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Landmark Vote May Delay Gehry Project

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

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A new Frank Gehry-designed mixed-use project set for Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip faces a roadblock as city officials ponder granting landmark status to a building situated on the corner of the site.

Reports say the midcentury bank building aligning the eastern edge may be eligible for designation as a landmark.

The city’s Cultural Heritage Commission voted unanimously Thursday (Aug. 4) to consider the application, delaying, at least for now, plans to demolish the building.

The city’s planning commission approved Gehry’s project the week prior, according to Curbed Los Angeles. Gehry plans five interlocking buildings of varying heights for the site, featuring his signature curved facades, DeZeen reported.

"The art of architecture is rarely practiced in our city," Gehry said during the presentation of the project. "I will do my best to be responsible, beautiful and humane, and to make you proud."

Bank Building

The commission is considering landmark status for the Lytton Savings bank building. Originally designed by the Swiss-born architect Kurt Meyer and constructed in 1960, the bank building features a distinctive saw-tooth roof profile.

The concrete roof, according to Meyer’s widow, Pamela, was constructed separately from the rest of the structure and installed in just two days to meet deadlines imposed by the owner, Curbed reported.

The building also features a floating staircase and a stained glass screen inside.

Pamela said the building “launched Kurt’s career,” according to Curbed. Meyer and his practice went on to design numerous commercial buildings in the Los Angeles area, including the South Coast Air Quality Management building in 1991, according to the architect’s obituary in the Los Angeles Times. He died in 2014, at age 92.

Site with History

Currently a Chase Bank branch, if granted landmark status, the building could find its way into Gehry’s plans for the site, as it is on the corner of the property, according to the Hollywood Patch.

Curbed reported that the bank building sits atop the former site of the lush Garden of Allah hotel and estate, which was home to Orson Welles and F. Scott Fitzgerald. That structure’s demise reportedly inspired Joni Mitchell to write “Big Yellow Taxi,” the report noted.


Tagged categories: Aesthetics; Commercial / Architectural; Design; Modernist architecture; Roofing materials

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