Background and Context
Just a few miles east of Los Angeles International Airport, sits Hollywood Park, the former stomping grounds of the legendary racetrack and the largest undeveloped parcel of land in the Greater Los Angeles area. JCJ Architecture worked closely with developer Wilson Meany to bring the vision for the new Hollywood Park Casino to fruition. This is the first step in a much wider revitalization plan for Inglewood, championed by Mayor James Butts, the Stockwood Capital Group and L.A. Rams owner Stan Kroenke. The former racetrack grounds will serve as the site for the multi-billion dollar sports and entertainment complex, the City of Champions, home to the L.A. Rams.
Hollywood Park Casino is expected to attract both gaming and non-gaming visitors from the nearby Forum and The City of Champions. The floor plan allows guests to enjoy non-gaming amenities without the intimidation of a casino environment. The Food & Beverage environments - Raise Lounge, Century Bar & Grill and Peet’s Coffee, were specifically designed to meet the needs of the quickly shifting demographics of Inglewood, CA. Raise Lounge lives up to its name as it “raises” the bar for luxury, California card club settings. Century Bar & Grill features a large double-sided screen and multiple televisions, making it an ideal spot to catch the “big game.” And Peet’s Coffee has a casual grab and go design for casual, round the clock, dining.
The luxurious interior was inspired by mid-century modern fashion which was prevalent at the racetrack during Inglewood’s prime.
In its heyday in the 1940s, Hollywood Park Casino & Racetrack was a destination for the rat pack and the likes of Cary Grant, Liz Taylor, Katherine Hepburn, Rita Hayworth and more. It was a place to “see and be seen.“ JCJ Architecture’s design for the new Hollywood Park Casino, aptly named “The Cary Grant Pavilion,” is a sophisticated and glamorous homage to this era with a modern spin. Sitting on nearly 11 acres in a newly emerging renaissance district and directly facing the expanded Century Boulevard, the new casino is just steps from the original venue.
Guests are welcomed with a grand, orderly and symmetrical design, which brings a sense of formality to the setting. An enormous, 76’ glass chandelier drips across the length of the lobby and offers a brilliant contrast to the highly structured, linear elements in that space. A large-scale, colorful, ceramic statue by Matt Wedel greets guests as they approach the lobby, and sets the stage for the discovery of additional works within. Hollywood Park Casino houses an impressive collection of more than 40 works of art from local, Southern California artists. Large geometric patterns, stark contrast and deep saturation present guests with an air of luxury as they decide which space to approach.
The luxurious interior was inspired by mid-century modern fashion which was prevalent at the racetrack during Inglewood’s prime. Women’s clothing was elaborate, patterned and had a lot of movement, in contrast to men’s very structured and tailored attire. The underlying theme of the casino’s design is a dance between a man and woman, impeccably dressed in mid-century fashion. The juxtaposition between dynamic patterns and structured elements is found throughout the property. Bold, large-scale, geometric patterns abound from the black and white concrete floor in the lobby to the hexagonal light fixtures in the lounge to several metal “grills” that wrap walls and ceilings with layers of interest.
As guests approach Hollywood Park Casino’s clean, sophisticated entry, they are greeted by a precise line of tall Southern California Palm Trees. A glass entry beckons visitors into the dramatic lobby, which serves as the core of the venue. With a new, covered parking garage and valet options, there are now more than 1600 spaces available for visitors to arrive safely, and in style. The entry purposefully offers direct access to the restaurant, lounge, gaming floor, Off Track Betting (OTB), premium OTB, or the coffee shop.
A Highly Collaborative Process
With a clear vision for design and an outstanding understanding of budget and priorities, working with Chris Meany (client and developer) was a pleasure for the JCJ team. Deadlines and design solutions were fast-tracked in a way that was unique to this client. Chris expressed his design priorities and the JCJ team was able to deliver. With a large appetite and passion for design, Chris and JCJ worked together to move the project forward with very successful and profitable solutions.
An outstanding example of owner- contractor-architect communication, the Hollywood Park project team held weekly meetings throughout the design and construction process. During these meetings the client was able to communicate desires in design, technology and implementation, while the architect and contractor were able to follow through with proactive value engineered solutions, allowing a dynamic project to be completed on time and within budget.
Throughout the design and construction process, community involvement was of top priority. Part of the JCJ/Contractor agreement required that a portion of taxes on all materials go back to the City Inglewood. This requirement insured that local materials were used and that much of the project was supplied by small and minority owned businesses. In addition, the dining, lounging, retail and gaming spaces continue to bring many jobs to the Inglewood community. As a result this new development has been very well received by the community at large as well as the local City Council, and remains a positive solution to the once underutilized property.