Extra Edition: Attention to Every Detail Key to Los Angeles Hotel Design

WSP USA provided innovative engineering and design leadership for this ‘spectacularly simple’ Sunset Boulevard landmark.

When it came to the design and construction of the Edition, a new hotel in the West Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, nothing was overlooked, compromised or taken for granted.

Nothing.

Developed through a partnership between Marriott Hotels, Ian Schrager Company and the Witkoff Group, the $125 million hotel and residential project has been making its mark as an unforgettable destination for travelers since its December grand opening.

“The Edition is located right along Sunset Boulevard, surrounded by famous Hollywood landmarks and right around the corner from a celebrated music scene,” said Todd See, WSP project manager. “It’s a very cool location. This building was created to capture the cultural character of this neighborhood and bring some of that glory back.”

As the engineer of record, WSP provided the developers with professional services for the project, including mechanical-electrical-plumbing (MEP) systems, fire protection, architectural lighting, and commissioning services.

Located on the southeast corner of West Sunset Boulevard and North Doheny Drive at the edge of Beverly Hills, the 242,000-square-foot building features 190 guest rooms on the first eight floors of the building and two penthouses. Support services include a gymnasium, a six-treatment room spa, night club and a pool deck and bar on the 14th floor with stunning views of the cityscape. The Edition has 20 luxury condominiums on floors 9-13 for permanent residents, a 3,000-square-foot ballroom and a 3,000-square-foot signature restaurant.

The facility also features convenient below-grade parking garage with 376 stalls, providing access points off Sunset, Doheny and Harratt Street and a private entrance for guests and residents.

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©EDITION HOTELS/NIKOLAS KOENIG

Guest rooms have deep overhangs that provide shading and movable screening to let natural light into the room during the day, reducing the need for artificial lighting.

A Simplified Experience

HKS served as the executive architect for the project, and the building was designed by British architect John Pawson, who is known for his striking minimalist design techniques used on buildings around the world.

True to Pawson’s architectural reputation, the concept behind the West Hollywood Edition was to simplify the experience for guests in every possible way – right down to the lighting, plumbing and electrical systems.

“Though the design appears spectacularly simple, creating it was dramatically difficult,” See said.

Throughout the process, the developers stayed involved and focused on making sure the hotel stayed true to their vision.

“It was important to evaluate every single detail, in every single space; and we went through everything with the owners multiple times,” See said.

The engineering challenges that come with such a high level of expectations and a drive toward perfection ultimately proved rewarding for See and his team.

“This was a case where good enough wasn’t good enough; it had to be perfect,” he said. “It was not an option to say that something couldn’t be done. We had to be creative to figure out solutions.”

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©EDITION HOTELS/NIKOLAS KOENIG

The hotel was designed to capture the cultural character of the glory days of its West Hollywood neighborhood.

Hidden Beauty

One of the main challenges was hitting every environmental and energy objective without sacrificing the comfort of the guests or the aesthetic beauty of the building.

WSP worked with HKS on the design of the building’s exterior to achieve those goals. All guest rooms have deep overhangs that provide shading and movable screening to help shade the building when needed, or to let natural light into the room to reduce the need for artificial lighting.

“Because the design is so intricate and super clean, what is special is the attention to detail, and it is extraordinary,” said Chester Thompson, who led the architectural lighting design services throughout the project for WSP. “All of the dimensions, right down to the sprinkler heads, had to be located precisely.”

Those environmental details were equally important in other areas of the project.

For example, the air cooled variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system was chosen for its super-high efficiency.

“It consumes no water, which is very important in Southern California, an area that is susceptible to prolonged droughts,” See said. “Since the VRF system is low profile, we were able to tuck equipment away so that it does not impede the view for any of the guests.”

“Everyone involved with the project went through painstaking effort to prepare, then hide, the systems that make this a remarkable place,” added Lelet Serrano, who led the design and installation of the building’s electrical systems, including normal and emergency power service/distribution, lighting/lighting controls, equipment connections, grounding and fire alarm.

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©EDITION HOTELS/NIKOLAS KOENIG

The concept behind the West Hollywood Edition Hotel was to simplify the experience for guests in every possible way.

Patience and Rhythm

Throughout the project, which started in 2014, the team had to adjust their work patterns based upon the priorities of the project.

“Sometimes we had to move very quickly; other times, we had to proceed accurately and precisely, which required patience to achieve the result that everybody had in mind,” See said. “There may have been some gnashing of teeth and stress to get it right, but everybody has been happy and satisfied with the result.”

“It was such an iterative process; probably more than anything that anyone on our team has ever experienced,” See said. “We had different level of patience and rhythm to the project that it just evolved over time.”

He said it was understandable why it took years to design and build the Edition.

“The Edition is one-of-a-kind,” See said. “I’ve never worked on a project with this intricate of detail and was a long and at-times difficult process. Looking at the end product, it’s hard to say it was anything less than time well spent.”

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©EDITION HOTELS/NIKOLAS KOENIG

The Edition Hotel was designed by British architect John Pawson, who is known for his striking minimalist design techniques.

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