With its towering skyscrapers and modern skyline, from afar you would not guess Los Angeles is home to many Art Deco landmarks. However, once you enter downtown, get out of your car and look up, you will find that among the jewelry marts and lofts is a surprising amount of deco bones to the city. A couple of Saturdays ago, I went on an Art Deco walking tour offered by the Los Angeles Conservancy. For two hours I walked among these buildings and discovered sights I don’t see outside of my car windows as I speed past.
Beginning in Pershing Square, we walked along the sidewalks to discover about a dozen deco buildings hidden in plain sight.
Title Guarantee Building
One Bunker Hill – Originally the Southern California Edison Company Building. At one time it was completely lit around the exterior, as would have befit the home of an electric company. It is designed by the same architect who built the grand Royce Hall on the UCLA campus - a venue that offers arts programming year round.
Los Angeles Central Library
Pacmutual Center – Originally Parkinson & Bergstrom,these two buildings are actually interconnected - they were simply represent different stages and remodels in the life of the building.
James Oviatt Building – Home to the Cicada Club. It once was home to department store Alexander & Oviatt. You can see its interior here and here.
Western Jewelry Mart – Originally the William Fox Building. They don't allow photos in their lobby, as it is off of a jewelry store, but it is a pity as it has some lovely deco elements.
Los Angeles Jewelry Center – Originally the Sun Realty Building, clad in green terra cotta.
Wholesale Jewelry Mart – Originally the Harris & Frank Building
Ninth & Broadway
Eastern Columbia Building - also with terra cotta tiles - a prominent Los Angeles landmark, especially if you can see the clock from up high.
The Conservancy offers this tour every Saturday. Visit their website for this and other tour options and information on these sites.