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Tower Design: It's Back to Moderne : Developers of Fox Plaza Seek to Make an Architectural Statement

September 01, 1985|EVELYN De WOLFE

Moderne--that architectural style with dazzling prismatic shapes that predated the glass-banded structures of the International Style of the 1950s--is back in its newest garb to enhance the skyline of Century City.

Construction has begun on Fox Plaza, a 34-story, 649,000-square-foot building being developed by Miller-Klutznick-Davis-Gray Co. and 20th Century Fox Film Corp. at 2121 Avenue of the Stars. The site occupies six acres of the 63-acre Fox lot.

Strong Statement

James H. Miller, speaking for Miller-Klutznick-Davis-Gray Co. of Denver--which is in charge of all real estate entities that are part of 20th Century Fox--said the firm hopes to make a strong architectural statement with its Westside project. In addition to $110 million for land and construction costs, Miller said an additional $70 million to $90 million will be spent on soft costs.

"We believe Fox Plaza will become an important landmark for Century City," Miller added. "and we feel fortunate with our choice of R. Scott Johnson as its designer. This being our first venture in the Los Angeles area, we needed an architect who was nationally recognized and one who knew the area well and would give us a project to complement the environment."

Johnson, director of design and a principal in the firm of Pereira Associates, said he believes the new tower is the only major Moderne building to be erected in three decades in Los Angeles. Completion of the corporate business structure is expected in the fall of 1986.

The building, to be clad in salmon-colored Finnish granite, resembles a prism that is heavier and more elaborate at the base and lighter in scale and feeling at the top, where it merges into a composition of glass at the roof.

Elaborating on the Moderne period--typified by strong color effects and prismatic shapes--Johnson referred to "those eminently attractive skyscrapers that began with Goodhue and Hood in the 1920s and disappeared with the invasion of the glass boxes of the International Style in the 1950s."

Stone patterns and geometric designs of both the interior and exterior of Fox Plaza were inspired by 14th-Century churches of Florence, Italy, Johnson said.

Two-Story Lobby

The faceted shape of the building will provide for as many as 16 corner offices on each floor and the interior will feature a two-story main lobby finished in granite panels with black diamond-shaped accents that reflect the exterior appearance.

Traffic patterns have been planned so that the building, which faces the Avenue of the Stars on the southwest corner of the intersection of Olympic Boulevard, will have three entrances and exits.

An entrance and exit from Olympic Boulevard on the north will go directly to the building's 1,830-car parking structure. Galaxy Way will be extended across Avenue of the Stars so that it runs along the south side of the building and creates yet another entrance and exit.

From Avenue of the Stars a third entrance will curve around the north side of the tower and lead to a motor court at the rear of the building designed for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic, outdoor gatherings and special events.

The 150-by-200-foot court will have two circular patterns of paving in rich red, black and white granite and will be partially surrounded by heavy tropical landscaping and berms accented with statuary.

General contractor for the project is Al Cohen Construction Co.,which recently won the Build/America Award of the Associated General Contractors of America for the 1.5-million-square-foot Mountain Bell Center, a 54-story office tower in Denver.

Pereira Associates' vast portfolio includes the designs for the Transamerica Pyramid and Citicorp Center in San Francisco. Miller-Klutznick-Gray-Davis developed Water Tower Place in Chicago, City Center in Denver and Copley Place in Boston; the firm and 20th Century Fox own and operate the world-renowned resort properties--the Pebble Beach Co. in California and the Aspen Skiing Co. in Colorado.

Leasing for the building will be conducted by Cushman Realty Corp.

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