An Experiment of Luxury and Urban Utility

A new luxury hotel with subway access on the ground floor has opened in L.A., creating what Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne sees as a bizarre mix of vanity and transit.
February 1, 2010, 8am PST | Nate Berg
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"As urban real-estate developments begin to combine high-end hotel rooms with residential and retail space, they are presenting fresh challenges for architects, primarily having to do with producing separate lobbies and dedicated elevators for each section of a building. The W, rising on land owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and a full decade in the making, adds another layer of complexity to that equation. Along with channeling flows of tourists, hotel guests, commuters, tenants and diners, it has to account for the peculiar whims of Hollywood vanity -- accommodating bold-faced names who on some visits will be ready to meet the cameras and on others anxious to slip inside unnoticed."

He calls the project an urban planning experiment. But the colliding worlds of luxury hotel space, tourism, and public transportation make it much more than that.

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Published on Friday, January 29, 2010 in Los Angeles Times
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