Much as I love new architecture, I’m always pleased to see projects in which preservation plays an important role. For a variety of reasons – economic, aesthetic, etc. – there’s a tendency these days to scrape old structures from the map and start anew without any reference to what went before.
So I’m particularly happy to watch the progression of the plans for Robertson Lane, in West Hollywood. Designed by internationally renowned architects Hodgetts + Fung, the new mixed-use development will include retail, restaurant, nightlife, hotel, and open space that features a 30-foot-wide pedestrian plaza between La Peer Drive and Robertson Boulevard.
The preservation part of the project involves the retention and reuse of a portion of The Factory, a 1929 building that was later the home of Studio One (“one of the most successful discotheques in the United States”) and a hub of gay culture in Los Angeles. In 2015 the building was listed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
While initial plans for Robertson Lane included demolition of The Factory, the West Hollywood Heritage Project recommended the site for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and the State Historical Resources Commission approved the designation in October 2016.
According to the Robertson Lane website, the structure will be “preserved and reimagined to house small-scale retail and cafés,” and will “pay homage to the Factory’s history with elements such as a commissioned art installation, video testimonials, oral histories, commemorative plaques, large scale photographs and public art honoring luminary cultural figures such as Grace Jones, Phyllis Morris, Liza Minelli, Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers, among others.”
A Draft Environmental Impact Report was filed in March and WEHOville reports that the project is receiving favorable feedback from members of the West Hollywood design review subcommittee as well as from local residents appearing at a meeting of West Hollywood’s Historic Preservation Commission.