Endangered Landmark Or Has-Been Hotel?

August 26, 2009 | By Bridget Burns | Archive, Entertainment, News

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The crescent shaped hotel block that gives Century City its Utopian, modernist character has been at the center of debate over its preservation  for about a year.  Los Angeles developers would like to raze the Century Plaza Hotel to make way for two 600 foot towers.  Though the 40 something year old hotel got a 36 million dollar rehab within the last two years, its fate is uncertain.

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The Los Angeles Conservancy argues that the hotel should be preserved for its historic importance as a prime example of, mid-century modernism, having been designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the architect that also designed New York’s World Trade Towers (below) and their smaller cousins, the Century Plaza Towers (bottom).  The Century Plaza Hotel was nicknamed “The West Coast White House” under Ronald Reagan, having hosted two presidential victory parties. The former president held court in the glassed suites on more than one occasion (above). The Banquet Hall at the hotel hosted scores of Hollywood galas in the from the 1960′s to the 1990′s.

Los Angeles doesn’t have a great track record with preservationists.  Amongst the hundreds of iconic pieces of architecture that have been lost in the city’s strive for progress is The Ambassador Hotel, a sprawling 1920s era complex and the site of Senator Robert Kennedy’s assassination which was razed in 2005 after a lengthy tug of war between the city and preservationists.

Recently, The Los Angeles Times drew attention to the the role that architecture plays in the film, (500) Days Of Summer.  Throughout this film, the cameras turned their fond gaze on those building erected before 1950, embracing the nostalgic character Los Angeles embodies in its framework.

Are these edificial artifacts worth keeping? See more pictures here.

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