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Downtown Marriott/Ritz Reviewed, LA Live's Goals Met

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In his review of the Gensler-designed JW Marriott/Ritz tower, LAT architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne wonders why an LA-based architect (Neil Denari) is doing one of the "most architecturally promising condo towers now under construction" in a city that's not LA (Denari is building in NYC). "If an architect like Denari is finding New York City a more hospitable place to build such a tower than Los Angeles, then maybe Los Angeles needs to rethink its planning priorities -- and to push developers like AEG, which at L.A. Live has received a series of concessions and sweeteners from city agencies, to pursue more meaningful architecture." Hawthorne's not overwhelmed by the Ritz ("the building makes a faint, even passive impression"), but it's in the barbed, last paragraph of his review that he comes full circle with his previous criticisms of developer AEG's LA Live. "From the start, AEG's main objective at L.A. Live has been to create a sleekly homogenous, even hermetic ensemble where architecture operates primarily as a backdrop to billboards, video screens and other signage and branding. It seems clear -- now that the complex is complete -- that it has managed to meet that goal nearly perfectly."
· Architecture review: the tower at L.A Live [LAT]
· It has no place [LAT]