with 'architecture' tag

summer 1990, dresden and prague

frauenkirche in dresden

one of the sights that just blew me away on my trip through eastern europe in summer 1990 was the still-destroyed buildings in dresden. when doing some research to figure out what church was in this picture, i ran across the articles about how the frauenkirche had been rebuilt, and realized the photo above was of the destroyed frauenkirche.

the most photographed city in the world

my fiancée celia and i went to go see los angeles plays itself at the egyptian theatre the other night. it’s a documentary about how los angeles has appeared in films over the years, and the writer/director is pretty critical of how the city is portrayed.

i had seen praise for the film, but i don’t think it quite lived up to the hype. a lot of the film footage is of questionable quality, the narration can be fairly tedious at times, and it’s just too long. the few film clips showing the now-gone richfield building did make my heart skip a beat.

i’d say it is still worth seeing if you can find a screening and you’re a nut about los angeles, but it’s not a must-see film if you’re more casual in your interest.

here’s something i didn’t know about bertram grosvenor goodhue, the architect of the los angeles central library: he also designed a couple of font faces, cheltenham and merrymount.

wilshire boulevard

johnie’s and 99¢ only stores parking

new caltrans building

today i took pictures along main street in downtown los angeles to complete my trilogy of historic core photo sets.

i like this shot of the caltrans building because it shows both the best and worst of the building — the giant “100” street number is really striking, and the parking entrance and concrete face at street level is representative of the completely lame relationship the building has to two-thirds of the street around it.

if you pay close attention, you will notice that there is a gap of about half a block on the east side of main street between fifth and sixth streets. it’s a parking lot, but it is also a popular area for people to loiter about. i had a couple of people yelling at me as i was taking the pictures of the buildings leading up to that area, and a guy who came across the street to tell me i couldn’t take pictures because it was an invasion of privacy. (which is pretty laughable, but i figured there was little point in antagonizing anyone further.)

by the time i got back to that area to shoot the other side of the street, a couple of los angeles police department officers had come along to roust everyone who was loitering there.

it will be interesting to see what happens to that little half-block area in the next year. the santa fe lofts, pacific electric lofts, and more developments are all less than a block from there, and it sounds like there is some development planned around fifth and main, too. (maybe in this interesting little building?)

you can’t tell from the mockups of the lapd parking structure where it is going. judging by the map in the notice of preparation of draft environmental impact report for the police headquarters facility plan, it will fill these three lots (oops: four or five). i’m not sure what the plans for this empty lot are, but it doesn’t appear to be part of the parking structure and maintenance bay.

curating the city: wilshire boulevard is a series of events organized by the los angeles conservancy on or about wilshire boulevard.

one of the main events is a self-guided architectural tour on october 2. tickets are $25 (or $35 if you’re not yet a conservancy member). it sounds much like the spring on spring event, where you find your own way between each building and they have guided tours within each of those buildings. but the span of the tours here is much longer — from macarthur park to the beach. a metro day pass is probably a good idea.

and i’m sure it is just a coincidence that wilshire boulevard: grand concourse of los angeles by kevin roderick (of la observed noteriety) was just published.

eagles the identity of the mysterious building on spring street has been made, courtesy of an architectural guidebook to los angeles by david gebhard and robert winter. it’s an annex to the i.n. van nuys building. it was built in 1929-30. the book claims that the north parking entrance “retains its original classical metal gates,” but unless it is behind the not-original not-classical gate you see in the picture, that may no longer be true.

if you look at the picture, the ledge near the top of the annex does match up with the ledge around the van nuys building (on the right). i don’t see many architectural similarities between the buildings other than that.

farmers & merchants national bank sometimes you better be careful what you wish for, because it might just come true.

i’m now officially one of those jerks with more camera than photography skills. something to work on.

the los angeles times reports that many of the plaques at the old caltrans building were actually cement, although they appeared metallic.

i find it fairly mind-boggling that there is no picture to accompany the article. the building is literally across the street from the los angeles times building.

i am surprised that newspapers don’t use more photographs on their web sites, and use them more effectively.

here’s another example: this article about how to store book collections doesn’t have a single picture. unbelievably lame.

what do we get instead? ten little pictures to tell the story of the watts riots.

charity, april 2005

i’m on a roll with local charities, so i’ve continued the streak with a donation to the midnight mission, which just last week opened their new facility a few blocks from their old one (which i can see out my window).

a few weeks ago one of the alôud sessions at the central library was with sam davis, author of designing for the homeless: architecture that works, who has steadily worked his way down the economic ladder in his architecture — his previous book was the architecture of affordable housing. it was an interesting perspective on the homeless problem, and i was sitting amidst a number of people from dome village who had a fairly negative take on the larger missions in los angeles. but i guess one important bit of knowledge i took away from that is that it is going to require a range of solutions to tackle the homeless problem, and it is good to see it being attacked by considerate and considered people.

a long weekend ramble

my parents were in town this weekend, and we spent almost the whole time doing things around downtown.

the arrived late on friday afternoon and checked into the westin bonaventure. (the person who wrote “the hotel's interior can’t quite match its dramatic exterior” is wrong — the interior of the bonaventure is one of my favorite spaces.) i met them at the hotel, and then we walked down to my apartment, and we had dinner at pete’s café.

on saturday morning we took the los angeles conservancy’s walking tour of the broadway theaters, and had really great luck: in addition to the usual theaters on the tour, the tower theater was opened up, and we caught the very tail end of the performance that celia of 5th and spring wrote about. we ate lunch at clifton’s cafeteria and then went over to the los angeles theater, which wasn’t open during the tour but was open in the afternoon for some reason.

in the evening, we hopped on the red line up to hollywood & vine and walked down to the arclight to see in good company (short review: liked it!) and had dinner at the baja fresh that is part of the new sunset & vine complex. there were a couple of scenes in the movie where you could see the bonaventure in the background, which was a funny coincidence.

on sunday, we hit some of the open houses that were part of the downtown living open house (actually we had gone into the eastern columbia building on saturday, and there was also an open house in my building that we checked out). the open house was a little disappointing because most of the properties were still under construction, and there was nothing to really see. (but maybe that was just those we happened to go to — we didn’t visit them all.)

from the south park area, we took the dash out to chinatown to explore that area a little bit, and then had lunch at yang chow. andy richter and his family (wife and kid) sat down at the table behind us while we were waiting for our food.

we took the dash back to my place (or as close as it gets, and then through part of the toy district on foot) to pick up the tickets for the matinee show of as you like it at the ahmanson theater and made it just as they were closing the doors after hustling through the civic center. either the second act of the play is much stronger than the first, or it just took us a while to get into the shakespeare headspace, because we all agreed that we enjoyed the second act much more than the first.

after the play, we went back to the bonaventure and had dinner in the lobby bar (after unsuccessfully trying some of the other restaurants in the hotel).

this morning, we met up again for breakfast, and then walked around a little in the financial district (mostly just sitting and watching the ducks in the watercourt at california plaza). my parents then caught their shuttle back to lax, and i picked up lunch at the happy cow diner at the bonaventure on my way back home. (i didn’t order it, but they have a ½lb. kobe beef burger for about $9.)

it was a very long weekend, and a lot of fun. i recommend any and all of the things we did, especially the walking tour of the broadway theaters and as you like it.

i’ve started putting some photos up at flickr.

the new york times has a long article on thom mayne, the los angeles-based architect who designed the new caltrans building in downtown los angeles (which they also reviewed recently).

walking back to my apartment from chinatown the other night, i had a discussion with a friend about how dull the cathedral of our lady of the angels is. i’ve only been on the inside one time, so i can’t say much about that, but the exterior of it is utterly uninspiring.

speaking of chinatown, i’ve really been lame in not heading over there more often. using the red and gold lines to get to it from my apartment is overkill, but it is easily reached via bus (and probably the dash on weekdays). and the walk isn’t bad at all. it was only when we were leaving chinatown and i saw how close city hall was that it really connected that my apartment was just a few blocks further than that.