8150 Sunset Boulevard

She has lived like we do and hers is a most compelling story. The Sunset Strip just on the outskirts of Los Angeles, California has seen it all, she has been peerless and has had the exalted status of being home to writers and stars alike. Limned in the glow of glamour, she breathes music and her song is about to get a new verse.

Frank O’ Gehry, the architect renowned for his out-of-the-box perceptions, his love for Deconstructivism and curvy shapes, is all set to develop a mixed-use project on 8150 Sunset Boulevard on the east end of the Sunset Strip bordering West Hollywood City limits.

“After listening to the high priority placed on design by civic leaders in the city of Los Angeles and the local community, we knew there was only one choice for the pre-eminent architect of our time, and he happens to be local”, Townscape Partners, who got Gehry to do this project, were noted as saying.

To us Architecture-philes , the area is remembered by the magnificence of structures like the Chateau Marmont, Granville Towers, the Sunset Tower, the Crescent Boulevard and the erstwhile Garden of Allah.

The Garden of Allah is the inspiration Gehry took for his project. “It was all white, the Garden of Allah. It was low rise, a lot of incense burning, and people in flowing gowns,” he looks back to his teenage years.No longer in the scene, it was once a Spanish-Colonial Revival style mansion turned hotel, ensconced in a garden of tropical fruits and plants and catering to guests like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Greta Garbo.

“I wanted to capture the feeling of the experience of that place which was vibrant and memorable,” says Gehry. He is all about preserving the community spirit and the rich heritage of the surroundings.

Courtesy of Gehry Partners, LLP

Courtesy of © Gehry Partners, LLP

In addition, the proposed design would also be a “sustainable, walkable and livable” space, in the words of Townscape Partner Tyler Siegel.

The form of the buildings has been kept such as to fit the neighborhood character and the scale of the street. A sense of space has been established via building orientations lending it a transparent quality. The buildings will also have a sculptural quality to them, which according to Gehry works as a charmer.

Comprising five architecturally distinct buildings, the 2.6 acre site will have a plaza in the center, in order to make it more approachable and inviting. It will hold 249 residential units consisting of rental apartments and condos along with retail and entertainment spaces. On the east, along Crescent Heights Boulevard is an 11-story building, simpler in design, but, becoming in its surroundings. Similarly, the western 15-story building compliments the Chateau Marmont. It presents a lightness to the whole area by incorporation of reflective glazed facades. It flaunts a sculptural top of billowing glass. What connects the two is their large punched windows, the color white and cascading terraces.

Glass with cross- laminated timber mullions will form the front façade of two three-story buildings with flagship stores, cafés, etc. distributed throughout their base.

The plaza alongside being a retail destination, would be a perfect place to showcase and perform, it will have in the center, the “jewel”, a structure made up of stone cylinders and cones with space for retail.

Courtesy of © Gehry Partners, LLP

Courtesy of © Gehry Partners, LLP

Landscaping is to any development as jewelry is to a woman, it enhances, mixes vibrancy and colors and most of all makes a space breathable. The plaza will feature both hard and soft landscaping along with landscaped terraces on buildings visible from both sides and additional elements for beautification.

Gehry’s plan will be formally submitted for Environmental Impact Review in September and is expected to achieve LEED Silver or higher upon completion. The design looks promising and is expected to commence in 2017.

By: Antara Jha

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