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Architect Thom Mayne Brings the Future to Hollywood

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When plans for an extension campus in Hollywood for Boston-based Emerson College were announced, it sounded like an amorphous plan. Well, we knew architect Morphosis, Thom Mayne's architecture firm, was picked to design the campus at Sunset and Gordon. But in a profile on attorney Lewis Feldman, who represents Emerson College, in this week's Los Angeles Business Journal, there's a rendering of the reported $85 million project. What are we looking at? For more details on the 10-story building, which could break ground by the end of next year, we turn to Kim Groves, principal architect at Morphosis.

First, more background: The program is designed for Emerson College seniors, who will reside on this Hollywood extension as part of a live/study program that'll see the college students studying at this center, while doing internships with companies in Los Angeles.

The whole lot size is about 37,000 square feet, which isn't quite even a city block, according to Groves. The building will be built over three levels of subterranean parking.

As for the design itself, there are 224 student rooms--not termed dorms, since the word "dorm" implies there are kitchens—which’ll rise along the tower structures on the sides—while the middle area, the glass part, will contain academic facilities. The ground floor could include two retail spots and quite possibly an Emerson Cafe similar to the cafe that's currently on the Boston campus. All of this ground floor retail and the cafe would be open to the public.

Meanwhile, that wrinkled, metallic-looking "fabric" on the interior of the two towers are exterior balcony guard rails. And what kind of material are those rails made of? Given that the final budget isn't finalized, Groves said she couldn’t talk about material choices yet.

But there is a ground-breaking schedule. “We want to start construction in end of 2010, early 2011, “ says Groves.

Anyway, what to think of this latest Hollywood addition? Shades of OMA's CCTV headquarters? Better than the rest of all those planned Hollywood buildings?

· Who's Who in Real Estate [LABJ]
· Hollywood's Great Revitalization [Curbed LA]

Emerson College Los Angeles

5960 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028