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Pasadena Design Commission to Revisit Proposed Renovation of Former Bank of America Building on Tuesday

Published on Friday, August 7, 2020 | 1:06 pm

The Pasadena Design Commission is slated to consider the latest version of a proposed renovation of the vacant, box-like former Bank of America building along Marengo Avenue on Tuesday.

A proposed redo of the building under a previous owner stalled last year, and the Design Commission in July reviewed a new plan put forward by the building’s new owner, Atlas V Marengo LLC, but sent it back with recommended changes. Much of the concerns centered around the manner in which windows would be added to the nearly windowless building shrouded in white travertine.

A city staff report prepared on the subject finds that the city’s concerns have been met and recommends that the Commission give the project at 101 S. Marengo Ave., designed by architecture firm RIOS, the green light to proceed.

While no major structural changes were planned, the exterior of the building would get a brand new look under the proposal.

“The project involves major alterations to the existing office building, including the creation of window openings and re-cladding the building with new travertine material to match the existing travertine as closely as possible,” Pasadena Senior Planner Kevin Johnson wrote in the report he prepared for the Design Commission.

After reviewing the updated plan, “Staff finds that the proposed design is consistent with the applicable design guidelines,” he wrote.

The material to be used outside the building has also been a point of concern, but the staff report states that issue appears to be resolved.

“…staff has removed a previously recommended condition requiring consideration of alternative exterior cladding materials as the proposed (Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete) material, designed to give a similar appearance as the existing travertine cladding, is high quality, durable and consistent with the applicable design guidelines,” the report noted. “Staff continues to recommend a condition requiring further refinement of the window divisions to align closely with the patterning of the new building cladding material.”

The current staff report calls for the designers to show further study of potential window patterns and provide details of proposed improvements to a pedestrian staircase at the northwest corner of the property.

“Our proposed redesign seeks to enhance the existing iconic forms of the travertine monolith using a pattern of solid material maintaining a memory of the existing building overlaid with a clearly articulated curtainwall window,” according to a presentation by RIOS included in the city report.

In addition to adding operable windows, “the new courtyard allows for ventilation throughout the interior, transforming elements along the north side of the site, creating the experience that connects pedestrian circulation from both sides of the main north entry to the building,” according to RIOS.

RIOS’ design objectives also included designing the structure’s facade “to maximize natural light at the interior, and to optimise the interior experience and an environment of wellness for employees.”

In its latest presentation, the RIOS design team addressed a previous request by the Design Commission in July to show examples of various facade designs that were considered, along with criteria used to evaluate them, staff said.

“The project design has satisfactorily addressed the comments provided during Preliminary Consultation and is consistent with the design guidelines in the Central District Specific Plan,” Johnson concluded “Staff recommends approval of the application for Concept Design Review for the project with conditions requiring further study of window patterning within the large openings, and provision of details of proposed improvements to the northwest pedestrian access stair.”

The five-story, 345,558-square-foot rectangular structure was completed in 1974. It was designed by John F. Adams of Edward Durell Stone Inc.

Tuesday’s Design Commission meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. It can be accessed via online video conference at, or by phone at 669- 900-6833. The webinar ID is 856 0260 0018.

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