By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter
The Pacific Palisades Design Review Board met for the second time in late September regarding proposed changes to the outside features of the historic Business Block Building—located on Sunset Boulevard and a centerpiece structure in the Palisades since 1924.
Gensler, a global design and architecture firm, was on hand to share the latest designs with members of the board.
The span of the meeting lasted close to two hours and served as a follow up to a previous meeting in July where design elements for white paint and black awnings were initially proposed. The cosmetic design suggestions received pressback from the community, social media and the board.
Mark Lagola, an architectural designer for Gensler, led the presentation to discuss how the designs have adapted to the feedback to the “refresh,” and that plans now include a landscape update.
Two of the main features discussed at length during the second meeting were changes in the “distinctive” pink color and the striped awnings.
“Our approach is to emphasize and bring the property closer to its historical foundations,” Lagola shared during his presentation. “Through this lens, we feel we can showcase both the architecture of the building, while providing an attractive space for future tenants.”
Lagola explained the property has been owned by TOPA since the early 1980s and it hasn’t been updated much since that time.
Gensler presented the DRB with a new potential color scheme, suggesting a warm cream color for the building based on a cratering sample done by historical restoration expert Olivia White, who found cream was one of the colors previously used on the building.
Historian Randy Young explained when they did cratering back in the day, the pink was there.
“I got absolute confirmation the original color was pink,” Young continued, explaining that Mary Walker, one of the early settlers of the Palisades, told him how she used to wash her husband’s clothing—he was one of the painters.
Though there was not a consensus among board members what version of pink should remain, the discussion leaned toward accepting the cream, as long as it has a stronger pink tint.
Many community members on social media have campaigned for the building to keep its signature pink.
“The pink color seems to resonate with people,” Board Member Maryam Zar said.
Young, who had done the historic profile on the structure when it was landmarked in the 1980s, had voiced a concern about the awnings during the July meeting and took a few minutes to share his thoughts on the update during public comment.
“I am actually extremely impressed with the awnings,” Young stated. “You have really done a good job of reacquiring the arches, much better than the clam shell.”
As far as the windows, Young explained, the tenant used to decide whether to have awnings or not. The design company explained the same opportunity will remain for the tenants now.
“We’re all extremely pleased how seriously you took the community comments, and you know the Design Review Board really is here to work with the community and work with the applicants,” DRB Chair Donna Vaccarino said at the meeting. “I personally have found this really rewarding and I think the board has, too.”
Vaccarino touched on the fact that “the building is the most important” in the Palisades,” and that “it needs to be handled appropriately, and I think we’re moving in that direction.”
The meeting concluded with tabling the discussion, pending a sample with a darker awning and a color with a pink tint. Gensler agreed and offered to provide a sample of the awning and to give DRB members an opportunity to see paint samples on the building.
The next DRB meeting is slated for Wednesday, October 14, at 6:30 p.m. over Zoom.
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