The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is seeking city permission to bypass the rigorous Ladyface Mountain Specific Plan in the construction of their new global headquarters slated for Agoura Road.
The aim of the foundation is to meet environmental standards that would qualify the structures for a prestigious national green designation.
If the foundation is able to persuade the city to go along with their plan, the architectural constraints that such a design present may mean that the project won't blend in with either the natural landscape or typical Agoura Hills building design.
If approved, the campus-style complex would become.
Consultant and project manager Frans Bigelow, Foundation vice president Patrick J. Modugno, and architect R. Doss Mabe presented the project's preliminary plans at the City Council meeting on Tuesday.
"Typically, such requests are not reviewed as a pre-screen," said Mike Kamino, director of planning and community development. "But the applicant has requested general conceptual feedback on the project for the sake of internal streamlining of their application."
The plans call for a staggered development schedule that extends over 25 years in four phases, producing one structure per phase, according to Bigelow, of Bigelow Development Associates in Malibu.
Phase I proposes a 24,000 square foot building at the easterly edge of the property, to accommodate 40 employees. All four buildings will be clustered on the approximately 15 acres closest to Agoura Road.
"It's clear that it has to be dynamic, as green building evolves," Bigelow said. "But it's campus-style, so there has to be [an architectural] relationship."
The Ladyface Mountain Specific Plan was adopted by the City Council in 1991 and was intended to allow for limited yet reasonable development along the foothills of Ladyface Mountain on Agoura Road. Unlike other parts of the city, the plan dictates the size and standards for the development of each parcel in the specific area south of the freeway.
Existing neighboring structures, consistent with the specific plan, blend into the hillside and augment the natural scenery.
The Hilton project as currently designed would not meet the requirements of the plan. However, the project managers said they are aiming for U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Certification, which promotes environmentally sound buildings.
The design necessary to achieve energy efficiency for Platinum LEED Certification requires a composition of glass and tight, angular shapes, apparent in architect R. Doss Mabe's plans.
"This is a marked departure" from the typical architectural style in Agoura Hills, Koehler said, characterizing the project as "sharp" and "mid-century" in architectural style. He asked Bigelow: "Is there any thought or any consideration or any desire to soften some of these edges?"
Mayor ProTem Harry Schwarz suggested more color landscaping around the perimeter of the building to soften the edges and help the structure blend into the side of Ladyface Mountain.
"I don't want to change [the existing design] if it's going to change how this building is going to work environmentally," he told Bigelow, "but I think there are things that can be done."
No vote was taken nor resolution passed as the purpose of the presentation was merely to obtain feedback. The Hilton team will seek to incorporate the council's informal and non-binding suggestions as they move forward.
"We are aware that there is no other building in Agoura Hills that looks like this building, but we are asking for some forbearance on that," said Mabe. "The Foundation really wanted a building that expresses their long-term commitment and a building that will age gracefully."