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.”
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.
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.