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'Arts' Sidewalk Will Front New Citicorp Plaza Tower

July 31, 1988|BARNETT SUSSMAN | Barnett Sussman is a Times real estate writer. and

Pedestrians in particular may enjoy the show at downtown's $250-million 777 Tower in Citicorp Plaza.

Design architect Fred Clarke said the sidewalk in front of the 53-story tower to be built at 8th and Figueroa streets will be "a work of art, with design elements, and possibly color."

"It will," he emphasized, "be fun."

The sidewalk design will be done in collaboration with an as yet unnamed Los Angeles artist.

Ground breaking for the tower is scheduled for fall and completion, for the fall of 1990.

Luminous in Sunlight

Clarke, a principal of New Haven, Conn.-based Cesar Pelli & Associates, said the 1-million-square-foot structure is being designed to lead downtown Los Angeles architecture away from what he calls "the New York-Houston look."

Clarke, who lived in Los Angeles from 1970 to 1977, sees the Los Angeles culture as "fresh, optimistic and non-traditional."

"Los Angeles is still experimenting with high-rises," he said. "The city does not have a traditional style of its own."

Clarke sees the bright sunlight of Los Angeles as an important element in the design.

"We wanted a light-colored building because it would pick up light. In addition, the exterior will be deeply sculptured to reveal shadows."

The tower, he said, will be luminous in full sunlight, and when lit at night "will radiate like a glowing sculptural object."

It will not be a New York building with a pointed top but rather will have a flat top to satisfy the Los Angeles safety requirement for a helicopter landing pad.

The lobby, now being designed, is being thought of in terms of marble and stainless steel. It will, he said, use a wall of clear glass so that drivers passing by "will get the impression of a large, beautifully lit room."

Clarke designed the tower to take advantage of the fact that Figueroa Street cuts across 8th Street at an angle. Through his design, the lobby will appear to "thrust out" from the tower.

The present 42-story Citicorp Plaza tower was opened in 1985. Original plans had called for the 777 Tower to be a twin.

The tower is owned by the Prudential Insurance Co. and MECA Associates, a partnership of California MEC Inc., an affiliate of Mitsubishi Estate New York Inc. and Ayrshire Corp. Houston.

The Cesar Pelli firm is working with the Los Angeles architectural firm, Langdon Wilson Mumper. The general contractor is Peck/Jones-Bellows, a joint venture of Peck/Jones of Los Angeles and W.S. Bellows Construction of Houston.

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