The Los Angeles Business Council (LABC) last week hosted the 40th annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards. A local ten-person jury consisting of city officials, contractors and developers recognized 31 projects in 20 categories. The verdict: It appears the city’s design professionals value sustainability, re-tooling dilapidated or ill-used buildings, economic rejuvenation and buildings that spur community involvement. Perhaps the biggest winners were police stations, a major design priority in the city lately, producing open, airy facilities meant to interact with their communities and even become community hubs. Six stations won awards, with the grand prize of this year’s awards going to the LAPD Administration building and its amenities like a nearly one-acre public park, a 400-seat auditorium and a rooftop garden. Other winners included the Hollenbeck Station in Boyle Heights by AC Martin, and the Olympic Police Station by Gruen and Associates. Other project winners minimized construction and resources expended by using recycled content, existing buildings or natural geography. The Los Angeles NFL Stadium won the Design Concept Award partially because its plan of nestling stadium seats into the natural hillside will minimize the project’s steel structure by 40 percent.
While not all the winning projects have won adoration in the architecture community, many have had real economic impacts. Mary Leslie, the President of the LABC, emphasized how L.A. Live, which received the Community Impact Award, will breath new life into L.A and spur economic growth. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel & Residences and JW Marriot at L.A. Live, winners in the hospitality category, created 3,600 jobs during construction, and the tower will permanently employ 700 Angelenos.