Last week the Glendale City Council approved two mixed-use projects, each located at significant infill sites within the city’s urban centers. The Triangle, designed by TCA: Thomas P Cox Architects, will anchor the Tropico Station district surrounding the Glendale Metrolink/Amtrak stop. The second will fill a vacant lot and chronic hole in the middle of the Brand Boulevard downtown retail district and is designed by CarrierJohnson+Culture for Holland Properties.
The Glendale Triangle project will occupy what is perhaps the most important site in the emerging pedestrian-oriented transit district surrounding the Glendale Metrolink/Amtrak station in the historic Tropico neighborhood – the triangular block bounded by San Fernando Rd, Los Feliz Blvd and Central Ave. Any building at this site will become the dominant visual “gateway” icon into South Glendale, but also the center of as-yet unconnected cluster of pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods and retail districts, such as the arts / design storefronts and transit neighborhood on San Fernando to the south, the medical district on Los Feliz to the east, and the residential apartments and associated retail on Central to the north. Happily, TCA’s proposal addresses these fundamental urban design concerns. The project recognizes the visual importance of each corner and provides a unique design concept for each “gateway” corner, most dramatically at the acute “apex” of San Fernando and Central (pictured above). Additionally, the design includes continuous sidewalk frontage of retail and live/work storefronts on all three elevations, with various “pocket” plazas, thereby establishing a vibrant pedestrian-oriented center to the Tropico area.
Brand+Wilson is literally at the center of downtown Glendale, located on a site that has been vacant for nearly 20 years at the intersection that gives the project its name . Also bounded by Orange Street and the existing City Center office complex, the project has an opportunity and obligation to complete an existing semi-circular plaza to the south, fulfilling the original design intent of the City Center project to frame and activate this plaza with a second building. CarrierJohnson+Culture’s proposed 6-story mixed-use building responds to this context with an eclectically-styled modern design that firmly anchors this corner of Brand Boulevard. Ground floor commercial space fills the existing ½ block hole in the Brand retail experience and provides opportunities for outdoor dining on the north side of the plaza under a chevron-shaped arcade that echoes the City Center arcade to the south. Above this “base,” the “middle” of the building is a punch-card pattern of similarly shaped windows and balconies, that culminate in a “crown” of penthouse units, featuring large multi-story “picture” windows that frame views south, east and north. Staggered at the corner of Brand and Wilson for vertical emphasis, these picture windows also form an armature for a creative sign, reading “Brand+Wilson.” West of a mid-block residential lobby on Wilson Avenue, the ground floor is occupied by townhouse units with stoops to the sidewalk which turn the corner down Orange Street. Above, the Wilson facade is distinguished by a pair of dark “brackets” that frame a north-facing courtyard on the second floor and relieve the overall scale and mass of the building. The Orange/Wilson corner is also highlighted with a secondary residential lobby, a small covered public open space, and another penthouse feature at the roofline. Covering approximately one-third of the roof, a landscaped “green roof” acknowledges this “fifth” facade, visible by tenants in the adjacent office tower. Three roof decks permit access to the “green roof” and enjoy uninterrupted views to the mountains to north and south.
Groundbreaking for both projects is expected later this fall.