Grand Central Square

Grand Central Square is a phased development completed by Levin in 1995 for developer Ira Yellin. The project included rehabilitation and renovation of the 1917 landmark market, conversion of the six-story Homer Laughlin and 12-story Million Dollar buildings into housing, the two-story Lyon Building into offices, and construction of a new, 11-tier parking structure. The 611,000 square-foot transformation was intended as the staging ground for the revived downtown residential and shopping district.
Located within the downtown historic core, the parking structure is designed to complement the historic features and proportions of the adjacent buildings. Organized classically with a base, middle and cap, the canopies, lighting elements, and sculptural steel connections reference these regulating lines. Steel-plate bison heads, inspired by the 1917 Million Dollar building’s terra cotta version, support the glass canopies.
For generations, the John Parkinson-designed Grand Central Market has been the focus of downtown’s communal life. Successive waves of Angelenos of various ethnicities have mingled in its cavernous space, rubbing shoulders, buying everyday and exotic foods. In a sprawling, car-defining metropolis, the market is one of the few places where this interaction occurs so vividly.
Peeling off layers of earlier modernizations, the architects have updated and enlivened the market’s 58 separate stalls. The columns and their modified classic capitals have been painted black to establish an orderly internal rhythm, augmented by the placement of light fixtures and fly-fans. Skylights which had been blackened out since World War II were reopened and covered with louvers to diffuse the light and protect the produce. Vintage neon signs marking each stall have been restored, and new ones were created. New steel and glass rollup doors have been added to each entry to the market, maintaining through-block access.
The market’s connection between Broadway, a major Latino shopping venue, and the upscale Bunker Hill district to the west, has been clarified as one of downtown’s most energetic social and physical linkages.
Levin & Associates
Last updated: 13-Aug-2013 03:24 PM