A recently-revamped proposal for new retail and hotel project in West Hollywood by Los Angeles-based architects Hodgetts+Fung and West Hollywood-based developer Faring Capital has taken a turn toward preservation. The proposal originally intended to demolish a historic gay culture monument occupying the site of the Robertson Lane project, replacing the structure with a pedestrian-oriented, 250-room hotel and retail complex. That monument, known as “The Factory,” is a formerly-industrial brick structure built in 1929 to house manufacturing facilities for the Mitchell Camera Corporation. After the camera film manufacturer relocated their operations in the 1946, it underwent a series of transformations, eventually being converted in 1974 into a gay nightclub called Studio One. The discotheque become a safe space for the gay community during an era which inclusive, open environments were scarce. It also was seen as a beacon for rising consciousness, when it hosted the country’s first major AIDS research fundraiser in 1984. The Factory was listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's “11 Most Endangered Historic Places” list in 2015 alongside New York City’s South Street Seaport and the Grand Canyon. The designation, a powerful tool for moving public opinion toward preservation, no doubt helped the developer’s position toward the structure evolve to incorporate reuse. Hodgetts+Fung’s revised plans involve moving and rotating the structure 90 degrees so that it’s longest facade is aligned with the streetfront. Under this arrangement, The Factory will become the entry point for a paseo bisecting the site, instead of being demolished by it. A timeline for the project has not been released.
Posts tagged with "Hodgetts + Fung":
AN has been covering Hodgetts + Fung's efforts to update Los Angeles' Norms Diner for the 21st century, but another of the firm's projects will rigorously update a less known—and perhaps more impressive—modernist structure nearby: Culver City High School's Frost Memorial Auditorium in Culver City. Originally designed by local architects Flewelling & Moody, the building has one of the most ambitious structural concrete domes in the city. Each rib was cast in place on a sculpted mound of earth, lifted into position, then joined to other ribs via another concrete pour. Hodgetts & Fung is expanding the building's cramped back-of-house spaces, installing new air conditioning, lighting, and electrical systems, providing handicap access, and adding a new steel-plated proscenium arch to better facilitate theatrical programs. They're also installing a new black box theater in back of the space. “It was never designed to be a production theater, it was designed to be an auditorium," said Craig Hodgetts. "While it was a great building, the shell inhibited them from doing the things that would have made it more useful... It had really good bones, but from a functional standpoint it was really lame," Hodgetts added. The new project will be complete by early next year.
In January AN reported that developer Jason Illouilian (who owns development company Faring Capital) had bought legendary Los Angeles diner Norms, and was considering what to do next with the property. Last week LA Magazine reported that Illouilian plans to build "a community of shops" where the Armet & Davis-designed restaurant's parking lot now stands. He's looking for upscale tenants, like those at the Brentwood Country Mart. (Those include retailers like James Perse and Jenny Kayne and a mix of high-brow and low-brow restaurants and stands.) The developer added that while he hopes to keep the building a 24-hour diner, he noted that it could be "Norms or Somebody else." Culver City–based Hodgetts + Fung are preparing plans for the site. Firm principal Craig Hodgetts confirmed to AN that the firm is considering a two-story development with underground parking next to the original building. "It will certainly not emulate the original building," Hodgetts told AN. The National Trust is very clear about delineating what was original and what is a later addition. "It’s very much a background to Norms. It makes Norms a showpiece." The site has a 1.5 FAR and a 45-foot height limit, he said. He wants to maintain view lines to Norms from La Cienega. "That's pretty darn important," he said. Views from smaller streets might be altered. Hodgetts + Fung will also be renovating Norms, "bringing back its vitality" by bringing back its original paint, tiles, glass, and colors," said Hodgetts. As for whether Norms would be staying, Hodgetts replied: "It's unclear who the operator will be. Given the climate on La Cienega and the parking situation it’s not likely to be a roadside type of service… It's not our decision about the operator. I love Norms. I've had many many chocolate milkshakes there. But the model of a drive in restaurant is not a viable model in a high density urban environment." While Norm's has received a temporary landmark status, LA's Cultural Heritage Commission will vote on March 19 on whether it will receive permanent status. Even with landmark status Illoulian could change the building's owners or use, but he could not tear it down. Hodgetts said that he and Illoulian were being very conscientious about having a dialogue with the community. "We want to go step by step with great care with the conservancy and people who are concerned about the building. We’ll be having conversations with them about our plans before we really have a scheme defined," he noted.