Wilshire La Brea, San Francisco developer BRE's massive, $105-million, 480-unit mixed-user at the southeast corner of Wilshire and La Brea is in the midst of taking off its construction wrapping and, for some, it's like that Twilight Zone episode where a woman removes her bandages and everyone is horrified. A lot of folks are annoyed that the project took down the postwar Columbia Savings Bank building, while others are retching thanks to the design (by TCA Architects, which has done some beautiful work, like the nearby 5550 Wilshire). "The building's facade is a jumble of balconies and discordant frontal planes with the northern and eastern faces designed differently, united by a central tower that seems to lack any elegance or even much design," writes Julie Grist of Larchmont Buzz. "It's a shame the design team couldn't at least try to borrow some of the sleek lines from other streamline or deco architecture still standing along Wilshire Boulevard."
Architecture followers on the SkyscraperPage forum are equally disappointed:
-- "During CicLAvia I noticed that the facade is going up on the Wilshire side of Wilshire/La Brea, and I have to say ... it's definitely some of the ugliest stuff I've seen in a long time."
-- "I passed by it the other day and it truly is terrible. I mean atrocious. I don't think there is an uglier major project going up right now."
-- "Yeah. I saw it today, and almost fell off my bike looking at the terrible, dated rooftop and fenestration. How did that crap get an ok?"
-- "That's the ugliest thing I've ever seen. And on such a prime street as Wilshire? Shameful."
-- "The top looks like a fucking row of silos."
-- "Wow, I thought people were exaggerating since everyone here seems to overly hate stucco but what a disaster. Looks outdated already!"
On a positive note, the project, opening in late October or early November, features a gym, pool, and fitness center. There's also 40,000 square feet of retail (and nearly 1,000 underground parking spots, though a subway station is being built kitty-corner to the project).
· Wilshire La Brea [BRE]
· Wraps Coming Off Projects at Wilshire and La Brea [Larchmont Buzz]
· Wilshire La Brea Overcomes Turmoil, Aims for 2014 Opening [Curbed LA]