In-progress photo shows Crescent Drive Parking Structure being constructed where the Beverly Hills City Hall lawn and Crescent Drive used to be.

Location

Beverly Hills, CA

Owner

City of Beverly Hills

Architect

International Parking Design

Project Size

261,000 SF

View

455 North Crescent Drive Garage:  Now You See It, Now You Don’t

 

In this completed picture, Crescent Drive has been restored and reopened and a new garden ornaments Beverly Hills City Hall. The only sign of the parking structure is the driveway at left, which quickly spirals out of sight.
In this completed picture, Crescent Drive has been restored and reopened and a new garden ornaments Beverly Hills City Hall. The only sign of the parking structure is the driveway at left, which quickly spirals out of sight.

When the City of Beverly Hills wanted to build a new 3-story parking structure to serve the Beverly Hills Civic Center and the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (currently under construction), the only available place to put it was the irregular area beneath the City Hall lawn and a portion of Crescent Drive—a location sandwiched between two historic structures: Beverly Hills City Hall and the former Federal Post Office.

 

Black outline shows footprint of Crescent Drive Garage, sandwiched between old Beverly Hills Post Office on left, and Beverly Hills City Hall on right. Construction required closure of Crescent Drive between Big and Little (North & South) Santa Monica Blvds.
Black outline shows footprint of Crescent Drive Garage, sandwiched between old Beverly Hills Post Office on left, and Beverly Hills City Hall on right. Construction required closure of Crescent Drive between Big and Little (North & South) Santa Monica Blvds.

Now finished and largely hidden from view, the parking structure might seem to have been a simple project. But looks are deceiving: this project was anything but.  Consider this:

  • The structure was built within one of the most beautiful, luxurious neighborhoods in the world, where civic and public standards—and expectations—are justifiably quite high as regards inconvenience, visual aesthetics, and noise levels.
  • Construction entailed ripping up the entire “front yard” of Beverly Hills City Hall, requiring lengthy detours for pedestrians expecting to use the western entrance.
Excavation equipment roams where once stood the Beverly Hills City Hall front yard and Crescent Drive. MATT Construction strove to minimize inconvenience to residents, visitors, workers and business owners.
Excavation equipment roams where once stood the Beverly Hills City Hall front yard and Crescent Drive. MATT Construction strove to minimize inconvenience to residents, visitors, workers and business owners.
  • Worst of all:  it required the complete closure of Crescent Drive between North Santa Monica Blvd. and South Santa Monica Blvd. (Big and Little Santa Monica)—a busy thoroughfare linking residents, business people and—very crucially in this economy—customers to the Beverly Hills shopping and business district.
Excavation for the Crescent Drive parking structure required the closure of Crescent Drive between Big and Little (North and South) Santa Monica Blvds, as seen here looking north toward the traffic detour at Little Santa Monica.
Excavation for the Crescent Drive parking structure required the closure of Crescent Drive between Big and Little (North and South) Santa Monica Blvds, as seen here looking north toward the traffic detour at Little Santa Monica.
  • And, to avoid a repeat of the Crescent Drive closure, it was necessary to coordinate the parking structure excavation with the excavation requirements of the neighboring Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, which was being built as a separate project.
The historic Beverly Hills Post Office building is directly west of the new Crescent Drive parking structure. It is being transformed into the new Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Though completely separate, it will share the parking structure with Beverly Hills City Hall.
The historic Beverly Hills Post Office building is directly west of the new Crescent Drive parking structure. It is being transformed into the new Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Though completely separate, it will share the parking structure with Beverly Hills City Hall.

Project architects International Parking Design (IPD), along with MATT Construction as General Contractor, took on the challenge. IPD produced the cleverly subtle design that met the city’s needs in terms of both capacity and aesthetics.  MATT Construction finished the project within budget and on-time.

 

 

 

 

The completed structure provides 481 parking spaces, with electric vehicle charging stations on every floor - a first for a City of Beverly Hills lot.
The completed structure provides 481 parking spaces, with electric vehicle charging stations on every floor – a first for a City of Beverly Hills lot.

 

The new structure provides a total of 481 parking spaces, including 6 electric vehicle charging stations, on 3 subterranean levels. Indeed, this is the first garage owned by the City of Beverly Hills to feature electric vehicle power stations on each floor.

The Crescent Drive Garage is the first city-owned parking facility with electric vehicle power stations on each floor--as demonstrated here by Mayor , himself.
The Crescent Drive Garage is the first city-owned parking facility with electric vehicle power stations on each floor–as demonstrated here by Beverly Hills Mayor Barry Brucker.
One of two elevator banks serving the structure, this is the southern one leading to the Civic Center. The other, on the northern side, leads to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.
One of two elevator banks serving the structure, this is the southern one leading to the Civic Center. The other, on the northern side, leads to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

Pedestrian access is provided by 3 elevators, one by City Hall and the other 2 directly in front of the Wallis Annenberg Center entrance.

The Crescent Drive garage includes escalators and elevators serving the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.
The Crescent Drive garage includes escalators and elevators serving the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

Additionally there are 3 escalators serving the Wallis Annenberg Center; and stairs at each corner of the structure.

Entry into the Crescent Drive garage near the corner of Big Santa Monica Blvd. and Crescent Drive. The low profile of the ramp helps keep the driveway inconspicuous.
Entry into the Crescent Drive garage near the corner of Big Santa Monica Blvd. and Crescent Drive. The low profile of the ramp helps keep the driveway inconspicuous.

For vehicular access there are two main entry ramps: one is from South (Little) Santa Monica Blvd. The other is off Crescent Drive, by the northeast corner nearest North Santa Monica Blvd.

The ramp spirals down into the garage, quickly moving vehicles out of sight.
The ramp spirals down into the garage, quickly moving vehicles out of sight.

The latter leads to a spiral ramp leading into the garage which is both elegant and easy to drive and which incorporates an open air and light well that provides natural light and ventilation to all three below-grade levels of the parking structure.

A light and air well embellished with tall palm trees brings a bit of nature into the structure... and also helps conceal the structure at ground level.
A light and air well embellished with tall palm trees brings a bit of nature into the structure… and also helps conceal the structure at ground level.

This feature is highlighted with a below-grade installation of tall palm trees at the center of the spiral, providing a visual cue to both garage entry and egress, while inviting nature into the structure. Ultimately there will be a third vehicle entry: a valet parking ramp leading from the Wallis Annenberg Center.

 

The Crescent Drive Garage will be the first impression many theatre-goers will have of the adjoining Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, designed by SPF:a and currently under construction by MATT.
The Crescent Drive Garage will be the first impression many theatre-goers will have of the adjoining Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, designed by SPF:a and currently under construction by MATT.

 

The parking structure will provide direct access to the new Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. It was important therefore that the interior of the structure be as attractive as possible, since it will be in the garage that most theatre-goers will get their first impression of the venue. The project leadership team worked closely with representatives of the Wallis Annenberg Center in selecting colors for the garage interior, and in designing the placement and appearance of escalators and elevators.

The blue and gold tile motif is a signature feature of the beautiful Beverly Hills City Hall building.
The blue and gold tile motif is a signature feature of the beautiful Beverly Hills City Hall building. 
The new Crescent Drive Garage parking pavilion incorporates the familiar blue and gold tile motif characteristic of Beverly Hills City Hall.
The new Crescent Drive Garage parking pavilion incorporates the familiar blue and gold tile motif characteristic of Beverly Hills City Hall.

It was just as important that visible elements of the new structure work well with the city’s signature civic buildings. The distinctive architectural motif, including the use and placement of blue and gold decorative tile, was incarnated by Beverly Hills City Hall , and evoked in subsequent construction in the civic core.

The southern elevator pavilion serves the civic center buildings, whose style it complements. Decorative tile is repurposed from supplies remaining from a previous project.
The southern elevator pavilion serves the civic center buildings, whose style it complements. Decorative tile is repurposed from supplies remaining from a previous project.

The elevator pavilion serving City Hall was designed and executed in an architectural style and color scheme complementary to the Civic Center. Decorative ceramic tile left over from a prior Civic Center project was repurposed to provide ornamentation at the ground-level entry and on the column capitals, matching the established Civic Center motif and echoing the blue and gold tile on the City Hall dome.

The Crescent Drive Parking Structure's main entry along Crescent Drive is hardly noticeable at street level (it's at the far left).
The Crescent Drive Parking Structure’s main entry along Crescent Drive is hardly noticeable at street level (it’s at the far left).

Except for the ground-level driveways, and the two stair and elevator pavilions, the garage is effectively invisible at ground level, since it lies underneath the City Hall lawn and Crescent Drive.

With its fillip of 3 palm trees poking up from the Crescent Drive Garage's light and air well, even the helical ramp seems to blend in with its surroundings,
With its fillip of 3 palm trees poking up from the Crescent Drive Garage’s light and air well, even the helical ramp seems to blend in with its surroundings,
The entry to the structure is shielded from view by massed colorful (and water-wise) shrubs.
The entry to the structure is largely shielded from view by massed colorful (and water-wise) shrubs.

 The project team exerted itself to minimize the public impact of unavoidable construction tasks. For example, the project required the removal and excavation of both the City Hall lawn and Crescent Drive, which in turn required the rerouting of all of the utilities–sewer, Southern California Edison, and Time-Warner Cable– in the affected area. The team successfully established the new utility connections with no interruption to the services extant prior to excavation of the site. Similarly, to minimize the impact on neighboring residences and businesses, all dirt was excavated and hauled off at night. Noise was mitigated with barriers of plywood and acoustical material. The construction site was appropriately screened and kept clean, and dust mitigation measures were scrupulously —and successfully—implemented. The project management team recognized that the closure of Crescent Drive between Big Santa Monica Blvd. and Little Santa Monica Blvd. represented a sizable inconvenience to residents, business people, customers and visitors. By completing traffic signal work and the extensive utility relocation elements a year in advance and releasing the site early, the project team was able to accelerate the re-opening of Crescent Drive.

MATT Construction was keenly aware of the inconvenience caused by the closure of Crescent Drive and resequenced the project so the street could be reopened as soon as possible.
MATT Construction was keenly aware of the inconvenience caused by the closure of Crescent Drive and resequenced the project so the street could be reopened as soon as possible–well before the garage was completed.

City Hall’s traditional expanse of green lawn was also a temporary casualty of excavation, and its restoration was necessarily delayed until the final stage of the project.

View of the

View of the “before” landscaping of Beverly Hills City Hall. The Crescent Drive Garage project required its demolition.

 The City of Beverly Hills seized the opportunity to replace large sections of grass with drought tolerant planting. Landscape architects Pamela Burton & Company selected plants with colorful blooms and architectural shapes to fill new ground-level beds and raised planters.

View of the Beverly Hills City Hall landscaping after the Crescent Drive Garage project. The unavoidable demolition of the front lawn provided an opportunity to create a more stylish “first impression” for the city.
View of the Beverly Hills City Hall landscaping after the Crescent Drive Garage project. The unavoidable demolition of the front lawn provided an opportunity to create a more stylish “first impression” for the city.

 

The new landscape demonstrates the beauty possible with drought-tolerant plants.
The new landscape demonstrates the beauty possible with drought-tolerant plants.

 

 The massing of flower color and the different shades of green transform the space into a more welcoming park.

In the new garden designed by landscape architects Pamela Burton & Company, flowers and masses of color provide a cheerful greeting to visitors.
In the new garden designed by landscape architects Pamela Burton & Company, flowers and masses of color provide a cheerful greeting to visitors.
Paths and benches invite the public to enter, use and enjoy the space.
Paths and benches invite the public to enter, use and enjoy the space.

Extensive paved paths, attractive path lighting and light standards, and numerous benches invite the public to use and enjoy this space… and sufficient lawn remains to provide a field for play or a nice spot to read. A water-wise drip irrigation system saves water while keeping the plantings looking fresh and healthy.

Still, enough lawn remains for play or quiet enjoyment.

Still, enough lawn remains for play or quiet enjoyment.

By synchronizing excavation requirements for the parking structure and the Wallis Annenberg Center, and by generating other efficiencies through careful planning and close collaboration with the Owners of both projects, the team was able to minimize disruption during construction and—even better—achieve significant savings for the City of Beverly Hills.

Beverly Hills City Hall shows off its new park-like yard... but only hints at the parking structure directly beneath it.
Beverly Hills City Hall shows off its new park-like yard… but only hints at the parking structure directly beneath it.