WeHo’s Architectural WondersBy: Brittany Nicole La Hue
R. M. Schindler, a Viennese architect, is known for several architectural wonders. West Hollywood is lucky enough to host Schindler’s own Kings Road House, built in 1922 on the street of the same name. The house was designed to be a live and work space for two couples, with separate bedrooms, a shared kitchen and a guest apartment. The Schindler House is considered to be the first house ever to be built in the Modern architectural style.
Today, Schindler House is home to the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, which offers exhibitions, symposia, lectures and concerts year-round for visitors. In addition, international architects and artists are able to attend a residency program at the Center.
One of the most striking features on the West Hollywood Landscape, the 1.2 million square foot Pacific Design Center is truly an architectural wonder. Famed architect Cesar Pelli designed the Center in a sleek contemporary style. The Blue, Green and Red Buildings host over 130 showrooms and 2,200 interior product lines. Take in the city skyline from the top of the Blue Building atrium, dine at one of Wolfgang Puck’s mini cafes, shop for innovative furniture and kitchenware, try to climb the giant steel chair on the San Vicente corner of the campus or admire the fountain, which lights up neon at night.
The Argyle Hotel, now known as the historic Sunset Tower Hotel, was built in 1929 to be an art deco masterpiece by famed architect Leland A. Bryant. At one time, Howard Hughes lived in the penthouse, and kept several other apartments in the hotel for his mistresses. John Wayne also lived in Sunset Tower, along with his cow that resided on the balcony. Today’s Tower Bar is located inside what used to be Bugsy Siegel’s apartment. Visitors can relive the old Hollywood days and hear Page Cavanaugh, a former 1940s jazz musician that accompanied Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Doris Day, play the baby grand in the bar.
Last year, Culver City architects Steve Johnson and James Favaro unveiled the new West Hollywood Library – on the corner of Melrose Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard, across from the stunning Pacific Design Center. Although the Library certainly has a lot to compete with due to its neighbor, it definitely holds its own. The three-story, 48,000 square foot building is the epitome of an architectural postmodern revival. Wrapped in glass and ribbons of plaster, the focus is on energy, natural light, splashes of color and the breathtaking views of the Los Angeles skyline – from the upper floors, visitors can see Downtown, the Hollywood Hills and Griffith Observatory. Murals by street artists Shepard Fairey and Kenny Scharf complete the exterior. Inside, a children’s theatre is designed to look like a packing crate on the outside, but boasts a full-color replica of Michelangelo’s famous Laurentian Library mural on the ceiling. In the main library, coral trees and bamboo ceiling panels always provide readers something to look at. On a main floor, chairs and tables face floor-to-ceiling glass panels to admire the goings-on below and outside. (Another exciting feature, for Angelinos, anyway, is the ample parking in the 168,000 square foot garages below). Grab a coffee at Jones’ coffee bar on the first floor and admire WeHo’s newest architectural wonder!
El Mirador Apartment Complex
Built in 1929 and housed on the corner of Fountain and Sweetzer avenues, the El Mirador apartment complex has been home to Old Hollywood actress Jean Harlow, Academy Award-winning cinematographer Conrad Hall and many other Hollywood figures. The building contains 32 apartment units.