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.”