Preserving A Modernist Hotel in LA

A debate over preserving the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City is a question of not just a building, but the historic preservation of an entire model of planning, says Christopher Hawthorne.
June 1, 2009, 2pm PDT | Tim Halbur
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"In Los Angeles, (...) more than a few modernist buildings are part of their neighborhood's original architectural fabric. Nowhere is this more true than in the heart of Century City, a landscape of crisp, well-tailored office blocks and broad avenues laid out by Welton Becket and a talented group of collaborators in the early 1960s. The new district didn't replace a tight-knit group of Victorians or apartment houses. It rose on 176 acres that had been part of 20th Century Fox's sprawling back lot.

In that sense, the Century Plaza, a 19-story, 726-room hotel that traces a graceful arc along Avenue of the Stars, has a connection to place, context and planning history rare among buildings of its relatively young age. In its architecture as well as the way it takes advantage of the Century City plan, it is an unusually effective example of the attitude -- more optimistic than utopian, more Camelot than Stanley Kubrick -- that marked so much 1960s development in Los Angeles."

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Published on Monday, June 1, 2009 in The Los Angeles Times
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