Gensler-designed L.A. Live Hotel Tower debuts

LOS ANGELES — Gensler’s The Ritz-Carlton Hotel & Residences and JW Marriott at L.A. LIVE,
the fi rst skyscraper built in downtown Los Angeles in two decades, opens February 16. A LEEDregistered project pursuing Gold-level certifi cation, the tower is a symbol of urban revitalization
and provides long-awaited hospitality rooms to support the city’s convention industry.

“Gensler designed this tower to be a beacon for a rejuvenated Downtown, a destination for
Angelenos and visitors from all over the world,” said Andy Cohen, executive director of Gensler
and principal-in-charge of the project.

The building expands horizontally as it rises vertically, refl ecting the varied products within.
Each succeeding use — 22 JW Marriott, Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE fl oors at the bottom, followed
by four fl oors of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Los Angeles and the Ritz-Carlton Residences at L.A.
LIVE at the top — has larger space requirements. The building’s elegantly curving curtain wall
smooths the jagged transition among the changing fl oor plates as they stack skyward.

Cradled in the junction of two of the nation’s busiest interstates — the I-110 and I-10 freeways
— The Ritz-Carlton Hotel & Residences and JW Marriott tower looks over L.A. LIVE, completing
AEG’s sports, residential and entertainment district.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel & Residences and JW Marriott at L.A. LIVE represents close to half of
the 5.6 million square feet in L.A. LIVE, a six-block pedestrian-oriented sports, residential and
entertainment district that completes the promise of a center city sports and entertainment
hub.

“The Ritz-Carlton Hotel & Residences is not only a spectacular new addition to the downtown
skyline but also a major contributor to our local economy,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. “It
is a vibrant economic engine that has created thousands of jobs for local workers, is helping to
inject life back into our urban downtown and is providing world class amenities for a world-class
city.”

To accommodate the needs of the client and Los Angeles’s strict seismic codes, Gensler and
structural engineer Nabih Youssef & Associates devised a performance-baseddesign approach to the tower. By substituting steel plate shear walls for traditional concrete shear walls, the design team increased usable square footage inside the building and eliminated view-blocking perimeter moment frames.

The strategy saved millions of dollars in construction costs and shaved four months off the
construction schedule. With a lighter building, the design team was able to add four stories and
boost the overall project value by an estimated $8 million.

The building features two outdoor decks with pools, bars and events facilities. The fourth-fl oor
deck, with a 1,000-person capacity and views to Nokia Plaza L.A. LIVE, is for guests of the
JW Marriott hotel. The 26th fl oor deck, reserved for guests of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel and the
condominiums, off ers exclusive views of the downtown skyline and Nokia Plaza L.A. LIVE below,
and is destined to become a new locus for L.A. nightlife.

The hotel’s 80,000-square-foot conference center, connected to the tower by a skywalk, includes
a 26,000-square-foot ballroom. The project provides needed conference and exhibition space, as
well as accommodations for visitors and locals.

A common approach when designing mixed-use towers is to clad them in refl ective glass that
uniformly masks interior activity. Gensler’s design team chose instead to create a building skin
of varying glass types, sizes and colors that is at once artistic and utilitarian.

“The facade unifi es the diff erent hotel and residential uses and creatively maximizes energy
performance,” said Kap Malik, project designer for Gensler. “By utilizing diff erent glass types —
varied in color, transparency, refl ectivity and ceramic frit pattern — the façade has maximum
transparency and minimal heat gain.”

The skin is just one of many sustainable strategies employed at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel &
Residences and JW Marriott at L.A. LIVE. Gensler’s project team and contractor Webcor Builders
controlled construction waste through the use of an innovative steel shear plate structural
system that greatly reduced building materials versus a traditional concrete structure. Other
sustainable features of the project are water-effi cient fi xtures, landscaping, and solar-refl ecting
surfaces on roofs, paving and landscaping to reduce heat island eff ect.
 

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