Frank Gehry’s grand skyscrapers open in Los Angeles

Frank Gehry’s grand skyscrapers open in Los Angeles

A pair of skyscrapers designed by architect Frank Gehry containing residences, retail space and a hotel have opened in Los Angeles across from the architect’s famous Walt Disney Concert Hall.

The large complex occupies an entire block in downtown Los Angeles directly across from the famous Walt Disney Concert Hall, which Gehry completed in 2003.

Great exterior
Top: The Grand Towers. Photo courtesy of Conrad Los Angeles. Above: The Grand in Los Angeles includes residences and a hotel. Photo by Weldon Brewster

“From the beginning, our mission was to create a project that had a human scale and would be a good neighbor to the buildings around it,” Gehry said.

Two two-sided buildings emerge from a base housing the building’s retail spaces and other amenities, while a large outdoor courtyard between the two buildings is oriented toward the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Pool with Walt Disney Concert Hall in the background
The complex is located across the street from the Walt Disney Gehry Concert Hall. Photo by Weldon Brewster

Both towers have cubic sides that stack and taper as they reach their full heights. The towers have an L-shaped profile to frame the central courtyard.

The taller of the two buildings – with 45 floors – houses the complex’s residential spaces. It includes 436 rooms, 20 percent of which are designated for affordable housing.

The large lobby has a black nickel reception
The residences lobby features a custom office designed by Gehry. Photo by Weldon Brewster

The residential tower’s public spaces were designed by New York interior design studio Rockwell Group.

These spaces include the lobby, a series of lounges on the 10th floor, a business center and a fitness area.

Bench with concert hall visible through windows
Many residences feature views of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Photo by Peter Christiansen Valley

“Our approach to the facilities’ interior design was sculptural and organic, celebrating and combining Gehry’s big, bold architectural blocks with a light and airy palette, limestone, walnut mills, teak paneling, and pops of jewel tones,” Rockwell Group said. .

Gehry collaborated with Rockwell Group founder David Rockwell on certain aspects of the interiors for the residential public spaces, including a custom black nickel reception desk designed by Gehry.

To complement this, the Rockwell Collection included a teak wall studded with “scribbles” inspired by Gehry’s drawings for The Grand.

Grand Hotel lobby
Tara Bernerd designed Conrad’s public spaces. Photo courtesy of Conrad Los Angeles

New York designer Tony Ingrao led the design of the custom residential rooms, which range from studios to three-bedrooms.

The residential tower’s lounges and amenity spaces contain a number of outdoor areas that make use of the roof space, enabled by the stepped blocks of Gehry’s overall design.

Conrad pool
The towers’ stepped envelope allows for ample outdoor spaces. Photo courtesy of Conrad Los Angeles

The plaza connecting the two towers features a public social space and a viewing platform for the light shows that occur periodically on the side of the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Both towers stand on plinths that were designed to match the character of the streets. A series of columns and negative spaces below these buildings open the central courtyard to the street.

Balcony with pergola Conrad Los Angeles
Bernhardt combined West Coast modernism with a more relaxed style in the hotel’s decor. Photo courtesy of Conrad Los Angeles

The second, 28-storey tower houses the Conrad Los Angeles, which features interiors by British interior designer Tara Bernerd.

The 305-room hotel was designed to respect the intricacies of Gehry’s design while also nodding to the refreshing luxury of modern West Coast design.

“We call it more of an urban resort,” Bernard told Dezeen.

Bernerd intended her design to respect the high ceiling and cavernous envelopes of Gehry’s design while giving the hotel a human scale.

She continued: “It is an honor and a privilege to work with Frank Gehry, and we didn’t want to do anything that might take something away or not fit.”

The hotel features plenty of stone, tiles and warm wood textures, with special attention paid to the rooms and public areas which have windows overlooking the concert hall and the city beyond.

The master plan for The Grand was first developed in 2006 by a New York real estate firm, but was rejected by the city. The current version of the design was introduced and accepted in 2018.

Room at Conrad Los Angeles
Wooden walls and floors feature heavily throughout the hotel. Photo courtesy of Conrad Los Angeles

Gehry was born in Canada and now runs his own studio, Gehry Partners, which completes projects internationally.

Besides the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which Gehry described as a “living room for the city,” the architect has designed a number of other projects in Los Angeles, where his studio is located.

These include the Colborne Center immediately adjacent to The Grand, which is still in the design stages, as well as the headquarters of the Children’s Institute, which Gehry designed pro bono.

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