A structural eyesore in the heart of West Hollywood, California, has undergone a dramatic transformation. Once considered one of the 10 ugliest buildings in Los Angeles, 8500 Melrose has been redesigned to capture and exert the bustling energy produced by the surrounding high-end shopping, dining, and entertainment venues.

The transformation wasn’t easy. 8500 Melrose was originally built as a mini-mall in the mid-eighties, employing a postmodern, almost brutalist style. The result was a heavy granite facade that no longer had a place in today’s architectural era that values all-glass visuals, transparency, and daylighting. The retrofit therefore entailed a substantial reconstruction of the exterior skin, in addition to several interior functional modifications.

Los Angeles-based Tighe Architecture stepped up to the challenge. The new design effectively merges two distinct architectural treatments to create a bold and dynamic identity. What begins as a granite envelope is seamlessly pulled back to reveal an all-glass aesthetic that is both striking and inviting.

C.R. Laurence manufactured and supplied the architectural glazing systems needed to realize this key visual statement. The company’s Spider Fittings were utilized to engineer the expansive glass wall. DRS Door Rails form the glass entrances that serve to complement the surrounding motif. Finally, C.R. Laurence’s ICC-ES approved GRS Glass Railing System is featured prominently on the second floor terrace, enhancing sightlines while ensuring occupant safety.

The all-glass aesthetic, coupled with a unique ascending roofline, breaks the rigidity of the surrounding buildings and creates an immediately recognizable landmark that acts as an unofficial gateway to West Hollywood.

The 8500 Melrose retrofit succeeds in breathing new life into a prominent intersection. The predominantly glass facade establishes a contemporary and alluring ambience that forms a strong and much-needed connection to the character of the surrounding city. It all comes to show that with the right aesthetic vision and architectural systems, any unappealing or outdated building can be repurposed to offer welcome sight.