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Category Archives: Los Angeles in Buildings

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]