HOLLYWOOD — A Japanese architect has completed a massive building in the shadow of Hollywood that is both an homage to the iconic “Hok” in the original film and a tribute to the original Japanese residents who lived there.
Hok Architects announced Wednesday that the 5.8-acre complex, called Tokyo’s First World War Cemetery, will be the world’s tallest concrete structure, surpassing the Empire State Building.
The complex, which will include three residential towers and a pedestrian plaza, will rise about 2,000 feet above Los Angeles Harbor and is being built by architect Hiroshi Hirano of Hok Architects, a firm that specializes in high-rise projects.
Hirano, a native of Tokyo, designed the building in collaboration with a team of Japanese and U.S. architects.
The first phase will include the memorials for those who served in World War II.
Hirano is the director of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.
Huge, ornate bronze panels bearing the names of more than 50 Japanese war dead, including U.N. Ambassador Tomomi Inada and former U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill, will cover the main plaza.
The rest of the memorial will be covered with black concrete.
The work will be completed by the end of 2020.
“I was so proud to design a memorial that honors the people who made our country so strong, that made us the greatest country in the world, and that will be forever remembered,” Hirano said.
Hollywood has been the focus of Hirano’s work since the early 1990s, when he began to design the first Japanese American national monument in Hollywood, a memorial in front of the theater that honored the victims of the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the U. S. military in 1941.
“When I began my work in the ’90s, the Hollywood neighborhood was very different,” Hirawa said.
“Now it’s the place where I think of this memorial.”
The first wave of Japanese Americans in Hollywood was a group that Hirano was working with when he started work on the Memorial Park, a large park in Hollywood.
The Japanese American Heritage Center in Hollywood is named for Hirano.
Hiroano said he wanted the new Tokyo-based building to honor the Japanese Americans who were killed in the Second World War.
“It’s a symbol of the courage, strength and self-sacrifice of these people,” Hiramoto said.
“The people who lost their lives were the people of Hollywood.
The people who lived in the neighborhood were the Japanese people who were born and raised here.
That’s why this building honors the Japanese.”
Hiranomori said that the building will be a tribute not only to the people killed in war but also to the residents of the Hollywood district who lived and worked there.
“This is the first time we have a concrete memorial in Los Feliz, California, in a major U. of A. project,” he said.