Gregory Ain: Low-Cost Modern Housing and The Construction of a Social Landscape
6518 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles
Through April 26
Gregory Ain was a pioneer in the development of low-cost modern housing, and many of his efforts fused radical, left-wing politics and cooperative living with architecture. And a new exhibit in Los Angeles spotlights five of the architect’s most innovative housing projects.
We’ve been following Los Angeles’ several proposed Freeway Cap Parks (in Downtown LA, Hollywood, and Santa Monica among other places) for years now, with a healthy amount of skepticism. But the first of these is (really? really!) moving toward reality. Friends of the Hollywood Central Park, a non-profit organizing a cap park over the 101 Freeway near the center of Hollywood, along with LA’s Department of Recreation and Parks have begun the environmental review process for the transformative 38-acre space.
On February 18, the LA Planning Department issued the Hollywood Community Plan Update Injunction Clearance, prohibiting the city’s department of Building and Safety from issuing “any permit for the construction, erection, addition to or alteration of any building or structure…unless the Department of City Planning first issues a HCPU (Hollywood Community Plan Update) Injunction Clearance.” While many projects won’t be impacted, any project seeking entitlements or permits under the HCPU could be. The order derives from a February 11 LA County Superior Court injunction stemming from several neighborhood groups’ lawsuit challenging the HCPU’s Environmental Impact Review (EIR). The HCPU was passed back in 2012, bringing with it much more density around transit, among other things. Read More
Los Angeles, are you ready to design your own Central Park? Friends of the Hollywood Central Park (FHCP), a nonprofit formed in 2008 devoted to developing a 44-acre street-level park capping Hollywood’s 101 Freeway, has initiated a new web feature encouraging residents to imagine their own dream parks in order to transform Hollywood’s densely populated, park-deprived neighborhoods into healthy, prosperous green spaces. In collaboration with Central Hollywood, East Hollywood and Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Councils and the Hollywood Chamber Community Foundation, the ambitious venture will reunite the communities presently separated by the Hollywood Freeway.
We like to think of the Hollywood Palladium, recently renovated by Coe Architecture, as a groovy place to see a show. But it looks like it’s about to become a whole lot more, as one of the future centers of Hollywood’s unprecedented building boom. Curbed LA reports that a mixed use development is now being planned on the parking lots behind the landmark theater, including residential units, street level shops and restaurants, and, potentially, a hotel.
The developer of the two-tower Millennium Hollywood, located just next to the Capitol Records building in Hollywood, has agreed with the city of Los Angeles to limit the buildings’ heights to 35 and 39 stories, reports Curbed LA. The original proposal put forth heights of 485 and 585 feet (that’s roughly 48 and 58 stories). Millennium said that the total square footage of the project—more than one million square feet—and the number of residential (492) and hotel (200) units will not change. The agreement was reached at LA City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee.
This means the buildings will dwarf the iconic Capitol Records building slightly less, although the move probably won’t soothe locals fears about increased congestion. Meanwhile according to the LA Times, the California Department of Transportation has accused city of officials of ignoring their concerns about the project’s impact on the city’s freeways. Stay tuned as this drama unfolds.
Add yet another project to the Hollywood development maelstrom. We learn from our friends at Curbed LA that the Columbia Square project—the redevelopment of the historic CBS Studios on Sunset Boulevard—is now moving ahead after a multi-year hiatus. The giant project, recently taken over by developer Kilroy Realty, would include a 22-story residential tower, 33,000 square feet of retail, three renovated historic streamline moderne structures, and two new office buildings all totaling more than 330,000 square feet. The architect of the former iteration was Johnson Fain, and now that title has gone to House & Robertson Architects. The historic complex, which opened in 1938, was designed by Swiss architect William Lescaze. It was once home to radio shows by Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, and Orson Welles and, later, to television’s Ed Wynn Show.
Like any star of the silver screen, a facial peel is in order every now and then. For the famous Hollywood Sign perched atop Mount Lee overlooking Los Angeles, it’s been 35 years since its last facelift, but the 89 year-old historical landmark will soon look as young as ever. Last week, the restoration project passed the halfway mark, with the H-O-L-L-Y letters newly primed, primped, and painted. The effort started on October 2 and will be completed by year’s end. The remaining corrugated steel letters will be sanded and given a fresh coat of glossy white paint.
When all is said and done, approximately 110 gallons of primer and 275 gallons of paint will have been used. And for sign aficionados who want to duplicate the color, it’s Sherwin-Williams Emerald Exterior Paint in high reflective white. The Hollywood Sign Trust together with Sherwin-Williams is funding the project. The sign was originally built as a real estate billboard in 1923, scrapped and rebuilt in 1978 and today continues to be an international landmark.