Pei Cobb Freed & Partners breaks ground on renovation and addition to Yamasaki’s Century Plaza Hotel in L.A.
New York–based Pei Cobb Freed & Partners broke ground this month on a $2.5 billion development aimed at retrofitting and expanding the Minoru Yamasaki-designed Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles’s Century City business district. The project will convert the existing 16-story, 726-room hotel structure from 1966 into a luxury development with 394 high-end suites and 63 condominium residences. The elliptically-shaped hotel will be revamped by firms Gensler and Marmol Radziner, with the latter firm focusing on the historic restoration components of the project. The hotel has a rich history and was used as a stopover for visiting dignitaries during its heyday, including presidents Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan. The building was also the site of violently-quelled anti-Vietnam war protests in 1967. Pei Cobb Freed & Partners has designed a pair of 46-story, 600-foot tall Reuleaux triangle-shaped glass towers containing 290 luxury condominiums to flank the historic structure. Los Angeles—based architects Harley Ellis Devereaux are acting as Architect of Record for the residences contained within the glass-clad towers. The towers feature masonry-clad plinths at their base and are covered in repetitive, scalloped-edge balconies in deference to the Yamasaki-designed building’s distinctive facade. Rios Clementi Hale Studios (RCH Studios) is providing landscape design for the project; the firm aims to connect the new towers to the existing building via an elaborate series of landscaped shopping terraces. The shopping areas are designed to pull through the hotel’s interior from Avenue of the Stars, the major boulevard bounding the southern edge of the site. RCH Studios has laid the site out symmetrically around the center of the Yamasaki tower with wrap-around walkways and shaded areas connecting a proposed subway stop along the forthcoming Purple Line extension with the terraced areas at the feet of the towers. Plans for the redevelopment scheme were approved in 2013 as developers Next Century Associates—who originally wanted to demolish the 50-year old hotel—and preservationists clashed over the plans. The preservationists eventually won out when the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the hotel to its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places for that year, bringing a public spotlight to the project and causing the developers to change course. Construction for the project is expected to finish in 2019.