Article first appeared in Architecture AU
Sydney practice Koichi Takada Architects has unveiled designs for a 63-storey tower, named Sky Trees, in downtown Los Angeles that references California’s gigantic redwoods, the “oldest and tallest” trees in the world, as well as Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe and her “flying skirt.”
The architects said in a design statement the tower would become the “healthiest place you can live in downtown LA.”
It will house 528 apartments and 515 square metres of retail space and feature an expressive canopy that incorporates a “breathing green wall” designed to improve the city’s air quality and introduce a unique landscaping feature to the downtown streetscape.
The 63-storey iteration would be one of the tallest buildings in Los Angeles, behind the 73-storey Wilshire Grand Centre and the 73-storey US Bank Tower. The architects’ statement says the design would seek to incorporate a “human scale” despite its height.
“We want to humanise tall buildings, to celebrate the pedestrian activities and consider how people experience it,” the statement reads. “We want our tall building designs to be more engaging to the public to contribute to the community by activating and creating a connection with the neighbourhood.”
At the ground level, undulating timber shading references Marilyn Monroe’s flying skirt moment, when her skirt flies up as she stands over a New York subway grate in the 1954 film The Seven Year Itch. The architects said the reference to Hollywood would “add cultural value to LA’s famous street culture,” while the nature-inspired building would help LA become a walkable city.