MHMag - By Jay Barker on Saturday, October 25, 2008 - 0 Comments
LA Street Cred
The internationally famous architect Jean Nouvel has recently proposed a new 177 unit condo tower for LA’s Century City, and it comes with a prime address, 10000 Santa Monica Blvd.
Nouvel is known for taking inspiration from the particular location surroundings and it appears from the renderings this creation will be no different.
In his words, “Twenty-first century contemporary architecture must express the art of living in a particular place at a particular time.” Reportedly the 45-story luxury tower will feature a razor thin (almost literally) profile that will feature surrounding green spaces on each terrace keyed to envelop the building.
The landscaping will be a very large part of the completed look of the building if one can depend on the early renderings, so much so that separating it from the building may be visually difficult after the greenery has had time to mature. In fact if we wanted to project about the message Jean Nouvel might be sending to LA, (and the city of current hot boxes that it is), it might be a slight adaption of what Gordon Gecko, the brash investor from the movie Wall Street famously said – Mr. Nouvel might be saying “Green is Good.”
Nouvel plan’s to obtain some level of LEED Certification but again one could easily project by reading between the lines of his comments about the project that obtaining LEED is more about what LA buyers need (prices have not been announced but are expected to be more expensive than the recent Century Towers starting in the low Millions), and less about what he plans to do to make the building energy efficient.
The planned sustainable efficiency starts with the building’s dimensions, 600 feet tall and 325 feet wide, but just 50 feet deep, allowing for natural light to penetrate throughout the building most of the day reducing the need for artificial light until after sundown.
The plant life then will permeate the building, both on the exterior and interior so much so that you may start to think of it as a building set inside of a garden, rather than the other way around.
“For me, every building is an adventure … Every project is an adventure. I research every project. I talk to a lot of people. Every building has a relationship to the climate, to the wind, to the colors of the buildings around it. I arrive at a concept with all the parameters in place. When I have all of these constraints, I begin. Without constraints, architecture does not exist. You are a sculptor.”
One other advantage of the building’s dimensions, and in particular its limited depth, is how it could lend itself to natural ventilation to reduce air-condition usage – in an odd way very much like the old antebellum mansions in the South.
The advantages of such an extensive greenery are numerous, cleaner air (a premium in LA), direct sun filters, and of course the everyday calming effect plants have been shown to have on the human psyche.
It’s too early to know exactly how this project will turn out, but of recent announced projects this one is interesting because it brings together a number of seemly disparate elements.
First there is Jean Nouvel himself, a very famous French architect (starchitect doesn’t fit his advanced stature and standing) who has built projects all over the world now attempting his first in LA, a place not noted for an abundance of (comparatively) daring architecture.
The project dubbed “The Green Blade” by Nouvel which will house some of the most expensive per square foot condo real estate in the US is to be built at a time when luxury properties in wealthy locations are still in demand, but recent looming economic data from some of the world’s largest banks indicate a possible slowdown which could finally touch some luxury locations previously imperious to the current middle-class US condo slowdown.
If all of this comes together though without major changes, and buyers ultimately flock to what will be a shining (or should I say shaded) example of weaving natural and unnatural materials to form a single unified peaceful living environment, this mostly low-key project could one day become an icon for the West, and one which will likely be emulated more than a few times.
View a slide show of Jean Nouvel’s most recent notable projects in Switzerland, Spain, France, and US (New York).