Last November, the Bob Baker Marionette Theater left its home of 55 years in the Westlake neighborhood amid plans to redevelop the property.
The latest update on the proposed development came yesterday, when representatives of property owner Eli Elimelech presented updated plans for an apartment complex which would incorporate the historic building to the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission. The project, which has been in the works for five years, calls for the construction of a seven-story building at 1335 W. 1st Street, featuring 102 apartments and approximately 3,400 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.
The design by The Albert Group Architects would preserve the front portion of the theater, as well as the adjacent "party" room and courtyard. The new construction would bridge over the preserved volumes, leaving airspace between. The contemporary look of the new construction is intended to distinguish it from the theater, which has been designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.
Plans also call for an interpretive art display telling the history of the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, stretching between Vista Hermosa Park in the east and the front of the theater building - which will become the lobby and main entrance of the new development.
An additional reference to the historic use of the building could be seen within the lobby itself. The development team is considering a picture of one of the final puppet shows to create an immersive experience of what the building looked like when it was a functioning theater.
Though the Bob Baker Marionette Theater may no longer call Westlake home, the beloved institution remains active, staging performances in places such as Santa Monica and Pasadena. The Los Angeles Times reports that a new permanent home will be unveiled soon.
- Westlake (Urbanize LA)