This time, we have lavished our attention on some hard-to-love architectural monuments.
The genesis of the theme for this installment of the LA Forum Newsletter grew out of our own Google Map, entitled “Brutalism Los Angeles.” Populated by LA Forum board members with no particular purpose in mind, the map quickly rose to the top of search engine results for this topic, pointing out the void of information on the topic. This newsletter hurls a few javelins of original content in the direction of that void.
The concrete buildings we found in Los Angeles do not represent a deep wellspring of the vigorous, red-blooded, ideological Modernism that we were craving, but we found instead some interesting stuff with a more particularly local character. Kimbro Frutiger’s essay does the job of explaining the reasons why. Sarah Briggs Ramsey’s piece undertakes a close reading of the deployment of concrete in four of the Southland’s best Brutalist projects. Daniel Paul’s tour guide stakes out the terrain of mirror-glass architecture, a long-lost cousin style of Brutalism that thrived in Orange County, and brings it to the foreground. Russell Fortmeyer’s interview with Richard Bradshaw shares with us the stories of an engineering legend responsible for some of the most adventurous Late-Modern designs in Southern California. Mimi Zeiger’s op-ed advocates for the defense of tough-to-love projects and their inconspicuous virtues.