Glorious gateway

Sharon McHugh
Friday 28 Aug 2015

Gehry to design signature mixed-use development for LA’s Sunset Strip

Townscape Partners has unveiled concepts for a large mixed-use development for 8150 Sunset Boulevard designed by Frank Gehry that will define a gateway to Los Angeles’s famed Sunset Strip. The Gehry plan is one of several proposed by Townscape for the prominent corner site, where once stood the Garden of Allah, a Hollywood hotel that is legendary for its roster of famous residents, including F. Scott Fitzgerald and Humphrey Bogart, and Greta Garbo, and is said to have inspired Gehry’s design.   

Gehry’s proposal envisions a cluster of five distinctive buildings totalling 334,000 sq ft organized around a public plaza accessible from street level.  The two larger buildings in the development, 11 and 15 stories respectively, will house 249 residences including a mix of both rental and for-sale units. Lower scaled buildings designated for retail and restaurant use are located along Sunset Boulevard to compliment the low scale buildings in the area. Gehry, who was selected for the project in March 2015 and is tasked with designing all the buildings, interiors and landscaping said, “It has always been important to me to be a good neighbour to the surrounding buildings and I think we have created an ensemble that responds to the great diversity of the neighbourhood that will be asset to the community. By coincidence I was in LA when the Garden of Allah existed, and while I don’t have a tangible image to relate to the present, I have a feeling that this design leans toward the representation of my memory.” 

The three storey retail building that sits along Sunset Boulevard will have glulam mullions supporting a glass curtain wall and will feature a marquee element that will further reinforce the site’s role as a gateway at the pedestrian scale. It is designed to invite people into the plaza, which is conceived as open air public space that can programmed for a variety of events. Of the two residential towers, the 11 storey one is the simplest in design with a sculptural form that creates a sense of movement and gestures to the intersection of Crescent Heights and Sunset Boulevards.

The larger 15-storey residential tower is specifically scaled to create a visual and architectural relationship with the Chateau Marmont. It’s glazed facade incorporates some transparency to make the overall form of the building appear lighter while also reflecting the surroundings and further enhancing it’s sculptural quality. Landscape elements, including stepped terraces and green roofs, are incorporated into buildings.  

Gehry’s plan will be formerly submitted for Environmental Impact Review in September.  

Based on the original site plan filed in 2014, the development became the first project in Los Angeles County to be designated a California Environmental Leadership Development Project (ELDP) and the only mixed use project in California to receive that designation. To qualify as ELDP, a project must result in an investment in California of more than $1000 million; create high-wage, highly skilled jobs; achieve (at minimum) LEED Silver certification; and result in zero net additional emissions of greenhouse gases.  To date only four other projects have been certified under the program.


Sharon McHugh 

US Correspondent

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