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.
Last week AN learned that Hollywood’s Capitol Records building may be in for a dwarfing by two new adjacent towers. Now we learn from our friends at Curbed that the historic Hollywood Palladium, renovated in 2008 by Coe Architects, might also be in trouble. Miami developer Crescent Heights is about pay $55 million for the Palladium site, and it’s rumored that they want to build luxury apartments or condos there. The 72-year-old theater apparently has no historic protections, so this could get ugly. Stay tuned.
We’ve finally gotten a reveal of Millenium Hollywood, the two residential and hotel towers planned on either side of the Capitol Records building in Hollywood. The verdict: What Capitol Records Building? New renderings suggest the landmark 1956 Welton Becket-designed structure could basically disappear from view.
On Friday AN visited Michael Maltzan‘s new art space, Regen Projects, on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood. The gallery, founded by Stuart Regen and Shaun Caley Regen, moved to its current gritty location from West Hollywood, and showcases artists like Doug Aitken, Catherine Opie, Andrea Zittel, Dan Graham, and Anish Kapoor. From the outside, the 20,000 square foot project resembles its own urbanscape, with stacked and staggered white boxes taking on the appearance of abstracted buildings in a skyline. Inside, light glows warmly into the main gallery through a system that Maltzan created in which the light from a long rooftop skylight is split via a metallic divider into two separate scrim-covered wells.
Things seem to be humming again in Hollywood. Big-time tech developer Kilroy Realty has just bought the Sunset Media Center, a 22-story tower just east of the corner of Sunset and Vine in Hollywood. According to Curbed LA, The company plans an extensive renovation of the glass-clad mid-century building’s lobby, common areas, and tenant spaces (see image above). Most of the building’s tenants are digital entertainment companies, including Nielsen Media Research and Prometheus Entertainment. As usual, the company has not yet revealed the architect (maybe they don’t have one yet?), but we’re checking into that.
Yesterday will be remembered as a historic day for Los Angeles planning wonks. First, city council approved the Hollywood Community Plan, which, among other things, paves the way for increased density near transit, more mixed-use development, and more integrated transit plans in the ever-improving entertainment center of LA. Right afterward, we learned from Curbed LA that the council also approved the Comprehensive Zoning Code Revision Ordinance, which will help the city—through a new trust fund—overhaul its zoning code for the first time since 1946. According to LA City Planning, the new code, when completed, will “include clear and predictable language that will offer a wider variety of zoning options to more effectively implement the goals and objectives of the General Plan and accommodate the City’s future needs and development opportunities.” In other words, simpler, streamlined zoning tailored to individual neighborhoods and needs. Also in the mix, the new codes will include a dynamic, web-based zoning code, a layperson’s guide to zoning, and a unified downtown development code. Hallelujah!
Now that it’s clear that Christian de Portzamparc’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum in Hollywood will not happen (the Academy will instead reimagine the old May Company building for the museum), the Academy recently shared its plans with the LA Times to build a new amphitheater and 17,000 square foot event space on the dead project’s land. The group purchased the 3.5-acre lot near the intersection of Vine Street and Fountain Avenue in 2005 for $50 million. According to the Times, the amphitheater (to be used, of course, to screen movies) will include a raised grassy area and will seat about 300 people. Plans call for a 10,000-square-foot patio adjacent to the amphitheater designed for special events. It looks like the space is probably temporary, as Academy President Tom Sherak said the Academy will keep the space until the site’s value climbs back to its 2005 level. On second thought, this amphitheater could be here a while.
Cul-de-Sacked. Emily Badger of The Atlantic‘s newly launched Atlantic Cities argued that the cul-de-sacs—the suburban answer to the overcrowded urban grids—may be a dead-end in more ways that one. Badger said cul-de-sacs are responsible for our decreased sense of safety, and moreover, happiness.
Talking Transit. Gothamist is right on calling out New York’s MTA as being “really into technology this month.” In a win for the constantly connected and a potential loss for our already-hectic commutes, starting Tuesday, AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers can pull out their cell phones and talk away on underground cell service through the 14th Street corridor. It will take the MTA five years to fully cover the entire New York subway system. Five more years of relative peace-and-quiet.
Paramount Makeover. The LA Times reported that Paramount Pictures is planning a whopping $700-million upgrade to its Hollywood lot, creating nearly 7,300 jobs during construction over next two decades. Rios Clemente Hale Studios and Levin & Associates Architects are charged with improving a place that hasn’t seen much change since the Gary Cooper days without compromising its old Hollywood charm.
Park(ing) police. A Miami-based PARK(ing) Day organizer created a green oasis for the day-long celebration of public space, putting up planters and bringing seats, tables, and WiFi, but according to police, he lingered a little too long. Police arrested the man for taking too long to clean up his parklet the next day, reported Streetsblog.
Michael C. McMillen: Train of Thought
Oakland Museum of California
1000 Oak Street, Oakland
Through August 16
The Oakland Museum of California’s new exhibit looks at four decades of work by Michael C. McMillen, a California-based mixed-media artist. Curated by Philip Linhares, who is also a long-time collaborator of McMillen’s, the retrospective includes sculptures, tableaus, paintings, drawings, films, and large-scale installations. Found objects have long played an important part in McMillen’s work since childhood, when he began crafting toys for himself out of old radios and other discarded items. The artist’s creations often call to mind the cinematic landscapes of a Hollywood picture, somewhat appropriate given that he once worked making miniatures, like the motel model above, and props for films, including such sci-fi classics as Blade Runner and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. McMillen often uses architectural references and clever visual cues to transport viewers into an altered reality. He wants viewers to “come away from the experience seeing the world in a slightly different way,” McMillen said in an artist’s statement.
So the iconic HOLLYWOOD sign was nearly turned into the backyard for a bunch of mansions, but fortunately the recession intervened—one of a surprising number of upsides to the downside, it seems. But that doesn’t mean those big white letters aren’t seeming a little tired, and so a Dutch designer has come up with a rather clever new use that Curbed tipped us off to: turn the sign into a giant hotel. As Christian Bay-Jorgensen explained it to the Daily News, “The ultimate goal would be to preserve an internationally recognized landmark while helping the city generate badly needed funding.” If that weren’t bad enough, our pal Alissa Walker points us to Jeffrey Inaba’s plan to uproot the individual letters, loaning them out to areas of town in need of cache. The design provocateur explains after the jump, plus images of both, uh, projects. Read More
It all seems so hush-hush, which is surprising in Hollywood, but the Hollywood Sign has apparently been in trouble for some time. Chicago-based Fox River Financial Resources has been trying to sell large parcels on the hill just next to its “H” for luxury homes. The company bought the land from the estate of Howard Hughes in 2002. Luckily the Trust For Public Land has secured an option to buy the 138-acres on Cahuenga Peak for about $12 million, hoping to maintain views of and around the sign, and to preserve local recreation and habitats. The Trust has already raised about $6 million from sources like the Tiffany & Co Foundation and from Hollywood celebrities like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Virginia Madsen, and Aisha Tyler. Now all that’s left is for the group to raise another $6 million more by April 14 to complete the deal. To donate, go here.