Some awesome news coming out of LA Councilman Jose Huizar’s office regarding the egregiously outdated and totally unnecessary “helipad fire code” that the LA Fire Department instituted back in 1958, which forced all subsequent high-rise structures built in the City of Los Angeles to have helipads for “potential evacuation.” This has led to our signature stumpy skyline, which could be a lot more visually stunning and architecturally interesting if spire rooftops were allowed. Imagine if our City Hall had a plain flat rooftop how boring that would be?
Your guess is as good as mine why the LAFD has been so illogically stubborn to refine this antiquated fire code when we’re literally the only city in this entire fucking country to have such a restrictive law. Like our ridiculous enforcement of jaywalking in Downtown LA, the LAFD has been extremely backward about this, but thank goodness things seem to be progressing and actually moving forward on some welcome changes.
Kudos to Huizar who has been in talks with the LAFD and is currently working with them, along with other industry specialists, to alter the helipad code in an addendum of sorts called Policy No. 10.
A statement from Huizar’s office says the new policy would allow modified helipads on the roofs of new high-rise buildings. The policy shift is just the first step, albeit an important one, in allowing newly designed towers with “iconic rooflines and narrow roof and tower spires” common in other major urban centers. Think New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.
The first concrete example this new policy shift has had a very positive effect on, aesthetically speaking, is the forthcoming $1 billion Wilshire Grand Tower now under construction at 7th and Figueroa. The 1,100 foot tower when completed in early 2017, will have a slender spire on top of the roof and a stunning crown feature, both of which were only made possible because of a reduced helipad requirement.
A new exciting skyline awaits the future of Downtown LA.