a 353-stall parking structure while the third tower will contain 2,100 square feet of retail space among other programs. The project represents the latest addition to the city’s projected skyline, which according to proposed and currently-under-construction projects, will be steadily marching southward from the new AC Martin-designed Wilshire Grand tower toward Interstate 10 over the next few years. Just last week, Skidmore Owings & Merrill and P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S revealed designs for a crop of residential high-rise towers. Like many of the adjacent residential and hotel projects, Fig + Pico is expected to have, per the developer’s request, illuminated signage along the retail podium levels for advertising and possibly, digital public art installations, as well. Pending city approval, the project is due to break ground in late 2017 or early 2018 and will be completed by 2022.
Placeholder Alt Text

Trio of high-rise towers announced for Downtown L.A.

Architects Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM), P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S, and developer City Century have unveiled renderings for a trio of high-rise, mixed-use towers in Downtown Los Angeles’s bustling entertainment district. The newly-revealed mega-project is called Olympia and is billed to include 1,367 residential units, 40,000 square feet of retail space, and 115,000 square feet of open space. Those programmatic components will be distributed across a trio of towers rising 43-, 53-, and 65-stories in height that will be positioned over a 3.25-acre site at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Georgia Street. The project will be sandwiched between the L.A. Live sports and entertainment complex and the Gensler-designed Metropolis mega-development, a similar mixed-use project containing luxury housing and shopping amenities. The Olympia project is being designed by SOM and P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S and will feature glass-clad residential floors with over-sized floor plates expressed across the facades of the rectilinear towers. Those floorplates shift in and out at various intervals and contain outdoor amenity spaces at various heights. Stuart Morkun, executive vice president of City Century is quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying, “We’re seeing opportunities in L.A. as the entertainment, media and fashion hub. There is a growing desire by a new generation of professionals who want an urban lifestyle. Downtown can provide that.” The project is one of many luxury, mixed-use, high-rise complexes going up in the immediate area, with the aforementioned Metropolis project, the Harley Ellis Devereaux-designed Circa, and CallisonRTKL-designed Oceanwide Plaza projects being but a few of the developments currently in the works along the blocks immediately surrounding the L.A. Live complex. Developers for the project expect for the entitlement process to play out over the next 18 months with a four-year construction timeline to come afterward. The developer has not announced whether the units will be for sale or rent.