LOS ANGELES—Almost three months into the construction of the $1-billion Wilshire Grand development, the project is on track, according to the lead architects and contractors who gathered at Elevate Lounge, overlooking the construction site, for An Insider’s Look at Wilshire Grand, hosted by NAIOP SoCal. Carey McLeod, AC Martin principal-in-charge; Brendan Murphy, VP and operations manager at Turner Construction; and Jon Starr, senior project architect for the Wilshire Grand, spoke about the details of the building and some of the challenges.
As many already know, the massive development will become the tallest building west of the Mississippi once complete. It will have hotel, office and retail space, and is centrally located to all the downtown freeways and several public transit lines. When construction began in early February, developers broke the world record for the longest continuous concrete pour when 21,000 cubic yards was poured into create the foundation. “Our claim to fame is that Dodger’s Stadium wanted to pour a sidewalk that day, and there was no concrete left in the city. We used every last drop,” said Murphy at the event.
AC Martin designed the building from the inside out, creating the buildng’s signature curve. To develop the unique curvature, architects used a 3D printer to play with styles based on a watercolor painting created by AC Martin Design Principal David Martin. Because the building has a glass façade, architects were challenged to find a way to lay the glass over the building. According to Starr, bending glass can create stresses and streaks that make it unattractive, especially as light from the sun hits and reflects off the building. To avoid this problem, architects laid smaller pieces of glass out in a very specific pattern to ensure that they will need to bend only a few pieces for the building’s exterior.
The building has a concrete core wall that is 1,000 feet tall and only 30 feet wide; however, it is incredibly stable. The building is located near 29 fault lines with the closest only 1,000 feet from the building. That fault line is capable of producing a 6.2 magnitude earthquake, so the building was designed to withstand an earthquake up to 6.2. Overall, the building was designed with efficiency and artistry in mind.
In terms of economic benefits, the development will pump $1 billion into the local economy, and at its peak, the development will employ 900 trade persons. Developers believe this project will also jumpstart development of other high-rise structures downtown, further recreating the skyline. They also believe the development, which will provide much-needed hotel space in the downtown market, will fuel the expansion of the L.A. Convention Center.