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8150 Sunset Boulevard

Gehry Partners

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Townscape Partners


334,000 sq. feet
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Project Description

FROM THE ARCHITECTS (Aug. 26, 2015):

Townscape Partners today revealed design concepts by Frank Gehry for the mixed-use development at 8150 Sunset Boulevard. Gehry’s plan, which is one of several design alternatives proposed by Townscape for the site, features five interrelated and complementary structures, including two residential buildings, as well as distinct buildings and green spaces for retail, entertainment, and public gathering. The placement of each element responds contextually to the surroundings while recognizing the prominence of the site, which anchors the eastern end of the Sunset Strip and faces the Hollywood Hills to the north. Gehry’s design strengthens the residential community along this major thoroughfare by introducing a mix of rental and for-sale housing, actively engaging with the adjacent historic architecture and supporting the new restaurants and retail both on the site and in the neighborhood. The plan also ensures a livable and accessible scale for the new buildings in relation to the surrounding area, while making the ground-level plaza welcoming for pedestrians. In response to community feedback to the original site plan, which was developed in 2013, Townscape Partners proposed several design alternatives for 8150 Sunset. Gehry’s plan will be formally submitted for Environmental Impact Review in September as part of a recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report. 

“Frank Gehry has proposed an iconic and powerful design,” said Townscape Partners’ Tyler Siegel. “His plan brings truly innovative architecture to an important and historic corner, where Los Angeles and West Hollywood meet. At the same time, Gehry’s plan for the site provides welcoming and accessible pedestrian areas that will encourage people in the community to gather and visit, as well as much needed additional housing options in the neighborhood.”

The selection of Gehry Partners as design architect for the project—including all buildings, interiors, and landscaping—was announced in March 2015, and is part of Townscape’s commitment to developing an environmentally sensitive building that embraces the vibrant and eclectic history of the neighborhood and creates new opportunities for growth. Comprising approximately 334,000 square feet of space and 249 residential units, and already certified as a California Environmental Leadership Development Project (ELDP), the buildings are expected to achieve a LEED environmental rating of Silver or higher and will add zero net additional emissions of greenhouse gases.

“By coincidence, I was in LA when the Garden of Allah existed, and while I don’t have a tangible image to relate to the present, I have a feeling that this design leans toward the representation of my memory,” said Frank Gehry. “I wanted to capture the feeling of the experience of that place which was vibrant and memorable. It has always been important to me to be a good neighbor to the surrounding buildings, and I think we have created an ensemble that responds to the great diversity of the neighborhood and is an asset to the community.”

Design Details

The Gehry plan addresses specific design needs for the 8150 Sunset Boulevard site, including the desirability of creating welcoming pedestrian spaces between the buildings, keeping the Sunset Boulevard street front height low—to relate in scale to other buildings in the area—and optimizing views of the city from the two residential structures. This approach also eliminates the traditional view of such developments as residential towers on a podium. Instead, the Gehry design establishes five distinctive structures, each with its own character and all united at a common plaza accessible from the street level, with parking offered entirely below grade. The overall scale allows the buildings to relate to the immediate architectural context, such as the Chateau Marmont, Granville Towers, and Sunset Tower, as well as the other buildings in the Hollywood hillside, while adding new design elements in the area.

The three-story retail building that sits at street level, along Sunset Boulevard, will have glulam mullions supporting a glass curtain wall, and will feature a marquee element—further reinforcing the site’s role as a gateway at the pedestrian scale. This street-front building will also promote an accessible pedestrian experience and invites people into the site’s interior plaza. The plaza, also a centralized retail destination, will feature an open-air public space that can also be used for specially programmed events. The center of the plaza holds the “jewel” in the heart of the project, a structure whose facade is made of stone cylinders and cones and which will house programmable space and retail.

The eastern, 11-story residential building, along Crescent Heights Boulevard, is simpler in its design vocabulary compared to other parts of the project, to better fit the scale of the neighboring buildings. Its sculptural form creates a sense of movement, and gestures to the intersection of Crescent Heights and Sunset Boulevards. The western, 15-story residential building is specifically scaled to create a visual and architectural relationship with the Chateau Marmont. The glazed façade has some transparency, making the overall form appear lighter, while also reflecting the surroundings and further enhancing its sculptural quality.

Landscaping is an integral part of Gehry’s overall architectural design, both at the ground level central plaza and the various terraces in the building design. Pedestrians are drawn into the ground level plaza from between building elements at the intersections of Sunset Boulevard, Havenhurst Drive and Crescent Heights Boulevard, and the plaza will feature hard and soft landscaping as part of the pedestrian experience. The buildings feature stepping terraces at both ends of Sunset Boulevard, mediating the scale at these intersections at the street level. All terraces will feature landscaping and trees visible from both east and west vantage points along Sunset. Additional landscape elements climb into the upper parts of the project, indicating amenity and terraces spaces for residents as well as stitching the project into the Hollywood hillside, and topped with a landscaped roof.

Environmental Sustainability

Based on Townscape’s original site plan, in 2014 the development at 8150 Sunset became the first project in Los Angeles county to be designated a California Environmental Leadership Development Project (ELDP)—and the only mixed-use project in California to receive that designation. To qualify as an ELDP, a project must result in an investment in California of more than $100 million; create highwage, highly skilled jobs; achieve (at minimum) LEED Silver certification; and result in zero net additional emissions of greenhouse gases. To date, only four other projects have been certified under the program: The Apple Campus in Cupertino; the McCoy Solar Project in Riverside County; the Soitec Solar Energy Project in San Diego County; and the Mission Bay Event Center in San Francisco.

Project History

The master site plan for 8150 Sunset was developed in 2013 by the San Francisco-based firm Hart Howerton, which established the initial design principles focused on environmental sustainability, open spaces, and pedestrian and public transit accessibility. As a response to community concerns about the project, Townscape Partners proposed a series of alternative designs for the site, and in March 2015 announced the selection of Frank Gehry as design architect to develop one of these alternatives. In selecting one of the world’s most preeminent architects—who has long made his home in Los Angeles—Townscape expressed a desire to see this project thrive while bringing incredible architecture to Los Angeles.
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