Commemorating a milestone 40-year anniversary, the Los Angeles Architectural Awards today paid homage to four decades of excellence in local architecture while celebrating the best of current design and construction.
A total of 31 architectural teams won awards for building design and construction completed in 2008 and 2009. The event, hosted by the LA Business Council (LABC), recognized projects that have not only pushed the boundaries of design, but also improved the quality of life for Angelenos.
Leading the list of winning projects was L.A. LIVE, which received the prestigious Community Impact Award. The entertainment complex, built according to advanced sustainability principles, completes a 20-year redevelopment project that began with the expansion of the LA Convention Center and included the construction of Staples Center. Presenters described it as a unique model of successful collaboration between business and government to revitalize downtown Los Angeles.
“L.A. LIVE demonstrates how meaningful civic partnership, innovative architecture and smart planning can transform neighborhoods and spur economic growth, while advancing our City’s sustainability goals,” said Mary Leslie, President of the Los Angeles Business Council. “The LA Business Council has called on our public and private sector leaders to learn from the example set by L.A. LIVE and our other project winners, working together to facilitate smart growth that creates a brighter future for all Angelenos.”
A number of other downtown projects were featured prominently in the ceremony, including the new LAPD Administration Building, which won the Grand Prize. The police department’s 50,000-square-foot headquarters — built on a parcel of land facing City Hall — was recognized for its open design and significant public amenities, which include a nearly one-acre public park, a 400-seat auditorium and a rooftop garden.
Four other police structures — in Westwood, East LA, Harbor City and the mid-Wilshire areas — were also featured during the ceremony, collectively receiving the Green Building Award. Each of these four police buildings combined cutting-edge design with advanced green features to illustrate how municipal structures can be both beautiful and serve as a model for environmentally sustainable development.
Another highlight of the afternoon was the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, which was awarded to the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles for the creation of a new L.A. Job Corps center, a multi-use facility that provides education, job training, housing and medical services for at-risk youth. The YWCA’s creation of a unique campus-like environment in the heart of downtown has helped meet the needs of young people, providing facilities that include an outdoor courtyard and an amphitheater for classroom and recreation activities.
Los Angeles’ many examples of pioneering green buildings and distinctive design style were consistent themes during the event, which looked back at landmark real estate projects that have changed the region over the past 40 years through presentations by leading architectural voices, business leaders and local policymakers.
“Throughout the forty-year history of the Los Angeles Architectural Awards, this region has served as an internationally renowned center for design,” said Charlie Muttillo, the Chairman of the LA Architectural Awards jury. “This year’s winning projects illustrate the many ways in which Los Angeles continues to offer forward-looking approaches to design – from pushing the boundaries of green building to reimagining the way in which office towers, residences or sports stadiums are constructed.”
The Hidden House in Glassell Park offered one example of local architectural innovation, winning in the single family category. The construction of this eco-friendly home involved incorporating an existing two-bedroom cottage into a new, larger structure, doubling the size of the residence from 1580 square feet to 3500 square feet. The iconic New Carver apartments offered another example of unique local residential architecture. Designed by renowned local architect Michael Maltzan, these affordable apartments were recognized for making a bold statement about urban and green design, while providing vital housing for formerly homeless individuals.
In the commercial category, Horizon at Playa Vista was honored for integrating 950,000 square feet of Class A office space seamlessly into an environment that includes many historic Howard Hughes buildings — and for its unique use of renewable energy sources to meet the building’s electricity needs. Other featured projects were recognized for significant contributions to Los Angeles’ public space — from the creation of the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica to the construction of the LEED Gold Silver Lake branch of the Los Angeles Library.
The ceremony included a glimpse of projects that may significantly change Los Angeles’ landscape in the future. Winning the design concept category was Majestic Realty for its design of a 75,000-seat stadium in the City of Industry that is intended to house an NFL football team. The plans for the stadium call for nestling the seating bowl into a natural hillside, which would reduce the steel structure by 40 percent. This is one of a number of cutting-edge sustainable features in the stadium design.