The pool and spas at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel & Residences and JW Marriott at the LA Live are designed to complement the overall entertainment experience at the LA Live entertainment complex in downtown Los Angeles. These pools serve as not only recreational amenities for the Hotels, but also as social focal points, as they become the newest gathering spots in and evolving Downtown LA culture. Their modern aesthetics embody the spirit LA Live, and the refined lifestyle represented in the overall project.

The pool area for the JW Marriott offers views into Nokia Plaza, the Hotel Lobby, and neighboring Staples Center and Nokia Theatre. The pool area for the Ritz-Carlton showcases the surrounding downtown Los Angeles skyline.

Several specific design features further integrate the aquatic amenities into the overall tapestry of the LA Live complex. Paving patterns from Nokia Plaza and the Hotel were carried into the pool decks, and incorporate the shape of the minimalistic, rectilinear pools. In addition, the “zero-edge” design of the pool copings ties directly into the raised pool deck paving system, merging the design of the pools and spas with their surroundings.

When it comes to the pool system engineering, both pools and spas represent the state-of-the-art in above-grade swimming pool design, engineering and construction. These salt-water system based vessels required the utmost care in structural engineering and interface with the Architect, General Contractor, and sub-trades. In addition, proper pump selection and plumbing sizing dramatically reduces energy consumption, making the systems more affordable to run and significantly reducing environmental impact. Also, maintaining proper circulation system flow in conjunction with proper pump selection velocities, which works to lower the acoustical threshold, helps to meet the noise thresholds expected from a 5-star resort.

The primary challenge was pool construction on top of a high-rise tower, and over a three-story Hotel lobby atrium. Other challenges related to facilitating construction include delivery of materials via crane, creation of a permanent delivery system for pumping concrete up to the tower, the use of foam panels used to reduce the weight of the reinforced concrete shell structure, and coordination with waterproofing and the raised deck system.

As part of this exciting, newest addition to the downtown Los Angeles skyline, these pools take on tremendous cultural significance and may someday be considered historic installations. Until then, they stand as prime examples of design and technical excellence, the very best the aquatic industry has to offer.


Opened: 2010

Cost: $1 billion

Aquatic space: 2,761 square feet

Dream amenities: Rooftop pool and spa on the 4th floor of the JW Marriott, Rooftop pool and spa on the 26th floor of the Ritz-Carlton


  • Dream Designer:Rowley International Inc.
  • Project Architect: Gensler
  • General Contractor: Webcor Builders
  • Pool Sub-contractor: AQA
  • Landscape Architect: Rios Clemente Hale Studios
  • Electrical Contractors and Consultants:SASCO
  • Mechanical Contractors: Murray Company
  • Structural Engineers: Nabih Youssef Associates
  • Aquatic Equipment: Knorr Systems Inc.
  • Structural Engineering: John A. Martin & Associates


  • Knorr Systems Inc.: Cleaners/vacuums
  • Lochinvar: Heaters
  • Paco Pumps: Pumps
  • Pentair Water Commercial Pool and Aquatics: Filters, lighting
  • Siemens: Chemical control systems