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Construction to Begin on California Plaza 2

June 18, 1989|EVELYN De WOLFE | Times Staff Writer

Construction will begin Monday on the second phase of California Plaza in downtown Los Angeles.

Planned for the Bunker Hill site at 4th Street and Grand Avenue is a second office tower, 52 stories high, a one-of-a-kind urban garden/performance plaza and a retail area for restaurants and shops.

The $326-million project is expected to be completed in 1992, adding a new dimension to California Plaza as part of the developing "cultural corridor" of downtown Los Angeles shared by Museum of Contemporary Art, the as-yet-to-be-built Disney Concert Hall, the Dance Gallery, the Spiral Court and the Central Performance Plaza.

Designed by Arthur Erickson, project architect for California Plaza, the second tower is reminiscent of the completed sister tower, One California Plaza, with curving walls of glass anchored by a textured base and reflective-glass skin enveloping its 1.27 million square feet of office space.

Besides being 10 stories taller than the sister tower, other differences are seen in the Two California Plaza design, which features a base of Sanduba granite from Brazil and distinctive, incised window forms. A terraced effect is accomplished by vertically notched sections rising to the top of the building.

The Central Performance Plaza, between the two towers, is planned as a 1.5-acre urban garden that will also extend over Olive Street as a link to a projected third office tower. The plaza will have a major, two-tiered water feature and performance stages for year-round presentations by the Los Angeles arts community. The centerpiece of the plaza will be a major water feature created by WET Design in collaboration with Erickson. Waves of water will sweep down graduated terraces into a lake, dropping 17 feet from the highest point.

When the water is turned off, the area is designed to function as an open-air stage and serve as seating for the audience.

A circular stage, sheltered by an ornate metal-frame cover and adjoining a tier of stairs, will provide seating for several hundred spectators at regular lunchtime and early-evening performances. Cabaret-type events will be staged in a separate pavilion covered by a circular glass roof.

Plans for Phase 2 include 40,000 square feet of restaurants and shops that will be adjacent to the Central Performance Plaza and Two California Plaza.

About 1,270 parking spaces will be added to California Plaza in six subterranean levels connected by five shuttle elevators to the main plaza levels.

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