Wilshire Ambassador

Los Angeles, California, US

The underlying concept of this scheme is to characterize the building as part of the natural continuum of Wilshire Boulevard, the linear corridor which is as much a symbol of Los Angeles as the Hollywood sign. Through the creation of an extensive garden, the open space is advanced as an important urban park. More importantly, through the addition of significant retail and elements of pedestrian activity, the design seeks to enhance the Wilshire corridor and introduce the kind of energy found in Times Square or the Shibuya District of Tokyo.

The building’s shape, and its progress from base to the top, are logically integrated with functional and architectural criteria to allow for a continuous, efficient structural system. The lantern/helipad at the top not only serves structural needs, but also provides a beacon visible miles out to sea and far into the desert. The play of light through the slots in the upper part of the building and the gentle taper provide hourly drama across the elevations.

The structural system concept was determined on the basis of efficient windload resistance and considerations of occupant perceptions of motion during wind gusts. Additionally, the structural system had to provide adequate resistance and ductility to withstand strong seismic motion. The lateral stiffness for wind-load resistance is optimized by placing columns on the exterior of the shape and interconnection them by means of vertical trusses. Apertures in the building provide substantial dampening of wind motion.