Koichi Takada Architects reveals tree-like skyscraper for Downtown Los Angeles

A Tree Grows in Los Angeles

Koichi Takada Architects reveals tree-like skyscraper for Downtown Los Angeles

The striped facade splays out on the ground floor in a nod to both the roots of a California redwood and Marilyn Monroe’s “flying skirt” moment. (Courtesy Koichi Takata Architects)

Australian firm Koichi Takada Architects, in collaboration with MVE + Partners as the architect of record, has unveiled its latest design for Sky Trees, a 43-story tower set for the corner of 11th Street and Hill Street in Downtown Los Angeles. Crown Group, the Singapore-based developer of the project, is hoping to start construction by the end of next year and has set an estimated budget of $500 million. “It’s rare to find the central district of a large cosmopolitan city on the verge of such significant change,” said Crown Group chief executive officer Iwan Sunito in a statement, according to Urbanize Los Angeles. “Downtown is experiencing a once in a generation revival – led by the heightened convergence of tech, media, and entertainment in Los Angeles.”

skyscraper with pointed top, wrapped in a timber mesh facade
The top of the tower splits in two to support dual rooftop gardens. (Courtesy Koichi Takada Architects)

Seeking to stand out from the other skyscrapers in the district while considering its own relationship to the human scale, the exterior design and color palette was reportedly inspired by California’s iconic redwood trees. Sky Trees will partially wrap a 160-room hotel and 528 apartment units in a breathing green wall designed to improve the city’s notoriously low air quality. “It is our desire through a nature-inspired approach to architecture,” the firm wrote in a press statement, “to transform an old existing warehouse district into a healthy and organic neighborhood in LA.”

The literal ‘branching out’ of the tower’s timber facade at the ground level is both an additional nod to the roots of a redwood tree as well as a reference to Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe’s “flying skirt” moment. The top few stories of the building continue the arboreal theme with a tree-like crown that will split off into two halves, taking advantage of the abolition of a zoning law that once mandated all buildings in Downtown Los Angeles to have flat roofs to accommodate emergency helicopter landings.

Cars and people on street during nighttime
At night, the all-glass ground floor will illuminate the timber facade. (Courtesy Koichi Takada Architects)

The Los Angeles Times reports that Crown Group is optimistic about the project despite the current hit residential sales are taking during the coronavirus pandemic, predicting that demand will increase by the time the building is slated for completion in 2025.