While work actually started ahead of schedule back in December, Emerson College officially broke ground yesterday on its new Los Angeles campus. The 10-story building at Sunset and Gordon was designed by Thom Mayne of Morphosis and everyone is super excited about a big, starchitect-designed project getting underway in a semi-dormant Hollywood. Emerson alum Henry Winkler hosted yesterday's event, where both Mayor Villaraigosa and City Councilmember Eric Garcetti spoke, and where Emerson President Lee Pelton emphasized the school's commitment to the neighborhood and to LA. If you know anyone in the entertainment industry, odds are good you know an Emerson alum--the school is known for its media programs, with specialized majors like cinematography and post-production. It first launched its Los Angeles semester program back in 1986; the program currently runs out of rented space in Burbank and houses students in the Oakwoods temporary apartments on Barham Blvd. (students made some pretty bummed out-looking faces when speakers yesterday mentioned how great it would be to leave that all behind).
Emerson bought the Hollywood land in 2008 and announced plans for the new campus in 2009. Its new 102,360 square foot building will house 220 students and have four faculty/staff apartments, academic facilities, Alumni Relations and Admissions offices, retail space and an Emerson Cafe on Sunset, outdoor terraces, and three levels of underground parking.
Press materials say Mayne describes the building as "a pearl inside its shell": "The glass and steel 'pearl' serves as the gateway to instructional and administrative space via a wide and inviting staircase to a second-floor lobby. The “shell” comprises two 10-level towers on the east and west sides that are devoted mainly to student housing. The towers are lined with a semitransparent textured scrim that serves as the guardrail for exterior balconies and creates outdoor rooms. Through operable sunshades, the scrim also produces lighting conditions that maximize daylight and minimize heat gain."
Construction is set to finish up by the end of 2013 and should be open for educating in spring 2014.
· Work Has Begun on Emerson's Morphosis Building in Hollywood [Curbed LA]