Los Angeles reversed course last month on a regulation that had barred skyscrapers from having slanted roofs or spires. Most high-rises in the city have flat-topped roofs due to a decades-old rule meant to boost fire safety by requiring helicopter landing pads atop tall buildings.
The rule was unique among large cities in the U.S., according to city officials. New technology and design techniques have removed the need for such a rule, city officials say.
Architects had decried the old rule, saying it restricted creative building tops and prevented L.A. from having a distinctive skyline.
Under the new rule, builders will be able to construct high-rises that don’t have a helicopter pad on the roof if they include other safety features such as a fire service elevator or another set of exit stairs, automatic sprinklers, and a video surveillance system.
“Anyone who’s been to New York or cities like Shanghai, Hong Kong, and even San Francisco can see how the tops of building can help to define the identity of a city,” former City Councilman Mike Woo told the Los Angeles Times. “But for Los Angeles, for years, we have limited ourselves.”