Los Angeles Athletic Club: The Magnificent Time Capsule
Imagine our downtown buildings as books in a library. Many of them preserved and untouched, ready for the dust to be blown off the cover to reveal the preserved story within. For the design-centric, much of our city is a time capsule. This allures many in hopes to open the cover to these structures and travel back a century ago. One of these time capsules has endured the test of time, and since 1880 has been a full functioning gem within our community. This is the magnificent Los Angeles Athletic Club, where time has managed to stand still while perfectly embracing the inevitable — modernism.
Athletic clubs are an endangered species in our nation; only a few still can be accessed. Ours, thanks to the generations of devoted community members and forward thinkers, is thriving.
Assistant General Manager Cory Hathaway implies how important the notion is to “take history and combine it with new contemporary ideas, old meets new.” Imagine if a meticulous set from a Wes Anderson film could be ripped from the screen and brought to life.
This vintage charm — mixed with the sounds of squeaking sneakers and shaking cocktails — is how the brilliant air of LAAC feels. Though the club is built on the founding principles of health and community, these are just a few instruments in a synchronized orchestra of spoils for any member.
Back to Wes Anderson for just a moment. Imagine we can zoom out to LAAC’s twelve floors with a crane camera much like the director prefers to do to his large sets containing multiple floors. Let’s pretend we can glide through the club imitating one of those detailed scenes. It begins at the marvelous lobby, a collection of members arriving and relaxing, preparing or unwinding from the day.
On the third floor are hung chandeliers over the grand ballroom, bar and restaurant. Here, the true essence of a club member is relished around the open space with drinks and food. There is also the allusive Blue Room, let’s keep these details hush for the elite members. Floors five through nine are dedicated to all athletics. Weights, a full basketball court and an array of echoing racket and squash ball courts for sweat-infused games.
The pool — all fourteen feet of it — can be found on the sixth floor for swimmers who glide to any stroke. There is something so captivating about treading water with windows that look out into above ground city streets — truly a downtown sentiment. The top three floors are reserved for LAAC’s unique hotel offering a signature aesthetic for lodgers looking for a noteworthy stay. More is on the way in the form of a whiskey library and a barbershop in the near future.
The LAAC is not just a staple; it’s an incredibly vital piece to our downtown society. Cory understands that “Community is one of the most important aspects of health.” The pages continue to be written within the leather-bounded spirit of LAAC, and though it is just one book in our diverse downtown library, it’s perhaps one of the most important and valuable stories within the city.
Written by Travis Platt | Photography by GL Askew II