Thursday, January 16, 2014

A California Scrapbook

So this is where we spent the week leading up to New Years, since it had been snowing in Vancouver

This Rodeo Drive window dresser should be fired. Why put a suit in the window with a loose thread on the button. After all, this is Beverly Hills!
 I'll always remember my first trip to California. It was 1970 and I was one of 6 students from across Canada awarded the CMHC Travelling Scholarship. To be fair, it was not that hard to win since not everyone applied for it. Although it provided 6 weeks of travel across the US you had to work 6 weeks  in the CMHC Ottawa Head Office. To me, this was a wonderful package, especially since our travels took us across the US with stops in Chicago, San Francisco...down the coast to Los Angeles....then Las Vegas, since I had been reading Tom Wolfe's Candy Colored Tangerine Flaked Streamline Baby.... as well as Albuquerque New Mexico, Taos and other bizarre stops along the way.

Our tour guide was Warren Chalk, one of the founding members of Archigram in UK. He too was an education, altho sadly he passed away a few years ago....(you can die from drinking too much scotch!)

In the subsequent years I often went back to LA where like many other Vancouver architects and developers got inspiration for future projects.  Portions of South Shore False Creek were very much inspired by what we saw. (The City sponsored an official trip). Similarly the Lagoons near Granville Island was inspired by the Venice Canals and other waterfront developments we visited on a separate trip.

In 1989 I took a colleague from Aoki to Marina Del Rey where we visited the Marina City Club, which gave us ideas for the future Bayshore Community. Unfortunately Gordon Campbell didn't like our idea of creating a special precinct of luxurious homes cut off from the rest of the city...although eventually that's essentially what we did create, albeit with some roads and pedestrian connections linking it to the surrounding neighbourhood.

This time Sally and I were impressed with the transformation of the downtown, and surprised by a number of things, some nice and some not so nice, including the improved public transit and pedestrian areas. While I don't have time to write it all up, here is an album of just a few of my pictures in no particular will be readily evident!
As you drive around it is evident that LA is still the movie capital of the world. Although it is suffering from tax concession-supported competition around US and Canada
Many world cities want to be their sister!

The Disney Concert Hall has played a role in the revitalization of the downtown. If you don't like these two photos, I have dozens more!
Many of the older buildings in downtown LA are being given new life, especially as loft housing and other neighbourhood amenities. There are also some striking new buildings.
Not all the buildings are lovely. I mean, what were they thinking.!
I was intrigued by this balcony and 'eyebrow' detail. I'm sure someone will copy it soon in Metro Vancouver

The best apartment ever? I don't think so, but in a city of awards, who's to say?
I found the Woodwards W!
I must say that many of the older 'iconic' buildings are still my favourites...what is the name for a building in the shape of the object that it represents?
I thought this was a creative way of adding colour to a building
There really is a McArthur's Park where someone left a cake out in the rain!
No Los Angeles scrapbook would be complete without pictures of roads and cars.

I loved this navy blue Tesla so much, I immediately ordered one just like it. Delivery in March! (While in LA I realized the Tesla is no longer a fringe car...indeed it's now one of the most popular luxury cars in the state.)

This isn't a picture of a movie poster. It's a picture of a sign indicating diagonal pedestrian crossing!
Another traffic measure. Now why don't we do this in Vancouver? It's done all over the world and definitely improves traffic flow.
This is nice. Outdoor dancing in Marina Del Rey
Yet another of the many new rental housing projects being built around the County.
I think it's time to consider more lightweight steel buildings in Vancouver.
Venice Beach is still muscle beach!
It's also where you go to see the special doctor is you are having trouble sleeping or have a pain in your hip

Yes, this is Beverly Hills City Hall
On of many fascinating buildings celebrating clothing design.

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