The non-descript IAC office building at 8800 Sunset Blvd. near Holloway is being draped with a six-story lattice that soon will be covered with native greenery.
IAC has announced that it has engaged Rios Clementi Hale Studios for the renovation, which will include space open to the public with seating and bike racks.
Work on the lattice already has begun, with some WEHOville readers assuming it was a temporary system of braces to reinforce the facade of the building, which sits across Sunset from a building bearing the IAC logo at 8833 Sunset. IAC expects to complete the project later this year.
“The IAC building at 8800 Sunset Boulevard is undergoing a stunning architectural transformation, which will breathe new life and function into the current structure,” said Christian Bryan, vice president, real estate and facilities, for the internet company, whose headquarters are in New York City. “We wanted our building to not just be another office space but to become a gathering destination. We are proud to offer the city of West Hollywood a green wall and a public space that will provide a breath of fresh air for pedestrians on the iconic Sunset Strip, and further build a sense of community.”
Indeed, the renovated building’s public plaza will be one of the few places on Sunset (the most prominent other being the Sunset building at 8590 Sunset) that offers a pedestrian-friendly space on a boulevard dominated by cars. The project will include a restaurant, owned by Alan Nathan, whose chef will be Dakota Weiss, formerly of Nine Thirty at the W Westwood.
The steel lattice will feature a living garden of Southern California hillside native plants selected by Paul Kephart of Rana Creek, a globally known expert in planted roofs. A sustainable built-in irrigation solution, using an existing underground river water flow that is being pumped and a digital monitoring system, will make sure the plants receive the appropriate amount of water.
“The lattice has the illusion of peeling off the building,” said project designer Sebastian Salvadó, a senior associate at Rios Clementi Hale Studios. “Employees will have views of the landscape below and the Hollywood Hills beyond.”
Vertical troughs ranging from 18 feet to 50 feet feet long are attached to a white brick façade at their highest point and protrude as much as 14 feet when they meet the second floor, creating a garden awning. On the west side of the structure, the three-dimensional planted grid flattens to become a green roof over what will be a new restaurant.
The lattice’s apertures allow light to stream through, while the lines of the lattice create shade down below. The resulting shadow patterns will be echoed in pre-cast concrete pavers that extend to the street edge, forming a public plaza. Large planters will bring the flora to street level. Custom-designed geometric-shaped benches made of steel plates will be installed.
The building will also be activated at night–a busy time in this area of restaurants and clubs. Rather than illuminate the face of the grid, Rios Clementi Hale Studios opted to light the lattice from behind, so illumination emanates through the plants. Likewise, in-ground lighting reflecting off the yellow interiors of the plaza seating will transform it into glowing lanterns.
“By day it’s a California hillside, and by night it acts as a big urban lamp to illuminate the plaza,” Salvadó said. The building will be branded with two IAC signs designed by Bruce Mau.
IAC owns more than 150 brands and products, including Ask.com, About.com, Match.com, HomeAdvisor and Vimeo. Its New York City headquarters, designed by Frank Gehry and completed in 2007, is recognized as one of that city’s most creative structures.