Monday, April 02, 2012

Hotel High School

Entrance to RFK Community Schools

On Saturday morning, Larry and I zoomed over to the site of the former Ambassador Hotel, Mid-Wilshire area, Los Angeles. This site is now the location of the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools. The L.A. School District tore down the entire hotel, saving a few of the architectural elements from the past, and built this massive complex.

The front fa├žade of the Cocoanut Grove portion of the Hotel has the same footprint, but the rest of the campus is entirely new. The old nightclub is now the school's auditorium. They tried to re-create the look of the Cocoanut Grove inside, retaining the main entrance and many of the design elements. I'd read about this re-design in the newspaper, but wanted to see it in person.
Lucky for us, our friend, Laurie-Ann knew about our interest in this re-build. Her company was holding an event at the campus on Saturday and she invited us to walk around and view the areas open for the event. THANK YOU, Laurie-Ann! We so appreciate your invitation!
Yes, it's sad that this historic hotel was demolished, but I was glad to view the amazing attention to detail that the architects took in maintaining the feel of a few of the important rooms.

Original Entrance to the Cocoanut Grove (Auditorium)

We walked through the original doors to the Cocoanut Grove (the Ambassador's famous nightclub) and viewed the auditorium. The palm trees are gone, the sparkling night sky is gone, but the painted interior and ambiance of the auditorium is excellent.

Re-created Cocoanut Grove.
The Carpet is Cool

We ventured downstairs from the Grove and peeked into what is now the Faculty Lounge. In it's heyday, this was the Grove Coffee Shop, designed by architect Paul Williams. It is reminiscent of Wiliams'-designed smaller lunch counter coffee shop at the Beverly Hills Hotel. This is the most sumptious Faculty Lounge I've ever seen!

Former Cocoanut Grove Coffee Shop (Faculty Lounge)

Just outside the doors of the Faculty Lounge is a patio with the original exterior of the west side of the Hotel in all of it's deco grandeur.

Upstairs again, across the courtyard we viewed the timeline of this Wilshire Boulevard area and the history of the Ambassador Hotel. This walkway leads to the Library, once the Embassy Ballroom. The arched ceiling and murals are magnificent.

The Embassy Ballroom (Library)

We walked south on the campus to see the Middle School and Elementary School and outdoor ampitheater. Every bit of this campus is beautifully designed. Wherever the architects could preserve a bit of old Ambassador elegance, they did so. Yes, it's a brand new campus, but you know that the history of this plot of land is still revered. I hope that the kids that attend this group of schools knows how lucky they are just to inhabit this amazing space.

Ellen and Laurie-Ann

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At 9:13 PM PDT, Blogger Brenda said...

I loved this!! Thx for posting !


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