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Frank Gehry revises plans for Ocean Avenue Tower in Santa Monica

Frank Gehry has released an updated version of plans for his new Ocean Avenue Tower in Santa Monica, California.

The multi-faceted tower, originally conceived as a 22-storey hotel and residential tower, has now been shortened to 12 storeys due to imposed restrictions by the city’s Downtown Community Plan (DCP).

The new tower will be built on an almost 8,093m2 property which sits astride Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Palisades Park and Santa Monica Pier, at the terminus of a major pedestrian thoroughfare between Ocean Avenue and the Third Street Promenade.

The Downtown Community Plan's regulations entails lower-level buildings, as the downtown is comprised of 4-5 storey buildings.

Frank Gehry's rippled tower will include residential, retail and cultural spaces, scattered across the tower and three lower structures at the site. The plans will also incorporate a museum and two preserved buildings, revived with green spaces and walkways across the street.

Residential apartment units


A rooftop observatory, encompassing a total of 465m2, will be placed at the top of the hotel to provide panoramic views of Santa Monica. Developed by Worthe Real Estate Group (Worthe), the 79 residential apartment units will include 19 rent-controlled units and 18 affordable units. In the new plans, the residential units layout and pedestrian areas have been reorganised.

The new museum will be built behind the existing former structures to revive public facilities, walkways, and the continuation of streetscape. Reaching almost 3,800m2 in total, the museum will provide a vast space for artistic and local presentations.


"We are committed to a project with seamless circulation among the different elements and with the surrounding areas, whether entering the site by foot, bicycle or car," said the developer in a statement.

"The ground-level pedestrian experience is open and connected site-wide. Vehicular/pedestrian interactions are limited to reduce conflict, and all street frontages other than the alley to 2nd Street are free from vehicular exit/entry points. The articulation of building facades creates a variety of sidewalk widths and spaces to facilitate pedestrian movement."

Public open space


All landscaped courtyards and patios have been reorganised throughout the project. "This layout allows porosity and designates approximately 25% of the site area as public open space at the ground level," added the statement.

Gehry's design scheme will preserve, protect and adaptively reuse two landmarked buildings that exist on the site, including a Queen Anne-style Victorian building from 1906 and a two-storey Spanish Colonial Revival building from 1926. The museum will incorporate the two buildings into its design, creating visitor access to this rich part of our city’s history.

Worthe is also collaborating with M. David Paul and Associates (MDPA) on this project.

Article originally published on World Architecture Community.


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