Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Eastern Columbia Building

My friend Taylor Coté recently dedicated a blog post to all things turquoise, and it reminded me of what I think is the best building in Los Angeles. An absolutely glorious art-deco gem of a building, it was recently renovated from commercial to residential use, and is now known as the Eastern Columbia Lofts. It is located at the northern corner of Ninth and Broadway, downtown.

From Wikipedia:

The Eastern Columbia Building is a thirteen-story building located at 849 S. Broadway in the Broadway Theater District of downtown Los Angeles, and is considered by many to be the most beautiful of Los Angeles' historic buildings, as well as its finest surviving example of Art Deco architecture following the 1969 destruction of Richfield Tower. It is easily spotted from Interstate 10 due to its bright turquoise color.
The building sits just across the street from the restored Orpheum Theatre.
Developer Kor Group turned the property into condominiums that opened in fall 2006.

The Eastern Columbia Building was designed by Claud Beelman and opened on September 12, 1930, after just nine months of construction. It was built as the new headquarters of the Eastern Outfitting Company and the Columbia Outfitting Company, furniture and clothing stores. With the construction of this lavish structure, the companies could also boast one of the largest buildings constructed in the 1930s.

It is built of steel-reinforced concrete and clad in glossy turquoise terra cotta trimmed with deep blue and gold trim.[1] The building's vertical emphasis is accentuated by deeply recessed bands of paired windows and spandrels with copper panels separated by vertical columns. The façade is decorated with a wealth of motifs—sunburst patterns, geometric shapes, zigzagschevrons and stylized animal and plant forms. The building is capped with a four-sided clock tower emblazoned with the name "Eastern" in neon and crowned with a central smokestack surrounded by four stylized flying buttresses. The sidewalks surrounding the Broadway and Ninth Street sides of the building are of multi-colored terrazzo laid in a dynamic pattern of zigzags and chevrons. The central main entrance has a spectacular recessed two-story vestibule adorned with a blue and gold terra cotta sunburst. The vestibule originally led to a pedestrian retail arcade running through the center of the building.

I have a few decent photos of the building, from a trip several years ago:

The ornate lobby entrance

The north wall

Looking up the southern façade

The southern façade, again.

The very awesome clock tower, from the north.

Eastern (front) façade

...And the view from the opposite corner.

And I also have a cute little 3 5/8-inch tall replica of it, which I bought here. (They also have a larger one.)

Yep. Definitely one of my faves.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

This has almost nothing to do with California. But it's good.

There is a photographer in Brooklyn, New York City, who is documenting the construction of the new World Trade Center by producing a time-lapse video of the rising towers from across the East River. I think it's a very cool project, and he just needs another $175 in donations before this Tuesday afternoon in order to get underway. He has already been offered $825. There are some very nice rewards for backers, too, so why not chip in a few bucks?