Parisians claim that in Paris, one is never more than 400 yards away from a Metro station. In Los Angeles, I am equally certain that one is always within 400 yards of a palm tree.
Scores of streets are lined with them; they are ubiquitous in domestic and public gardens; they rise from hilltops; they tower above cemeteries; they front museums, movie studios, hotels, hospitals, municipal buildings, modest apartments, and lavish villas; they are clustered around swimming pools; they dominate the skyline — they are everywhere, and have never been more popular. The city’s 200-year love affair with palms has never ceased, and rather than waning, the affair is waxing. From the first palms planted by Spanish padres to the city of Beverly Hills, which recently, in an act of cosmetic alteration, created a palm-lined, palm-bisected thoroughfare on upscale Rodeo Drive, the palm has been the tree of choice for Angelenos. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle
on Jul 28, 2014 -
The post-war boom gave rise to new concepts of modernity in domestic architecture
and, of course, massive suburban development. One such concept was the California ranch-style home, pioneered by Cliff May
(1909-1989). Another contemporary architect, Joseph Eichler
(1900-1974), had his own vision of modernity in America's new suburbs, but both styles used similar language. At the time, these new designs for living were seen as modern and at the cutting edge of sophistication, but sophistication within reach of the average professional, middle-class family. They were designed to have a practical as well as an aesthetic value. Welcome to mid-century modern. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome
on Jul 4, 2014 -
"In his 2003 memoir Where The Money Is: True Tales from the Bank Robbery Capital of the World
, co-authored with Gordon Dillow, retired Special Agent William J. Rehder briefly suggests that the design of a city itself leads to and even instigates certain crimes—in Los Angeles’s case, bank robberies. Rehder points out that this sprawling metropolis of freeways and its innumerable nondescript banks is, in a sense, a bank robber’s paradise. Crime, we could say, is just another way to use the city."
posted by homunculus
on Jul 13, 2013 -
The Jackie Robinson of architecture.
An orphaned African American boy from downtown Los Angeles, Paul Revere Williams
wanted to be an architect, and when he mentioned his career goal the high school guidance counselor ”stared at me with as much astonishment as he would have had I proposed a rocket flight to Mars... Whoever heard of a Negro being an architect?
”. Therefore, Williams learned to read and draw upside down -- he knew that white clients would not sit next to him -- graduated from USC
and in 1924 became the first certified African American architect west of the Mississippi. In a 50-year long extraordinary career,
he designed landmarks like the Theme restaurant
at Los Angeles International Airport
(with Welton Becket
), the LA County Courthouse
, the Hollywood YMCA
, Saks Fifth Avenue
in Beverly Hills
, restored the Beverly Hills Hotel. Some of his most interesting buildings, like the La Concha Motel
in Las Vegas
have either been razed
to the ground
or, like the "Batman house
", aka 160 S San Rafael mansion
in Pasadena, have been destroyed by fire. Now, Williams' historic Morris Landau House
has been cut into 21 separate pieces
and sits in a Santa Clarita storage yard, rotting away
. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Jul 2, 2006 -
- Friends Of Vast Industrial Concrete Kafkaesque Structures - a photo essay on the concrete geometries of the Los Angeles River flood control channels. [via inhabitat]
posted by carter
on Mar 31, 2006 -
Curating the City
A Flash exhibition exploring the past and present urban landscape of Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles. A modest topic explored in depth - which is perhaps what makes it so fascinating. The site includes a pdf guidebook
, in case you want to check out the bricks-and-mortar version.
posted by carter
on Mar 27, 2006 -
The most modern home built in the world.
"From the outside it looks like a spaceship
you cannot enter. But if you go inside, it feels very cozy… very Zen and calming. Maybe because you are floating above the city
, in the sky". John Lautner
's Chemosphere residence
is the product of a fortuitous union of architect
, client, time and place. Leonard Malin
was a young aerospace engineer in late-1950s L.A. whose father-in-law had just given him a plot north of Mulholland Drive, near Laurel Canyon. The only catch: at roughly 45 degrees, the slope was all but unbuildable. Lautner sketched a bold vertical line, a cross, and a curve above it. "Draw it up," he told his assistant.
publisher Benedikt Taschen owns Chemosphere (NSFW)
, and after 20 years of neglect the house has been beautifully restored (.pdf)
by Frank Escher
posted by matteo
on Apr 7, 2005 -