Los Angeles says bye-bye to flat-top skyscrapers

Written by
View of Los Angeles’ downtown skyline. Photo by jondoeforty1 via Flickr/CC.

Los Angeles is home to 745 of the state’s 1,700 high-rises, and it is the only city in America that requires flat rooftop helipads. But as of today, that rule is no longer in effect.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti joined Councilman Jose Huizar and fire Chief Ralph Terrazas at the top of the AT&T Center building to announce the changes to the 1974 rule.

The revised policy means new buildings between 420 and 1,000 feet tall can now have angled or pointed roofs.

In the past, the rule had been kept in place by firefighters who were afraid technology hadn’t kept up with high-rise fires.

But to make sure firefighters and building occupants have access and escape routes during emergencies, the buildings will need to have stairways, elevators, automatic sprinkler systems and video cameras.

KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis discussed the revised policy with Bill Fain, an architect and urban designer with the firm Johnson Fain in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, Frances Anderton of KCRW’s Design and Architecture interviewed Fain’s co-principal at Johnson Fain, Scott Johnson, on why skyscrapers look the way they do.