Among the more recent significant developments in Wilshire Center, few have been as satisfying to watch as the ongoing renovation of the Hotel Normandie. Since 2011, the historic property’s transformation into a boutique hotel has been led by J Lou Architects, a Pasadena-based firm with a strong focus on preservation. The top photographs in this post’s comparisons were taken near the onset of the building’s current restoration.
According to the Los Angeles Times’ archives, the Hotel Normandie opened in 1926 as one of the Wilshire District’s few middle-end hotels. Designed by the prolific firm of Walker & Eisen, the Renaissance Revival building originally housed 101 guestrooms and eight commercial spaces. The property received its last major renovation around 1964, which covered its ground floor with white plaster and stone, and installed a Googie-esque marquee above its main entrance (pictured here in 2010). In the decades that followed, the Normandie operated primarily as a residential hotel for senior citizens.
Over the past two years, the building has been largely restored to its original appearance. The marquee and plaster have been stripped from the building’s ground floor, revealing older layers of brick. Its upper story façades have been cleaned, and new sash windows installed. Most notably, workers have faithfully rebuilt the roof cornice and tiled parapet, whose originals were lost several decades ago. Although the hotel has been officially reopened for over a month, work continues on rebuilding the commercial storefronts facing Normandie Avenue and Sixth Street.
1. Hotel Normandie. Advertisement. Los Angeles Times. 11 Jun. 1926. 7.
2. “Modernizing of hotel due.” Los Angeles Times. 16 Feb. 1964. O31.
3. “Plan Normandie Hotel.” Los Angeles Times. 22 Mar. 1925. F6.
4. S. W. Straus & Co. “$280,000 Normandie Hotel.” Advertisement. Los Angeles Times. 10 Sep. 1925. 13.