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Engaging the Neighborhood

Australian residential developer Crown Group has unveiled the design of its latest development in downtown Los Angeles, and its first United States project, Sky Trees. The $500-million, mixed-use, high rise condominium and hotel tower was designed by Koichi Takada Architects in collaboration with MVE + Partners as executive architect.

“Like many of our other projects, downtown L.A. is set to become a new icon on the evolving L.A. skyline while transforming the downtown district into a human-centered, flourishing neighborhood,” said Koichi Takada, design architect of Koichi Takada Architects. “Downtown L.A. is experiencing a once-in-a-generation revival led by the heightened convergence of tech, media and entertainment. The L.A. development is an excellent and rare opportunity to be able to contribute to the transformation of an entire neighborhood and, by extension, the entire city, with a unique offering that features turnkey resort-style living as well as stylish architecture and design that promotes a more balanced, healthier lifestyle.”

The development is a 43-story tower that will house 319 condominiums and a 160-room hotel. Takada was inspired by California’s vast natural beauty and its iconic redwoods, which are unique in their towering height, their resiliency and the delicate, balanced ecosystem that supports them. Taking his cues from the redwood forest, Takada incorporated many elements into the high-rise design that engage with the public and enhance the neighborhood.

“Nature is always where we draw inspiration from,” Takada said. “By incorporating nature into Sky Trees’ design, it brings some familiar Australian architectural features to the city, such as cross-ventilation, access to daylight, natural materiality and a lot of timber, inside and out. This approach is about celebrating the Australian outdoor lifestyle.”

At the base of the building will be an elegant, sweeping canopy that evokes the undulating swells of the Pacific, a nod to the shared coastal lifestyles of Australia and California. The canopy will contribute to the walkability of the neighborhood by engaging with the street level and bringing the high rise down to the human level. With its alluring, organic shape, the canopy will have a dual purpose: serving as a public art piece while also providing shade and shelter for guests, residents and pedestrians.

“Our vision is to create the healthiest place to live in Los Angeles by creating the optimal balance between the artificial and natural environments. In doing so, we can help create a living, breathing neighborhood that will become an integral part of the future DNA of Los Angeles. Our nature-inspired approach to this project provides a platform for the health and well-being of the residents, hotel guests and neighbors that feels luxurious and inspiring and, at the same time, like a sanctuary and home,” Takada said.

Rising from the canopy, an innovative “living” facade will incorporate natural wood and vertical landscaping, adding warmth and greenery to the downtown neighborhood. The live plantings will also improve air quality. At the top of the tower, a sculptural element and live plantings suggest a redwood tree crown branching out toward the sky, a first for a downtown building since the removal of helipad requirements. The higher floors of the building will comprise 319 condominiums with an exclusive residents’ retreat over the top two floors, while the lower floors will incorporate the 160-room hotel.

“Through our nature-inspired approach, we also hope to empower future generations to embrace this new natural era,” Takada said. “By incorporating elements of nature, such as vertical greening and natural ventilation, we can coexist with nature and do not need to destroy it within the city context.”

The project will be located at the convergence of downtown’s financial, fashion and South Park districts. The project is expected to be completed in 2025.