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Old Posted Feb 1, 2020, 6:23 AM
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Los Angeles - Century City

Billed as a 'city within a city' and as an alternative to the urbanity and lack of green space downtown, Century City is a prime example of what went wrong with cities in the 1960's. It's no longer the biggest suburban skyline, but it does still have more 300ft towers than numerous US cities (and that's not even including the nearby Wilshire/Westwood corridor).

Festooned with office and residential towers in a park-like setting, settled around a giant shopping mall, and all served with underground parking. What more could a 1960's planner want? It's an odd juxtaposition in scales, with 40+ story towers right next to multi-million dollar single family mansions. Leafy and quiet green spaces, set amidst thousands of office and apartment dwellers.

As a skyline and a place of architecture, it's a who's who of architects (Welton Beckett, Yamasaki, Pelli, Pei, AC Martin, SOM, Scott Johnson, Stern, Handel, Henry Cobb), but the resultant buildings are mostly sedate. I suspect that has more to do with both the era of the earlier towers, and the tenacity of the local NIMBY's with the more recent (the latter I know for a fact).

Interesting fact: Alcoa funded most of the original development, and as with their HQ tower in Pittsburgh, encouraged the use of aluminum in the facades. The result is that most of the original towers (including the still crowning Century Plaza Towers twins) are clad in the material. Some better than others.

I was down there in November for the client meeting and snapped some shots...


191015 CENTURY CITY 132
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 096
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 182
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr

Scott Johnson does some wonderful facades...

191015 CENTURY CITY 009
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 012
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 167
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr

Stern's entry...

191015 CENTURY CITY 018
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 027
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 028
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 130
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr

Yippee Ki Yay!

191015 CENTURY CITY 023
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 033
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr

Gensler

191015 CENTURY CITY 029
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr

Yamasaki wonderfulness...

191015 CENTURY CITY 199
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 043
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 052
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 056
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 144
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 154
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr

Yamasaki also designed the curvilinear Century Plaza Hotel, now being renovated. Originally it also had a 30 story tower that later became the St. Regis Hotel and then was demolished for Stern's The Century.

191015 CENTURY CITY 160
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr

AC Martin couldn't be left out, a really nice facade...

191015 CENTURY CITY 117
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 173
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 051
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 125
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 146
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr

cannot come soon enough...

191015 CENTURY CITY 064
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr

Watt Plaza with it's curved feet...

191015 CENTURY CITY 078
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 151
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr

Until the sun goes down...

191015 CENTURY CITY 091
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr

Handel did a nice job, but Nouvel's would have been better...

191015 CENTURY CITY 099
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 101
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 171
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr

the ubiquitous shopping mall, with it's only slightly ostentatious Westfield signage...but I do love the pedestrian bridge...

191015 CENTURY CITY 118
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 121
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 143
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr

...and coming soon of course, the twin 46 story Century Plaza, designed by Henry Cobb of PeiCobbFreed:
https://thecenturyplaza.com/

They are under construction...here's what it looked like in November (more current pics from others are in the construction thread)

191015 CENTURY CITY 001
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 010
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 011
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 013
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 014
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 015
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 016
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 019
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 020
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 176
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 181
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 183
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr


191015 CENTURY CITY 185
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr
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  #2  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2020, 9:03 AM
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I rank skyline of Century City as approx. same size as Richmond yet not larger than Oakland.
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Last edited by Murphy de la Sucre; Feb 1, 2020 at 9:13 AM.
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Old Posted Feb 1, 2020, 6:42 PM
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Nice!
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Old Posted Feb 1, 2020, 7:49 PM
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I have this love/hate relationship with Century City district. I love seeing the skyline as I pass by, but I hate how it’s developed at street level sort of simi-office park. Every now and then, about once a year my wife and I visit the shopping center. It’s a very clean area and it has a very upscale atmosphere about the area.

I do hope when the Pupple Line is completed things will change in the way new construction is developed.

Thank you for sharing, I’m impressed with the beautiful buildings.
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  #5  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2020, 7:53 PM
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Oddly enough, reminds me a bit of parts of Shinjuku's CBD area.
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Old Posted Feb 1, 2020, 10:47 PM
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Awesome pics. It's a strange area even for Los Angeles, but the architecture is good. And who doesn't love a big, secondary skyline in their city?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murphy de la Sucre View Post
I rank skyline of Century City as approx. same size as Richmond yet not larger than Oakland.
Century City:

Century Plaza North Tower (u/c): 600'
Century Plaza South Tower (u/c): 600'
Century Plaza Tower I: 571'
Century Plaza Tower II: 571'
SunAmerica Center: 533'
Constellation Park: 523'
Fox Plaza: 493'
MGM Tower: 491'
Ten Thousand: 483'
The Century: 478'

Oakland:

Ordway Building: 404'
Kaiser Center: 390'
17th and Broadway: 380'
Lake Merritt Plaza: 371'
601 City Center: 367'
1111 Broadway: 360'
Kaiser Engineering Building: 336'
Clorox Building: 330'
EM Harris State Office Building: 328'
Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building North: 328'
Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building South: 328'

Richmond:

James Monroe Building: 449'
600 Canal Place: 417'
SunTrust Plaza: 400
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond: 394'
Bank of America Center: 331'
Richmond City Hall: 315'
Riverfront Plaza East: 312'
Riverfront Plaza East: 312'
One James River Plaza: 308'
Main Street Centre: 305'
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Old Posted Feb 2, 2020, 12:34 AM
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Another thing I will add, serveral years ago when I was laid off work I was doing odd jobs and one was courier package deliveries. I dropped off a package to BMG Records in one of those high rises and it was the most beautiful and plush office I ever been in. I also remember the lobby area had this awesome view overlooking the city with a lush green backdrop of either a private park o golf course.
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Old Posted Feb 2, 2020, 3:02 AM
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Nice pictures!
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  #9  
Old Posted Feb 2, 2020, 3:10 AM
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I work in CC, and its kinda cool. It could be better urbanity wise, but there's a good amount of pedestrians walking around during the week, especially around the mall.
Its not my favorite part of LA, but I like it for what it is. The new Century Plaza Towers should add some more retail too. You get the feeling the subway arriving is going to be a huge, huge deal as well. Hopping on the subway to Beverly Hills, Westwood, Fairfax Ave, Koreatown, Downtown....I can't tell you how thats going to effect the city.
It's also one of the corporate parts of Hollywood, so the tenants are unique in that sense.
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Old Posted Feb 4, 2020, 11:38 PM
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This is such a cool shot

Quote:
Yamasaki wonderfulness...

191015 CENTURY CITY 199
by Michael Stroh, on Flickr
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Old Posted Feb 5, 2020, 3:38 AM
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Hey folks, any CC aerials kicking around?
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  #12  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2020, 7:30 AM
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Great photos. A couple of architectural gems. More of an office park than a real downtown. Every residential area in CC is gated and the average age of its residents is the highest in Los Angeles.
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Old Posted Feb 5, 2020, 3:14 PM
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I love LA in general, and I think that CC is great. I like the proximity to Beverly Hills.
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Old Posted Feb 5, 2020, 3:57 PM
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And all I kept on thinking was I'm stuck down in Century City
No ride and ain't it a pity
Stuck dead in Century City
No love and ain't it a pity


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6QS2BhfGbk
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Old Posted Feb 5, 2020, 4:01 PM
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I'm glad to see there is a photo of Nakatomi Plaza.
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Old Posted Feb 5, 2020, 4:14 PM
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awesome set thanks.

i meant to go over there and try to see what is left of the 'conquest of the planet of the apes' on location sites, but ran out of time.

so, not much apparently?

or at least i think it was shot there -- i also see uc at irvine as well. maybe both?

anyway, i was looking for that dystopian late 60s-early 70s vibe and it looks to be washed away by time and redevelopment.

https://patch.com/california/century...-the-apes-1972











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Old Posted Feb 5, 2020, 4:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist View Post
I'm glad to see there is a photo of Nakatomi Plaza.
I know, right? I saw that and thought, "They've been known to throw a mean Christmas party in that building..."
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Old Posted Feb 5, 2020, 4:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrnyc View Post
awesome set thanks.

i meant to go over there and try to see what is left of the 'conquest of the planet of the apes' on location sites, but ran out of time.

so, not much apparently?

or at least i think it was shot there -- i also see uc at irvine as well. maybe both?
Go Anteaters!
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Old Posted Feb 5, 2020, 6:13 PM
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The word that comes most quickly to mind is "sterile". Some decent stores in the shopping center.
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Old Posted Feb 6, 2020, 8:19 PM
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Great photos!

As sterile as Century City is, and the fact that it's basically a glorified office park on steroids, I like Century City. Maybe it's a place-nostalgia thing, as I remember going to Century City in the 1970s as a very small child, and I've seen it evolve.

I remember when the shopping mall wasn't as upscale as it is now; they used to have a Clifton's Cafeteria there. Also, the mall's Crate & Barrel was the very first I had ever been to, back when I was a kid, and at the time, was the only one I knew of in LA.

Back when the Shubert Theater/ABC Entertainment Center still existed across from the Century Plaza Hotel, that part of Avenue of the Stars seemed kinda lively with all the people getting dropped off/picked up, and dropping off their cars/picking up their cars at the valet, going to a live musical or play...

Beginning when I was a teen in the late 1980s and well into my 20s in the 1990s, I would see movies at the AMC Century 14 at the mall when that cinema complex existed (the cinemas there now are newer and in an entirely different location within the mall from the now-gone cinemas). They had quite a number of great old classic film series, too, and I would also go to those. I remember seeing Dustin Hoffman at a movie I was seeing, though I don't remember what movie we saw.

I remember being really glad that the Century City shopping mall never remodeled itself into an enclosed mall like some other older open-air malls did, when enclosed malls started becoming a trend, even in "perfect weather" southern California. And back then I remember thinking that it was the only open-air mall that I liked.

When we were in our 20s, my sister worked in the office building that was torn down during the recent shopping mall expansion; we would occasionally meet for lunch, and eat at the food court. As nicer as the mall is now, the expansion ruins the symmetry and obliterated the plaza that used to exist when that now-demolished office building existed; it made a nice entryway when you crossed that pedestrian bridge that goes over Ave. of the Stars. Now, when you cross that pedestrian bridge, you end up at what feels like a service entrance or delivery entrance to the mall.

I assume that Century City is still Los Angeles' premiere business address.
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