Upgrading To the Future
At one time, Del Amo Fashion Center® Mall just outside of Los Angeles was the largest shopping center in the U.S., expanding through the amalgamation of several centers and department stores. When developer and philanthropist Guilford Glazer built the three million-square-foot mall in 1971, it was not only the largest shopping center in America, it was also Southern California’s most popular luxury shopping destination.
Due to the advent of modern technology (ease of online shopping) and the economic collapse in 2008, the retail landscape was forced to evolve over the years. Del Amo experienced several changes in ownership and did some smaller renovations, but was still losing market share to other malls in the Los Angeles surrounding area.
Current owners Simon teamed up with STIR Architecture (formerly Altoon Partners), to work on the redesign of the property to regain back the once vibrant customer base. The challenge was to reinvent the mall concept, turning the patchwork property into a coherent retail center. To complicate matters, however, all of the renovations had to be done while a busy mall was in full operation. While there is no official confirmation, the entire transformation is said to have cost about $200 million to complete. The new design used light, glass, and articulation to create responsive retail spaces that invite exploration. Its open design is human centered, highlighting the display character of retail in spatially dynamic storefronts to create a welcoming public realm. Throughout the project, the notion of connection to the surrounding SoCal environment is reinforced through both spatial and “softscape” elements.
Del Amo succeeded in shaking off its former image as a cluttered, hard-to-navigate mall with new soaring glass windows, bright skylights, living green walls, and sleek exterior and interior finishes. Along with Hollywood-based 5+design, the core team decided to apply a museum-like regard and treatment of space and definition across 2.2 million square feet. The open and sophisticated design of the newly re-imagined Del Amo Fashion Center® highlights the display character of retail. In short, the northern end of the mall went from dark and uncomfortable to clean, crisp, simple and tasteful.
Since the owners and team really wanted an area that created a “lifestyle” experience complete with natural light and free flowing space, the natural choice was an intricate and sophisticated system of ultra-clear structural glass. The design team knew who to turn to for this type of system, so they selected W&W Glass to assist with the design of the Pilkington Planar™ structural glass fin wall entrance for the project. The two companies (W&W and Pilkington) have had several successful partnerships on other retail centers throughout of the country.
Working in tandem with STIR and installers at Corona Aluminum, W&W Glass was tasked with creating a grand entrance that was stunning and functional. The vertical entrance wall was comprised of exterior face glass made of Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron and Low-e insulating glass units with Pilkington ProT 66/33 Low-e on the #2 surface. The insulating glass units were fixed to 3/4-inch low-iron tempered and heat soaked glass fins using Pilkington 905 series hardware that allows for better movement in seismic earthquake zones like this. The system gave the entrance a magnificent, clean look while helping save on energy costs with low-e coatings and low conductance through the minimal amount of exposed metal to the exterior. The overhead canopy utilized Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron SentryGlas® laminated glass with the same fittings for consistency.
Construction on the remodel began in 2012 and was completed in late 2015. Some new looks for Del Amo included a new Grand Court area, distinguished by natural light emanating from its skylights, and a glass wall looking out to the rest of the center, as well as two-story facades from retailers Uniqlo, Zara, and H&M. Designed in three phases, the first phase began with the renovation of a one level mall connecting two existing department stores. The concourse is unified by a continuous light soffit that floats over the storefronts and a softly shaped ceiling with enhanced lighting.
This premiere shopping destination now features a food court, several anchor stores, including two Macy’s locations, Nordstrom, JCPenney and Sears, more than 200 retailers, multiple full-service restaurants, a fitness center, and an AMC Theatres multiplex. In addition, Simon demolished 180,000 square feet of mall and office space north of Carson Boulevard and replaced it with a two-story, 420,000 square-foot, environmentally state-of-the-art indoor/outdoor mall catered to upscale shoppers. It also built a four-story, 2,000 car garage, increasing the center’s parking spaces to over 11,000. The Del Almo Fashion Center® has now become the fifth largest mall in the country thanks in part to their renovation and expansion to better service the needs of a growing luxury retail business sector.
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W&W Glass LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar™ structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.