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Category Archives: architecture

Los Angeles in Buildings #6: the Biltmore Hotel

The Biltmore Hotel stands as one of the many answers Los Angeles has proposed, throughout nearly its entire history, to the question of what, exactly, it needs to finally become a “real city.” The list of required elements has expanded, and occasionally contracted, over time, but even putting aside all those strangely persistent Baudrillardian anxieties […]

Los Angeles in Buildings: the Angelus Temple

The phenomenon of the megachurch, though now associated with the geographical and cultural flatlands of suburban and exurban “middle America,” began in no less coastal and cosmopolitan a city than Los Angeles. Standing at the corner of Glendale Boulevard and Park Avenue in the currently fashionable neighborhood of Echo Park, right across the street from […]

This week’s city reading: Habitat 67’s concrete, MacArthur Park’s non-gentrification, and the 2nd Ave. Subway’s Comfiness

Growing Up in a Concrete Masterpiece (Blake Gopnik, New York Times) “‘How do you live with all that cement,’ my schoolmates would ask. ‘With delight’ was the only answer. They understood once they visited.” This provides as good an opportunity any to quote (past Notebook on Cities and Culture guest) Jonathan Meades: The destruction of Brutalist […]

Los Angeles in Buildings: the Ambassador Hotel

“Last Tuesday night, for the first time in 30 years, I found myself by one casual chance in a thousand on hand, in a small narrow serving pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles,” said a pained Alistair Cooke on his “Letter from America” broadcast of June 9th, 1968. He then vividly described that […]

Los Angeles in Buildings: the Braly Block

I once took a Los Angeles Conservancy architecture tour whose leader, having brought us atop Bunker Hill, gestured toward an old building over on Spring Street and told us a story from his former career as a city employee. One day he needed a ride home and a higher-up in his department offered it. Generous […]

Seoul Urbanism on TBS eFM’s Koreascape: Ikseon-dong Hanok Village

Each month I join Kurt Achin, host of Koreascape on Seoul’s English-language radio station TBS eFM, for an exploration of Seoul’s urban spaces. This time we’re joined by German-Korean architect Daniel Tändler of Urban Detail Seoul for a walk through Ikseon-dong Hanok Village, a 1930s-era housing development near downtown that has in recent years seen an influx of restaurants, bars, […]

Los Angeles in Buildings: the Bradbury Building

Though most moviegoers will have seen a lot of Bradbury Building, they may not recognize it as a landmark of Los Angeles architecture – unless, of course, they’ve seen Thom Andersen’s documentary “Los Angeles Plays Itself,” which devotes a solid block of its nearly three-hour runtime to the many roles it has played onscreen. “The […]

Korea Blog: Finding a New Seoul in the Old Buldings of Kim Swoo-Geun, Architect of Modern Korea

Like many a Westerner with an interest in Korea (and without any stake in the relevant historical conflicts), I’ve also cultivated a parallel interest in Japan, and I find few things Japanese as interesting as I find Japanese architecture. Who, I began to wonder as I learned more about the architecture of Japan and the […]

Los Angeles in Buildings: the Pico House

Thanks to (past Notebook on Cities and Culture guest) Nathan Masters of Lost L.A., I’ve returned to KCET, where I previously spent a year excerpting pieces of my book-in-progress A Los Angeles Primer (still collected on my author page here), to write a new series called “Los Angeles in Buildings.” It begins today with the Pico House, the booming […]

콜린의 한국 이야기: 세운상가

한국에 큰 관심이 있는 나는 일본에도 오랫동안 관심을 기울려 왔다. 요즘에 나한테 가장 재미있는 일본에 관련된 것은 건축이다. 좋아하는 일본 건물과 쿠로카와 키쇼나 탕게 켄조 같은 건축가들이 꽤 많아서 언젠가부터 한국 건물과 건축가에 대해서도 알아가게 되었다. 건축에 관심이 있는 사람의 대부분은 일본에 비교하면 볼만한 좋은 건물들이 거의 없다고 생각하지만 서울을 살펴보면 의외로 흥미로운 것들이 풍부하다. […]