New Century Plaza

A custom access solution to maintain the architectural vision of the New Century Plaza.

The Century Plaza Hotel is well established as a famous part of the Los Angeles cityscape, with a distinctive sweeping structure located next to the Avenue of the Stars. It has hosted numerous celebrities and dignitaries since opening in 1966. A bold redevelopment program was undertaken by architects Harley Ellis Devereaux. The vision encompasses two new 44-storey twin condominium buildings, Century Plaza North Tower and Century Plaza South Tower, located behind the site of the original hotel.

The aesthetic and architectural vision was vitally important to the success of this adventurous redevelopment. By working with the expert design and engineering teams at Manntech, both tower facades will be comprehensively serviced with a bespoke building access system that overcomes all of the practical and technical challenges presented while avoiding any negative visual impact on the carefully considered design of the two identical tri-cornered buildings.

A critical requirement was that the building maintenance unit (BMU) system achieved a low profile. To help achieve this goal, a vertical parapet mounted track was installed towards the top of the parapet. This allowed for a smaller BMU design that still maintains proper outreach. Working in close consultation with architects and construction teams, Manntech considered their initial intent for this track layout to be paired with a fixed boom Building Maintenance Unit. The lack of luffing movement in this proposal, however, would not allow for the platform to traverse over the building parapet. One potential solution to this challenge was to lower the parapet in one specific location on each tower and allow clearance for entry and exit from the roof at that point only. Considering the impact this approach would have on the frequency of cleaning cycles, Manntech successfully put forward an upgraded and more efficient design utilising boom luffing movement which delivers much more efficient operation and also helps to maintain a low profile when not in use, as was the original aim.

The two identical BMUs are designed to overcome a range of other challenges such as placement of the counterweight close to the unit’s centre of gravity to avoid interference with the helicopter landing pad running parallel to the BMU track. Platform stabilisation at the corner terraces was also a challenge. Standard anchors were not an option due to the visual impact on the low-profile glass railings. Manntech therefore designed more adaptable ISA brackets which are connected to the underside of the railing as they are needed and leave no mechanism in place when the BMU is not in use.

As with so many other Manntech facade access projects, in-depth consultation and visualisation has delivered a highly functional building access system that will provide comprehensive coverage while remaining sympathetic to the all-important aesthetic appeal of the building design.

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