West Hollywood, CA
Arguably now one of Sam Nazarian’s most popular locations in Los Angeles at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Crescent Heights, XIV has a split personality. SPF:a was asked to be the Executive Architect to bring to fruition Phillipe Starck’s design. Starck had been working on several designs for the project over a period of several years. His idea was, as he put it, intended to be “something like my aunties library” that is sliced open on two sides, the missing edges replaced by clean modern elements. After several years of design work SBE found it impossible to entitle the project because Starck’s concept needed more volume, and because once a building is demolished or its basic structure is significantly altered, entitlements usually expire and an entirely new process of zoning and planning approvals has to take place. The site was known for a conglomeration of two or three dilapidating structures [once small houses along Sunset Boulevard]. In the 1980’s it was home to the famed, Coconut Teaser nightclub. In the following decade, SBE had patched it together and operated the night club, Privilege.
SPF:a realized early on that the only way to renovate the facility while maintaining its entitlements would be to keep the original roofline intact, which consisted of a series of residential-like hips and gables. Existing ceiling heights were well under 8 feet in some areas and since a normal restaurant space would need about 12 feet of structural clearance to fit air conditioning, lighting and other required services to create a modern up to date experience, it was crucial to follow the preservation procedure. Therefore, the SPF:a solution consisted of maintaining the existing roofline by supporting it with a series of steel moment frames and then demolishing the existing floor and excavating down over four feet to achieve the proper floor level space to fit Starck’s design. The original roof structure was kept in tact but significantly repaired without altering its profile. Admittedly, as a result the construction process was difficult, excavation revealed a host of unanticipated issues that required on the spot solutions and creativity from all members of the design and building team - but entitlements were maintained. The dinner club opened to rave reviews in 2008.