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New renderings for a Frank Gehry-designed development near the Sunset Strip have become available, revealing a futuristic, boxy behemoth sure to inspire both love and hate depending on how you feel about Gehry’s work. Either way, this proposed mixed-housing project would definitely work as the establishing shot for an evil corporation.
According to Urbanize L.A., the development at 8150 Sunset Blvd. comes to us via Townscape Partners and would include 203 residential units as well as ground-floor retail space, with some units set aside for workforce and affordable housing. This design is a rehash of a previous proposal, now incorporating smaller, shorter buildings. A central courtyard references the Garden of Allah, a hotel that stood on the site until it was demolished in 1959.
The Garden of Allah was popular with celebrities, including author F. Scott Fitzgerald, who lived there for several months. It was a secluded spot with private bungalows, which allowed the who’s who of Hollywood to conduct their trysts in private. It also served as a meeting place for queer women like its owner, actress Alla Nazimova. The hotel’s name was a play on her own and the Robert S. Hichens novel “The Garden of Allah.” Nazimova would later sell the hotel but take permanent residence at one of its villas.
The Garden of Allah was replaced by the Lytton Savings building designed by architect Kurt W. Meyer and completed in 1960. If the 8150 Sunset Blvd. development proceeds as planned, the bank building would also be demolished. The Los Angeles Conservancy has tried to save the Googie-style building, but the California Supreme Court decided not to hear the group’s plea.
According to the conservation group, Lytton Savings “exemplifies a transformative shift in bank design after World War II. As the [project’s Environmental Impact Report] explains, the bank design ‘was strategically conceived as a modern multi-media showcase for modern art, architecture, and interior design … related directly to its Sunset Boulevard context’ with a ‘distinctive folded plate concrete roof.'”
The new design is anything but Googie, though its glass towers may fit right in with the planned development at 8850 Sunset Blvd., which kind of looks like one normal tower and a Trapper Keeper from the ’90s. That project will also see the redesign of the Viper Room while incorporating housing, a hotel and retail space.