City commissioners are pleased, they said last week, with the initial plans for a $46.8-million renovation of the .
The upgrades will be mostly structural seismic upgrades with some new aesthetic touches, too, architects said in unveiling their ideas to the Landmarks Commission.
“In no way do we want to compete with existing iconic building,” said Brenda A. Levin, President of Los Angeles-based Levin & Associates Architects.
Designed by prominent Santa Monica-based architect Welton Becket, The Civic opened in 1958 and was home to the Academy Awards for much of the 1960s. With a hydraulic floor, it converts to a performance space that has staged hundreds of concerts for artists such as The Doors, Bob Dylan and Elton John. It's also a popular venue for trade shows and consumer exhibits.
Levin and Associates, led by Brenda Levin, is the firm behind notable rehabilitation projects in Los Angeles such as the Wiltern Theater, the Greek Theater and the Griffith Observatory.
“It’s a privilege,” Levin said, “to take on the challenge of 1958 international style building that is what we like to say ‘has been loved to death.’”
She envisions doing away with the portable tents that often erected outside the auditorium; creating a landscaped, public gathering space just off the East Wing; and opening view corridors of Third Street.
"When the tents are up, the façade we all know and love is completely obstructed," Levin said.
Aesthetically, Levin suggested adding more lighting, including illuminating a future elevator tower, and potentially installing tall, rectangular glass slats to one side of the second floor.
"Generally speaking, I’m pretty pleased with it all," said Landmarks Commissioner Roger Genser.
"So far I see a light touch, a sensitive touch, a thoughtful approach to making it work better," said commissioner Ruthann Lehrer.