West Hollywood Park Aquatics and Recreation Center
West Hollywood, California
Five-story facility reflects community’s unique interests, suspends two pools above a gymnasium and creates new open space in a dense urban neighborhood
The new West Hollywood Aquatic and Recreation Center (ARC) creates the largest contiguous piece of open land in the city of West Hollywood, suspends two pools above a multisport gymnasium and features a five-story sculptural grand staircase that serves as a gathering spot and icon for the city.
The 88,000-square-foot, LEED Gold facility anchors West Hollywood Park — a popular event space along San Vicente Boulevard that has served as home base for many large-scale community events and festivals, including celebrity affairs hosted by organizations such as the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
The project’s signature element, a sculptural grand stairway, connects the park level to the rooftop aquatic center. Landscaped stadium seating areas, which flank the lower portion of the stairway, provide an elevated vantage point with city views. A lift system within the garage doubles the parking capacity on the first level of the facility, with a 17,000-square-foot multisport court on the second level and two pools on the roof — one competition, one recreation.
Situated on a challenging urban site and straddling an existing roadway, the project connects at the rooftop level to tennis courts on existing buildings, in addition to accommodating the different community needs. LPA engineers designed a sky bridge over the road to connect the new facility to a community building with meeting rooms, a day care center and staff offices. To support the pools and maximize space on the level below, engineers used a two-way truss system to suspend the two pools above the multisport gym, eliminating the need for structural columns.
In many ways, the project reflects the city’s unique interests and aspirations, supporting everything from competitive dodgeball leagues to senior aquatics. The final project includes two dog parks that were not part of the initial plans, art and cultural spaces, and the preservation of a spectacular neon sign of a diving girl, which was originally commissioned for a West Hollywood exhibition of neon art and is part of the city’s urban art collection.