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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Hotel & Residences at LA Live!, Los Angeles, United States

Gensler designs Marriot and Ritz Carlton tower
The first skyscraper to be built in Downtown Los Angeles in nearly two decades the 54-story Hotel & Residences at LA Live! is rising at the 10 and 110 freeways, adjacent to the Staples Center and the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The tower and attached conference center represent half of LA LIVE!’s 4 million square feet. LA Live! is a new six-block pedestrian-oriented entertainment and retail development. The project addresses a long-standing void in the urban fabric of downtown. The tower fills the vacant southwest corner of downtown, as defined by the cornerstones of Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles City Hall and the financial, garment and jewelry districts. Following a trend in urban development, the project mixes two hotels brands, offering a total of 1,001 keys (878 J.W. Marriott keys, 123 Ritz Carlton keys), 224 residential units and an 80,000-square-foot conference center, featuring a 25,000-square-foot grand ballroom.

Expanding outward as it rises vertically, the tower’s form responds explicitly to the project’s program requirements: moderate hotel; luxury hotel; condominiums; and a maximum building height of 650 feet. This approach provides the greatest floor area for the valuable residential units towards the top of the building, while accommodating the narrower programmatic depths of the two hotel types near the base.

The programmatic requirements informed the design of the tower’s façades. The diverse program would need a unified façade that could translate to two different hotel types, along with the bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens of the residential units. California’s new, more stringent, Title 24 Energy Requirements, mandated a maximum transparency of 60 percent in the skin’s wall area, suggesting the east and west facades would need to act like irises, opening and closing wherever program allowed. Designers employed a computer-modeled strategy of borrowing transparency from the window area of the hotel rooms to provided 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 efficiency. The resulting curtain wall uses numerous glass types—both in color, transparency, reflectivity, and frit pattern—to refine the façade for optimum performance.

Facing the same rigorous energy requirements as the tower, the adjacent conference center utilizes the tower’s variegated veil concept to provide maximum transparency to a south-facing circulation and gathering space, while framing unique views for those exiting the ballrooms.

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