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The Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences and J.W. Marriott at L.A. LIVE, Los Angeles, United States

Saturday 30 Apr 2011

The high life

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14/06/11 Cristiana casellato, São Paulo
So LA!

Award Entry

A dynamic new tower for The Ritz-Carlton and J.W. Marriott at L.A. LIVE 

The project mixes two related hotel brands to offer a total of 1,001 keys (878 JW Marriott, 123 Ritz-Carlton). The building is topped by 224 luxurious Ritz-Carlton Residences (433,000 sq ft). The 80,000 sq ft conference center, which includes a 26,000 sq ft ballroom, is just to the west of the tower.

The hotel and residences that rise above the convention facility will provide accommodations for visitors and locals who are interested in partaking in the activities – restaurants, entertainment, shopping - within LA LIVE, at STAPLES Center just blocks away or around the greater Downtown core. It is the embodiment of the urban redevelopment slogan 'Live. Work. Play.'

The building features two outdoor decks with pools, bars and events facilities. The fourth floor outdoor space, with a 1,000-person capacity and views to the adjacent Nokia Plaza L.A. LIVE, is for guests of the JW Marriott hotel. The 26th floor deck offers exclusive views of the downtown skyline and the Nokia Plaza below. Landscaped walls and lighting along Olympic Boulevard provide a welcoming entrance to the JW Marriott Hotel’s lobby, which is designed to be a pass-through space that provides access from Olympic Boulevard to the Nokia Theatre and Nokia Plaza.

This space creates a connection between the city and the sports and entertainment district of LA LIVE, STAPLES Center and the Los Angeles Convention Center beyond. By expanding horizontally as it rises vertically, the tower’s form responds explicitly to the project’s sectional program requirements - moderate hotel, luxury hotel, condominiums - and a maximum building height of 650 ft.

This approach provides the greatest floor area for the valuable residential units at the top of the building, while accommodating the narrower programmatic depths of the two hotel types. Gensler’s new tower at L.A. LIVE won praise from Sam Lubell of Architect’s Newspaper for 'design and construction strategies that helped create the form, streamline the process, and fit a monster of a program into one complex building.' The tower delivers energy efficiency, a lighter structure, and transparent façades that pack a five-star visual punch on the skyline.

The hotel recently achieved LEED NC Silver certification. The programmatic requirements of varying floor heights and varying bay depths influenced the design of the tower’s curtain wall. Such a diverse program needed a unified skin that was still appropriate for two different hotel types, along with the bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens of the residential units.

To address California’s stringent energy requirements that mandate a maximum transparency of 60 per cent, the variegated curtain wall borrows transparency from the window area of the hotel rooms to provide additional transparency to the residential units at the top of the building.

The façade’s visibility graduates from opaque to transparent as it rises vertically, while simultaneously maximizing energy performance. The resulting veil of glass addresses varying floor heights and bay depths by utilizing different glass types — varied in color, transparency, reflectivity, and ceramic frit pattern — to tune the façade for optimum performance.

This veil is layered against a more restrained, single-color glass that acts as a backdrop, dealing with large areas of similar or repetitively programmed areas in a more economic and background manner. The contrast between the variegated and single-color skins is further distinguished by the apparent negative space between them.

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