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‘the star’ in hollywood: revisiting the unbuilt vision by MAD architects

a look back at mad architects’ proposal for ‘the star’


In September 2021, MAD Architects unveiled a biomorphic proposal for The Star, a creative hub and workspace for content creators in Hollywood (see more here). Last week the developer revealed that a design by Foster + Partners had been ultimately selected with its facade wrapped in ascending gardens (see more here). With its curvilinear volume, MAD Architects’ unbuilt vision drew from LA’s architectural heritage while proposing the office of the future with its tree-filled vertical landscaping integrated throughout. Although the tower will not be realized, it will continue to serve as a valuable precedent for forward-thinking workplace design that fosters a dialogue between the urban and natural environment.

mad architects star hollywoodtwo proposals for The Star: MAD Architects (left), Foster + Partners (right)



the curving design: form follows function


The team at MAD Architects envisioned The Star for Hollywood with a unique massing of three funnels stacked within each other, all topped by a glass dome. More than just aesthetics, a thin vertical band wrapping the building functioned as the track for a ‘funicular’ cable railway that would transport visitors and tourists skyward for views across Los Angeles. This railway would ascend to an enclosed rooftop restaurant, an event space, and a panoramic observation deck. It is designed to follow along the building’s soft, rounded silhouette which, according to MAD Architects, was informed by the city’s architectural heritage which includes the curving structures scattered across LA. This way, The Star could be woven into the urban fabric even with its sculptural design.

mad architects star hollywood
MAD Architects’ The Star aimed to be a beacon of creativity and sustainability in Hollywood | image © MIR



employee and public wellness with lush roof gardens


With its proposal for The Star, MAD Architects envisioned a project that transcended mere office space. Lush rooftop gardens, imagined as terrarium-like retreats, were planned for both office workers and the public. But The Star’s design prioritized occupant wellness beyond the rooftop. Sweeping views across LA and landscaped terraces were incorporated throughout the building to create a fluid transition between indoor and outdoor workspaces. This allows for work and leisure to mingle, fostering a more dynamic and stimulating office environment.

mad architects star hollywood
the building’s form resembled three funnels stacked with a glass dome and a funicular track | image © MIR



transparency and community engagement


Designing The Star, MAD Architects further considered the building’s impact on the surrounding community in Hollywood. The tessellated glass facade gradually narrowed as it reached each terrace, maximizing usable outdoor space while maintaining visual transparency for neighboring residents. Meanwhile, concave terraces carve out space to provide more visual transparency for neighbors. This thoughtful design ensured that The Star wouldn’t obstruct views or create a sense of isolation for those living and working nearby.

‘the star’ in hollywood: revisiting the unbuilt vision by MAD architects
MAD Architects notes that its design echoed the curvilinear shapes of LA’s historic architecture



While MAD Architects’ vision for The Star may not have come to fruition, it serves as an exciting exploration of workplace design in a post-pandemic world, especially with its emphasis on employee well-being, public engagement, and environmental integration. Meanwhile, the team at MAD Architects is still looking forward to the completion of its sculptural Lucas Museum which is currently taking shape in South LA — see designboom’s recent coverage here!

‘the star’ in hollywood: revisiting the unbuilt vision by MAD architects
public access was a priority, with a rooftop garden, restaurant, and observation deck


360-degree viewing terraces blurred the lines between indoor and outdoor workspaces

‘the star’ in hollywood: revisiting the unbuilt vision by MAD architects
tessellated glass maximized usable space while maintaining transparency for neighbors


project info:


project title: The Star, proposal

architecture: MAD architects | @madarchitects

location: Hollywood, California

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