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Real Hotels Have Curves: Diane Keaton Fights to Save the Century Plaza Hotel

Today's Guardian U.K. has a nice piece on Diane Keaton's attempts to

save the Century Plaza Hotel from developer Michael Rosenfeld's plans

to replace it with a pair of towers and some promised greenspace.

"Her image is more Manhattan than L.A.," writes David Usborne, the Guardian's American editor, "but

the actress Diane Keaton is in no comedy mood as she spearheads a

campaign in Los Angeles to save the Century Plaza Hotel, a curving

glass and steel memento of American 1960s architecture that may soon be

razed by the wrecking ball."

From a distance, at least, the

Century Plaza had for nearly half a century epitomized the sterile, Stalinist zeitgeist that was

Century City. Still, this modernist behemoth, designed by World

Trade Center architect Minoru Yamasaki and now owned by Hyatt, has

represented the only curves in Century City's jungle of angular

highrises. The hotel also, up close, has a surprising charm to it.

Keaton, who was on the losing side to preserve the Ambassador Hotel,

has compared that geometric contrast to "a sexy woman surrounded by

ogling men - Sophia Loren in the 1960s."

Still, at a time when

the city desperately needs tax revenue and construction projects, the

voluptuous may not be able to compete with the profitable.

"Nostalgia," as Usborne writes, "is often a poor match for the march of progress and the lure of the dollar."


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