Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Saving The Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood Sign has generated quite a buzz lately, with the 138-acre adjacent park in imminent danger of development into luxury estates, which would obstruct the sign from view.

Back in February, the Trust for Public Land launched a Save the Peak PR & fundraising campaign to gather the $12.5 million necessary to purchase the land. 17 days from the April 30 deadline, fundraising efforts are going well but the Trust is still $1.5 million short.

Meanwhile and halfway around the world, Danish architect Christian Bay-Jorgensen came up with a "Crazy Dane" idea: to turn the sign into a hotel with wellness spa, movie venues and clubs. "Bay-Jorgensen wants to double the size of the letters and build them out from the back," writes Curbed LA. "I'm a fan of the Hollywood sign and the unused spaces of America," says Bay-Jorgensen in an interview with the Daily News. "It could be interesting to make the sign a center for such events as the Golden Globes and Oscars. This could be the future of the sign."

"That three-dimensional hotel makes a good story, but it's not going to happen," retorts Chris Baumgart, chairman of the Trust. Bay-Jorgensen admits, "I know people are afraid this idea will turn the sign into Disneyland." Yet, he thinks the world famous landmark should be more public. "I think this could be something that improves the experience of L.A. residents, to let them see the sign in a new way," he says. "We're always intrigued, amused by people's creativity," adds Baumgart. "Let's not forget, this is Hollywood."

Indeed. And from the look of the renderings, wouldn't you prefer the transparency of a new public space to MacPudding estates cluttering the views of such a Signature L.A. landmark?
Update 04/21/10: Now a group of Dutch-Belgian architects have come up with a plan to develop underground the Hollywood Sign
Update 04/26/10: Hugh Hefner sends check, Hollywood Land sign saved
images via Christian Bay-Jorgensen's website

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