Nearly a century ago, a tennis oasis opened its doors in west Los Angeles with an approach to membership far ahead of its time. The Westside Tennis Club founded by Elmer Griffin in 1926 – now known as the Griffin Club – welcomed actors and entertainers when few elite establishments did in the city, touting a more inclusive community. As such, it quickly became a social hub for the Hollywood set, such as Humphrey Bogart and Joan Bennett.
Since the 1920’s, the Club has experienced multiple ownership shifts and design updates – ever evolving to meet the needs of its community. As the Club morphed into a polished yet family-friendly environment, so too did its design. The Griffin Club’s most recent renovation in 2017, under the stewardship of Meriwether Companies and Singerman Real Estate, brought the space into its most current rendition – the pinnacle of laid-back California-cool.
Nature-inspired, meditative spaces are on trend, especially in urban environments like Los Angeles, so it’s fitting that CCY Architects, the team that worked with CRA Design to modernize the Griffin Club, utilized B+N Industries' Fortina, which is extremely durable and evokes the look and feel of natural wood slats and louvers. Fortina – aluminum that is covered with a hyper-realistic non-PVC finish – is indistinguishable from natural wood, enabling CCY architects to create a striking, slatted entryway for the Club.
“Fortina met the standard needed for roofing materials, since it’s aluminum with a faux wood finish,” says Matt Smith, associate at CCY Architects. “It preserved the integrity of the design concept.” The team initially considered natural wood slats for the building’s exterior, but these did not meet roofing code requirements. Natural wood also requires a refinishing process and regular upkeep, while Fortina does not.
Fortina worked so well in the Club’s entrance, that the CCY team seized the opportunity to incorporate it inside, as well. Generally, the architectural system is lighter weight, less costly, easier to install, and more consistent in terms of color and finish over time than real wood – offering a bevy of design perks. It also meets “green” building design standards and shortens construction time given its variety of system-ready hardware.
“Fortina set the stage for the club’s new identity, in a way,” Smith said, noting that the material is progressive, low-maintenance, and modern – just like the updated Griffin Club.